Let me just get this out of the way right now- I am not a fan of mobile themes. And now I’m less of a fan now that I discovered that they are a money-losing proposition. Here’s why.
First of all there are very few mobile wordpress themes that are actually good looking and useful. Have you ever been surfing the web on your phone and came across a site and said “yeah!!! a mobile theme!!”? Nobody has. Because they are mostly outdated. With today’s high speed 3g and better networks, and widespread WiFi usage at home and in public, there’s no need for these themes to strip out all the great graphical elements that make your sites look so good in exchange for a marginal increase in loading speed.
Don’t even get me started on sites that won’t let you switch out of the mobile theme or even limit the functions of the mobile theme compared to the full site. Hell yes I want the full site and I don’t want to have to scroll until my thumb hurts to find the link (if there is one) to turn it on. An obvious exception would be a flash heavy site being optimized for flash-less iPhones and iPads as well as sites that are simply not readable on a small device.
But the big thing is that these themes are costing you money! The title of this recent article explains it all: Why Do People Click On Smartphone Ads? Because They Have Fat Fingers. Boom there it is. 20% of all mobile ad clicks are a result of fat fingers.
Think about it- Google’s own Adsense guidelines encourage you to blend the ads in with matching colors and place them right in with the text for best conversions. If you haven’t done this yet, read the guidelines and tips and do it. So why would you want a mobile theme plugin that does the exact opposite- separating the ads to make the content stick out more? You don’t.
Now of course this makes the assumption that Adsense is a major revenue source for your blog and part of your goal list for what actions you want visitors to take (I typically want every visitor to my sites to do one or more of the following: subscribe via facebook, email, rss or twitter, buy something using an affiliate link, share the post on a social network, or click on an ad). The goal is to increase readership or monetize the visitor.
Another point is that many desktop and laptop users have adblocking browser plugins so they will never see your ads (tip! if you are running private direct sale ads you can do a hack-around by not naming your ads or having them in a folder with one of the typical blacklist words like “ads” “sponsored”, etc). But mobile users will be shown ads, so you want to make sure they actually see them.
Now most ad networks don’t want you to encourage people to click on the ads fraudulently but is your mobile theme actually DISCOURAGING people from clicking ads? With the great increase in mobile traffic, it’s something you should take a look at closely.