Blogs and the Mobile Web

September 27th, 2007
HOW-TO, WordPress, WordPress Plugins

Five Reasons Why The Mobile Web Sucks and the counter arguments from Russell (warning, littered with expletives) made me think about blogs, mobile web and the proliferation of blogs on mobile phones and mobile browsers. Since I am closely involved with many of the technologies that are being bolstered or criticized on those posts, I have my own opinions about some of them.

  1. Wireless carrier networks are SLOW: I am not so sure. Sprint has decent speeds and I can surf just fine on my phone or by using it as a modem. It is not as good as my 17 Mbps cable modem, but when I was stuck in a hospital and needed to call my parents in India using Skype via Sprint through my 755p, it worked like a charm. My VPN back to work and most surfing done over the phone was painless and got me through our crisis without loss of communications. The experience left me wishing (among other things) more sites and blogs used Alex’s Mobile Edition plugin including Weblog Tools Collection.
  2. Public WiFi access is a SCAM: Scam is too strong a word and quite misleading. Localized public WiFi has been successfully deployed over and over again. Airport WiFi, WiFi in smaller stores and shops, public arenas and other public locations work and work quite well. Citywide WiFi however runs into trouble. Some of my friends and co-workers own WiFi enabled phones such as the iPhone and the Sprint Mogul and they browse the web with aplomb on their phones.
  3. Sites aren’t formated for small screens: Yes and no. I say yes because more sites and blogs need to be mobile web enabled. I say no because Opera Mini and Blazer do a terrific job of making the large screen formatted sites so much easier to use and navigate. You really have to use these browsers in their present incarnations to know how far they have come. I regularly browse my favorites and answer emails from my phone during lunch.
  4. Mobile device screens are too small: Yes. But I would rather carry a phone and use it for all my web needs than carry a laptop (in addition to the phone) if I don’t have to.
  5. Advertising gets in the way: This point is completely lost on me.

The real contention is how badly you want to browse the web over your phone and not how the mobile experience is not as good as that on your desktop or laptop. My father used to hate browsing the web on my phone but that was because he was averse to new technology and he had a hard time using it. However, since he has gotten interested in blogging, he wants to check his visitor stats and his email on my phone when we are traveling and that desire has helped him try to understand mobile browsing a little better. I suspect that a lot of the hoopla and complaining about the mobile web is done by people who have pre-conceived notions about the mobile technology and are not giving it a fair shot. Wireless, WiFi and mobile browsing technology has come a long way and much of it is due to dedicated, fanatical and enterprising professionals and technologists such as Russell.

With that in mind, I did some research on mobile tools, plugins and themes for WordPress. What have you done to your WordPress blog to make it accessible from mobile browsers? If having a mobile version was as simple as installing a plugin in WordPress, do you think that it would be worth having a mobile version of your site?

  • The first one on the list is Alex’s Mobile Edition. Everyone uses it, it works well and everyone loves it. (Alex, I know I have whined about this before, but we really need some anchors for your plugins)
  • iWPhone plugin and theme combination from Content.Robot which displays an iPhone version of your WordPress blog to visitors from the iPhone and the iPhone Touch
  • Andy Moore’s WordPress Mobile Plugin which allows you to view posts, pages, archives and comments on a mobile device. Standards are supported, posts and comments can be submitted by phone and your WordPress is easily moneitized by AdMob.
  • iPhone Mobile Admin provides an iPhone interface to your WordPress backend. Dan promises that though the iPhone is the only phone supported in this version, he has plans to support other phones as well.
  • WordPress PDA is a plugin that allows you to view your WordPress blog on a PDA browser
  • WP-WAP is a plugin from the amazing Lester Chan that will let you browse your WordPress blog from a WAP enabled phone

If you use any other plugins that enhance the mobile experience on WordPress please let me know. Do you have a mobile edition of your WordPress blog?




  1. GaMerZ (24 comments.) says:

    Sup Mark, thanks for the compliments once again =D

  2. david (1 comments.) says:

    In my community, Verizon just went “live” with EVDO, and now browsing on my cell phone is nearly as fast as my high-speed broadband modem on my home computer. It’s awesome. And if you use (for instance) Bloglines, it uses Skweezer to make sites more mobile-friendly. I am one happy camper!

  3. Jeffro2pt0 (164 comments.) says:

    I installed WP-WAP when I began configuring my site. I don’t have a browser based phone so I’m not sure how it looks.

  4. Matt B. (13 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using WordPress Mobile Plugin for a few months, works wonders.

  5. Yan Arief (1 comments.) says:

    I use WordPress PDA, works well on mobile phone and PDA.

  6. Mosey says:

    I have to admit I’ve been trying to ‘mobilise’ my site for a while, but because I also use WP-Cache, for some reason this seems to affect the WordPress mobile plugins I’ve tested so far. One or two on the list today are new to me though, so I’ll look forward to testing them! :)

  7. Mosey says:

    Sorry – I forgot to mention: is a good place to reference as well :) It has a little test that’s partially built by one of the original contributors (I think?)to WURFL which determines the mobile-friendliness of your website.

  8. EXiT WEB (27 comments.) says:

    I had read the all three statements, and it seems that the dude who writed the first ‘Five Reasons Why The Mobile Web Sucks’ was angry at that moment… and the hole world jumped on him :))

    From my country, the WiFi spots are very (but very) rare! So, enjoy you’re hot-spot, eaven for a little fee (if you don;t want ads)!

  9. n-blue (9 comments.) says:

    It’s must also noted that Opera Mini support only very few models. I tried hardly several time without success to install (on supported model). You may got nice expireince for exicute while other are not- me is included in thsi case.

    I want to use it when I dont have internet access but speed and navigation, inputing is something terrible.

  10. Montoya (3 comments.) says:

    The guy who wrote the original post had no idea what he was talking about and really made a fool of himself. He must have an old cellphone with IE mobile or something. Someone needs to lend him their iPhone or n95 or something so he can see what mobile browsing is *really* like.

  11. Eats Wombats (1 comments.) says:

    The WordPress PDA plugin broke with 2.3. The author says he’ll update it.

  12. Viper007Bond (1 comments.) says:

    Another mobile admin replacement: WPhone

  13. Howard L says:

    I found a freeware site called Utterz – I can post directly to my WP blog right from my PDA. I heard they are putting up a mobile site, too.


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