Taking Your Site Mobile

Mobile Browsing
I travel a fair bit on both business and pleasure and when away I become totally reliant on my mobile phone, I don’t use it so much for calls but I do use it extensively for checking email, news (mainly football results), my sites and making the odd blog post.

I use the mobile version of GMail as my mail client, they do have a Java version especially for mobiles but I find their mobile enhanced web version works a treat especially since it’s been improved so that you can perform the same action on multiple messages via check boxes. As I do so much browsing on my mobile I think it makes perfect sense to include a mobile version of some of my sites (the fact that Adsense for mobiles is now live also helped kick me into action).

After doing a bit of Googling research, I came across a cool WordPress plugin by Alex King that automatically creates a mobile version of your WordPress blog, so a quick download and install of this and we’re ready to go. I made a few modifications to the code to make it fit the site and also be more standard compliant (which it still isn’t 100%).

The plug-in will automatically deliver a mobile version of your blog to mobile versions that request it, I decided to register a couple of mobi domains to make it a bit more obvious but all these will do is redirect to the existing site and display accordingly (you can register mobi domains at GoDaddy.)

There are a fair few tools and communities out there to help with developing with mobile sites, you can use this mobile emulator to see what you site looks like in a mobile, there’s also a great mobile page checker that tells you what you need to do to make your page mobile compatible.

I still need to do a bit of work on this and test on more mobiles so if you’re known to do a bit of mobile browsing please check out Self Made Minds or Coolest Gadgets and let us know what you think and you can leave comments via the mobile version too :) .

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. This is an AWESOME tip! Can you expand a little on exactly what it scales down and/or removes?

    • It cuts out all images that are part of the theme and just keeps relevant images in each individual post. You also don’t have the sidebars for navigation as we do here, but there are still a few navigation links at the top and bottom of each page.
      The best thing to do is give it a try on your phone or use the emulator mentioned.

  2. Thanks for the link to the WP plugin, I had no idea that it was available. I really need to get on board with a web capable mobile phone myself.

  3. looks good. i am sending this from my nokia n73. i see the small adsense ads too.

    • Seems to work well although the form doesnt have space to enter the Title as you will notice my reply from my N73 just has Matthew rather then Matthew from Gadget Venue. Still cool though.

    • Weird… after posting the follow up remark from my laptop the Matthew from Gadget Venue appeared on the original reply.

      • That’s a side effect of an accidental on purpose feature :) it updates all comments with the site title for consistency (and to prevent abuse).

  4. may i ask what phone you have?

    How expensive is it to browse via phone too?

    Thanks for the links you have given. They are very useful.

  5. Although I am still working on building my site and have a lot to develop, I have not even considered checking on a mobile platform. How are you able to tell what views are coming from a mobile device?

    • Just check your webstats. In the OS and Browser reports you’ll see mobile devices, and mobile browser versions. They’ll be the minority though.

    • The plug-in checks a list of known mobile user agents:

      $small_browsers = array(
      '2.0 MMP'
      ,'240x320'
      ,'AvantGo'
      ,'BlackBerry'
      ,'Blazer'
      ,'Cellphone'
      ,'Danger'
      ,'DoCoMo'
      ,'Elaine/3.0'
      ,'EudoraWeb'
      ,'hiptop'
      ,'MMEF20'
      ,'MOT-V'
      ,'NetFront'
      ,'Newt'
      ,'Nokia'
      ,'Opera Mini'
      ,'Palm'
      ,'portalmmm'
      ,'Proxinet'
      ,'ProxiNet'
      ,'SHARP-TQ-GX10'
      ,'Small'
      ,'SonyEricsson'
      ,'Symbian OS'
      ,'SymbianOS'
      ,'TS21i-10'
      ,'UP.Browser'
      ,'UP.Link'
      ,'Windows CE'
      ,'WinWAP'
      );
      foreach ($small_browsers as $browser) {
      if (strstr($_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"], $browser)) {
      $mobileVersion = true;
      return true;
      }
      }

  6. Looks like my site has not gone mobile yet, on the other hand I have noticed a strong increase of view with ‘unknown’ browsers. Could it be these are simply not getting identified as mobi’s? Thanks for compiling the extensive list above.

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