January 20, 2010 Last Updated 12:30 pm

Going mobile: inexpensive (or free) solutions to get your content on mobile browsers (part 2)

In part two of this series we look at a couple of companies that offer services similar to MoFuse, but with variations.

Mobify offers a truly custom solution for those who want their sites to be viewed in a mobile format on smart phones. The process process begins with creating the mobile layout from live elements of your web site. And immediately, here is where Mobify would require a little more technical know-how: “it helps to know CSS!”. From here one moves on to working on the mobile design, to deployment, to picking your plan.

The example I chose from Mobify’s web site was completed by a web design firm — and it shows. Aztekweb’s mobile conversion not only mirrors their own web site, but contains important design elements that still work well on this iPhone version. Others did not migrate as well. You can see other examples on Mobify’s gallery pages.

Mobify offers pricing that ranges from free to their enterprise level which requires a custom quote. Their “Publisher” level costs $99 per month ad server integration, but no SSL security. Mobify’s free option does offer you a custom domain, but they list “custom branding” as not included. This could be a deal breaker for many.

Instant Mobilizer offers a format that is similar to that of MoFuse but has some advantages. The whole process works like launching a web site. The user uses one of the company’s registrar partners to register a .mobi domain. Then the mobile provider let’s you preview your site to see how it would look using Instant Mobilizer.

Sadly, this is where things fall apart pretty quickly. Using the preview this is what saw (see right). Not encouraging. I then tested a WordPress site and received the same warning screen.  OK, I thought, let’s test another of my sites that is plain ol’ html. It rendered the site without a problem, but . . . no way I would consider the newly rendered mobile site acceptable.

Instant Mobilizer’s advantage is that pricing is simply the cost of registering a new site and paying for hosting. The downside of this approach, however, is that most publishers are not looking for a new URL, but want a subdomain approach. That is, what I would want for www.CitizenPublishing.net would be a mobile domain that reads m.CitizenPublishing.net.

For those who insist on absolutely free, publishers can migrate their content using Mippin. Mippin allows content providers to get their news content seen on the Mippin service while maintaining your branding.

There are several things to like about Mippin: 1) it’s your brand and your site the readers sees; and 2) using Admob you can monetize your site (if you recall, we used Admob on the MoFuse example).

The bad news is obvious: this is Mippin, and the only way a reader will find your content is if they either search the Mippin service for you or the content you have tagged, or if they already know your Mippin address.

I will create new editions of this post as I discover more companies in this space. Feel free to contact me if you would like to publicize your company and its services, or if you know of more good choices for small and individual publishers.

Next, however, we look at the world of apps — stay tuned.

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