I am one of the most important visitors to your church website. I visit your website regularly, and I read every word each time. You must create all content with me in mind, even though I'll never interact with you. In fact, I'm not even a person. Who am I?
Search engine robot crawlers.
Getting search engine crawlers to like your content is key to any website that wants to be found in search results. So it's important to know that the two biggest search engines, Google and Bing, have recently spoken in favor of responsive web design over mobile-version websites. Here are the three biggest reasons why you should agree with them.
1. Responsive Websites Get Better Search Rankings
When you redirect mobile users to a different website (with a different URL), you do the same to search engine crawlers. They then index your mobile website as separate from your desktop site, splitting up your search engine currency: optimized content and web traffic credentials. Mobile websites also rarely have any inbound links--a big influence on search engines.
A responsive website only uses one URL, does not split up visitors or inbound links, and is more likely to get ranked higher in search results.
Look at the chart below. Website A uses two URLs, one for desktop visitors and one for mobile. Website B utilizes responsive web design. You can see how search engines would split up Website A's visitors and links into two separate, less appealing websites. Website B doesn't face those issues.
| Desktop Website
3,000 unique visitors
700 inbound links
search rank: 5
| Mobile Website
1,000 unique visitors
0 inbound links
search rank: 10
4,000 unique visitors
700 inbound links
search rank: 2
2. Responsive Websites Use Less Bandwidth
If you have two websites (one for desktop, one for mobile), you double the amount of web crawler traffic to your web servers. These crawlers consume bandwidth, which means your human visitors could experience sluggish performance and increased load times. While robots may not mind a few seconds of waiting, we all know real people certainly do and will likely respond by leaving your website.
3. Responsive Websites Take Less Work
When you decide to use a separate website for mobile visitors, you are volunteering to double your workload. Mobile websites have to be maintained just like desktop sites. Do you have time to build (initially) and develop content (continually) for two websites?
The Good News
Many of iMinistries' free church website templates are built to be responsive to any device. Check out our new free templates or start a free trial today to see how we can solve your church website dilemmas.