Hacker Connect January 16 in New York
An event for and by the real estate tech community

In my last article, "The future of mobile apps and the mobile Web," I discussed the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and blog. Delivering a quality mobile experience is crucial for businesses today.

According to a Compuware report, "What Users Want from Mobile," 40 percent of consumers have turned to a competitor’s website after a bad mobile experience.

WordPress is the most popular publishing platform in the world today. It’s a flexible platform that can be utilized in many different ways such as blogging, content management, and even to create property websites. It is widely used by real estate professionals.

I recently put a bunch of WordPress mobile plug-ins to the test. These plug-ins can help mobilize your website or blog in a matter of minutes! They are easy to install, and best of all they’re free:

1. WP Mobile Detector

The WP Mobile Detector is a fantastic WordPress plug-in that auto-detects the mobile device and launches the mobile version of your website or blog.

As stated in the description on the WordPress plug-in directory, "It is one of the first to differentiate between a standard mobile phone and a smartphone."

The plug-in detects over 5,000 mobile devices, and nine mobile themes are available. My favorite feature of WP Mobile Detector is the analytics. Be sure to enable this feature after activating the plug-in.

The application records valuable data such as which mobile devices are accessing your website or blog and which software versions these devices are running.

WP Mobile Detector requires WordPress version 2.7 or higher. You can download the latest version of the application here.

2. WPtouch

The WPtouch WordPress plug-in is stylish and super simple to install. In fact, the mobile theme looks almost as elegant as a native iOS app! The mobile theme has an intuitive interface and navigation allowing quick access to such features as tags and categories.

The interface also includes an animated drop-down to preview blog posts — which is very slick. WPtouch is not as robust as the WP Mobile Detector plug-in. It only has one theme, which can be modified by changing the background and color schemes.

It also supports fewer devices. The list of supported devices is: iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Palm Pre, Samsung Touch, and BlackBerry Storm and Torch.

However, what WPtouch lacks in support and advanced features, it certainly makes up for in style and simplicity. As stated in the description on the WordPress plug-in directory, "WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with Ajax-loading articles and effects." If you’re looking for a super easy mobile solution that looks great — Give WPtouch a try.

This application requires WordPress version 3 or higher. You can download the latest version of the application here.

3. Wapple Architect Mobile Plug-in for WordPress

The Wapple Architect Mobile Plug-in is the plug-in that I ultimately chose for my WordPress website. The plug-in is extremely flexible, allowing for a basic setup in just minutes, and is powerful enough to accommodate advanced configurations.

As stated in the description on the WordPress plug-in directory, "Every single mobile device is detected, and all aspects of your blog are tailored to the visiting handset. Sites aren’t dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, but instead use the features and functionality that advanced phones offer."

I found the Wapple Architect to have the best mobile themes, and there are eight to choose from, including two elegant iPhone themes.

For the advanced user, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files can be completely modified to customize the design and layout. Unlike the other mobile plug-ins, there is an additional step when installing the Wapple Architect plug-in: A developer key is required to activate the plug-in, and the key can be obtained for free on the Wapple website.

This application requires WordPress version 2 or higher. You can download the latest version of the application here.

There are dozens of mobile WordPress plug-ins available. If your WordPress website or real estate blog already has a mobile plug-in, leave a comment below and let me know what you think of it. I love to hear about it!

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.

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