The Future of Blogging Is Mobile Technology

This is post #351; how cool is that?

The future of blogging is mobile technology AND motivated bloggers, that’s my add. This week, I took Mark Schaefer’s blog post about dim lights ahead for bloggers with little that’s new and added my perspective. Read Mark’s post there; read my post here.

In comments, the community heard from both Mark Schaefer and Danny Brown. Each weighed in to put some more insight to what’s around the bend for bloggers.

What they said is too valuable not to make into a post:

Mark suggested he purposely kept his post about what’s new in blogging (July 2012) a bit thin to prompt conversation and chatter about the direction we’re all going. What he clarified in comments on the blog yesterday was more on the influence of mobile technology on blogs.

Mark proffered, “ As smartphones increasingly become our first step to the Internet, the utility of our blogs is eroding day by day. Our beloved medium is becoming harder to read, harder to engage with and less useful – and writing better blog posts won’t change that.”

What he also alluded to is mobile platforms remove the bells and whistles from a blog’s appearance. When people use smartphones and tablets to read a blog, all the widgets and plug-ins in the sidebar disappear. Who we are becomes next to invisible when mobile technology is used.

Enter Danny Brown.

Danny shared fabulous tips in comments I’ll paraphrase and quote:

  • Bloggers are lazy and short-changing their audience.
  • Bloggers have no reason not to be mobile for readers’ convenience and at minimal cost.

“Free platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com already offer great mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized designs, and if you’re on self-hosted WordPress, plugins like WPtouch Pro offer a great solution, too,” said Danny in comments.

“Yet, the best one – and very inexpensive – is a true, responsive design. This adapts your site or blog to whatever browser your visitor comes in on, so it’s not just optimized for mobile for older browsers and different displays.

You can grab a responsive design package from the likes of Studiopress and their Genesis framework and child themes for as little as $80.

If you’re serious about your blog and your readers, go responsive. Don’t look to blogging’s future as being at stake – think about you as a blogger, and your responsibility to user experience,” he concluded.

Responsive Design

According to Wikipedia responsive design is “an approach to web design in which a designer intends to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”

If you’re really a geek, you may want to try and read the rest of the page after sentence one; I couldn’t make heads or tails about it, but it certainly becomes the question to ask designers of websites and blogs.

Do you do responsive design?

About That Technology

Mark Schaefer will tell you what a scaredy cat I was back in the day when I insisted on tweeting instead of blogging – for a whole year! Mark would try to convince me, and I’d cringe about the technology.

I still hate it because I’ve not mastered it. The things you hear me whine loudest about are the things I fear – big data, analytics, technology, and my new iMac.

Deploy New Plug-ins

What the leaders are saying is for a blogger to grow to the next level, technology is the answer. Go get WPTouch or WPTouch Pro:

From Brave New Code on the plug-in: WPTouch (lifted exactly)

WPTouch automatically transforms your WordPress website into an application-like theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects when viewed from the most popular mobile web browsing devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, Android mobile devices, Palm Pre/Pixi and BlackBerry OS6 mobile devices.

The admin panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to touch mobile visitors, without modifying a single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.

The theme also includes the ability for visitors to switch between WPtouch view and your site’s regular theme.

Now Available: WPtouch Pro! Totally re-written top to bottom, with a slew of new features like more style, color and branding customizations, themes, 10 languages, more advertising options, Web-Application mode, and more!

Awesome iPad theme support is now available in WPtouch Pro, now at version 2.7!

So, to wrap it up — run and get some new mobile-type plug-ins for your blog; we have to or else Mr. Brown is going to keep calling us lazy critters!

Credit: Brave New World WP Touch

 

 

52 comments
ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

So, if a blog should be designed with responsive technology,  then should a regular business site be that way, too? I'd assume yes, but I try not to assume.

Latest blog post: Hidden Gem

New England Multimedia
New England Multimedia

Jayme, I access almost everything by mobile now. Danny is SPOT ON. Every website we build on the Wordpress platform now is a responsive design. We just built two new responsive Wordpress sites: one, a retailer, is launching next week (the client is uploading all his products to the easy-to-manage shopping cart), and the other, a well-known nonprofit, will launch before a big fundraising banquet on Nov 1st.

 

Check out http://pilatesbodynyc.com for a very simple responsive site we built for Pilates Body NYC (Susan Sommers). She's a personal trainer who goes to YOUR home or office to train you in mat Pilates. (I wish she lived here in RI!) 

 

I've already picked out a theme for New England Multimedia's next site, coming soon, as soon as we get our clients taken care of and launched. In the meantime, the WP mobile plugin we've used for our Wordpress clients has been delivering our blog posts to mobile in an easy-to-read format. Problem is, I didn't think to pop a bio, CTA, and contact form/info at the bottom of each post. That's a habit everyone needs to get into, anyway. So our mobile-only readers are getting great content, but they have no idea what services we provide. 

 

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

Another reason to design responsively? Continuity of branding. WP Touch is a band-aid fix, IMO, and strips out all the colors, CTAs, logos that you've built into your site.  

 

I've been working with some agency partners recently on some big website designs. We've made it policy to design responsively on all new projects. There's no good reason to not do so. 

Latest blog post: The Art of Arting Harder

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

The measurement of true power and influence in social media is derived from what happens after you issue a call to action. What happens when you ask people to point, click and comment.

 

Danny is right about the need to make it easy for people to do so. Build a hub for your clan to circle around and hang out at.

 

I keep playing around with writing a post that ties in the fans of Liverpool. Have you ever seen/heard the stadium sing together. That is the kind of support you want

 

http://youtu.be/T00x5sRbZrc

 

This can be replicated online.

rdopping
rdopping

For heavens sake @Danny Brown you're making me nuts over here. I need a techie and quick. And, no, I am not going to figure this stuff out myself. I am just trying to write and produce good content. Thanks for sharing and making my world a better place.

 

When are you going to buy me a beer and explain all this crap to me?

 

Really, yeah, I see I need to make a few changes and not get left in the techie dust. I will always be a blogger because I love to write and create and will never be the leading edge tech guy. So, thanks for being there to kick some ass.

 

Sorry @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing this love letter was purely for Mr. Brown. Thank you for being a vehicle (for this jalopy). Cheers!

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

 @Danny Brown has become such a tech head!  

 

I will be taking action one of these days on smartphones, tablets, maybe even some Apple products. The information is fascinating, but scary to think about.

 

I've owned many smartphones, all the way back to 99'-2000'?  But I never used any of them, other than to make phone calls :o

 

I have such an aversion to learning tech stuff, but you just can't these days. The things you can do with technology in business is just astounding!  

 

On one hand, technology has made starting and operating businesses much easier; however, on the other hand, it requires that you learn how to use the tools and for some of us, that's not so easy :o

 

Or maybe I'm just being lazy?

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Great continuation of the topic, Jayme, and good advice. One thing I would suggest with WPtouch is to go with the Pro option. The free one doesn't offer as much theme customization, or an iPad-dedicated section. Worse still, though, is it doesn't support threaded comments on native commenting systems, so if you have a good conversation going, it looks all over the place. Again, it comes down to shortchanging your readers for the sake of a few bucks.

SteelToad
SteelToad

I'm not big on mobile devices for internet, being a die-hard desktop guy, but ....  I watched my daughter when she was home from college. She was tweeting, text messaging, and updating two blogs, her personal blog and one for the school, all of this on an old Env2 with no data plan. My mind reels at what she would be doing with a proper smart phone with a good camera and high speed internet. Her blogging, as well as a lot of other good blogs are highly responsive, and you cant get much more responsive than with a device thats both powerful, and always at your side.

bdorman264
bdorman264

But I am lazy; I've never tried to imply otherwise...........if becomes too hard to do this gig I'll just go home. 

 

I don't disagree with Mr Shaefer or Mr Brown and we both know if anybody is in the 'know' it's those two. However, there are still massive numbers still playing this game on a desktop too. I will never be an early adopter anyway and eventually if that is how the game is played I'm sure we will all figure out what to do next. 

 

Blogging is a long, long way from being dead; there are too many people who like to hear themselves talk....:)

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @timbo1973 So, I decided to go to Tim's site and check it out. First I headed on over via my desktop, signed up, and even downloaded the free book. Next, I wanted to see what it looked like on my iPhone. I typed in the url and when I got to the site, the pop-up, which wanted me to sign up for the mailing list, appeared, but only part of it.  

 

   The scrollbar worked, but on the site behind the pop-up box. The "X" to close the box is somewhere off to the right, and as such, I'm unable to see the site on my phone at all.  I mention this, only because you seem to be trying to make your site workable on mobile, but this little hiccup makes it unusable.

Latest blog post: Hidden Gem

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @timbo1973 The images above from the WPTouch folks show a completely new design for smartphones. Not sure I'm ready (but I need to do it soon) to get my site repurposed for smartphone. My iPad shows my site well; I have to agree with you.

 

But, last night, I went to a site at the soccer game via smartphone and had a heckuva time maneuvering around that darn site. No responsiveness anywhere! So, I thought of this discussion.

 

If this post does nothing else than to get people thinking and moving in the right direction, then I've accomplished my goals. Thanks, Tim!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @New England Multimedia  Do I need to speak with Scott? Is this site responsive when you built it? I think so, but I don't know that I had even heard that term back in January! 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @jasonkonopinski What is a CTA? So, when you use a blog template, it's only good for a desktop, theoretically? You have to hire designers to actually put your site into responsive design so anyone can access from anywhere? But, it requires an entire new design? 

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @thejoshuawilner I'm thinking about your first line -- "what happens after you issue a call to action." Do you mean, after the first click of engagement? Whether they stick around to answer my questions or write a blog post about to further the discussion, or take the meme forward (like my 20 Things To Do Before I Die?)

 

That is not measurable, is it. It's one of those soft metrics that big data can't grasp. 

 

I'm on the phone yesterday with all these huge guns from Hewitt and Wharton School and they're saying what I do is "soft."  People who live by data and calculations are so smart and I totally admire them; but, what we do -- the appeal to the visitor has equal footing in the equation.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping  @Danny Brown HAPPY TO OBLIGE! Dang, how much time off do you dudes get in Canada? Are you on week three now? Sheesh; must be nice.

 

So when they ask you to describe yourself via a car, you didn't know you'd be a jalopy didja? LOL!! (Don't go telling me I'm anything but my sassy orange Mini).

SteelToad
SteelToad

 Gee, it sounds like maybe  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing should set up a Google+ hangout / knowledge-share so everyone can talk about how they are using tech for keeping blogs updated  (not that I'm trying to make work for anyone :)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Mark_Harai  @Danny Brown LOL. You, me and @Bill Dorman . I don't think it's REALLY lazy...it's our kids, balance, time, clients who pay vs. a blog that doesn't...need I say more? 

 

I'll do what I can and try to squeeze that extra minute out of an hour, but dangit, I wish I could disconnect from everything but my reader to catch up on all this stuff I HAVE to/WANT to.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Danny Brown It was interesting when I was covering the FeedBlitz topic. People were concerned about paying for subscribers (which i found a bit odd privately). If you're trying to grow to the next level as a blogger, then you HAVE to invest $$ to make that happen. As  you said, "for the sake of a few bucks." 

 

Money in this regard is an investment. You can blog for "free" forever on Blogger or WP.com, but where's the treasure in that?

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @SteelToad Woah. I can't imagine your daughter doing all that with an archaic device. Heck, I rarely post blogs and publish from my iPad...there are too many kinks! These kids are our future; it's so obvious.

 

If we elder bloggers do nothing more, we need to adapt to mobile for the Millennials. What a great verification for me, Ray.  P.S. Hope you're on the mend?!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @bdorman264 LOL'ed for real with that last sentence.  I have to agree with you...if I had, uhm 20? subscribers maybe I'd start to get a tingle of excitement. Next to Danny's 20K whatever peeps who hang on his every word and who knows how many Mark has?  Perhaps that's the difference, and I agree...we're the doers and they're the leaders. We aspire, they inspire. 

 

I think...

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @timbo1973 In the last hour I've been to Spin Sucks, to read your article, here, and over to Bill Dormann's place. You folks have made it clear to me that I've fallen behind the times with my blog. It has possibly provided the spark I need to start "working" on the blog, again, not just writing.

 

Thanks.

Latest blog post: Hidden Gem

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing CTA = Call To Action

 

Unless a template/theme is optimized for mobile, it's going to require pinching and panning from the user to view properly, unless you have a mobile plug-in like WPTouch.  

 

My site is designed responsively so it looks good on a variety of devices, browsers and layouts.  

Latest blog post: The Art of Arting Harder

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @SteelToad Oh, man. Who's the tech geek, Andrews?  You better watch it; I see you're on the mend and that means you need to be GP'ing over here about all the tech nerd stuff you like to rabble about. 

 

I want to launch Bloggers Unite, a trade association, to train us all on the stuff we need and don't know. 

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @bdorman264 I don't think it comes down to aspires and inspires - you guys have your very dedicated audience and that's what makes all the difference. Heck, even if you just had one loyal reader, you inspire them so you're immediately a leader.

 

Anyhoo, to Bill's point, even desktop readers can benefit from responsive design. if you come in on IE6 on a 10" screen, your experience is going to suffer. But having a responsive design immediately changes that and allows you to see everything as it should be.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Danny Brown  @SteelToad Just went there to read an excellent post by @JoeyStrawn but the comments appear closed? What a great inspiration for me as I ready a post that is going to be highly controversial. 

 

Because of his post, I'm going for it...

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Danny Brown  @bdorman264 Thanks for your tech geek.  I imagine working directly in the space allows for that. Something Bill doesn't do, and I'm not immersed in the tech. Wish I was, but it comes.  Thanks, Danny.