With mobile phones turning into mini computers in our hands, it is not surprising that more and more people are surfing the web on the go. The fact therefore, is that more and more people are reading blogs while on the go. I personally don’t on my mobile but I do so on a tablet sometimes.
For bloggers, there is this universal wave to push blogs to display mobile themes or a mobile friendly version of our blogs to those who browse from a portable device. The pros say we should, because it loads faster and is easier to read. There are a few ways you can do it, from the complex (setting up a mirror site with mobile capabilities) to the simple (installing a plugin). If you use the WordPress.com and Blogger free platforms, its already done for you or you can switch it on in the settings (one of that).
But really, do you need it and should you use a mobile theme for your blog? For readers, do you prefer that a blog have a mobile theme when you read it on your mobile device?
I’m going to buck the trend here and say no, you do not. For me, if a blog or website has a good and easy on the eye layout, its mobile friendly as it stands. If it loads easily on your computer, it should load just as easily and quickly on your mobile. These are the 2 reasons why most people use a mobile blog theme – speed and ease of reading.
Mobile themes usually strip away all the hard work you put into your web design and if truth be told, makes every site look pretty generic. If I wanted that, I’d not bother with my blog theme. If you browse around many websites and blogs built on the WordPress platform, you will notice this. Most blogs and websites on the WordPress platform use the WPTouch plugin which is great for turning websites/blogs mobile but which in the process, makes them all look the same, unless the blog owner took some trouble to tweak the design.
My other reason for not going with a mobile theme for my blog is not because I think my layout is optimum or perfect. It isn’t and more work could be put into it. But it is pure and simple fear.
A year or so back, I jumped on the mobile theme bandwagon. I used a plugin – WordPress Mobile Pack – and it worked. I had a desktop and mobile version of my blog and it didn’t look like the generic WPTouch design. I thought it was perfect until one day, I checked my blog for errors and noticed more than a THOUSAND blog errors. Every page had random additional code tagged on, which resulted in the crawlers seeing 404 error pages and this number was replicating by the hundreds even as I watched.
It was a nightmare. I found no help online, so I devised my own codes, uninstalled the plugin and managed to contain most of the problem. I’m still seeing those errors today and it is a grim reminder of how my blog very nearly bit the dust, thanks to rogue code and a vain attempt to please the masses and jump on a bandwagon I probably had no business jumping on.
I’m not saying that having a mobile theme is a bad thing of course. It is great. It loads up quickly on a mobile phone and looks clean and neat. I am sometimes surprised when I click to the web version of a blog, to see that their original website is sometimes impossible to read. The mobile theme is good for keeping the mess away and the blog simple so content gets across. That is not an excuse for a cluttered web design of course.
But I also believe that as mobile phones and tablets now have larger screen space and faster processors; and most people who will use their mobiles for surfing the internet will use wifi or large data packages there is no real need to strip away one’s blog to its bare bones anymore. So long as a blog theme is kept simple and easy to read and load, my view is that a mobile theme is a nice option but not necessary. Tine has the alternate view and its worth reading why she thinks its a good option to have :)
No rights or wrongs, just how you want to do your thing.
If you blog, do you use a mobile theme for your blog? Is there a reason you did or don’t? If you are a reader, does it matter to you if a blog uses a mobile theme? Those on the blogger and wordpress.com free platforms have it as a matter of course I believe. If you aren’t sure, check your blog on your mobile phone and see if it looks different. If so, its mobile friendly :)
Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here.