How to build a website from your mobile device
So, you have a busy life, but you would like to build a website anyway. Maybe you want to blog. Maybe you want to do a comic. Maybe you have dreams of starting an online business.
Whatever the goal of the project, you are finding that the only hope you have of doing so involves working on it via tablet or smartphone in spare moments throughout the day. What to do?
First Things First
Some of the steps involved in building a website from your mobile device will be the same as any other website:
- Decide what you want to do with the site
- Pick a platform
- Pick a name
One reason to pick the platform before the name: If you are planning to build it for little or no money, you may want to use the free URL available via a free platform, such as .tumblr.com or .blogspot.com. If so, you will need to do this when you set up the site because it is the only way to know if the free URL is available.
If your heart is set on a particular name, you can try to buy a .com or .net or other URL. In many cases, this can be used with a free blog. For example, BlogSpot absolutely will allow you to use a custom domain. It isn’t very hard to arrange to set up the site so it uses a purchased domain name.
Download the App
If there is an app for the site, such as BlogSpot or WordPress, you will want to download the app to your mobile device. This will make it far easier to do some of the most basic work, such as writing rough drafts of future posts.
Spend a little time getting to know the app. Make sure you are comfortable with it. Make sure you understand what it can do and cannot do.
In fact, if you do not already have a platform preference, you might try looking at the apps for different platforms first. If you are going to be doing most of the development via mobile device, you are going to be using the app a lot. This may well be your primary interface with the site. So, make sure you like the app.
Learn a Few Mobile Hacks
Depending upon the platform and the device you are using, there may be ways to make the development process more mobile friendly. Take some time to find out what limitations you are running into, then see if there is a setting you can change or some known workaround to make it easier.
Often, one of the biggest hassles will be trying to work on the layout or template or “back end” details while you are on your mobile device. If you have access to another device, this may not be a big deal. This is typically a much smaller part of the process of developing a website than content creation.
But, if you absolutely need to do all of the development of this site on your mobile device, make sure that you can do so. On BlogSpot, the Blogger app does not currently support many of the backend functions, such as changing the template or adding links to a link list in your sidebar. Additionally, going into the Blogger interface via a browser may leave you frustrated and running into a dead end, where it just seems impossible to do the thing you need to do.
The good news: If you go directly to the website you are developing, BlogSpot will probably allow you edit it from there. You just have to click on the widget it shows in various parts of the layout when you are logged into your Blogger or Gmail account.
Whether you are taking photos or doing drawings or simply writing text, most websites are driven by content creation. You will want to develop the habit of jotting down ideas, making note of titles, and dashing off short blurbs as you think of them. Then, keep working on them as you have time to do so here and there.
If you are also taking photos or doing drawings, you will want to make sure your device supports that activity and you have apps for drawing, editing and so forth. Web development via mobile device will be very app driven. Make sure the device supports it, the app exists and you know how to use it.
You also want to make sure you have an easy means to upload such content to the site. You will need to do some research to find some best practices that work for you.
Pros and Cons
Working on a mobile device has some obvious limitations, such as a limited amount of data storage and difficulty accessing certain functions in certain environments. Don’t let these limitations discourage you. With a little time and effort, it is possible to find ways to work around them.
On the up side, mobile devices have the advantage that you can jot down ideas any time, anywhere. You can doodle or snap a photo or start a text draft while on the bus or waiting in line at a store. This is simply not possible with a traditional desktop computer. This constant access is enormously valuable for getting fresh ideas into the pipeline, and thereby keeping the website moving forward.
Mobile devices can help us find more hours in the day by making scraps of time here and there productive. It requires a bit of adaptation, but it opens up the possibility of developing a website in your “spare time” when you seem to have not a minute to spare.
With a little practice, these new practices can become as natural as your usual approach to development and can open up new opportunities. Take a photo here. Jot down an idea there. Edit them together at some point. Voila! Fresh, new content.