browsing is gaining popularity and acceptance thanks to the extensive
proliferation of iPhones and other mobile appliances with surf-friendly interfaces.
As a result it is becoming more and more important to offer a mobile-friendly
alternative to your current website.
The reality is, however, that many website
owners seem to have no inclination to spend money on a medium that (as far as
they know) is unproven and could generate zero income. Fortunately there is a
way for every website owner to create an alternative to their website and not
only is it exceedingly simple but it is FREE. Now no one has an excuse to
ignore this growing medium!
begin I have great news for WordPress users! If your blog or website is run on
WordPress there is
a simple plug-in you can install that will make your website instantly
mobile friendly!! That means that part of this article will not be useful to
you but I can assure you a great deal of it is still worthwhile reading; I
touch on mobile optimization, promotion, and mobile behavioral profiling.
First Make a Plan
create your mobile website you need to determine what it is going to offer. For
example, you may be a service provider and wonder why would anyone would want to visit your website using
a mobile device. According to this InformationWeek
article, Google breaks mobile users into three behavioral camps that really
rings true, according to my personal mobile experience. These are:
- Repetitive Now: users that are
repetitively checking the same information (i.e. stocks, sports scores,
- Bored Now: users who want to
surf the web while they wait.
- Urgent Now: users that need
information immediately. These are task based users who want a fast, clean
and efficient mobile experience.
purposes of this article let’s accept that that anyone visiting your website
from a mobile device falls into the Bored Now and Urgent Now ballparks. So in
this context users want to quickly acquire your contact information or they
want to read your latest blog post. Great, the hard work is done! Now that you
know why people may visit your mobile website you can begin creating it.
What Free Mobile Website Solution is
many ways to create a mobile website that cost you money but very few high
quality options are available for free. I offer two options that I prefer so far:
one is using mobiSiteGalore to
create a website very simply one page at a time, and the other is meant only for
those with an aim to provide mobile access to their RSS feed content.
Option 1) The Answer for a
Complete Mobile Website
I started this
article researching and writing about various free mobile solutions but
ultimately I found mobiSiteGalore.
I realized I was wasting my time so I deleted all of my research; none of the
competing tools seemed to measure up. mobiSiteGalore was the only 100% free
service I found with an amazing site creation wizard and the option to host the
freely created website wherever without strings attached; they openly state
they make their money from donations and licensing agreements with large
is a link to a web viewer that will allow you to see the mobile website I
created for StepForth this week using mobiSiteGalore. Unfortunately it isn’t
perfect quite yet but its getting there.
Option 2) How to Easily Provide
Access to Your RSS Content
Do you have an RSS feed from a blog or a great news mashup
you created that you think would be great for your mobile visitors to read? If
so Google offers a mobile conversion tool
that happens to do an excellent job of converting RSS feeds into a
mobile-friendly web page; it also tries to convert complete websites but that
isn’t often as successful. All you have to do is enter the URL of your RSS feed
and voila! The result will be a beautifully formatted page based on the feed
is an example of how Search
Engine Guide’s RSS feed looks after this simple mobile conversion. Note how,
if you click on any of the articles, you are taken to a page that is also
formatted for mobile; so at no time within the first level of content (one
click from the main page) are you shown unconverted content. This capability is
exceptionally slick because if you were to simply point mobile visitors to your
unconverted RSS feed and they were to click on an article they would be taken
to the non-mobile version; a very bad idea that can cost viewers a lot of money
(sadly this is especially true in Canada) while they try to download unwieldy
images on their mobile device.
Once you have converted your RSS feed just copy and paste
the URL into a note pad for later use. Now in order to provide access to this
new mobile content you or your Webmaster has to create a 301
redirect in a section of your website which will be used to send mobile visitors
to the mobile-friendly content (the URL you saved).
So what area of the website should be home to your mobile
content? I recommend using either www.xyzname.com/mobile/ or m.xyzname.com or the
.mobi version of your domain name (xyzname.mobi) which you have hopefully
Ultimately, pointing your mobile users to this external Google website (even if
it is still your content) is not the most desirable option but if it means not
having mobile content at all I would suggest at least having this option until
you are ready to invest the time to create a complete website with mobiSiteGalore
or hire a professional designer.
So now you
have taken the time to create some mobile-friendly content for your website.
How do people find it? No I don’t mean SEO (that’s coming later), what I mean
is how can you send your mobile-friendly information to a visitor before you
scare them off with the unfriendly content? The answer is dependant upon the
programming language your website was built on. If your website is built using
PHP, ASP or ColdFusion I have assembled
instructions for you to properly redirect mobile traffic. If your website
is simply using HTML then you may need to try the less accurate .htaccess
redirect option I presented in the “Other
Options” section of the redirect tutorial. If you are not using any of
those programming languages previously noted (highly unlikely) then I am afraid
you will have to invest in your own research; when you get the answer please
let me know (email me: ross at stepforth dot com) of the solution so I can list
it on the page.
Mobile Content Optimization
content is optimized similarly to normal web content except that optimizers must
keep in mind that they usually have significantly less content to optimize so
every word must count.
Here are my
top tips specifically for optimizing mobile content:
- Make sure the file size of the
page is as low as possible to minimize load times.
- Order the navigation keeping in
mind what links visitors are most likely to want to click first.
pop-ups are examples of technologies not
supported by most mobile devices with the exception of most Smartphones.
- Choose to optimize only
keywords comprised of 2 to 3 words because mobile searchers tend not to
type in more than 2 or 3 word searches.
- Title tags, description Meta tags, heading tags and filenames should be carefully
crafted with target keywords to maximize the little optimizable content
- Ensure that all phone numbers
within your mobile content are formatted to be clickable; this will allow
visitors to call you simply by clicking on a link.
- For those creating a site from
scratch you will want to design the website so that the main navigation
utilizes “accesskeys” for faster keyboard navigation; this is
automatically done within mobiSiteGalore. For example, for a person to
access the first menu item they would press the #1 on their phone. Here is
an example of how a simple hyperlink can be upgraded to offer this
” accesskey=”1″ target=”_blank”>Press #1 To Visit the StepForth SEO
- Ensure your mobile website
offers an XML sitemap for search engine spiders to rapidly index it. This
option is already brilliantly included in mobiSiteGalore.
- If your mobile content has its
own top-level-domain (TLD) such as StepForth.mobi then you should register
this domain with Google Webmaster Tools. Once you are registered submit
your mobile sitemap so you can monitor how Google is crawling your mobile
website and address any issues that may arise.
Submit your sitemap under “Sitemaps” + “Add Sitemap” and then select
“Mobile Sitemap” from the types of sitemaps available to submit. Once
you have it submitted the “Mobile Crawl” report is found under
“Diagnostics” after you access your verified mobile domain in Google
Webmaster Tools. Here are some concise
instructions from Google on adding a mobile sitemap if you find you
- Submit your mobile sitemap to
Yahoo Site Explorer as well after you have verified your account. Here are
from Yahoo on creating a great mobile website.
Mobile Content Promotion
mobile content is online and ready for prime time I strongly suggest creating
some buzz about your achievement using the following techniques:
1) Launch a
press release using PRWeb;
aside from the added publicity this action will provide some short and long
term link popularity to your new content.
your mobile website to the growing list of mobile-only web directories. Here
are a few sites to start with:
your mobile content address on your business card and other stationary so that
prospects can preview your services/products at convenient times. In this day
to day hectic world it really pays to have sales content available at nearly
any stage of a prospect’s busy day.
of a great number of web accessible mobile devices over the past year is
radically increasing the validity of having a mobile website and thanks to
sites like mobiSiteGalore it is not that much work to make one. Take some time
and invest in the creation of a small but efficient mobile website so you at
least know you have another base covered in the realm of online marketing. You
can also take some satisfaction in knowing you are one-step ahead of the
Jones’… for now.
- EXPERT ADVICE The Key to Mobile Marketing: A Strong Opt-In List
- Lawless is a mobile tribute to classic light gun games
- Eavesdropper Vulnerability Exposes Hundreds of Mobile Apps
- APP REVIEW TED App Teaches, Inspires and Amazes in Ways the Website Can't
- Yahoo's Q4 Report Hints at Mobile Strategy
- US senators take AT&T to task over T-Mobile deal
- Why Facebook’s Graph Search needs to be mobile right now
- T-Mobile to FCC: Stop Verizon from buying more spectrum
- Battlefield companion app lets you customise loadouts, create emblems, more
- Opinion: The Mobile Developer’s Manifesto