Update in 2017: Instead of using WPTouch, I have bought a paid WordPress theme, Thesis wordpress theme which is automatically responsive and mobile friendly.
After my earlier post where I mentioned that I would be installing WPTouch plugin after wanted to make my blogs more mobile friendly. Just yesterday, I have removed the plugin from my blogs after noticing a drastic drop in Adsense earnings.
This has been done after some consideration of should I or should I not? Mobile friendly vs profitability?
WPtouch is honestly very easy to use and result in your blog or website becoming mobile friendly within minutes. All you need to do is to download the plugin, activate and pump in your Adsense publisher code and it’s free to go. What’s more, it automatically resize the fonts within the posts- making them bigger and better aligned. Aside from the related posts plugin which I have been grateful for, this is another plugin that makes it very easy to read blogs online.
If you have a site/ blog/ website that is not being monetized using Adsense or other form of ads, then WPtouch would really be beneficial. When I visit blogs via my Blackberry, these mobile friendly sites become really easy to read.
However, if you are like me, monetizing the sites using Google Adsense or other form of ads, then you may notice that your Adsense revenue dropping after installing this plugin (if there is anyone who have experienced it otherwise, would be grateful for you to share here).
This is because a mobile version of a blog/ site only allows you to serve up to one ad. If you are using the free version of WPtouch, the ad would appear below the title. Afterwhich, you are not supposed to insert any ads in between, or below the post or page as it would be in violation of Google’s policy. Even if you get the paid version, it is still up to ONE ad you can place and you need to decide at which location within your posts.
Why I deactivated and removed WPtouch plugin
Upon installing the WPtouch plugin, I monitored my organic search engine traffic. The traffic more or less remained the same. The number of visitors accessing from desktop/ laptops vs mobile device (like iPhone, iPad, iPod, Blackberry, Android and Samsung) remained almost the same.
The first day when I installed the WPtouch plugin I had forgotten to track the visitors to the WPtouch mobile version and saw the traffic dropping to about half- that made me realise that so many visitors are surfing sites via mobile devices- I do too sometimes right before I sleep and an idea struck me- I just opened up the Google search via my Blackberry instead of going through the trouble to turn on the modem and my netbook.
After I reinstalled the tracking code, I saw the number of visitors remained more or less the same. Nothing much really change or was 2 weeks too short of a period? But I saw my Adsense earnings dropping more than half of its usual amount. And these went on so long as I kept the plugin on.
However, WPtouch really makes a site more mobile friendly. So it was a bit of difficult deliberation- should I keep the plugin or remove it. I tested at first by removing it from one of my popular site and saw my Adsense income rising again.
In the end, I had to part with this plugin. Here my reasons for doing so:
1. I needed the money
Yes, I have a fulltime job. But sometimes, it is not enough to cover my living expenses. So I also relied on Adsense. With more money I can do some personal things that can help others. This month after buying a laptop and settling my credit card statement in full, I became quite broke during the beginning of the month…. before my salary is out. The laptop is bought out of necessity as I needed it to burn CDs and DVDs and it contains apps that does not run well on netbook. My earlier laptop (which I had for about 6 years) is saying goodbye judging from its gradually diminishing functions like unable to connect to WLAN, USB port not working, unable to burn CDs/ DVDs, missing keyboard keys, etc. Money I earned from Adsense are mostly put into good and proper use. End of this year I have to travel to somewhere to help out a worthwhile organisation (not for holidays) and I find that I did not have the money in my account to buy the air tickets. My earnings from Adsense is not much but if further slashed down would be sad…
2. If one really like the site, one may view it on a desktop later
I reflected upon on how I would react if I found a site that I really liked while surfing through my mobile. I would go through the contents and then bookmark the site later to view via my desktop. Also, generally the organic visitors came because the search engine lead them to search for information and then they leave shortly after. If the site contains information that the visitor really wants, mobile or not mobile, the visitors would continue reading even though they need to enlarge the site or scroll left and right.
Even with the plugin, the average page views were the same, even though there were slight improvement in the time spent by mobile users when you have the plugin on (that’s why if the website/ blog) is not being monetized, your WordPress site would really benefit from Wptouch plugin).
3. The site is still readable on a mobile device
I am an avid follower of Daily Blog Tips by Daniel Scocco- and even he mentioned why he did not optimise his site for mobile users. Other sites like Problogger, Copyblogger, Wolf Howl had all done so- either using the paid or free version of Wptouch.
Once you optimise your site to serve a mobile version, as I mentioned, only one ad can be displayed. If you did not optimise it and the reader is viewing your site on a mobile device, the usual number of ads would still be displayed.
Previously when I was on a free theme my friend told me that my site alignment had problems. After switching to the paid Thesis theme on all my main blogs and the site does come out okay on mobile device- at least on my Blackberry. Just that I had to use my fingers to enlarge the fonts – and can achieve a ‘just nice’ length where I need not scroll the screen from left to right while reading it. Whereas for iPad, it’s better to have the full version of the site instead of going to the mobile version. And if I can read my blogs on my Blackberry, I am sure it looks better on an iPhone which have bigger screen resolution.
In summary, WPtouch is seriously a great plugin and benefit many mobile users and increase visitor count and retention for countless sites and blogs. Again in depends on the objective of your blog or website and your visitor behavior (which you need to study the stats like how many pages they usually visit, what are the devices they access your site/blog from, how long they stay on your site, percentage of return visitors, etc) to decide on whether to create a mobile friendly version of your site/blog. Each one of us differs in our requirements and in this post, I can only share from my own personal (and honest) experience.