These days, making a blog mobile friendly is one of the best things you can do to gain and maintain as much traffic as you can. According to market research, mobile internet use has long since surpassed desktop numbers by 2014. More than that, data indicates that users are spending more time on the internet using their mobile devices as opposed to gadgets like laptops or personal computers.
With so many people using their smartphones to read, watch and browse the internet, making your blog mobile friendly is not just an option anymore. It has become a necessity, especially if you are looking to monetize your site.
Mobile Friendly Blog
Before we get to the how, let’s first make a few things clear. Making your blog mobile friendly is basically making sure that the page, content and menus that your readers see when they visit your blog on their devices are optimized for the smaller displays and the touch control.
The interface used on desktops just won’t cut it with smartphones, largely because of the lack of several buttons and keys. You will therefore need to make sure that:
- Navigation as easy as possible
- Your content is easily accessible and readable
- The loading time is a lot faster
There’s more for you to keep in mind, and you’re going to learn all of them as we go through the subsequent topics. Here’s a quick layout of what we’ll be talking about:
- Responsive themes
- Separate blog
Depending on the blogging platform that you will use, you might already have access to responsive themes or templates meant to make your blog more mobile friendly. They can either automatically resize in order to fit the screen of the mobile device used or you can set the size of the display yourself. Either way, you have a very simple option that you can just activate without having to go through the trouble of learning to tinker with technical details.
Some of the blogging platforms that have responsive themes and templates are WordPress and Bloggers. With WordPress, you can go to the Customize tab and change the theme according to what you need. With Blogger, all you need to do is adapt the mobile friendly template, which will take care of the rest.
By far, this method is the easiest way to make your blog mobile friendly and is a testament to how much both platforms want their bloggers to make their sites optimized for smart devices. If, for some reason, your blogging platform of choice doesn’t really offer this option, you’ll need to resort to something else.
This is where your choice of a blogging platform will play a big role as well. If you haven’t created you blog yet and are considering one or two brands to provide you with the framework, you need to find out if they have default themes or templates that are mobile friendly. Most platforms have already adapted to the mobile trend, so chances are you’re covered. If not, feel free to consider another platform that can give you what you need.
Where responsive themes makes things a lot easier on you as a blogger, plugins make things a little less so. However, if your blogging platform doesn’t have the themes or templates to resize your site for you, plugins will have to do.
Plugins are basically tools or extensions that allow you to do extra things to your blog that don’t necessarily come as a default. The effect will depend on the nature of the plugins themselves and how much tampering the platform allows. Whatever the case, you can get a plugin that will make your blog mobile.
Jetpack is a really good option here, largely because it’s just so easy to use. If you’re going to take the extra step to make your blog mobile friendly instead of just choosing a theme or a template, you can at least reduce the number of hoops you need to jump through.
On that note, you should know that not every blogging platform even accepts plugins. If you end up choosing a platform like Jekyll, for example, you’re going to have a hard time using plugins to make your blog mobile friendly. So just be careful which platform you use to build your blog with.
If you really want things done a certain way for both the desktop version of your blog and the mobile version, you might need to have two separate blogs to make this work. One will be optimized for desktop browsers and the other will be customized to be more mobile friendly. The latter will typically look like “m.sitename.com” and will have the corresponding features to match the device.
Now, don’t worry too much since you are basically just making a copy of your original blog to make it specifically for mobile browsing. You don’t have to make any major changes, except for those that apply directly to mobile friendliness. At least, not if you don’t want to. You can keep everything else the same, including the content and the layout of the blog.
Then again, if you happen to be in the mood to add a few things to really make the mobile version of your blog shine on the small screen, you could. You could add some mobile-specific content, perhaps some new concepts, a different layout and so much more.
However, you should know that since you are basically running two website, any changes you make with one will also have to apply to the other. This basically means that you are doubling your workload, which might be a tad unappealing if you’re not into that. On the other hand, you could make your mobile friendly blog load faster on smartphones, so that’s a plus.
Finally, you can create an app that will be the default way for your readers to follow your blog and read up on your posts. Obviously, this will require you to have an actual app to offer readers and you can either create it yourself or have a professional do it for you. Either way is good, as long as the result meets your standards.
The biggest advantage of having apps for your blog is the fact that most mobile users conduct their internet activity through apps. If you have a sizeable mobile audience, for example, having an app for your blog only makes sense. Not only does it make opening your blog and reading your content much easier, it also taps into the habits of the users.
Now, the decision to make the app paid or free is up to you. However, since you are running a blog, you might want to make it free. If you really want to make money through your app, you can always sneak ads in.
That’s how a lot of other blogs and websites in general are making money when they make apps, and it provides you with yet another opportunity to earn revenue. Of course, this will depend on your ability to draw in a big enough crowd, so get on that.
There’s actually one final option that you can choose with regards to the mobile version of your blog, and that is to change nothing. Just let your readers find your blog as it is, regardless of whether they use a desktop or a smartphone. However, you should know that neglecting to optimize your blog will result in the following problems for your visitors:
- Too much scrolling, both up/down and sideways
- Too much pinching to enlarge or minimize
- Problems with viewing videos
- Potentially slow loading speed
If you care at all about user experience, you don’t want to have to put your audience through a tough time visiting your blog. You’ll want to make it as easy for them as possible to access, appreciate and understand your work.
At the end of the day, however, the choice is entirely up to you. You could also make your blog entirely desktop-centric if that’s what you want. Just know that you are losing out on a lot of potential readers and revenue if you choose this route.
It’s worth remembering that as the technology involved in blogging changes, you’ll need to adapt to these changes. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2009, mobile use has been on a steady rise and has shown no signs of slowing down. This is the future, and if you want to be a part of that future, you’ll need to keep up. Part of this is to make your blog mobile friendly.
Besides, the way the tech industry is going, desktops are now actually in danger of getting phased out. With more and more people turning to smartphones to conduct their daily surfing, social media hangouts and so on, you could be looking at a future where laptops and desktops are practically non-existent. At least, not to the point that it makes much of an impact on blogging. It simply pays to be prepared.