I have been impressed and completely satisfied with my purchase of WPtouch Pro for my DragonBlogger.com site last week. WPtouch Pro by BraveNewCode is a WordPress plugin that sets up a mobile theme for your WordPress blog that only displays to touch based phones including iOS, Blackberry Storm, certain Android models and has a separate configuration for iPads.
The Pro version which I highly recommend over the WPtouch free version is the only version that has customizations for the iPad specifically and offers a slew of features and enhancements not found in the free version.
You get a full WordPress mobile theme for only a $39 for a single site license and I was completely impressed with the power and feature I had at my fingertips. The plugin sets up in seconds and once you activate your license you can have your mobile phone and iPad versions of your site up in a few minutes.
The first thing you should know is that if you use W3 Total Cache as I do, you have to do some configurations to exclude the mobile user agents configured for WPtouch Pro to avoid potential issues with caching the mobile theme. This is very easy to do and you can find full instructions on how to configure W3 Total Cache Pro by following the steps outlined here:
The next thing you should do after enabling WPtouch Pro and clicking on the settings is check to see if there are any “errors” reported in the WPtouchboard. My site originally had 1 error which mentioned there was a conflict with W3 Total Cache and to fix it.
If no errors are confirmed, then it is time to start configuring:
Menu and Icon Configuration
I found out right away that by default WPtouch Pro uses all of your sites pages as a sidebar menu for your mobile theme. I had many pages I didn’t want displayed as navigation so one of the first things I did was go to the Menu and Icon Configuration and change the option to use my WordPress Menu Bar (called Main) instead of all pages for my menu sidebar.
I also made sure a link to Home and RSS subscribe were added which you can do with a few check marks. You can optionally add your site admin email to be visible, but I didn’t include this as I have a contact link in my menu bar.
You can also manually create up to 3 custom menu items in the WPtouch Pro theme as well.
Enable WebApp Mode for WPtouch Pro
WebApp Mode allows the website to be saved locally as a webapp on devices homescreens effectively making them a web application. I tested this with the iPad version of DragonBlogger.com mobile theme and it looked excellent though haven’t figured out how to customize the icon that displays on the iOS homepage yet. You also can have the WPtouch Pro popup a reminder that the reader can turn this page into a webapp so they can get instant access back to site without having to open their browser.
AdSense on WPtouch Pro Mobile Theme
If you use AdSense on your blog already you can insert a minor and not too intrusive banner ad into your articles instantly via the WPTouch Pro theme which can help keep site earnings coming in. Note that no AdSense ads work in webapp versions created and iPad doesn’t display AdSense at all (some other mobile devices may not either).
Configuring WPTouch Pro for iPad
When you have your theme selected just click on Active Theme and enable your iPad customizations:
You have to click “enable” to have a special modified version of the theme for iPad that is different for regular mobile devices. The site just looks fantastic on the iPad when configured. You will probably want to set custom images however to help brand the site more. To do this make sure you click on the (?) buttons to the right of each option. These help buttons will show you the exact pixel dimensions logo images need to be to look proper on the iPad mobile theme.
How Does WPtouch Pro Look
I did confirm that all 45+ of my WordPress plugins were functional in the mobile version including CommentLuv and my Amazon Affiliate plugins for WordPress.
The WPtouch Pro will resize everything to fit perfectly in mobile browers and Brian from BlogEngage took a snapshot of my site from his iPhone for me:
You can see on my configuration I removed tags, added excerpt (which doesn’t display by default on mobile phone theme) as well as changed calendar logo with site thumbnail (you must be using thumbnails and/or featured images to take advantage of this on your site). I love the way # of comments show up as a red circle on top of the thumbnail image.
For the iPad my theme is configured about the same way and just looks amazing in landscape mode.
I have never seen a plugin for WordPress that offers so many configuration options and looks so good. WPtouch Pro not only allows you to configure and setup a great look for mobile devices, you can customize which devices your theme displays on. You also have the full option to select and use a skeleton and fully customize and modify your own mobile WordPress theme and use that instead of the default one if you choose. This plugin is worth owning as all WordPress bloggers should consider your mobile readers and make the site as easy and simple to navigate and read from mobile devices.