For years we’ve been saying that church, ministry, and nonprofit websites need to be mobile-friendly.
Up until now, we’ve been preaching this kind of web design from a practical perspective. More and more people are accessing the Internet outside of the PC desktop environment by using their smartphones and tablets, so having a mobile-friendly website—or as we often say, responsive—has become more and more important.
What’s the point of having a website if it isn’t accessible?
This makes sense to most, but it hasn’t been quite enough for some organizations to rebuild, redesign, and launch a responsive website.
Google Announces “More Mobile-Friendly Search Results”
At the end of February, Google announced important changes that would help users search more mobile-friendly content.
From the Google Webmaster blog:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
I’ve taken the liberty to bold the really, really, really important parts.
You can read the finer points on the Google Webmaster blog, but to make sure you’re playing well with Google, I recommend you use their Mobile-Friendly Test.
Test Your Website
This is super-duper easy to use. Anybody can check their website—no technical knowledge required.
Copy and paste your church, ministry, or nonprofit website URL (website address) into the Mobile-Friendly Test and click the “Analyze” button:
Wait for Google to work their magic…and results!
If you don’t pass the test, it’s time to make an update—and better a little late than never.
There may be some ways to “cheat” around a website that isn’t mobile-friendly by using some WordPress plugins for those running a WordPress site. However, I strongly recommend you take the redesign and rebuild approach. Chances are, if your website still isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re due for a website refresh, anyway.
Just to be clear, Google won’t penalize your website (yet) if it isn’t mobile-friendly, but promote those that are (slightly, for now). While you’re not directly losing SEO points, you will be missing out on SEO points.