I’m going to start off talking about a plugin called WP-Touch. It basically does one job for your blog; it makes it mobile friendly in a very easy way so that you don’t have to re-code your entire blog (which I had to do years ago for my regular websites. It worked “almost” immediately, because I had to go back and remove certain code that I’d put into my blogs while trying to make them user friendly on my own.
What it looks like on mobile
So, it was mobile friendly, which was nice; it was also broken in a few ways. Once you’ve added the plugin, you go to Appearance on your internal sidebar, then select Customize. That’s where you get to make certain changes in how you want your mobile page to look. You only get one theme unless you pay for the Pro version, which I decided I didn’t need. I got to change the colors, determine how many articles I wanted to share initially, etc. There’s lots of choices one can make, and since I was going to do the same for every blog I have and manage, I didn’t want to overdo it.
You see above how it looks, right? Well… it didn’t always look that way. For a few years, I had problems getting it to work properly with every blog I was responsible for. Sometimes the background was white; sometimes it wouldn’t show the format you see above, instead defaulting to the desktop view.
I saw that as problematic and looked unprofessional, like I was some kind of hack. I did what I could with the limited time I had. I found something on the WP-Touch page that talked about problems one might have, but it was geared towards the Pro version, and it didn’t offer enough information for me to figure it out. Talk about frustration; ugh! However, I knew I couldn’t contact them to ask for more information, not being a pro version owner.
If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my tenacity to do due diligence when it comes to researching how to address issues in my life. So, about 3 weeks ago on a Saturday or Sunday, I decided it was time to search as much as possible to find something that would help me out. I scoured the WordPress.org site looking for assistance, but all I saw were the same types of complaints I had without any solutions.
Finally… I found a link on, of all places, WordPress.com, titled Incompatible Plugins. It never occurred to me that I’d find answers there, but it turned out to be epically helpful.
This page actually lists all the plugins that it’s found to potentially be incompatible with WordPress software. It breaks them up into plugin categories: Caching, Backup, SQL Heavy, Database / File System Altering, Email, Automated Content, and Miscellaneous. Some, like Email, only mentions a few plugins. Others list a lot, all in alphabetical order (thanks y’all!).
Sometimes we can be “plugin heavy”, as in using way too many plugins and having more than one plugin that actually handles the same thing. The list is comprehensive, but luckily I don’t have “that” many plugins, so I knew everything it listed wasn’t going to be on my blogs.
I decided that I would see which plugins I had that were on the list, then deactivate them in order to see which, if any, could be the source of the problem. I also decided that anything the list mentioned that I had a different plugin doing the same type of thing that wasn’t on the list was going to be deleted; that’s the smart thing to do, because duplication is overkill.
I started out with the caching plugins, which is the topic of the first list. I had two running: Comet Cache and WP Fastest Cache. I removed each separately, checked this blog on mobile, and nothing changed. However, I also have a plugin called Autoptimize, which basically does that, though it’s not a caching plugin, and many other things. I didn’t need 3 plugins addressing that, and Autoptimize wasn’t on the list, so the other two had to go.
The next topic was backup plugins. I have Backup For WP, which wasn’t on their list, so I was good there.Next was SQL plugins, and I have one of those, Broken Link Checker, which I’ve used for years. However, I don’t always have it activated, only using it here and there to do a quick check since this blog’s pretty old, and it was already deactivated so I knew it wasn’t the problem. After that was database plugins, which I didn’t specifically have since I use Backup For WP to handle that, so once again I was good.
Email and automated content were next on the list; I don’t use either of those types of services, so I got to skip those lists. That means what was left was Miscellaneous.
Of course it’s the longest list, and I worked my way down the list, making sure I wasn’t missing anything. I got to the bottom of the list and there it was; WP-Optimize. The thing is, the list doesn’t have the dash between the two words, and it mentions being from xTraffic, whereas mine lists a different name. Still, it’s a plugin that basically runs most of the time, even when you’re not doing anything on your blog, and I already have Autoptimize doing the same thing.
When I deactivated it… it worked on mobile! I deactivated it on all the other blogs I run; it worked everywhere! Just to be sure I did some Google research on it, and it seems there’s about 15 to 20% of users who complained that it did nefarious things concerning their blogs.
I decided not to over-think things; it needed to go, along with the other two mentioned earlier. Just so you know, certain plugins won’t work well without a caching program, but in general all should be good.
highlighted content to be “read”
Next, let’s talk about Responsive Voice. This will only work on your desktop, but it’s a cute little plugin… sort of.
I came across it accidentally on Holly Jahangiri’s blog A More Positive Perspective when I highlighted something I wanted to see better once I increased the font, and it started talking to me. I was shocked, so I asked her how it was working and she referred me to the Responsive Voice plugin.
You won’t find the plugin through your blog; you have to go to the Responsive Voice website if you want to download the plugin to your computer, then upload the app. You also have the option to add code to your header (header.php) to bypass the plugin.
I went the plugin route first, but the program was wonky. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t. I changed to the code and it works, but it’s a bit temperamental. lol In other words, it’s not the smoothest thing in the world, but at least it works. Also, sometimes it only works if you copy the text upwards. You can make changes to the code, which the webpage tells you about and how to change things. The one thing I’ve yet to do is add a button to tell people they can listen to it. However, if you want to test it yourself, highlight a couple of paragraphs and take a listen for yourself.
That’s all I’ve got; a two-for-one update on plugins that might help you to enhance your blog, both on mobile and desktop, though it’s possible that once I add the notification button it might read the entire article; if that happens I’ll update this article. 😉