5 tools to take your Web site mobile

Many DIY mobile app development services contain options for optimizing Web sites, but these companies make it a central focus.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

The case for optimizing Web sites to display on smartphones and tablet computers grows stronger pretty much every day, especially for businesses such as restaurants and retailers (for various, not entirely similar reasons). 

Many do-it-yourself (DIY) mobile application development resources include an option or service for optimizing your mobile Web site, but there are also companies that make this their primary focus. Two that I've been watching are Jimdo, which just released a mobile app for interacting with its platform; and GinWiz, which focuses on rendering the desktop version of a site into an edition that displays better on mobile devices.

Jimdo's new mobile client

Jimdo, which hails from Germany, puts all of its energy into an "intuitive" platform that small businesses can use to create Web sites (not just those that are intended for mobile interaction). Earlier this month, it released a native Apple iOS application that lets you create or edit them using an iPhone or an iPad.

This is really good for small-business owners that need to add or modify content on their site often, from the road. For example, a photographer could add new galleries from a photo shoot or a restaurant could upload new menu information right from the kitchen.

"The desktop version of Jimdo is already powerful," said Christian Springub, co-founder of the company, in a statement. "By integrating the new app with our existing platform, users now have the freedom, to decide when, where and with what device they edit their sites. Users can even start on one device and finish on another."

Other things you can do on the fly with the mobile app include reordering pages, deleting content, or tracking traffic.

Jimdo's platform is available in 12 different languages, and it has been used to build approximately 8 million Web sites. There's a free version, if you don't mind using an assigned URL. Otherwise, the platform is priced starting at $90 per year.

GinWiz offers tips and tricks for mobile Web creation

GinWiz, by InfoGin, is focused more explicitly on helping small businesses optimize their mobile presence. In fact, it offers a gamut of tips that aren't necessarily platform independent, which are a worthwhile check list for any small-business owner thinking through this issue.

Its services for helping your company do this come in two flavors:

  • A self-serve option that is free, but is limited as to the domain name that you use and the bandwidth that is supported. 
  • OR, custom mobile Web development conversions that are currently being offered at discounted prices starting at $86.40 annually. These packgaes including your domain name, supported bandwidth started at 1 gigabyte (GB), unlimited pages and templates, analytics, search engine optimization, and support for up to 14,000 different mobile devices.

GinWiz also focuses on keeping your company's desktop and mobile Web site editions in synchronization. With its services, all changes made on the desktop are automatically reflected to visitors viewing the site mobilely.

The company behind GinWiz is InfoGin, a mobile browsing technology company founded in 2000 that works with wireless carriers and telecommunications companies.

Other players to watch

Jimdo and GinWiz aren't the only companies making mobile Web a priority, of course, but they are the only two that have put themselves on my active radar screen in the past two months. Here are some other companies that are worth some attention.

  • DudaMobile - The platform is compatible with the major smartphone operating systems, including Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry and Windows. The premium version is compatible with a number of significant platforms such as Open Table, PayPal and WordPress. One shortcoming is that it doesn't currently support Magento e-commerce technology. The premium plan currently starts at $7.20 (with a discount).
  • GoMobi - This is a service from dotMobi, an alliance founded by 14 leading technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Visa and a number wireless carriers. Its approach is to offer a redirection code that sends visitors from your main site to whichever one might be best for their browsing experience. You can try it for free and then arrange for a subscription from one of its business partners.
  • bMobilized- This services company converts existing Web content into HTML 5 web sites. It actually has done this for a number of existing small businesses and created a directory of them. If you want to proceed and need customizations, it will cost your company $9 per month.

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