Can you use WordPress plugins to optimise your website for mobile devices?

So, you have a brand new sparkling WordPress site… it looks great and everything seems perfect until you view your site on a mobile device… you calmly mutter to yourself “oh dear that doesn’t look right”.

Many users running WordPress themes find themselves in this same situation albeit some take it better than others. We sometimes focus so hard on how our website will look across different browsers on PC/Mac computers that we don’t take into consideration the epic nature of the mobile smartphone and tablet industry.

More and more people are surfing the web using mobile devices, as it has now become the trend of modern civilisation. So it makes sense to configure your website for optimum mobile performance.

The fact is that creating this type of functionality for a WordPress website/theme takes time which equals more monetary cost on client side. And for clients who are on a fixed to limited budget this option is often overlooked.

So what is being done to ensure that websites built on wordpress transfer to mobile gracefully?

I decided to look into what the web has to offer, asking myself:  Are there ways to convert a WordPress website into a mobile friendly version of itself? And can I do this for free?

Before we delve into the realm of WordPress plugins, you might find it helpful to see how your current site is rated. MobiReady is a tool which evaluates your site for its mobile-readiness. Check this awesome tool out.

So now we come to the topic of WordPress Mobile plugins:

Aside from creating a mobile theme for your site from scratch, you can try some of the many WordPress mobile plugins that are available both paid and free. Here are some that I found very useful.

WordPress Mobile Pack

Above is an example of our own homepage displayed on mobile devices using one of the themes.

WordPress Mobile Pack is useful because it uses a mobile switcher that selects a theme based on the mobile device being used at the user end. The mobile theme available with this plugin can be changed in colour to match site branding by editing CSS code. I would recommend this plugin for use on blogs. The theme that comes with this plugin is customisable if you have coding knowledge, but using this out of the box will give you bad results, as the theme (created by ribot) looks terrible. But what do you expect for free.

Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin for WordPress

Wapple Architect lets you mobilise your blog in minutes. What’s good about this plugin is that it retains the style used for your current site, which means all style is carried across. What’s also cool about this plugin is that the URL of the site stays the same when viewed on mobile, so there is no redirection to a mobile version of your site.  Downside, you will need to register for a dev key to make use of the plugin and it can be time-consuming to setup. After that there are payments options that you will need to consider. Overall I would recommend this plugin for simple sites and blogs. If your site is more complex then I would suggest looking into developing a custom responsive theme.


WPtouch is one of the more easy to use mobile plugins; it provides a stylish theme that can be customised to suit individual visual requirements. These customisable options include more style, colour and branding options, 10 languages, Web-application mode and more. This is one I recommend for a quick mobile fix to your site.

This plugin comes in both premium (paid) and free versions. Investing in the paid version is advisable as it supports custom post types.


WPTap automatically detects the type of mobile browser that you site is viewed from, and activates the mobile theme you have chosen for it. User can install multiple mobile themes and link it to different mobile browsers for best performance. If you have a separate WAP or mobile website, this detector also allows you to redirect your mobile traffic to the WAP/mobile site.

To make the most this plugin, it is worth looking into premade mobile themes. You can find free ones here.


Let’s take a moment and be true to ourselves, most free mobile plugins available for WordPress are not powerful enough to convert a complicated custom WordPress site into a mobile friendly version of itself. For the most part you are left with something that looks more like a Frankenstein version of your site with bits & pieces put together, or something that looks nothing like your original site.

Plugin technology at the moment is not good enough to properly determine the correct information architecture visible on mobile devices based on the current build of your site. The best you can do (without coding knowledge) is to use a mobile theme that comes with the plugin and try to make it work.

For those who don’t have the option to have a mobile version developed from scratch should simply look into the aforementioned plugins. Most likely you will end up with something that will do for now, or until developing a bespoke mobile version of your site becomes more affordable.

Bottom line, if your site has particular branding and is more complex than a simple site or blog then it is worth investing in the development of a custom mobile theme built to exact specifications.

Later posts from me will include more specific content based on individual plugins and how to configure them to achieve acceptable results.

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