The state of blogging is about to change. In fact, it has already started to change. Just as advancing technology made blogs possible in the first place, new developments are changing the way we're consuming these blogs. While the majority of your traffic is coming from traditional sources, chances are a rising percentage is coming from mobile phones. That's going to change the blogging game, and quickly.
Thankfully, there is still time to prepare. Bloggers can take a few steps to make sure that they're ready for the mobile revolution.
1. Make mobile-friendly sites
What's the quickest way to lose a mobile reader? Have a poorly designed site. There is nothing more frustrating than clicking on what appears to be an interesting link and going to a site that does not load properly. In order to avoid this problem, bloggers must be careful to choose a mobile-friendly theme.
Thankfully, there are many WordPress plugins for mobile websites. Additionally, there are WordPress themes that render well on mobile devices. Play around and see which options work best for your readers.
2. Stay on top of ad trends
A few weeks ago my publishing partners and I were looking over revenue reports. We noticed that while our traffic increased, our revenues fell. It took us a while, but we finally figured out the reason. Since April our mobile readership grew by more than 200 percent. More and more people were reading our site on their smartphones, but we weren't running good ads on our mobile site.
Ads that work on desktop might not work well on mobile. Our AdSense ads generated no revenue on mobile. Clearly we have to search out other mobile ad options. There are many companies working with more engaging ads, so there are opportunities.
3. Create mobile apps
While Google has made our lives easier in many ways, they have wreaked havoc on the publishing industry -- this at a time when publishing is bigger than ever. Their simple blue search results turn web content into commodities. It's tough to stand out when people can find the same information at numerous other outlets. Even if you offer something unique, if it doesn't rank in Google many people won't find it.
Mobile platforms provide solutions. Publishers can create unique apps that highlight their specific content. Readers will download these apps -- people love downloading mobile apps -- and it creates more engagement. After all, more than a year ago we learned that people spent more time on mobile apps than on the web.
4. Consider CPC advertising
If you rely on SEO and link building to rank highly for your top keywords, that might not be enough on the mobile platform. Screens are smaller, so those top results aren't really the top results. What sit on top are PPC ads. Depending on the device, they can take up the entire screen of a Google search.
Aaron Wall at SEOBook shows us screen real estate issues. If you want to show up near the top, you might have to pay.
5. Become a mobile reader
We save the best for last. The easiest way to stay ahead of the mobile revolution is to become a mobile reader yourself. I have the Galaxy S III and use it to browse not only my own site, but sites of competitors. I can see what they do well that we do not, and then adjust. I can also see if they have mobile apps and what they're doing to monetize them. Learning by doing is the best way to approach the issue.
Thankfully, becoming a mobile reader is fun, too. I have not only gained insights through the information found on my Galaxy S III, but have also had fun browsing new sites, clicking around the web, and finding out first hand what works and what does not.
The way people use the web is changing. Users who used to browse mostly through the desktop web now visit in multiple ways. People reading on smartphoens and tablets constitute a larger and larger portion of our readerships, so we must react. Thankfully, this creates opportunities for those who act quickly.