More than 60% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
As laptop and home computer usage declines, mobile telephone usage continues to increase. Americans are now spending more than five hours a day on their telephones. This means more people are visiting your site from a smaller screen.
In order to be mobile-friendly, your website has to offer optimal quality and performance regardless of the device used to view it.
Google search engines take mobile-friendliness into account when ranking websites for results. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s not likely to make the first page of results when someone looks online for church recommendations.
- Research indicates that users make a judgment about your website in less than 1 second. If they don’t immediately like what they see, they will move on to another.
- Almost 90% of people won’t revisit a site after a bad experience. Rarely will you get a second chance.
- People are less likely to recommend a poorly designed website. Since word of mouth is a key influencer in consumer decisions, this will lead to less visits overall.
Being mobile-friendly increases the chance that your website will be found, viewed, revisited and recommended. But you have just one very brief chance to make a great first impression.
Ask yourself these questions to determine how your site fares:
- Are my pictures and text easily readable? Your font size, buttons and images should be large enough that users don’t have to pinch and expand.
- Is it easy to find what most people are looking for? If you don’t know what visitors are looking for, check out your website's analytics to determine which areas are most frequently accessed.
- Does my site load quickly? Users won’t wait for a site that is slow to load.
Unless you answer these three questions with a resounding yes, it’s time to update your website. If you still aren’t sure, check out Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool or Bing’s mobile-friendliness test. Type in your web address and the tool will test your site and give you a summary report.
The easiest way to update is to hire a professional who can create a responsive design for your site. This type of website design automatically adjusts the content of your website to appear in different formats for different user experiences.
The Local Church Services team at United Methodist Communications offers a variety of website services for $200 and less.
If your church can’t afford a professional web designer, don’t despair. Here are a few simple steps you can take to get started with mobile friendliness:
- View your website on various devices. Take notes about what works well and what doesn’t.
- Glean inspiration from other church websites that work well on mobile devices. Incorporate similar ideas into your own design.
- Simplify your design.
- Utilize a single-column format for forms.
- Select a larger font and button size.
- Make sure that the information your users want is on the home page or easy to locate.
- Compress your images to help increase loading speed.
- Include lots of white space. Don’t pack too much text into one spot.
- Eliminate ads, pop-ups or any other elements that hinder the reader from clearly reading the text.
- Research other ways to increase the speed at which your page loads.
- Enlist the help of a volunteer who understands web design.
Think of your website as an extension of your sanctuary. Your church welcomes and includes everyone. Your website also should be an inviting experience for every user.
This year, make it a priority to make your site friendlier.
Tricia K. Brown is a Christian author and inspirational speaker. She shares stories of life, loss and laughter to encourage women to grow in their relationships with the Lord and each other. Her recent fiction release, “Seen, Heard, Beloved,” can be purchased on Amazon. For more information about her ministry and books, visit The Girls Get Together.