The Art of Doing Stuff is Now Mobile Friendly!
How to Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

Everyone get ready to do a kartwheel … The Art of Doing Stuff is now mobile friendly.

And that’s as it should be.

It took me long enough.  Not having your site mobile friendly is the blog equivalent to a firefighter trying to put out a blaze with a long row of people, a few buckets and a horse water trough.

For those of you who don’t know what mobile friendly is (my mom) it means that when you look at my site on a smartphone or tablet you don’t have to expand and squeeze and stretch and move everything around in order to read it.

The Art of Doing Stuff now comes up on an iPhone or Blackberry formatted and ready to read.

I’ve been putting off making The Art of Doing Stuff “mobile friendly”, because I just didn’t think mobile sites looked any good. But I found a way to make the site look relatively good and much, much easier to navigate on a phone. I probably still wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been for my niece calling me every day at 7 a.m. asking me to make my site mobile friendly. You see, once her kids are up and fed, she reads my site. Mainly I think she reads it looking for mentions of herself.

So after trying out many, MANY plugins for WordPress I settled on the one I thought was a good compromise between half decent aesthetics and practicality. I should mention that I’ve learned the hard way you should use as few plugins on your WordPress site as possible.  If you can do it by hand you should.  If you absolutely can’t … use a plugin.  Plugins take an enormous amount of server resources.

Please observe … a side by side comparison of the new and the old as seen on an iPhone.

 

Home Page

The old Home page was an exact copy of my website homepage, which looked great but made reading the teeny, tiny words very difficult without a lot of work.

The new Home page features the post titles, how many comments are on each post and a link to the category the post is from.  (Kitchen, Outdoor, Design etc.)

 

 

Top Of Post

The old post pages were impossible to read without either turning your iPhone sideways, or stretching the text.

The new post pages can be read immediately, no problem.  The one caveat is that with this plugin, I lose all my sidebar, which means no advertising.  Luckily this one particular plugin allows you to link your plugin to your Google Adsense account.  A Google Ad is automatically placed in between the post title and the content, which is the “Greener Lawns, Less Weeds” ad you see in the picture.

 

Body Of Post

The old version had smaller photos when viewed on a phone.

The new version gives you full width photos.  For your viewing pleasure.

Contact

 

When you get down to the bottom of the mobile friendly site you’ll see some of the buttons that are normally at the top of my website.  My Twitter, Facebook and Contact me Links.

The bottom of the posts on the mobile version of The Art of Doing Stuff also has a comment section.  Just click to read all the comments.  Plus you can leave comments of course, too.

AND after all of this, if you decide you don’t  like the mobile version, at the bottom of the page you can turn off the mobile version and go back to the regular.  That’s what’s known as a “win/win”.

The 3 main plugins I tested out for my little mobile experiment were Wapple Architect  which gave you a HUGE amount of control over the look of your site, including allowing you to use your own blog header as the title on your mobile version (which the plugin I ultimately decided on doesn’t do) but other aspects of it just weren’t working for me.  It was just a bit too much work to make everything look good for my site.  So I rejected it.

The other plugin I tried out was WordPress Mobile Pack.  Which looked like it would have been great had trying to instal it not resulted in me deleting my entire website for half a day.  Yeah.  Plugins are generally supposed to work right out of the box.  You download them through your WordPress Admin page and they’re ready to go.  You sometimes have to adjust and select settings once it’s installed and that’s it.  Well, with this particular plugin I had to go into my FTP site to change my file permissions, which I really have no  idea how to do properly, which in turn … resulted in me deleting my entire site.  For half a day.  So, no to the WordPress Mobile Pack.

The final plugin I tried out ended up being the one I deemed the best for me.  WPTouch installed like a breezy breeze, allows for a lot of customization and is really easy for the reader to navigate.  Plus it looks pretty good.  It doesn’t look like my site, but it looks good enough.  You can choose your site colours and what you want to show and don’t want to show.   It’d be nice if they added a feature where you could pick from more than 5 or 6 fonts for your title, but I can live with that over having my entire site disappear.

This, by the way is how I learn to do all the stuff I do.  I try things.  Oftentimes things I probably shouldn’t try.  I make mistakes.  I swear.  I learn.

And that’s as it should be.

 


55 Comments

  1. Shannon V says:

    WOW….looks great on my android phone too! Thanks for all your hard work making your blog reader friendly!
    Shannon

  2. I’ll never catch up. I think I’m not a dinosaur but hey – I’m a dinosaur.
    Would you like a bread bag Karen?

  3. J9 says:

    Yes!!! It looks GREAT on my iPhone! Also, “do or do not, there is no try”…or so I hear. You’re a doer. 😉

  4. Gayla T says:

    All kidding aside, you are a really smart and nice person. All the info you have put out in a couple of posts could set someone up to be your competition yet you don’t worry about it at all. You really are here to teach and share. You must have great self confidence but you never give the impression of having the big head. I have an idea your Mom might have had a hand in that. Just keeping up with the changes with the internet could be a full time job since it changes constantly. I used to think I was a whiz bang on the computer because we got one very early on. My hubby got one at work and we bought one the same week. It was huge but I taught myself to use it in no time. I’ve said a few million times that my parents were the first in the neighborhood to get a TV and I was the first of anyone I knew to get a PC. I keep watching to see what my kids will be the first at and not seeing it but the grands are amazing. The three year old can do everything the ten year old can. How she does it w/o being able really read well is a mystery. She just turned 3 and I would watch her as a 2 year old logging herslf on to a tablet and finding what she wants to do and talking about it in a baby voice. Amazing. You won’t have to worry about me starting a blog and luring all your fans over. LOLOLOL I actually have two with each one having one message. I’ve really never wanted to put in the time it would take to get it going. It’s lots more fun to hang out here and harass you, Miss Smarty Pants. Tell us about your education and how you got into doing this. Or just post your resume. LOL I’d love to know what it took to get you here, my amazing friend. It would also help when I write the book about you.

  5. Shannon says:

    It’s great that you *updated* your site to be mobile friendly, I am sure many will appreciate it–but I must say it was never an issue to turn my phone and stretch the screen to read your posts (when needed). Your site is one of my favorites and I hate to lose your original look and feel (I mean you worked so hard on it, after all!) . So, how do I turn off the mobile friendliness (as I, too, am a dinosaur and never heard of this)?? In fact, other sites that come up funny (mobile friendly) on my phone I simply don’t read unless I am at my laptop. It just isn’t the same. I guess originality and aesthetics triumph over convenience in my book 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Shannon – When you get to my home page just scroll down to the bottom. There will be a button that says “Mobile Theme”. Just switch it over to “off”. ~ karen!

  6. Deborah says:

    Cool, soooo glad you did this. Trying to look up your site on a blackberry phone with it’s teenier screen than an iphone or android was next to impossible without a lobotomy. Totally frustrating. My sanity thanks you. Now, on to WordPress, do you host your own WordPress? (from my research, you can host your own) or do you host offsite and have someone look after it? You mentioned having to hook up to your ftp site, which leads me to believe you are hosting offsite… I am a miser, a really cheap, penny-pinching miser who hates to spend money on anything I can do myself, therefore would love to be able to host my own blog site. Right now I am using Blogger, but have not been that thrilled with the design/layout/functionality that it has to offer. I am hesitant to uproot and defect to WordPress, but it seems like it has way more toys than Blogger…what were your reasons for going with Wordrpess? gracias chica…

    • Deborah says:

      P.S. I should mention I am already hosting my own website for my main occupation and have a server at home at my disposal.

      • Karen says:

        OH! Well then, switch it on over you weirdo. I think WordPress is probably the way to go. And can I use your server too, LOL? ~ karen

        • Deborah says:

          OK…totally talked me into it, my computer-genius (if not annoying) son is coming over today to set it up 🙂 and you can use my server for a 100 million dollars. 😛

    • Karen says:

      Deborah – When I started my blog it just seemed like everyone was using WordPress. Plus, on WordPress I could have a self hosted site. Which means basically when you type in the address of my site you don’t have to add “wordpress” in front of it. It’s a regular website, hosted through ServInt. If you can wait a bit I’ll be posting more information on all of this. ~ karen!

  7. Dawn says:

    Sweet now I can read your site while hiding in the bathroom at work instead of, you know, working!

  8. Kristin says:

    Awesome job Karen…..now you can tell your sister you mentioned her today 🙂

  9. Katharine says:

    I didn’t think the old one was too hard to read on my iphone (double tap the text and it expands to perfectly fit the screen). The only issue I had was it would take forever to load, and sometimes not load at all. This one is very fast. Thanks!

  10. Barbie says:

    Now I feel like a real fuddy duddy! I had NO IDEA that this was so important! I have an iphone and I STILL didn’t know
    it was so important! I just expand the words so I can read it better. I didn’t know there was a better way! I learn something from you everyday! ….and so this is why you are called the “Art of Doing Things” 🙂 So THANK YOU.

  11. HA! After reading this entry, I wanted that fancy mobile stuff too (is that a sort of geek envy?). After checking the help pages and settings on my teeny tiny free website, it seems the geeks there are really good ones. It has already been done. Yipee! No hassle. I am such a computer loser. Perhaps this is a good time to run out and get a lottery ticket?

  12. Moe says:

    Love it… thanks

  13. Sam says:

    Thank you! Now I can flip through with my crackberry… Without swearing repeatedly 🙂

  14. Marie says:

    I noticed this on my iPod Touch just yesterday morning. I thought something was broken because I now see a black square where your meat clever used to be…can I get the image back somehow?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie – I’m still working on that. The WP Touch automatically inserts the image you use for their site to your screen thumbnail. Did the same thing on my iPhone. ~ karen

  15. Bee says:

    From my iPhone….

    This is spectacular! My eyeballs thank you!

  16. Karen says:

    Test comment

  17. Shauna says:

    Awesome, thanks Karen. You have no idea how many in the midst of trying new things on my blog, I’ve deleted the entire site. Oy, the panic that sets in! And, it always seems to happen at around 11:00 p.m., so you’re up till around 3:00 a.m. in a panic trying to fix it. Thanks for taking the hit on this one so I won’t have to. Now, off to make my site mobile friendly too;)

  18. Nancy says:

    I admire the fact that you decide you want to do something and you go gather everything you need and you jump right in there and do it..You are so right..this is the way to learn..Even if you fail..you have learned..
    “This, by the way is how I learn to do all the stuff I do. I try things. Oftentimes things I probably shouldn’t try. I make mistakes. I swear. I learn.”
    You got it sister..This is why so many people love you..You have vision..You know what you want and you go for it..Thanks for all that you share with us..I know that you put a lot of work into what you do..You make the mistakes for us so we don’t have to..You are one hell of a great teacher Lady..Hugs!

  19. michelle says:

    and thank you for the fella’s butt shot again!

  20. Shauna says:

    well, mine doesn’t look as pretty as yours – won’t show my featured images on the home page for some reason. But, it’s a mobile version of my site and looks much nicer.

    • Karen says:

      Shauna – Are your feature items all jpgs? and are they in your WordPress “media library”? ~ karen

      • Shauna says:

        Yep, they’re all jpgs and they’re in my WP “media library”. Maybe it has something to do with my theme. That’s my guess anyway.

        • Shauna says:

          I’m also curious how you got your knife next to your Header name – what option did you choose for that? I’ve tried all sorts of options: WordPress, home, default, admin and none show any ‘logo’ or other picture from site.

          • Karen says:

            Shauna – You have to upload your icon yourself. Where all the icons for Twitter and Facebook etc. etc. are, on the left it’ll say upload pic. Click on that. You need a 29 x 30 px. image. To be honest I had a bit of a struggle here and had to go into my FTP site to upload my logo directly to the WPTouch icon directory. See if it works for you without having to do all that. ~ karen

  21. Elle says:

    I liked your site just as it was on my Android smartphone – I really like your design! I often read your blog on my phone at work between meetings (or play Mahjong…)

    But it is great you are so tech-savvy apart from doing an amazing job growing your own food and being so nice, smart and stylish.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Elle. Don’t forget you can just scroll down to the bottom of the page to switch off the mobile version.

  22. Laura Bee says:

    I have a stupid phone, so I just looked at the pictures – thanks for the encore pic of the fella hard at work 😉

  23. Amy in StL says:

    Thank you for having a site that I can choose to view in mobile or desktop version. Seriously. Too many times I go to view a site and it defaults to mobile version with no way to view the desktop version – and sometimes what I need is only on the desktop version. I’d give an example but I am over 40 and therefore old and am not required to remember anything before today.

  24. Mickey says:

    What on earth are you all talking about?!?

  25. Scouty says:

    wow, now I want a smart phone

  26. Rebecca says:

    This is good to know because the other morning I was on your site on my iphone and I thought you “lost” your website format.

  27. Shauna says:

    Karen,
    Have you submitted your site to Amazon Kindle yet? They will totally take you – they took me and I don’t have a tenth of the people commenting on my blog. They set the price, but you do get a percentage of whomever subscribes to you. I guess there’s not much reason nowadays to subscribe to a blog when most people have mobile phones and iPads, but for those who have Kindles and travel…

    It’s free for you, can’t hurt.

  28. Diane says:

    Oh my gawdddd Karen. Let me first say, I love your new mobile site on Android but I’ve been stretching your site across my Android smartphone for eons now so I’m kinda just used to that. Secondly, if I had lost my site for a day I would just go back to bed…and swear a lot. A LOT! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when that happened, swearing never comes across exactly right when you have to read it. 😉
    Either way, I have a completely lovely nerd for a boyfriend. I make all the mistakes, even ones he can’t understand are possible to make, and then he comes to my rescue. I may be a tad loved and spoiled…

  29. Trinity says:

    Wow!! Your niece must be proud of you. You’re no blogasaurus, that’s for sure. Good job and I love my iPhone even more now.

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