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Thread: Building a mobile/cell phone site - what works?

  1. #1

    Building a mobile/cell phone site - what works?

    I want to build a site for mobile/cell phones, I already have the perfect .mobi domain but I need to know what will work on it and what won't. I'd like to make a proxy list for phones (good idea eh?) and I'd like to use the database from one of my current list sites, it's easier that way for me. I do understand that some normal web code stuff won't work and they have to have different head/meta tags as well as smaller pages but I haven't found any 'dummies guide' sites with idiot proof instructions yet, suggestions or links welcome.

    I have tried an experiment or two but my problem is that I have a dumb phone, not a smart one (tbh it belongs in a museum it's so old) so can't test much myself. Plus the sites I want to link to are blocked by the provider's network (, is this normal? Can I use things like iframes and javascript in a mobile page? Do database commands work if I have to make special pages? Or rss feeds? If some kind soul can post a complete mobile template to try I'll give that a go too. I hope that standard cpanel hosting will be good enough.

    Some help and ideas would be welcome, as would offers of "I can do it for you" (if it's cheap, I'm a tightwad. I'm open to bargaining and barter tho'). I don't expect it to make much money, if any at all, but I would like to put adsense on it, they do have mobile ads. I want to think of it as more of a service so proxy users can use their own phones to get access to proxy lists when at work/school etc. so they don't have to try blocked listing sites to get new proxies. They might have to type in the urls to the PC's browser manually but at least they'll have the resourses to look them up first.

    If it's a bad idea I'd like to know that too (but please be gentle/subtle).
    If I can't be a good example, I'll just have to be a terrible warning...

  2. #2
    I have purchased just about every book on this subject and still do not have a solid solution. Mobile web sites are not as simple as standard web sites. The first problem is detecting the type of phone that a user is using and sending them to the correct template. The second problem is that there are over 100 different screen dimension combinations for cell phones. The third problem is testing a mobile site to make sure that the detection script is sending each phone to the correct template.

    You will need a detection script. Google offers a freebie script that I think I will try for my first site. php-mobile-detect - PHP class for mobile device detection - Google Project Hosting

    It looks like HTML 5 may be the language of choice for smart phones going forward. There are a range of other languages used, as well.

    There are a number of sites that automatically generate a mobile site, but they look very limited and may not be reliable.

    Matt Cutts suggests simply sending mobile users and GoogleBot Mobile to a mobile subdomain, rather than using a .mobi domain.

    More Google info:


    If someone has an easy solution for this, I would like to hear about it.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    Well it seemed like a good idea at the time, lol. I have trawled google for hours and haven't been able to find out much. A lot of the info is years out of date or it's offers from companies trying to make a few bucks from you, or doing it for free but on their subdomains with their ads. I don't want either. The screen size isn't so much of an issue I don't think, not for a list anyway, as long as it shows the url's it'll do. I don't expect users to click links either, it's more for reference so they can type them in at wherever they are. I've even found a few 'test' sites but all they do is iframe it in a picture of a phone so not a proper test at all. I did find the mobile detect script but can't test it myself. I found a few templates as well so it looks like I'm going to have to do some more work on this. I also find it surprising that my mobile network would censor sites too, it's not their job to block url's, only to provide access. If it was a malware site I could understand but a listing site?

    I am starting from scratch tho' and tbh I don't even know much about the basics like what will work on a phone and what won't, so I'm already at a disadvantage. I 'm used to ordinary sites and html/php etc. but this mobile lark is like a foreign language, it looks the same and used the same characters but means nothing (yet). I've made a start anyway and for those interested or want to give me some feedback then have a look at for the iframe and for the java widget thing. I would like to do this but I'll probably make more selling the domain, or parking it. Maybe I should buy a smart phone to test stuff out. I'm only after a simple site that works, I don't need anything fancy, although it would be better if it looked nice. I might end up just making a mobile page on my main sites if that's what people do but I thought it'd be better having a 'proper' mobile site. But what do I know
    If I can't be a good example, I'll just have to be a terrible warning...

  4. #4
    I fully agree. I started buying books 6 months ago because of the lack of useful info on the web, but I still don't know the best way to do this.

    A smart phone only solves a portion of the problem. There are dozens of different smart phone screen dimensions. Even the iPhone 3 and iPhone 4 are different. I am tempted to allow the smart phones to display the standard web page (smart phones have browsers) and funnel everything else to special mobile pages.

    I've been reviewing the dimensions data in our AdWords clients' accounts and it looks like about 10% of their AdWords traffic is currently from mobile devices, so the use of mobile is here and is growing.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

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