In 2016, for the first time ever, more users accessed the internet using mobile devices (web browser-enabled smartphones and tablets) than they did from desktop or laptop computers. In the U.S., most time spent consuming digital media is now done from a mobile device such as an iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or Kindle Fire. Almost all Americans (95%) own cell phones – with 77% of those being smartphones.
In 2016, for the first time ever, more users accessed the internet using mobile devices (web browser-enabled smartphones and tablets) than they did from desktop or laptop computers1. In the U.S., most time spent consuming digital media is now done from a mobile device2 such as an iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or Kindle Fire. Almost all Americans (95%) own cell phones – with 77% of those being smartphones.
What “mobile responsive” websites are and why nonprofits need them
People of all ages now use mobile devices to access online content. 74% of those aged 50-64 own a smartphone, and 42% of those aged 65+ own a smartphone. If you want to attract as wide an audience as possible, your website needs to reach people where they are – and that’s on their mobile devices. Yet a survey conducted by Nonprofit Hub found that only 42% of respondents said their website already includes responsive design3, and 84% of nonprofits’ donation landing pages are not optimized for mobile4.
A mobile responsive website can be viewed easily on a wide variety of smartphones and tablets. The size and shape of the website will automatically change to fit the size of the screen on which it’s viewed. A mobile responsive site isn’t just the desktop website but smaller – it’s designed so that users can find the information they need while on the go. This might mean changing the navigation, content, and images so mobile users can find the information they need quickly and easily. A mobile responsive website will help increase your website’s visibility in other ways as well – Google now uses a search algorithm that makes mobile responsive sites perform better in Google searches5.
Mobile responsive sites and increased donations
Giving to nonprofits through mobile devices has also risen steadily. In 2015, 14% of donations were made on a mobile device – a 45% increase in one year. A study conducted by Blackbaud (makers of fundraising database software Raiser’s Edge), found that nonprofits saw a 34% increase in their donor conversion rate when using a mobile responsive website6. A mobile-friendly website also enables you to more easily reach potential donors and bidders for online auctions. Nonprofits that use a mobile platform (such as BidPal, Bidding for Good, Charity Auctions Today, 501 Auctions, etc.) at fundraising events have reported up to 30% more revenue when using mobile bidding7.
How to determine whether your website is mobile friendly
Look at your site on different devices – enlist colleagues and friends to look at the site on smartphones and tablets from several manufacturers. You can also test the mobile responsiveness of your website with a free Google tool. Visit https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
and enter the URL of your website. An emulator, like http://quirktools.com/screenfly/
, will allow you to see how your website looks on a variety of smartphone and tablet screens.
Moving your organization’s website to a mobile-friendly platform
The size and complexity of your organization’s website, as well as the size of your web team and IT department, will be factors in moving your site to a mobile responsive platform. Before you begin making your website mobile responsive, establish a baseline of how many people are visiting your website from mobile devices. If you already use an outside vendor to manage your organization’s website, you can ask them to send you a report that provides this information. Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/
) is a free resource for tracking mobile visitors to your website8
, and many tutorials are available for setting up and using Google Analytics. Having a sense of how many visitors to your website are mobile users can help your organization decide how urgent the need is to make your website mobile responsive.
Methods for the conversion itself include the following options:
||If you have a web vendor already, the vendor can probably make your website mobile responsive. Ask for an estimate of costs and a timetable for the project.
||Create a mobile-friendly version of your organization’s desktop website using a conversion platform like Duda Mobile9. While this is a budget-friendly and quick and easy way to get a mobile responsive site, it may require the maintenance of two separate websites, which could be less than ideal.
||If you use a content management system (CMS) for your website such as WordPress, Drupal, Weebly, Wix, or Squarespace, you should be able to easily convert your website to a mobile-friendly design. Some content management systems offer specific themes and plug-ins that promise a mobile responsive site. Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date version of your CMS software and a recent theme that supports mobile responsiveness.
||Redesign your site using the principles of responsive web design10. Think of pouring water into different vessels – a cup, a bottle, or a teapot – and how the water fills each of those vessels. The content of your website is like the water, and should be designed to fit into any screen.
Once your website is mobile responsive, keep tabs on the number of visitors to the site and whether your online donors are donating to your nonprofit via mobile devices. Use the Google Analytics tools you set up earlier, or your analytics reports from your web vendor, to assess the number of visitors to your mobile site vs. your desktop site. Analyze your donations page, and see how many mobile visitors visit that page as well.
Keep adjusting for a mobile audience
Don’t just make your website mobile responsive once and assume you never need to update it again – continue to look at the site and come up with ways it can be improved. Think of ways you can make the experience better for mobile visitors to the website. Can your menu be streamlined? Should your images be updated? Is it easy for donors to find a way to donate immediately? And is the donation form easy to fill out on a mobile device? Keep adjusting your website for an increasingly mobile world.