Why your church needs a mobile friendly website
One of the most prevalent online offenses of churches today is not having mobile friendly websites.
But before getting into 4 major benefits of having a mobile friendly website, here are...
5 defining factors of a mobile friendly website:
- Mobile friendly websites have larger text/buttons. Because of the nature of using your fingers to navigate, one of the many signs of a mobile friendly website is being able to cleanly select links on a page. This is easily accomplished by having buttons or pictures represent links rather than text. When text is used you have to make sure you’re giving ample space for a person’s thumb or finger to click on your link, otherwise, it’s not very friendly to the mobile user.
- Mobile friendly websites have large navigation panes. It’s common in responsive websites to have their navigation bar shrunk down to an incredibly small size in order to show on a phone or tablet. A true mobile friendly website will include an icon of some sort clearly offering the navigation menu to appear when clicked. When in use, the navigation menu will take up the entire screen in order to be large enough to press with ease on a phone or tablet.
- Mobile friendly websites do not have “pinch to zoom” sections on their website. We’ve all had to zoom in on our phones before when text is too small to read, or the fill in form is too small to click. Mobile friendly websites remove this problem by having each item on the website enlarged and moved around as the screen size shrinks in order to have every item easily accessible.
- Mobile friendly websites will not require software uncommon to mobile devices. This is the most complicated of problems (and thankfully the least seen). The most crucial example is having flash on a website. Most mobile devices will not play flash video and the last thing you want a mobile visitor to find is that they will have to save your webpage to watch it later on their computer, which they will most likely not do.
- Mobile friendly websites have short loading times. Although all websites need to load quickly, it is especially true for mobile websites. The problem has come about because as our computer displays have become larger and more fine and our internet connections have gotten faster, it’s naturally slower for a mobile device trying to load the same website. Not only that, but people browsing the web on their mobile device tend to be more impatient. Because of this, it’s crucial to have a website with fast loading times in order to not lose your mobile visitors.
As a rule of thumb:
If you think anything is more difficult to do on your website while using a phone rather than a computer, your website probably needs to be updated to be mobile friendly.
Now that we have defined what makes a website mobile friendly, let’s look more at why it is important.
Having a Mobile Friendly Website Will Mean:
You Are Accommodating a Growing Group of Online Visitors
Current estimations show that 40% of your web traffic will come from mobile devices (as of July 2015) and this number will only keep growing. I can testify to this as our church (Redemption Church Delray Beach) has had 41% of all its traffic within the last couple months coming from people on mobile devices. As websites in general continue to become more mobile friendly, people's expectations will continue to rise, and it's only a matter of time before non-mobile friendly websites will be ignored completely.
Higher Search Rankings on Google
Earlier this year (2015), Google made an official change in their ranking methods for websites to include greater considerations for a website being mobile friendly. You can read a more in-depth article about it on my blog at this link.
The big idea, however, is that if someone is looking for a church or to know more about Jesus or the Bible, Google will rate your website lower and it will be much harder to get your website to show up in Google searches if your website is not mobile friendly. Alternatively, by having a mobile friendly site, your site will be ranked higher and will be more likely to show up in searches that are relevant to your church.
A General Boost in Design Quality
Although having a mobile friendly website will not fix all of your problems, it will fix many of the visual complications found on most websites. The most overlooked benefit of mobile friendly websites is not that they shrink down appropriately to the size of a phone or tablet screen, but that they adjust to any size screen or window. This means that if someone is looking at your website on a 40 inch screen, your website will enlarge to use every bit of that screen space. Conversely, if you have an 11 inch computer monitor with the web browser only taking up half the screen, your website won’t require scrolling left to right in order for the viewer to see all of your content. This is a great benefit for any person using your website in any context.
A Unified Experience Across Devices
Have you ever experienced a website that was easy to navigate on a computer, but then felt clunky or even completely unusable on a mobile device? Some websites even have a designated mobile version of their site, but the mobile version usually does not include all of the same pages or features, which can be extremely frustrating. Even more, by having a designated mobile version of your website, you now have to update in two places, while also taking care of two different sets of backend management, maintenance, and SEO. Having a single website that is mobile friendly, in order to bring a unified experience across devices, will save you time, money, and plenty of headaches.
Having a Mobile Friendly Website Will Mean:
- You Are Accommodating a Growing Group of Online Visitors
- Higher Search Rankings on Google
- A General Boost in Design Quality
- A Unified Experience Across Devices