We may be two weeks away from what we may look back at as the real beginning of the mobile media revolution -- assuming Apple really does blow people away with their tablet introduction. But media people can't just wait around, or at least they shouldn't.
Here is a short guide to assist small business publishers, as well as individuals and organizations, get their content on mobile devices -- concentrating on cell phones for now.
Let's break this up into two categories: 1) the go-it-alone type who is doing to do all the work themselves; and 2) the site that will call on the work of their designated web genius (we hope).
Our first company probably crosses into both categories. MoFuse has been a leader in the mobile area for a while now.
Their new free service for bloggers is very handy indeed. While their design template is rudimentary, and does not offer much in the way of customization, nonetheless, the conversion process from start to finish is fast and easy. You can also redirect your mofuse.mobi site to a custom domain through changes to your dns records.
Most importantly, at least to me, you can quickly monetize your site by adding Google AdSense or Admob ads to your site. In this case, I added Admob ads because, more often than not, their ads resemble web banner ads as opposed to text based ads (though they sell both). The down side of this is that MoFuse will get a cut.
Essentially this free service is simply an RSS reader, displaying stories in list form on the home page. Nonetheless, if this is all you are looking for, their free service could be a good solution. I do not know how MoFuse would feel about community publishers who use WordPress or Blogger using their free service, but if you are a nonprofit they might not object.
MoFuse's professional services are far more appropriate for building custom mobile sites that are more graphical and attractive. The costs can range anywhere from $7.95 to $199 a month depending on add-ons and total pageviews your mobile site generates. The good news is that someone who has multiple sites can register once and manage up to five sites. You can probably also negotiate a custom contract by calling the company and working out a plan.
Mofuse seems like a safe way to go for both types of media entities. Not only does the company have lots of experience and customers, the end product is still clearly branded as yours. This is very important as some application developers are beginning to offer free services for app development but with a hefty hidden price -- the loss of your brand.
One last thing: I don't know if MoFuse was conducting maintenance on their servers over the MLK holiday but both their site and the mobile version of my sites were very slow to load on Monday. You can test out the Talking New Media site for yourself at http://talkingnewmedia.mofuse.mobi/
Next: some other providers including Instant Mobilzer and Mobify.