Given the nature of life and technology these days, it's no surprise that mobile is grabbing more and more of the tech spotlight. From last year's mobilegeddon – Google's search emphasis on mobile-friendliness and responsive design – to the increasing reliance on mobile devices for content consumption, the mobile boom is no longer a fad but just the way we do things.
That's great for mobile consumers. But what about content producers? A lot of them use WordPress, a CMS with usage statistics that prove its popularity – 27% or so of all websites, and an impressive 60% of all websites built using known CMSs. That's a lot of content creation and publication. Enter the official WordPress app, built by Automattic and available for both Android and iOS devices.
About the WordPress Mobile App
The WordPress mobile app promises to give you WordPress at your fingerprints, and that's pretty close to the reality. It may not be all you'll ever need to effectively run and publish an active blog or WordPress-based website. But it certainly can make life significantly easier. The mobile app works with both WordPress.com and WordPress.org. You'll simply need either:
- A WordPress.com blog and account; or
- A self-hosted WordPress.org site running 4.x for iOS or 3.5+ for the Android version
The user interface (UI) of the WordPress mobile app is based on the already-familiar WordPress dashboard layout. The similarity may prompt a user to wonder why the app is even necessary in the first place. After all, you could always simply open your actual dashboard in a mobile browser.
The difference is that the dashboard interface we're all most familiar with isn't optimized for a mobile device display. The app version of dashboard is, and so most users will find it easier to use. The app also integrates with the Jetpack plugin to help sites with that plugin installed run smoothly.
What the WordPress Mobile App Can Do
The WordPress mobile app is surprisingly deft. You can use it to access most of the major blog management tasks, such as adding new posts, editing drafts, and uploading photos taken with the mobile device. You'll also be able to access a number of statistics about your blog: views, origin of traffic, and your most popular posts by rank.
One of the most useful tools common to mobile apps is the notification system, and the WordPress app makes good use of it here to help you keep track of what's going on with your blog. You can get push notifications for a number of events, including when readers leave comments on your posts. This helps you be more responsive to your users.
In addition to the blogging tools, the app also comes with Reader. This feature allows you to browse WordPress blogs that you've followed so you can keep up with the latest content published by your favorite WordPress-powered sites. You can also access content by using tags, as well as interact with your favorite content, leaving likes and comments to participate in conversations on favorite posts.
You can access support in the WordPress mobile app itself by going to the Help & Support section (the question-mark icon on your login screen) and then tapping Contact us. In addition, you might find helpful information at the forums or via the official app Twitter accounts:
- For the iOS app, visit the forums or tweet @WordPressiOS
- For the Android app, visit the forums or tweet @WPAndroid
And the Automattic team is fairly responsive to inquiries and complaints in store reviews, as well.
Drawbacks of the WordPress Mobile App
That said, the app doesn't give you access to the full range of functionality you'd get from the full dashboard in your web browser. You can't add WordPress plugins to your website, as an example. Moreover, there are small bits of functionality that some users might miss. A quick perusal of recent reviews on the Play Store, e.g. revealed complaints that links are no longer enabled in preview.
But with average ratings for both versions exceeding four stars, it's clear the WordPress mobile app is hitting its mark with many WordPress users, and it's definitely worth checking out for yourself. What do you think of the WordPress app, particularly its most recent updates? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!