How to make a theme responsive

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  john gronley 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #68480

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    Hello;

    I heard this morning that Google might ding some websites if they are not responsive themes. Is there a way to make the Freelance and Agentpress responsive? If not my hosting service Hostgator has a mobi version for $3 a month is this a good option? Also could someone look at this site and tell me which of the Studiopress Responsive themes would be easiest to customize to look like this site I built for my wife? psychiatristscottsdale.com

    Thanks,

    John

    #68492

    RobG
    Participant
    Post count: 1050

    Hi John, I would say paying $3 bucks amonth for a responsive theme is really not a good deal at all, Why not just buy a mobile ready theme from StudioPress for a one time price? makes sinse.

    I came accross Brads tutorial on how to convert your XHTML to HTML5, http://wpsites.net/wordpress-themes/how-to-convert-your-studiopress-child-theme-from-xhtml-to-html-5/ with some treaking you should be ok…Save your chash


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    #68509

    jhguynn
    Participant
    Post count: 217

    John:

    I don’t know the answer to your question about making a theme responsive. However, If you’re patient, I have a hunch that all Studiopress themes will eventually be re-issued as HTML5 responsive themes. I.e. Freelance Pro, Agentpress Pro, etc.

    You asked about which responsive themes might work for you? Your design skills look pretty good (judging by the site you built), so I suppose you could use a lot of the Studiopress themes as a starting point.

    Dynamik Webiste Builder (theme) and Genesis Extender (plugin) by http://www.cobaltapps.com/ might also be a good place to start, or at least help you customize the theme you choose.

    Regards, Jeff.

    #68512

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    Thanks guys I will try all these as well as review the HTML5 video that Brad posted.

    #68522

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    One question does changing the theme to HTML5 make this fully responsive or are there other tweaks? I like the Genesis extender too it looks like it will be easy to make custom home pages and basically build your own child theme?

    #68530

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    One other question is what about the slider plugins on a websie will the HTML5 take care of those or do I have to use responsive sliders?

    #68532

    jhguynn
    Participant
    Post count: 217

    John:

    Bear in mind, Genesis Extender is a plugin, so you need an existing child theme as a starting point. Dynamik Website Builder is a theme, however, so every time you use it your building a new child theme. Cobalt apps even has a marketplace for themes compatible with Genesis / Dynamik.

    #68534

    jhguynn
    Participant
    Post count: 217

    John:

    Pretty sure the slider has to be responsive.

    #68541

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    Great Thanks, I will purchase that and tool around with it when I get some time maybe over the holidays when it is slow…

    #68554

    Summer
    Participant
    Post count: 1092

    John, I’m curious where you heard/read the report about Google penalizing sites that aren’t responsive. I can sort of understand the thinking behind wanting to down-rank standard sites in searches done from mobile devices in favor of ones that are mobile friendly, but to do that overall?

    If they are thinking about heading that way to force people to move mobile, I’d like to start reading up on that. I had one client freak out on me when I created the first demo of his new site for him… it was responsive, and had a slider and presented more of his info on the main page, and he was literally frightened. Said that there was no way he could use that site because it would scare away all of his older customers. That was a new one for me :)

    Also, if you ever want to talk shop with another Valley-based Genesis designer, just give me a shout!


    #68557

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    Yes I was at a seminar today and one of the guys speaking said that because of the increased mobi traffic Google is trying to ensure the pleasure of those searching and will soon begin to favor responsive sites to enhance one’s experience. I think he said that they estimate that traffic from pads and smart phones in nearing 60% and increasing and they don’t want to fall behind the curve so Google is going to be proactive and play to the market. I hope not too soon but I think it is time that I tweak the sites that are high priority to me. I see that blogger had done this months ago with their blogspot sites.

    #68581

    jhguynn
    Participant
    Post count: 217

    John: I want to encourage you (and other readers) to also consider using a dedicated mobile theme for hand-held device users. A simple plugin can direct the user appropriately (to either mobile site or full site), and there are ways to give the hand-held device user the option to view the full site (if they want). Here’s the reasoning:

    Optimizing the user experience is important to Google, so it’s important to me. Check.

    Note, however, that hand-held device users typically have different needs than a pc or tablet user,for whom the browsing experience is entirely different. This means serving up entirely different content, not just the same conetn in an optimized way. If you’re in your car on the way to a restaurant and you look up their site on an iPhone, you basically want (1) phone number, (2) directions, or (3) reviews. Why not make that immediately accessible on the frontpage of the mobile site? You wouldn’t necessarily do this on the full site.

    So yes, I care what Google wants. But I care more whether or not the user responds to my site in a way that makes sense. (are they calling? are they responding to call to action?) More than 1 click on a hand-held device is too much.

    It does mean more work: i.e. designing 2 separate sites. But consider this: when I expanded one website into 2 versions (full and mobile), my bounce rate for the main site got cut in half, page views and time on site tripled, and the stats for the mobile site were pretty much identical to the full site. Beat that with a stick!

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

    • This reply was modified 11 months ago by  jhguynn.
    • This reply was modified 11 months ago by  jhguynn.
    #68639

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    That sounds like good reasoning! Are you saying to go with the two different sites to cut down the bounce rate? So we should change the code to HTML5 and if I have a slider such as WP Cycle, I should find one that is responsive and that should take care of it? I know for the Realtors that I build sites for, We want access to property searches and their listings. Easy enough and already on the home page and easy to reconfigure onto a mobi site?

    For my wife’s site, her clients won’t be on a mobile phone except for maybe finding her contact info which is on the home page as well; though I would hate for Google to zing her site even though 95% of her clients will search for her services on a desktop and read her articles; if she gets kicked off of page one because her theme is not responsive, then the two sites are better?. I was going to take the video that Rob posted and convert my sites to HTML5 and then replace the sliders. I hope this will be as good as the pre-designed responsive themes? If not then I will use the responsive themes whenever possible. Or are you suggesting that I go with the hostgator type of mobi site?

    Thanks for the valuable input!

    John

    #68751

    john gronley
    Participant
    Post count: 124

    J are you suggesting that I go with the Mobi through Hostgator to keep the bounce rate down on the site? If so I think it is an easy solution and $3 a month isn’t all that bad? Or are you suggesting that I go to the HTML5 and make the theme responsive?

    Thanks for the clarification (I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer),

    John

    #68755

    emasai
    Participant
    Post count: 669

    HTML5 does not make a site responsive, the viewport meta tag and media queries do that. However, most of the new themes being offered on the Genesis framework, which are HTML5, are also built to be responsive.

    It really depends on your target clientele, phone users want quick access to information that they can scroll through and read easily. Desktop and even tablet users might like a more visually enhanced experience. So your choice of one responsive site or a separate mobile solution really depends on what the end user needs to get from your site. I certainly would never view real estate on a phone, on a tablet perhaps, but then I’m not 20 years old with 20/20 vision.


    Need Website Customization or a Responsive CSS fix? Contact Me
    Lynne emasai.com

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