You may have seen the news that #Mobilegeddon occurred last month on April 21, but it may not have been exactly clear what it was, and why nonprofit organizations should care. On that day, Google changed its search algorithm across the planet to favor websites that Google considers "mobile-friendly."
If ever there were a good incentive to finally mobilize your website, or at least the key pages of your website, this should be it.
Google did this to provide a better user experience for anyone searching on a mobile device. Try it out yourself. When searching using your browser on your smartphone, you'll notice Google will signify "mobile-friendly" next to some search results. Desktop and tablet searches were not impacted-just mobile searches.
If your nonprofit is like most, the single largest driver of traffic to your website is Google search. So any changes to the way Google search works is worth studying.
Is your homepage mobile friendly? Run it through the "Google mobile-friendly test" to get a quick pass/fail result (just Google it, and you'll find the test page). The good news is that Google is not scoring an entire website, but rather each page. So if you are only able to mobilize your homepage, it's better than nothing.
How about making your top 10 pages mobile-friendly? Ask someone on your team to list your top 10 website pages based on page views. Then ask them to run those pages through the mobile-friendly test.
Google doesn't care if you are using responsive web design (RWD) or an m.website to provide for your smartphones. These are two of the most popular technical ways to serve up a mobile website. You can tell if a website uses RWD by using the browser on your laptop. Take the browser window with your cursor and drag it into the top left corner of your screen, making it as small as possible. If the website reformats automatically along the way-from laptop size to tablet size to smartphone size-it's a responsive website.
An alternative way to get a quick, mobile version of your website is to use an inexpensive tool such as DudaMobile, and then redirect any smartphones to an m.version of your site. If your main website is www.animalrescue.org, for example, then smartphones would go to m.animalrescue.org.
Now that you've entered the world of mobile websites, here are a few thoughts to consider:
- Using a dating-website analogy: If your desktop website is eHarmony, your mobile website should be Tinder. Fast. To the point. Lots of images and few words. Buttons are now referred to as "tap targets" because you need to make them big enough for a human finger to tap.
- Spend some time surfing on your smartphone to experience what others are doing for their mobile websites. Don't just benchmark other nonprofit websites. Experience what businesses you admire are doing with their mobile audience to give you some ideas.
- Consider what you can do on a mobile website that you can't do on a desktop website. One of the most obvious ideas is to leverage the fact that your audience is using a smartphone to view your content. Add a "tap to call" button to allow them to quickly connect with a call. If you make this number unique to your mobile website, you'll be able to measure how many calls this generates.
Your mobile website is a chance to reinvent yourself. How long have you looked at your desktop website wishing things could be different? Take a mobile-first attitude and use your mobile website to experiment with ideas that can make your existing desktop website more contemporary.