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Review of WPmob Lite: A Mobile Theme For Wordpress

WPmob Lite screenshotOptimizing your website for mobile browsing has become very important in the world of podcasting, especially with all the new tablets and Super Phones. If you are using Wordpress, your choices for mobile themes have been pretty scarse. The one most folks are using now days has been WPtouch.

There's a new WP mobile plugin called WPmob Lite that has come into my radar. I decided to check it out. Here are some of it's features intermingled with some of my initial thoughts:

Good stuff- Customization and Readability

The strength of the plugin comes from it's ability to be customized and the clean and fast loading mobile site that it provides.

  • You can customize it by putting your logo and a banner on the mobile site.

  • It seems that potentially there may be more mobile themes to choose from. At the moment there is one called Poseidon, which you can also customize.

  • You can customize social media icons which are displayed at the bottom of your main blog page.

  • You can override your WP landing page to a specific one on the mobile site.

  • Custom HTML for Welcome message shown on 1st visit, Custom 404 message, Custom footer content.

  • You can choose your first time visitors to land in your full site.

  • You have Switch Link and Custom CSS (not elaborating on this 'cause I have no idea what this does.)

  • You can customize Prowl push notifications.

  • My favorite aspect is that you can choose specific pages where the mobile theme is not used.

  • I adore the way you can easily play my episodes with my WP audio player of choice the degradable HTML5 audio and video player. It renders really well.

  • Reading the site is clear and easy. The text formatting of the posts looks great, at least from my iPhone.

  • The site loads relatively fast. I happen to have tons of pictures in every one of my podcast shownotes, and even then it did a pretty good job.

Not so good stuff- Advertising and Lack of Theme Support

  • I'm using Thesis, and it's not compatible with this plugin. All you have to do is uncheck a setting where it says "Include functions.php from the active desktop theme." If you have that checked the mobile site will not work.

  • The navigation dropdown shows pages I do not want shown. This is due to the fact that I'm using Thesis. I've customized my navigation bar on my site, but because it can't use Thesis, then the pages that are shown in the mobile version are not ones that I have even displayed on my site anymore.

    I suppose this will require me to go into my WP settings and take care of that manually there.

  • Random AdMob adds on site. Big FAIL. As far as I could see within the plugin setting, there was no way to turn off these ads. I don't know how they are even getting on there as I have no advertising on my site.

  • Some links on the navigation do not go to where they should go. It's like they get stuck on a prior page/link. This may be a bug.

  • It's insane to get the proper sizes for the banner and logo. I'm not a web designer, nor graphic designer. I have very limited knowledge of creating graphics. It took me FOREVER to create a banner and logo that would fit and look relatively ok on the mobile site. I had to do a lot of random tweaking. I found no support for this on the developer's website.

FYI, these are the sizes I ended up using: logo 300 x 50, banner 320 x 200.

  • Large pictures and videos look gigantic. They are not scaled for the mobile viewing at all. The only pictures that looked great were all my thumbnail images. Perhaps that is something I have control over either within the plugin or on WP, but I had no idea how to do it.

Bottom Line

The potential for WPmob Lite is great. I do love the customization, but the ease of set-up of this customization for one that is not well versed on web design/graphics is not the easiest.

Reading and listening to my episodes on the mobile site was great, but I don't like the gigantic pictures and videos it renders which makes browsing less than stellar.

Two points helped me make the decision to not to use this plugin: the random Admob advertising and the lack of Thesis support. I don't want the ads and I want the folks visiting my mobile site to have access to the navigation that I have chosen on my main site.

If you are using WPmob Lite I would love your thoughts about the plugin. Are any of you using a different WP mobile plugin that you want to share! I'm still shopping for the perfect one ;)

Leave your thoughts!