2 easy options for mobile-friendly WordPress sites
Here’s an understatement: mobile web browsing is growing.
By 2015, according to a study by Morgan Stanley, mobile web use will surpass desktop use. Evidence of the changing habits of web users is all around us. This Morgan Stanley report also notes that an average iPhone user spends less than 45 percent of his time making calls on that device.
If you’re going to start a casino site, this data means you need to pay close attention to mobile. Even though mobile web use is still in its relative infancy, the technology of smart phones is moving fast. And this shift in browsing habits could be an excellent opportunity for you to capture market share in your niche while others rest on their laurels.
But when you’re starting off, there’s a lot to cover. And managing the details related to a lengthy mobile interface design isn’t something you be doing when you’re trying to focus on the process of starting a casino website.
Essentially, you have two choices. You can ignore this opportunity and focus on what is, for now, the biggest piece of the pie – desktop users. Or you can get ready for the future.
By choosing to ignore mobile, you’ll run into some issues immediately. First, your users won’t be able to access any Flash-based content on your site. This might include slideshows or movies. And if you have a complex layout with drop-down navigation menus, those can be very difficult for users on mobile browsers. In the long term, as the percentage of mobile browsers increases, you’ll be competing for less and less of the total percentage of people browsing the web, looking for great casino content. Is that any way to run a business?
So when you decide to make the move and prepare your WordPress website for mobile browsers, there are two quick options for you.
Option 1: Use a mobile plugin
One of the reasons for WordPress’ popularity is the slew of cheap, fast and easy-to-use plugins. Mobile is no different. Using a mobile plugin allows you to rescale your site in a matter of minutes, not hours. The hardest part of the job will be identifying any navigational changes you may want to make for mobile users. (For instance, if you have a image gallery on your homepage, mobile users may be better served by heading straight to a gaming application.)
Adapting your site for mobile will make it easier for users to read (because the font size is scaled for mobile scenes) and find content. And that will encourage them to spend more time on your site, which will improve a variety of metrics, including time on site and page views. And while you’ll lose the custom styling of your website, the mobile plugin we recommend make it easy to incorporate your site’s logo as well as a few other custom touches. Your site won’t be fully customized, but it will look like yours. And if visitors want to use the desktop version of your site, they can select that option at the bottom of the screen.
A plugin we’ve tested and highly recommend is WPtouch. While you’ll find several plugins in the WordPress directory, you’ll need to be careful and make sure the one you select works with the current version of WordPress.
WPtouch also has a premium version with terrific support for the iPad.
Option 2: Use a mobile publishing platform
Your second option for going mobile is to use a free service such as Mobify that makes WordPress (as well as Joomla and Drupal) websites mobile-friendly. Mobify claims that it supports iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and more than 5000 other devices and touts its relationship with many top brands including, MTV, Sitepoint and Boingboing. While the size and revenue of those companies may dwarf yours as you start your casino website, Mobify does offer a free level of service (with fewer features and a requirement to have Mobify branding on your site) that’s perfect for entrepreneurs.
Getting started is as easy as adding a line of code to your website. To edit the way your website appears to users, you’ll log in to the Mobify website to make changes to your site templates. While this may be inconvenient, the interface is fairly easy to use with good tutorials. Mobify also makes it easy to track your Google Analytics and integrate mobile advertising in your site.
One unfortunate drawback to using Mobify is performance. Because the mobile version of your site is hosted on Mobify’s servers, your site visitors will have to wait for your web content to be pulled from your site and delivered by Mobify. In some cases, that happens quickly. In other cases, it doesn’t. And if your users are having trouble connecting, that extra second they’re forced to wait could make the difference between staying on your site or going somewhere else.
In short, if you’re using WordPress and you want to optimize your site for mobile, you’re better off using the WPtouch plugin. But if you’re not on WordPress, and you don’t want to build a custom design for your site, give the free version of Mobify a try. It’s a fast, inexpensive and reliable way to optimize your site for mobile.
Are your casino websites ready for mobile? What kind of results are you getting from mobile visitors? Talk about it in the comments!