As consumers become more attached to their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, ensuring that your website can be rendered on these devices has become a necessity. Even if you are operating on a tight budget, you can still build a great mobile website for your business. Here are 14 free tools to help make your website mobile-ready.
Internet on the Go...
Many studies have attempted to conceptualize and quantify how people are using the Internet these days, and at one point or another they all end up saying the same thing: the mobile web is big business... and it is only expected to get bigger.According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 35% of American adults own a smartphone and 44% of them use their phones to access the Internet. In November of last year, Nielsen reported that almost half of American cell phone users (44%) now have smartphones, and among those aged 25-34, that percentage jumps to 62 percent. Another recent study suggests that half of local searches are conducted via smartphones. Tablet computers and ereaders, both of which are designed for cloud-based media consumption, are also seeing a spike in sales.
So the bottom line is if your website is not mobile-friendly, then you will effectively be cutting yourself off from an increasingly significant source of traffic. Creating a mobile environment that can be easily viewed and navigated while still making the desired impact and calls to action, takes some skill and know-how.
But, if you lack such skill and know-how, and your Internet marketing budget is already stretched to the max, don't despair. In many cases, you can still create a feature-rich, user-friendly mobile version of your business website that will only cost you the time and man power you use to activate and customize it.
Free Sites to Test Mobile-Readiness
The following sites will not only show you a preview of how your website renders across multiple mobile platforms, but several of them also offer free performance reports as well as tips and resources to fix any issues that may come up.
1. MobiReady. After you enter your website's url, you'll receive a preview of your site and a pretty comprehensive report on how well it will come up on a mobile phone. The report also includes a bunch of tips on how to fix any problems affecting your website's performance.
2. Google GoMo. Over the past few months, Google has been gently nudging website owners to create mobile friendly versions of their sites. Its GoMoMeter will show you a preview of how your site will look when accessed by a mobile device.
3. Gomez Cross-Device Performance Test. Register yourself and submit the url of the site you would like to test, and you will receive an email of the results of the test which reveal how your website is rendered across multiple mobile platforms.
4. W3C mobileOK Checker. Like the services mentioned above, W3C will also give you an extensive report on how mobile-friendly your site is including information on page size and network usage.
5. iPad Peek. Use this service to see how your website is rendered on a life size iPad.
6. Opera Mini Simulator. This is the official simulator by Opera.com that allows you to check how your website is displayed on mobile phones.
Free Mobile Website Generators
When you are ready to start building your mobile website, you may want to take a look at what these free mobile website creation tools have to offer:
7. Winksite. With the ability to create up to five free mobile websites, Winksite is another good tool to help you establish your mobile web presence. This platform is particularly useful for building, promoting, and engaging a mobile community around your business' site. It supports several web widgets that allow for chat, forums, surveys, events, and feeds.
8. Zinadoo. This free and extremely user-friendly mobile website development tool offers a professional editor interface as well as a whole bunch of other "goodies," such as guest books, email, a "call me" button, feedback forms, RSS feeds, and you can even upload videos. Sites are also be optimized for search.
9. Onbile. Create and manage a free mobile website in just a few minutes. You can choose from several templates and then customize them as needed.
10. MobiSiteGalore. If you would like to create a simple mobile website from your mobile phone then this may be the tool for you. MobiSiteGalore offers ready-made template designs, a simple, easy to follow graphical interface and several optional widgets including Google maps, a Google search box, and RSS feeds.
Free WordPress Plugins to Mobilize Your Blog
If you are running a WordPress blog, then there are several WP plugins to choose from that can make your site render on a vast array of mobile devices. The four plugins listed below are the best ones out there, and they do not require coding. The functionality and features may overlap, so it's just a matter of trying them out to see which one is the best fit for your blog.
11. WordPress Mobile Pack. Mobile Pack offers a "complete toolkit" to turn your blog into a user-friendly and engaging mobile experience There is a mobile theme switcher which allows you to select a theme according to the type of user visiting the website. You can access the admin interface through a mobile device, and blog managers can easily enable Google Mobile AdSense and AdMob.
12. WP Mobile Detector. This WordPress plugin detects whether a visitor has a smart phone or a plain vanilla mobile phone and then loads a compatible WordPress mobile theme for each. The plugin also offers a full set of features including widgets, image re-sizing, and multiple languages.
13. MobilePress. MobilePress will render your WordPress blog on a mobile phone in a customizable your theme. The plugin is SEO-enabled, with the ability to detect search Bots from Google and Yahoo. You can also use the plugin to track your mobile site analytics and incorporate ads via Aduity.com.
14. WP Touch. Make your WordPress blog look like an iPhone app. It supports a sleek and stylish look that you can easily customize from an Admin panel.