7 Tools for Creating an Optimized Mobile Website
Come on, be honest with yourself. Is your website really giving your visitors an optimized, intuitive experience? Or are you still serving mobile visitors a site that was designed for desktop?
If you feel like you're behind the eight ball, there's hope. Here are seven great solutions to help you quickly and cost-effectively develop a mobile version of your site.
MobDis is a service that lets you build websites with a mobile-first approach. Rather than starting from a template or from an experience that originated from your desktop website, the application makes creating a mobile site feel like you are editing a Word or Illustrator document, starting from a plain white page. It literally breaks the constraints that many people feel when they look at their full site and wonder "how will we ever shrink this down to mobile size?" It encourages you to build from the ground up, thinking about the optimal content, functionality, and conversion actions for a mobile audience.
Once you've created your mobile site, MobDis gives you every possible option on how to display it. You can host it with MobDis on your own domain or on a subdomain on their website. You can also export your mobile site and move it to your own hosting environment. You can even publish it as an app and submit it to the Apple or Android app stores. Cost is $28 per month.
DudaMobile gives you two options for creating your mobile site, both of which are super simple. If you're looking for a jump-start on your mobile design, DudaMobile can scan your site and pull content, images, and other information into a template that you can then customize or edit to best fit your goals. Once the content has been converted you can use their drag-and-drop editor to remove site elements that might not be necessary and move around page elements to make an optimal experience for mobile visitors.
On the other hand, if you want to take a more thoughtful, ground-up approach, choose one of DudaMobile's templates and build your mobile site from there. Their advanced site editor allows you to configure template settings, navigation, HTML, CSS, and more. But even users without tech skills can easily make edits with their simple drag-and-drop tool. Cost is just $9 per month.
Like variety? GoMobi gives you a selection of 40 site templates to get you started — each of them totally customizable. Create your own menu, build forms, add and optimize video, and display reviews, all with simple click and go integration. And unlike many of its competitors, goMobi also supports e-commerce sites, allowing visitors to purchase directly from your mobile site.
The team at goMobi really seems to understand mobile interactions, and have integrated a ton of features that go way beyond click-to-call and basic mapping functions. You can create special offers, let people leave you a message or request a call back, and translate your site into their language with a single click. GoMobi is available through hosting partners and other Internet service providers.
Landr is specifically designed to help marketers capture more leads from mobile devices by creating mobile landing pages. That's right: landing pages. It seems to be the only tool available that allows you to build single pages that are focused on getting the conversion. It's built to simplify the mobile experience out of the box so visitors see exactly what they are looking for and nothing more. Landr's "less is more" strategy is a particularly good option for marketers who need the flexibility of creating campaign landing pages without the involvement of IT. You can even run A/B tests with multiple Landr pages. Cost is $12 per month.
MoFuse is another monthly subscription tool that allows you to easily build and host your mobile site. But one option that distinguishes it from the others is that you can hire their team to completely build your mobile site for you. Custom features include a range of design tools, m-commerce functionality, mobile analytics, mobile advertising, GPS-guided store locator, and more. If you are looking for mobile marketing services in addition to a site build, you'll like MoFuse's SMS text marketing package and its search and SEO support.
Few people would dispute the fact that building a successful mobile site is not just about the tools. You have to have the right strategy, and that's where SproutMobi really shines. For $99 you'll get a dedicated developer/consultant who will help you develop your strategy, identify the right features and functionality for your audience, and build up to 10 customized pages for you. They'll even set up the code to reroute mobile traffic to your mobile-friendly site. Once they build your site, you'll be charged $10 per month for unlimited hosting, support, and access to make your own edits via their content management system.
While many of the tools and services listed here offer free trials, YoMobi takes that a step further with a free standard plan that includes hosting, unlimited pages, and all the bells and whistles. The only catch: your site will display a discrete mobile ad. But for those on a really tight (as in nonexistent) budget, this just might be the best way to get your dedicated mobile site up and running. Have a little money? Spend $6 per month on a custom plan and you get all the YoMobi features without the pesky ads. This plan also allows you more customization options as well as a custom m.domain name. Both plans come with free SMS and email blast capability, click-to-call, and GPS-guided location finder.
Bonus Tool: Conversion Ninja Toolbox
All the tools above can help you quickly build a mobile version of your website. But if you're the kind of person who always wants more, check out Conversion Ninja Toolbox, a free online directory of conversion rate optimization resources for every step of the conversion optimization process, from wireframing to testing, and everything in between. Some of the tools are free and all listings are unpaid and include user ratings and comments.
This article originally published at ClickZ here