Just a few years ago, mobile was the future of websites and web traffic. That future is now. According to Cisco, in 2014, mobile traffic was up 69% from 2013 and the mobile data accessed in 2014 was 30 times the amount of total Internet traffic in the year 2000. On top of that, 497 million new mobile devices were added in 2014. All that to say, mobile is a big deal whether you are ready for it or not.
One of the ways to get your church on board with new mobile trends is to make sure your content is accessible on mobile devices. In order to effectively do that, there are a couple terms you need to understand.
A mobile website is exactly what it sounds like. It is a website built specifically to be viewed on mobile devices. Unlike a normal website, a mobile website must be built with different screen resolutions and orientations in mind. A mobile website is hosted just like a normal website, on a server, and is accessed with a URL. The URL for a mobile website is often denoted like m.thechurchblog.com. You can even set your normal URL to automatically detect when a mobile device is being used so that it will redirect the user from your normal site to your mobile site.
It is key to note that a mobile website is a completely different site than the normal website hosted for your church. These sites are built independently of each other, but will likely share many, or all, of the same elements.
A mobile responsive website differs from a mobile website in a number of ways. A mobile responsive site is not a separate site for mobile devices. In this case, the code is actually built on top of the normal site. This code tells the site to behave differently on mobile devices than it does on a computer. Additionally, the URL for a mobile responsive site is the same as the URL for the desktop version. There is no redirection involved. Because there is no redirection involved, mobile responsive sites usually load slightly faster, but that advantage is mitigated if there are a lot of images on the site. A mobile responsive site loads the full image then scales it down, so an image heavy site will actually load slower.
Ultimately, deciding which option to utilize depends on your church’s situation. Mobile websites are the older technology and are generally less future proof. They may require more upkeep to stay current with new screen sizes. That said, mobile responsive sites have a tendency to be a little pricier. If your church has hired a developer to build your site, you will definitely want to talk to them about what direction you should go. If you have built your site, you will want to look into choosing a theme with your provider that is mobile responsive.