The latest evolution in internet marketing tools is here: Joomla Content Management System (CMS). With Joomla CMS, it’s easy to reach out and advertise to the 50% (and counting) of Americans who own smartphones while maintaining a consistently attractive website no matter what device the customer uses to access the site. There are a few ways Joomla CMS can help you maximize your website’s potential, depending on your preferences and your company’s requirements.
Apps Versus Mobile Websites
It’s important to distinguish between an app and a mobile website. An app is something users download onto their device to access content, while a mobile site is something that displays in a mobile web browser. Users typically search for apps in an online store like Google Play for Android apps or iTunes for iPhones. Users get to the mobile version of a website simply by visiting it with their mobile browser. Some Joomla extensions can make a website into a mobile app but most are developed separately from the Joomla CMS. Mobile websites, however, are usually created by components working with the CMS.
Many companies choose to have a mobile site developed because it is more cost effective, easily updated, and accessible across more devices than an app. Below are the four ways you can think about developing a mobile version of your website.
Mobile Site Option 1: Simple HTML page
Some small businesses initially decide to create a simple HTML page for the homepage of their site. When a mobile device tries to access the site, they are served up a simple page with basic information (phone number, directions, brief text description, a photo of the outside of the building).
A developer can create a 320 pixel wide webpage (or something similarly narrow) in a software like Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe Dreamweaver in a very short amount of time.
Pros: Inexpensive, technically does the job (at least on one page)
Cons: Only one page of your site (or however many pages you do this for) is mobile friendly, different devices having different screen widths and resolutions so it won’t look uniform across platforms, cumbersome to update
Mobile Site Option 2: Install a Mobile Component
Joomla has several mobile extensions. Installing them on a website creates a mobile friendly site on the fly. Here are several favorites that all include flexible layouts (to accommodate different devices), customizable settings, and more:
Pros: Relatively easy to implement, your whole site is mobile friendly, adjusts for different screen resolutions and sizes, easy to update
Cons: Very difficult to control exact look and feel
Mobile Site Option 3: Create A Website with Responsive Design
Responsive design is a relatively new concept that means when you view a web page, it automatically optimizes to the screen you are viewing it on. You can also prioritize content like what displays in the menu so as the screen gets smaller, the high priority items are still in the menu or otherwise displayed. Joomla responsive design templates like Elastica allow developers to create a site that is truly customizable to any device and automatically generated for the user. If you want to see an example of a responsive design website, check out www.bostonglobe.com or www.thismanslife.co.uk/projects/lab/responsiveillustration/.
Pros: Relatively easy to implement, your whole site is mobile friendly, adjusts for any screen, easy to update, can control exact look and feel
Cons: Expensive (takes at least five times longer to develop a responsive design website as a traditional one)
Option 4: Leverage templates that support mobile
Many of the popular template vendors support mobile configuration options. Theme clubs such as Rocket Themes and Yoo Themes allow you to configure specific menu items for accessing targeted content from a mobile device. Make sure you check with the vendor to verify supported devices and remember that most 3rd party extensions are not supported and thus may not look as nice as you would like in your targeted mobile devices. Be sure to set your site in the targeted devices as part of your deployment process.
Pros: Allows access to some of your priority content without installing additional extensions. Is rather easy to configure
Cons: Not all extensions are supported with the template so you will get undesired results if you allow access to certain content types that would otherwise look good in a web browser.
The best approach for many Joomla websites is to install a mobile component and pay attention to website analytic data over time. If you notice a large portion of users to be mobile users then a responsive design can be considered. If you don’t run a Joomla or other CMS website at the very least develop a mobile page for the homepage of your site to get mobile users the key information they need about your business.
Need to make your site mobile friendly? Contact us or check out our webinars, including our upcoming webinar about mobile sites in Joomla.