The following is a review of the WPTouch Pro Mobile Theme. This is a premium theme that I paid for. This is NOT a sponsored review. I’ve been an big advocate of keeping a website on one URL and not using m.example.com, example.com/mobile/, or example.mobi as your solution (see Dangers of Multiple Website Versions). I’ve also shown example of how Google can get mobile website detection wrong. That said, I’m a big proponent of having a mobile website and delivering mobile optimized content to smart phones and the growing number of tablet devices. I have been using the free version of WPTouch for years, and it’s been on my list of recommended WordPress SEO plugins. However, three things frustrate me: the lack of branding, the lack of iPad support, and the lack of customization. Thankfully all three of these problems were solved by the premium version.
As of this writing, there are three pricing options: $39.95 for a single website, $69.95 for up to 5 websites, and $199.95 for an unlimited number of websites. I chose the middle option because, at the time of the purchase, I was unsure if I was going to like theme, but I figured that, even if it only gave me iPad support, I would use it on my 5 best sites and be done with it.
Installation is pretty easy. You download the zip file from the website then upload it through the plugin interface. Once uploaded, you put in your login/license and the theme is activated. If you are using a caching solution, you will need to enter the names of the mobile browser on the browser exception list. While you are setting it up, it’s probably a good idea to turn off caching just to make sure it’s not causing any problems.
Configuration is pretty straight forward, but there are a lot of options. You need to play around with a few of them to get them correct.
I’ll go over some of the important ones:
- Make sure you enable iPad support under (Active Theme > iPad Settings).
- You will need to upload a mobile logo (270 x 44) and (540 x 88) for the iPhone and and iPhone retina view. Personally I skipped the retina logo version. I do wish there was a logo for the portrait version of the iPad view though.
- I turned off the dates under (Active Theme > Menu, posts pages).
- Instead of the dates, I used the featured image under (Active Theme > Style Appearance >Thumbnail Icons ). You will need to make sure your theme supports featured image or you’ll need to enable it manually. If you don’t have featured images, your theme will show a blank camera icon.
- Turn off the image as attachments setting to prevent double images from appearing.
- I changed the colors slightly from the defaults and went with a sans-serif font (never try to argue that using serif font on a website is a good idea with me … it won’t end well … trust me)
One of the nice options is that it gives you the ability to back up your mobile settings should your blog “go boom”. Wait till you have everything set up how you want, then take advantage of that feature. It’s a nice bit of insurance to have and could save you time down the road.
One of the odd things that I didn’t like was the Google adsense support. The plugin supports mobile adsense for smartphones but not for the iPad version. This is a feature that has been requested a few times in the support forums. I am using a plugin to display ads randomly on all of my posts older than 7 days, so the iPad version does get ads but not mobile optimized ones. This does mean that smartphone users viewing posts older than 7 days get ads too. Unfortunately they bleed off the screen because they are too large.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the plugin. It solved most of my problems, such as branding, lack of customization, and iPad support. Two things I really would like to see added are logo support for portrait reading on the iPad and mobile adsense on the iPad version. It does take a little while to configure but, once you get it right, it’s pretty maintenance-free.
WPTouch Pro is a premium plugin that I recommend using. I believe that serving mobile optimized content is becoming increasingly more important (see How Mobile Friendly is Your Website). To be clear, if you purchase this plugin using my link, I do make an affiliate commission. That said, I purchased this plugin with my own money for the review and was not given a free or comped version. This review is NOT a sponsored review. So I am comfortable recommending this product. I think it’s a worthwhile investment: I paid $69 for it but will be upgrading to the unlimited version in the very near future. WPTouch Pro is plugin I recommend .
photo credit: Johan Larsson