How are you building mobile websites?

Profile picture of the author Rick W by Rick W Posted: 02/20/2012
Hi Warriors,

Im curious to find out how my fellow warriors are building a mobile site in 2012 (right now)?

Last year i was using WillR's html templates to build a mobile website for a number of clients and they are fantastic to use. A little time consuming but overall very good.

I Have installed wptouch on a number of other sites and the results are also very good, with the time factor being almost non existent.

So now im just wondering what you guys are doing and your results with this.

Thanks
#building #mobile #websites

  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    beeswarn
    I'm building them with a white label agreement to use an internationally renowned third-party platform service.

    I don't like it because it makes my business dependent on the third-party provider continuing to offer this service to me.
  • Profile picture of the author Rick W
    Rick W
    Originally Posted by beeswarn View Post

    I'm building them with a white label agreement to use an internationally renowned third-party platform service.

    I don't like it because it makes my business dependent on the third-party provider continuing to offer this service to me.
    If you dont like it why not try something else?
  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    beeswarn
    I will. But I've sold hundreds of them and I'm not going to switch twice.

    I was answering your question and showing you the problems I'm having so that you can learn from my mistake.
  • Profile picture of the author Rick W
    Rick W
    Awesome stuff thanks for sharing what you have been doing.

    Was it a steep learning curve to learn how to use the third party service?
    Or was it quick and easy?
  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    beeswarn
    Originally Posted by Rick W View Post

    Awesome stuff thanks for sharing what you have been doing.

    Was it a steep learning curve to learn how to use the third party service?
    Or was it quick and easy?
    It was quick and easy. But now it's going to cost me real resources to fix. If you plan on building a real business, don't do what I did.

    I recommend you stick with HTML templates like you've mentioned you've tried. Learn all you can about how to write HTML, CSS and HTML5. Once you know how to do it, you can put that out for the bid and still be able to control the quality.
  • Profile picture of the author Workman
    Workman
    A few of my clients requested their sites to be mobile optimized, I found that the easiest way to ensure that my sites are mobile compatible is not to check for the browser type (Checking for android or iphone) but to check the screen resolution (responsive design) and resize for mobile devices. This not only looks good on mobile, but also avoids the usual pitfalls of maintaining a secondary design and other locations (like m.domain.com or domain.com/m or sending back a mobile-friendly template on the same domain based on the browser's user-agent.)

    A great example of a (free) responsive design is the design toolkit Twitter released called Bootstrap. (Try resizing width of that page, when you see the design change to fit the new window size, the design responds to the changes as necessary to fit the window.)

    As for development, I'll suggest continuing your work on html/CSS, there are site wizards/generators out there, but the end result is almost always something you'll want to customize/tinker further. Like beeswarn's mentioned, the white label's nice, but it is a third party.
  • Profile picture of the author Rick W
    Rick W
    Originally Posted by Workman View Post

    A few of my clients requested their sites to be mobile optimized, I found that the easiest way to ensure that my sites are mobile compatible is not to check for the browser type (Checking for android or iphone) but to check the screen resolution (responsive design) and resize for mobile devices. This not only looks good on mobile, but also avoids the usual pitfalls of maintaining a secondary design and other locations (like m.domain.com or domain.com/m or sending back a mobile-friendly template on the same domain based on the browser's user-agent.)
    Thanks for sharing, so are you taking the existing site and resizing to fit mobile browsers? and are you doing this by a plugin or inserting code?

    1 more question how did you find the loading times of these sites?
  • Profile picture of the author 4webmaster
    4webmaster
    I built with php files (coding) but for 2012 will maybe switch to WP from Irenes for my new business.
    The only issues I'm aware using WP is hack, exploits, malware...
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    I am, of course, still using HTML and CSS mobile sites and I still think it's the best way to do things.

    Wordpress has the whole security issue. You HAVE to keep on top of your updates, etc so if you have a number of clients this is going to become very time consuming after a while. You need to lock down your Wordpress sites big time these days as the hacking is getting more and more common.

    Then there are the 3rd party programs and like the poster above mentioned, once you get going you are stuck to the one system. If you ever decide to change over elsewhere or they go out of business or whack their prices up, you are going to have a HUGE amount of work on your hands.

    I would much rather put in a little bit extra time in the beginning and remain in control of my business. But that's just the way I do things.
  • Profile picture of the author superhpgirl
    superhpgirl
    Originally Posted by Workman View Post

    A few of my clients requested their sites to be mobile optimized, I found that the easiest way to ensure that my sites are mobile compatible is not to check for the browser type (Checking for android or iphone) but to check the screen resolution (responsive design) and resize for mobile devices. This not only looks good on mobile, but also avoids the usual pitfalls of maintaining a secondary design and other locations (like m.domain.com or domain.com/m or sending back a mobile-friendly template on the same domain based on the browser's user-agent.)

    A great example of a (free) responsive design is the design toolkit Twitter released called Bootstrap. (Try resizing width of that page, when you see the design change to fit the new window size, the design responds to the changes as necessary to fit the window.)

    As for development, I'll suggest continuing your work on html/CSS, there are site wizards/generators out there, but the end result is almost always something you'll want to customize/tinker further. Like beeswarn's mentioned, the white label's nice, but it is a third party.
    Thanks for this one. I'll try it and let's see how it is going to affect my site.
  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    Quentin
    You can manage all updates for your wordpress sites from one place and hacking is getting less not more from my experience as we have hundreds of WP sites and have not seen any hacking for a long time.

    Off course if you are going to use non verified plugins and not keep your site up to date then you may get hacked.

    All the comments about WP are very old school and not representative of what you can do today.

    Quentin
  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    WillR
    Originally Posted by Quentin View Post

    You can manage all updates for your wordpress sites from one place and hacking is getting less not more from my experience as we have hundreds of WP sites and have not seen any hacking for a long time.

    Off course if you are going to use non verified plugins and not keep your site up to date then you may get hacked.

    All the comments about WP are very old school and not representative of what you can do today.

    Quentin
    I think the hacking problem is as real as ever. All you need to do is go through the main discussion area of this forum today and you will see various threads about people who have had all their WP sites hacked. Unfortunately just because it hasn't happened does not mean it won't. Famous last words.

    Wordpress is renowned for being a big target for hackers because of it's open source code. Keeping all your installs up to date is one thing that helps but there is a lot more to it than that. I might also point out that managing all your updates etc from one place is not as great as it sounds because you are introducing a link between all your sites and the login information all in one place opening you up for an even bigger attack.

    The average person does not know much about Wordpress security at all and they are the people I am talking about. Most will just go to fantastico and do a quick install and think everything is fine. Bare minimum - you need to install the files yourself as Fantastico leaves traces, you need to make sure you never use admin as your login username, you need to go in and manually rename all the mysql database prefixes, and so on. Failure to do all of this leaves you wide open to attacks.

    I'm not trying to scare anyone here... it's just the truth. When you have a whole network of your customers sites go down you had better hope you have them all backed up and ready to go. I love Wordpress as much as the next person but I understand the security threats and I do all the necessary things to lock my Wordpress installs down. The average webmaster does not.
  • Profile picture of the author lint631
    lint631
    It doesn't get any easier then HTML/CSS to develop a mobile site. I made $499 (my charge) in one day. Actually in about 6 hrs of work. You can control everything and don't have to worry about any third party software.

    I have also used WP touch which is super easy to use. I only use that for blogs. I will be looking into using WP in the future but for now HTML/CSS works great. I'd also like to get involved in responsive designs but need to learn the new language.
  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    Quentin
    Great points Will.

    Of course the truth thing is a little over the top as many in this forum who talk hacks will have in their sig file a link to securing wordpress etc so just using scare tactics to try and get business.

    I hate this type of marketing!

    Hardening WordPress ¬ę WordPress Codex

    Quentin
  • Profile picture of the author bappa06
    bappa06
    I have made I phone style website on Joomla and wordpress.i never purchase any template. i have just use dynamics web page with php and JavaScript. At last,i succeeded wonderful phone web page.
  • Profile picture of the author KaylaB
    KaylaB
    You can manage all updates for your wordpress sites from one place and hacking is getting less not more from my experience as we have hundreds of WP sites and have not seen any hacking for a long time.
    Hi Quentin - I think the hacking problem with Wordpress is very real. Several of my sites, as well as a friend's site were hacked in December. More that one type of hack too, and not all obvious. Among other things they edited the .htaccess file. So, I have been learning everything I can about Wordpress security, and although I have bought your Worpdress theme I am still a bit reluctant to use Wordpress for my mobile sites. Sticking the html or php for now.
  • Profile picture of the author Workman
    Workman
    Originally Posted by Rick W View Post

    Thanks for sharing, so are you taking the existing site and resizing to fit mobile browsers? and are you doing this by a plugin or inserting code?

    1 more question how did you find the loading times of these sites?
    They load as a normal page would. It's easier to describe responsive design as mobile friendly, not mobile optimized. Large images still load, but resize in response to the resolution as opposed to being resized FOR that screen size.

    Implementation is usually done through CSS3, especially since nearly all smartphone browsers support some variation of Webkit.

    Hehe, if I wrote a WSO focused on creating responsive mobile sites, would y'all buy it? =P (Thanks this post and I'll write one up)

    Originally Posted by Quentin View Post

    Off course if you are going to use non verified plugins and not keep your site up to date then you may get hacked.
    Greatest. Advice. Ever... Of all time.

    To extend this point, the Wordpress core is quite secure because of the open source nature of the project. Most of the automated hacks are targeting plugins that, while often open source, are usually not maintained with the same enthusiasm by a single developer. It's these holes that hackers are looking for.
  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    Quentin
    Hi Kayla

    I am really sorry to hear this and I am not saying they will not get hacked however with a bit of simple security it is a lot harder these days.

    Here are some simple techniques.

    1. When you set up your account use admin and a good password then create a new account with a good username and password and change admin to a subscriber. This throws off a lot of the bots.

    2. Always use a password security program to enter your password like Keypass so your passwords are never visible.

    3. Many hacks are through FTP programs etc so when you use FTP use your keypass and set your FTP to require password. Don't enter your password in the FTP program.

    4. Only use plugins that are regularly updated and have a good following.

    5. Make sure you use a good security plugin like WP Security that hides a lot of the info hackers use to get in.

    6. Run good anti virus on your computer preferably a good paid solution.

    7. This goes without saying. BACKUP your database and files.

    8. Keep your wordpress and plugins updated.

    9. Also use only reputable themes as many of the free ones can be open to hacks. I use Artisteer so I have full control over the production process.

    10. Lastly use good hosting that is reputable and provides extra security.

    If you do these simple things you will reduce the chance of any hacker getting into your site.

    Remember too that it is not just wordpress as we see lots of different sites getting hacked because of bad security on peoples computers so I will say this again. Get good Anti Virus and web protection software.

    Quentin
  • Profile picture of the author KaylaB
    KaylaB
    Hi Quentin,

    Thanks for the tips. Some of those steps I was doing already, some I have implemented since. Unfortunately my main business site was hacked through the timthumb script which a lot of paid themes use.

    Fortunately I did have backups, but what a pain!

    I am testing out different ways of building mobile sites and definitely see the benefit of using Wordpress, so I will probably use it too. Just haven't yet.


    Kayla
  • Profile picture of the author Rick W
    Rick W
    Thanks to everyone who has contributed...so far

    A few questions

    Do you Quentin use wp/plugin to build your mobile sites?

    Originally Posted by Quentin View Post

    You can manage all updates for your wordpress sites from one place and hacking is getting less not more from my experience as we have hundreds of WP sites and have not seen any hacking for a long time.

    Off course if you are going to use non verified plugins and not keep your site up to date then you may get hacked.

    All the comments about WP are very old school and not representative of what you can do today.

    Quentin
    And Will, how long approx does it take you to develop a mobile site using HTML And CSS?

    Originally Posted by WillR View Post

    I am, of course, still using HTML and CSS mobile sites and I still think it's the best way to do things.

    Wordpress has the whole security issue. You HAVE to keep on top of your updates, etc so if you have a number of clients this is going to become very time consuming after a while. You need to lock down your Wordpress sites big time these days as the hacking is getting more and more common.

    Then there are the 3rd party programs and like the poster above mentioned, once you get going you are stuck to the one system. If you ever decide to change over elsewhere or they go out of business or whack their prices up, you are going to have a HUGE amount of work on your hands.

    I would much rather put in a little bit extra time in the beginning and remain in control of my business. But that's just the way I do things.

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