Do I Care About Mobile Readers? [A Checklist]

This post, from Piotr Kowalczyk ( @namenick on Twitter) originally appeared on his Password Incorrect site on 1/10/10 and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission.

Year 2010 has already been called “The Year of the Mobile”. Internet activity is shifting from desktop computers to laptops to tablets to mobile phones. This is an inevitable trend. People play music on mobile phones, update their social networks, watch movies and even play games. What about reading? It seems to be one of the easiest things. It’s not.

One side of the story is that people complain about general reading comfort – and this is a common excuse to stay with paper. The other side of the story is a fact, that a majority of Internet content is still not mobile friendly.

Here’s a quick checklist of things which can be done to make mobile readers’ life much easier.

Do I publish my books in formats optimized for mobile reading?

If you plan to publish a next book, a free teaser of a book or any new piece of writing, think not only of Scribd, BookBuzzr or Lulu. Think also of sites which convert your book to formats tailored for mobile viewing, like ePub or mobi. The most popular services, besides Amazon’s Kindle Store, are Smashwords, Feedbooks, Wattpad and Kobo.

Do I use a mobile friendly blogging platform?

Most of what 2.0 authors write is not actually books, but everything else intended to draw attention to those books. A blog is still a major place to share thoughts and tease about a book (first chapters, excerpts, etc). If you’re on WordPress.com, you are 100% mobile friendly. When a reader is visiting your blog from a cellphone, a mobile theme is automatically loaded instead of a regular one.

Do I use mobilizing plugins for my self-hosted blog? 

 If you run a self-hosted blog, you can use a proper plugin. This is especially important, when a blog is rich with many advanced plugins. They make it slow to load and probably the content will not display correctly as well. A list of blog mobilizing plugins can be found here.

Do I use blog mobilizing services?

If not a plugin, you can use one of convenient blog mobilizing services, like Mofuse or Mippin. You may also consider mobilizing part of your blog (such as one category) – and this tool seems to be the best option. Just paste the RSS feed in and in a couple of easy steps you’ll have it running. The list of services is also available in the above mentioned article.

Does my feed shows full articles?

More and more people are switching to reading RSS feeds on their mobile phones. If you set up an option to show only an excerpt of your post, the reader is forced to move to your page in order to read the rest. If your blog is not mobilized, consider it a lost view (or even a last view). A much better option would be to show a full length post in a feed.

Do I tweet mobile links?

Even if you haven’t done any of the above, you can still make your content mobile friendly. This is especially important if you spend a considerable part of your time in mobile communities like Twitter, Brightkite and alike. You can always use Google Mobilizer – just paste a link and in one click you’ll have your page optimized for mobile viewing.

Now, if your content is already mobilized, there is one more thing you could do. [As] non-mobilized blogs [are still common], the general attitude [toward reading blogs on mobile devices] is “do not open this link”. So ask yourself…

Do I inform readers that my blog is mobilized?

You can easily do that. Use text or widgets delivered by blog mobilizing services. Hopefully one day it won’t be needed any longer.

 

Also see this article, which provides instructions for how to make your blog available for sale to Kindle owners.

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