Mobile WordPress themes or mobile subdomains?

These days, web developers and their customers love to see websites accessible through mobile phones. The use of tablets and smart phones has made it easier to access internet anywhere, so there is great demand for web developers to refresh existing websites and equip them with the ability to be accessed through an iPad, an iPhone or an Android. Nobody wants to miss out on sweet, sweet mobile traffic.

When it comes to mobile traffic there are two ways of going about making your website available to mobile users.

The first way is to have websites detect the browser of the user and then redirect them to the sub-domains that have mobile in the first part of the address/url which for example looks like this: will add a sub-domain like However, this is far from ideal. Upkeep of a separate site for mobile users is not something that any web developer wants to do… It just doubles the work. (We’ll get to more of this below).

The second way, the better way, is to use a theme that tailors itself to mobile or desktop users automagically. Fortunately, WordPress offers themes for mobile access like WordPress Mobile Pack and WPTouch, which are a better option than the mobile sub-domains.

Here are three reasons why using a WordPress theme that adapts to your user’s platform rather than a mobile subdomains is the better choice:

Creation and Maintenance of Website

Mobile subdomains demand the creation and upkeep of mobile version of each and every page which requires a number of people that you must pay to maintain the two versions of your website. If it’s a dynamic site, then you must pay your developer to create such a site and then create a way to sync the two sites together – a task easier said than done.

Meanwhile, when you use mobile themes, every page and links are easily converted into a mobile-friendly format. Mobile surfers and browsers will be able to see everything on your website, no need to make another version of the main domain to convert it to a subdomain.

Search Engine Optimization

You will take a hit on your search engine ranking because of the inconsistency of your domains and the additional subdomains and duplicate content pointed at multiple permalinks.

For example: There are a total of twenty people who viewed and visited your website, ten from desktops and ten from mobile browsers which have been redirected from the domain to a mobile subdomain. So, what happens now is that you actually get ten hits on each page from the twenty views you had which in the process will lessen your ability to rank higher in search. This is because Google tracks clicks, and for your website Google tracked one click to each page, rather than twice the clicks to half the number of pages. To Google this splits the score in a quarter per page (this is an example). Further Google sees duplicate content, and says no way this is going up in the search index. I hope you get the idea.

On the other hand, if you choose to use WordPress mobile themes then nothing changes, the mobile theme will adapt to whoever is accessing your website, either a desktop user or a mobile surfer which means that every click is credited and Google will be your best pal, sort of like Milhouse.

Social Media Sharing and Going Viral

Mobile subdomains lead to confusion.

Why? With the social networking and media hype, many internet users around the world happen to share links all of the time. So, if you shared a link that is in mobile format and your friend viewed it on his desktop your friend won’t really be happy because he’ll get a mobile version instead of the desktop version. If that is the case then there is a good possibility that your link will no longer be shared, and will never go viral.

With WordPress mobile themes, your readers will be able to see everything about your website, whatever means they are using whether they are using their desktop or an iPhone.

Traffic is the most important thing that will keep a website up and running because the more traffic generated, the greater the possibility of achieving higher search engine ranking.

Published on: 18 May 2012
Posted by: AJ B.