Sunday, April 10, 2011

Building a mobile website

My customer website is flash-based, which is fine for most computers, but does not work on iPads, iPhones, and is very difficult to read on smart phones.  I suspect that many of you may be in the same situation.

I looked around and ended up trying iFolios, ( which is a Word Press-powered smartphone website template. After a bit of self-inflicted difficulty, I got the site installed and configured and running very well.

Here's a snapshot of my regular website. Note the look and feel with the background:

I was able to reuse the background, and all of my website images in the companion website, which is stored on my same domain and accessed through my normal URL, There's logic in my main index.html page that detects a smartphone or iDevice and automatically redirects to the mobile sub-folder. That means that your search engine optimization will direct mobile viewers to their special view without creating two different domains. Additionally, the body text and key words in your images and pages will create additional internal strength as rich content.

Here's the top-level image for my mobile web:

I rearranged the images and topics to be product focused. For example, under Wedding Photography, there are image galleries, price lists, and a "how to book your wedding" link.  All are short, clear and very readable on a smartphone.  There's even a custom contact link, so I'll know if someone emails me from my main web or a smartphone.

I encourage anyone with a traditional website to consider a companion mobile site.  There are several providers that can help you, but I'll continue to recommend the iFolios product. It's very flexible and the instructions are very clear to support installation.  They do offer a reasonably-priced assisted-installation option as well.

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