Easy way to create a mobile site for your charity
The web is quickly moving from the confines of the desktop or laptop and onto the mobile phones of users all over the world.
It’s taken a long time to get to this point but now more and more users are getting smart phones like the iPhone or Android it’s more important than ever to provide content that works well on mobile browsers.
Bullying UK has had a mobile site for a number of years but it always had one big difference with the main site, we could only deliver a small subset of our advice.
This was down to size of screens, download considerations and the huge amount of content we would have to update on the mobile site with each change on the main site.
We recently stumbled across Mofuse mobile website builder and not only does it create mobile sites that work across all mobile phones, but it’s so quick and easy you will be done in a couple of hours as long as you have RSS feeds for your main site’s content.
The project – m.cyberbullying.co.uk
When we realised how easy Mofuse was going to be to use we decided to have a go at one of our projects in a day. This basically involved taking a project from concept to launch in 24 hours using only tools from start-up businesses and for a low cost of £0. Yes we like to stack the deck against ourselves from the word go.
We fired off an email to Mofuse with a really brief outline of what we thought we were trying to do and asked them if they would donate an account. They emailed right back saying they would love to and upgraded our account.
This is why we love working with start-ups. They are always very happy to help and the benefit to a charity of working with cutting edge tech as you will read is huge.
OK, first things first. Create a site in the Mofuse dashboard. Once that’s done and before we do anything else we need to make sure the DNS for m.cyberbullying.co.uk is set-up and pointed into the Mofuse servers. Instructions to do that are on the SETTINGS > DOMAINS page.
You do get a Mofuse subdomain (sitename.bxs.mobi) for testing your site but we needed the entire thing live in 24 hours so setting up the DNS now was inportant.
The reason to do this first is it can take up to 24 hours to be updated around the world. The way we have our DNS set-up means changes are reflected in just a few minutes but depending on your host it may take up to 24 hours, something to be aware of. We use Nettica for DNS by the way.
It involves creating a CNAME record in your main sites DNS settings (Ask your ADMIN). We would suggest using m.mycharity.com the M stands for Mobile and is the general convention the web is using to identify a mobile site as part of a main domain.
Pulling in your content to Mofuse
Remember we mentioned that one of the major problems is keeping content up-to-date across two sites, your main one and your mobile. Well, thanks to the Mofuse RSS import feature it makes it really quick to pull your site’s content in.
First off, go to ADD ELEMENT and create a TITLE and save it, then find the RSS option and add the RSS feed to the content you want on the site and save.
Then go to Site Layout, add both the items you created to your site layout (click the arrows). On the site layout click the RSS item and drag it to the RIGHT so it appears INDENTED under the TITLE.
This will mean a user has to click the title to arrive at the content contained in the RSS feed. With your content added you’re done.
Now anytime you update your main website or add a new page the mobile site will be updated automatically.
Setting up your RSS feed or feeds
OK, this is really important. Most RSS feeds only contain between 20 and 50 items and may only include a snippet of the content, make sure you set your RSS to include every word.
Depending on the size of your site, you may need many more items in the feed to cover your entire site or the sections of the site you want to represent. You also need to change the settings in Mofuse when you add the RSS feed so it will include all the items in your RSS.
Bullying UK runs an RSS for each section of the site and a master feed that tracks every page and every word on the page. This is not a feed you should expose to your users, it’s really only for purposes like this.
Making it look pretty and adding more content
You can make your site match the general colours of your main site or brand using the colour palettes. Drag them to the colour you want or if you know the #colour enter it and click save. You can tweak the backgrounds, header, links and text.
Mofuse has a few extra content options like maps and images. You can also add static text you have written yourself if you don’t want to go down the RSS route.
Stats, mobile sitemaps and advertising
Stats are the life blood of a charity, it’s how we measure success and prove the value of our work.
Mofuse offer a basic stats screen that shows you visitors per day but also Google Analytics so you can see mobile site traffic in your Google Analytics dashboard.
Mobile Sitemaps can be added to your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard and help Google to index your mobile site quicker as well as link-in data. You are using Google Webmaster Tools for your main site aren’t you?
We know some like to have a way to monetise the platforms you operate and Mofuse have you covered with AdSense and other advertising services, just follow the instructions and your adverts will be integrated.
The end results
The entire time to create m.cyberbullying.co.uk was three hours and that included the learning curve which is very gentle. We really have to give much kudos to Mofuse for creating a toolset that is so easy to use we were able to create TWO mobile sites in 24 hours!
We said at the start we love to stack the deck against ourselves when working on one of our projects in 24 hours. We were completely blown away to be able to also get m.bullying.co.uk online at the same time and it really does show how easy it should be for any charity to convert their main website to the mobile web.
It’s not just the ease of building the sites that really impressed us but also the care shown towards the more advanced tools that people like us need to measure our impact.
So there you have it. Two projects launched in under 24 hours for the cost of £0, in the first three days m.cyberbullying.co.uk was online more than 300 people accessed the site from a multitude of different mobile phones.
The end result is more people being able to get access to Bullying UK’s award-winning advice at the very moment they need support. It is one of the organisation’s founding stones we call it In Time Support – the advice you need at the time you need it on whatever device you have to hand at the time.
We will be speaking to Mofuse to see if they will provide a discount rate for other charity / non-profits. Please leave a comment below and we will pass along your desire to use Mofuse to them.
We really hope you enjoyed this look at the mobile web, Bullying UK and Mofuse.