Should You Use A Mobile WordPress Theme?
Based on Google Analytics for most of the websites I have built, close to 10% of visitors are viewing the websites on their mobile devices. Of course, this depends on the website and niche, with travel and travel related websites the figure is closer to 15%. So should you have a mobile theme installed for your website?
I have started using mobile wordpress themes for some of my websites. My opinion is that you should, if your website is content based. Articles are easier to read when it is presented on a mobile theme, and your photos are automatically sized to fit into the mobile theme. It works, most of the time. If it is a standard blog.
When You Should Not Use A Mobile Theme
Most mobile themes are easy to set up and ready to use. But there are times when it just will not work. This normally happens if you are using a custom theme, one that has a lot of custom code, or if you tend to use shortcodes in your theme. It is not the fault of the mobile theme, it depends on the way the coding is done.
For instance, if you use shortcodes on your website, the work around is to write a plug-in for your shortcodes. That way, the mobile theme will still be able to read and render your website correctly. Otherwise, there is no easy way around it.
What Mobile WordPress Theme Are Available?
Currently, I am using WP Tap from www.wptap.com and WP Touch from www.bravenewcode.com. Both offer free themes, as well as premium themes. The free themes are installed into the plug-in folders and you activate them as you would as a plug-in. Simple to install, and setting is a breeze.
I like WP Tap, the way it looks and I prefer their settings. In truth, there is not that much of a difference really, and the mobile site looks more or less the same except for the colors. You can also choose to view the website as a mobile theme or a desktop theme, there is a button on the footer if you wish to change the view.
The free theme is available for download at www.WordPress.org. For premium themes, WPtap has a number of great looking mobile themes priced at US$39.99 and US$49.99.
Like I said, there is not much of a difference in the free theme between WP Tap and WP Touch. But between the WP Touch and WP Touch Pro, the Pro version is completely different theme. But you will see the difference in the admin area. The Pro theme is priced at US$39.00.
Both themes allow you to drop in your adsense publisher code in the free mobile theme. The premium mobile wordpress themes will have more functionality built in.
Wp Tap has a wider selection of premium themes but either one of the themes will work. They can create a better surfing experience for your visitors. Using a mobile theme has an additional benefit if you run adsense on your websites. It will show the ads above the fold, making them the first thing the visitor will see. You can imagine the benefits in that.
How Does It Work?
It works by detecting supported devices like iPhones, iPads, Android, Blackberry and other mobile devices, such as iPod Touch. It then serves the mobile theme instead of your regular desktop theme, and visitors can always switch back to your desktop theme if they choose.
You can also show or hide options like author names, categories, tags, and such. It will serve your photos and videos too. The settings in your dashboard is straight forward, just like a plug-in.
Given that our target market are online with their mobile phones, it makes sense to optimize your website for mobile devices.