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Parish websites need to be "mobile first" - here's why

Your website needs to be mobile first

Smartphones are gateways to people. If your parish does not look good on phones, people will lose interest quickly. The first impression counts more than you would like it to. Here is how to make it a good one!

Smartphones dominate everyday life

The first device people use to go online is their smartphone. A website needs to accommodate that, so it needs to...

  • look good on screens of all sizes, including smartphones, tablets and monitors,
  • load fast on all devices,
  • be easily found and searchable by search engines.

In its recent 2019 study, the UK Office of National Statistics confirmed that "mobile phones and smartphones are by far the most popular devices to access the internet on the go". This is especially true for younger people: 100 % among the age group 16-24 use their smartphone to go online, far ahead of all other devices. Across all ages, the smartphone has a usage share of 79 % for all adults, significantly ahead of tablets (39 %) and laptops (36 %), when not in front of a stationary PC or TV. The always connected device is everywhere we go.

"Mobile first" becomes the Google default

Google recognises this trend as well. That's why starting in September 2020, the world's biggest search engine will only use their mobile crawler to trawl the internet for information. That means that websites made for non-mobile devices and PC screens become less valued search results. They call it "mobile first indexing" and recommend that all websites only use responsive designs and technology moving forward.

Per definition, "responsive design" is a website design and technology that automatically adjusts to any screen size. The important distinction to "mobile friendly" websites is that users (and search engine crawlers) are not redirected to a separate mobile webpage when they encounter responsive websites.

A responsive website is the same for all devices and uses the same content and website source code in its backend. Typically, thinking about the content and design of such a website starts with the smallest screen in mind - the ubiquitous smartphone.

What you should do now

Internet standards are constantly developing and ChurchDesk is changing with them. We already have responsive templates for websites built with ChurchDesk to make it easy for our customers to stay ahead of the change. We have three templates (#6, #7, #8) as options for responsive designs. Of course, all our future templates will also observe the rules and requirements for responsive websites.

If you are a ChurchDesk customer and currently use one of the older templates, we highly recommend that you switch to one of the responsive templates (#6, #7 or #8) before the Google changes come into effect in September! You can switch yourself and go through your old content to make it all fit, or we can help you with the transition with our website assistance package.

To make a design switch easier, we have significantly discounted the website assistance package. The 30 % discount is valid for all bookings that come in until July 31st, and our queue is already filling up!

Even if you are not a ChurchDesk customer, you should check your website and make sure it is fully responsive. Don't get stuck with an old website. The future is mobile, and your church can be mobile, too!

Topics: Church website

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