Remember the last time you browsed a site on your phone optimized?
Constant zooming in to read text and zooming out to navigate and super slow load speeds made it tedious to find what you needed and chances are you didn’t stay on the site for long.
I usually end up leaving sites that aren’t mobile optimized pretty quickly and I’m not the only one. Recent studies reveal that as much as 40% of mobile users turn to competitors’ sites, after having a bad mobile experience.
You can’t afford a bad mobile site!
If you’re a WordPress user, when it comes to ensuring that your website is mobile user friendly, you have two ways to go about it:
Choose a plugin that instantly creates a mobile version of your site.
Choose a responsive WordPress theme that is self aware of screen size.
Which option is better? Let’s compare:
1. Mobile Plugins
If you already have put a lot of time and energy into your website and you didn’t use a responsive theme, you may be thinking: “Isn’t there a plugin that can eliminate the work of having to choose a new theme and redesign my entire website?”
Yes there is, one plugin I recommend is WP Touch Pro.
WP Touch Pro is a well designed and supported mobile plugin. It works by detecting devices like iPhones, iPads, Androids & and more, and displaying its mobile theme instead of your regular desktop theme.
While this may sound wonderful, there are some limitations namely:
- Some of the custom functions like shortcodes that your current theme has might not be supported. This will result in part of your page not being displayed or being displayed incorrectly.
- Mobile plugins are geared more to blogs than business websites. As a result, they strip away most of the website design leaving only the core page content displayed to the viewer. This means sidebars and footers are not displayed. While this works well for a blog whose job is to communicate content it is less effective for a business website who also cares about controlling the full user experience on their website.
- Since they are a second theme they need to be customized and maintained just like your primary theme.
That said, while a mobile plugin isn’t perfect, it will send you in the right direction.
2. Responsive Themes
Responsive themes are becoming more and more common these days, especially as we move into an age where almost half of mobile users are smartphone users. In the last year the number of individuals who have accessed web information has more than doubled worldwide.
Responsive themes dynamically change how they display things based on the device they are being viewed on.
Based on this information the website will automatically adjust itself for optimal viewing experience.
Here is how the Mozak Design responsive theme displays on the iPhone & iPad:
Notice how the theme knows when it is on a narrow screen (iPhone) and collapses the navigation and moves the sidebar below the primary content.
There are 2 main benefits to a responsive theme:
- You have just one theme to keep up to date.
- No matter how your website is viewed, you have a single look and feel, creating a strong, consistent brand image.
If you have a small business, invest in a theme that is responsive. It will save you time and money in the long run.