Ask LH: How To Make A Blog Or Site Into A Mobile App?

Ask LH: How To Make A Blog Or Site Into A Mobile App?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a blog that I want to make more mobile-friendly and look better on mobile phones, but I don’t know anything about web development and don’t have the money to hire anyone. Is it possible to make my site mobile-friendly, or, better yet, can I make the blog into a downloadable app? Thanks in advance, Wanna-Go-Mobile BloggerDear Blogger,

As our culture continues its move to a more mobile lifestyle, more people are consuming the web on their phones, so making your blog more accessible to these users is a great idea. And there are several free or inexpensive tools you can use to do this.

Install plugins for your blogging platform that will turn it into a mobile-friendly blog


If your blog uses WordPress as its base, check out the previously mentioned plugin WPtouch (or see the enhanced WPtouch Pro, which is $US39 for one website). You’ll find several other similar plugins for WordPress, including the highly rated and free MobilePress plugin (image at left). These plugins automatically detect when a user visits your blog or site from a mobile phone and will create a more appropriate view for them.

If you have a different type of blog, look for similar plugins or add-ons that can mobilise your site for you.

Get a mobile site from your domain name registrar

There’s also a service called goMobi that’s offered by some domain name registrars, like eNom and Network Solutions. Basically you would register a .mobi domain with the registrar and use the goMobi wizards to create JavaScript code to paste into your full website, which will take care of the auto-redirect. The service isn’t free, though. On eNom it will run you $US7.50 a month, but this option works for pretty much all sites.

Create your own mobile app with the free Conduit Mobile web app


There’s also a pretty cool new web app called Conduit Mobile (currently in beta) that can pull in content from your blog or website and turn it into a web-based app or a mobile app for iPhone, Android or Nokia (with other mobile OSes coming soon).

You can add your RSS, Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as YouTube videos, photos and custom content to the app. The wizard’s pretty easy to use and there are several customisation options. (The image at the top of this post is the Conduit Mobile interface.)

When you’re done, Conduit helps you publish your app on the major app marketplaces and you can promote it on the Conduit Network too. (Note: I haven’t tested the publish feature yet, but the site seems like an easy — and free — way to get your site into mobile form.)

Those are a few ways to mobilise your site without any web development or mobile programming knowledge. If you try one of these options out, let us know how it goes!



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