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.
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.)
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.
The old version had smaller photos when viewed on a phone.
The new version gives you full width photos. For your viewing pleasure.
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.