In this article I’d like to go over the steps necessary for building a WordPress web site that is mobile friendly. But first, why go through the extra effort to make a web site mobile friendly? It depends on the web site, and it depends on what statistical analysis you consider the most accurate, but many references lay between the 40% and 75% mark, in terms of the percentage of mobile users visiting web sites everyday. That’s a lot!
By default, the browser on a mobile device (smartphone, tablet or other hand held) will attempt to shrink down the web site to fit within it’s maximum resolution, but often the result is a little clunky and has some missing or non-functioning parts.
Some web site owners will accept the default, others will create a separate site entirely and detect and redirect mobile browsers. Yet others, will code the web site in such a way that it will load a different style sheet for smaller devices, and choose to hide certain functionality for mobile users. The latter approach, some developers consider the best way. They call the site “responsive”, which is a fancy way of saying the site will respond to the client and become the size that the client expects.
WordPress: Top blogging tool and content management system
Arguably, WordPress can be considered the top tool used for building web sites and blogs on the Internet. More than just a blog, WordPress, with the readily available plugins, can be transformed into just about any type of website imaginable. From news portals, to eCommerce sites, to a handful of PPC landing pages and everything in between, as it’s developers like to say “WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.”
Setting up WordPress and installing responsive theme
1) Hosting, domain and WordPress install – First things first. When installing a WordPress site, mobile-friendly or not, you need server space and a domain. What those are and how to set them up is beyond the scope of this article. In general, you can buy a shared hosting account from somewhere like GoDaddy, Bluehost or HostGator. To keep things simple you can also purchase the domain from the same place and in the same transaction, that way you won’t have to worry about setting name servers, etc.
Additionally, you could leverage the tools in your hosts control panel to get WordPress setup with a couple of clicks. This prevents you from having to worry about FTP and creating a MySQL database, two other things that are beyond the scope of this article.
2) Finding and installing a “responsive” theme – Now, making your WordPress mobile web site is actually as simple as installing a theme that, as mentioned above, is “responsive.” Many reputable web sites that sell themes will include themes in their offerings that are responsive.
It would be careless of me to suggest finding a free theme because of some of the maliciousness that is unfortunately attached to many of the free themes available, unless of course you find a freebie in the assortment available at one of the reputable WordPress theme stores. Some of the trusted theme stores include: ThemeForest.net, WooThemes, and Elegant Themes.
I found Theme Forest to have a great number of attractive, affordable, responsive themes for WordPress. To install the theme you should follow the instructions that come with it just in case there are some specifics, but in general you would do the following: Admin -> Appearance -> Themes -> Install Themes -> Upload -> Choose File -> Install Now
Mobile apps for blog management
WordPress has created several mobile apps that could be used on the go for managing web sites built using the WordPress content management system. They went a little further than just making the apps available for Apple and Android devices, their apps include WordPress for: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Nokia, and WebOS. As you can see, leveraging existing tools and software, a lot of it, if not all of it, available for free, you can quickly build and manage a mobile website built on the WordPress platform.