On April 21st, a new update from Google will bury your church website from MOBILE search listings if your website isn’t ready for their new requirements.
It won’t matter if you’ve had your domain since the beginning of the Internet age and had a church teenager put a basic website together with iFrames.
If your church website is not up to Google’s new mobile-friendly requirements, they will bury it when a user is looking for a church via a mobile device.
Your potential church visitors will not find your website (nor see these 2 important web pages).
Your potential new members will not locate your church under Churches in your town.
But you can fix your church website so that visitors can find your church from their mobile devices and computers.
Is Your Church Website Mobile Friendly?
This is the criteria that will affect your church website rankings:
Is your church website friendly to mobile devices?
Can a person use your church website without having to zoom in to tap a link, read the text, or accomplish other simple tasks?
My friend Paul Steinbrueck , using the term Mobilegeddon, writes
Google will start factoring mobile-friendliness into its search ranking algorithm on April 21. Google itself has called the update “significant,” bigger than the Panda or Penguin updates.
Websites that are not mobile friendly will be penalized.
Google will not drop your church website from it’s search engine.
You won’t see your website deleted from their searches.
But it will be booted further and further down in the rankings.
Being mobile friendly is one of over 200 signals that Google will use to determine where your website will appear in it’s listing.
Google decides what mobile friendly looks like. If Google’s automated bots think your website is not mobile friendly, your website will be penalized.
In the past, mobile friendliness was a minor criteria.
Now, it is a “significant one.”
Can my church website be fixed?
Paul goes on to write:
If you have not started working to make your website mobile-friendly by now, it’s unlikely you will get it done by April 21.
But all hope is not lost. Unlike other penalties that took weeks to resolve and remove, Google says the mobile-friendly factor is updated in real-time.
That means as soon as your website is mobile-friendly your mobile search rankings will improve.
You may not get it done before April 21, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will recover.
Even in recent weeks, I’ve seen church websites that are not mobile friendly.
The church I visited on Easter Sunday in 2015 is horribly useless and looks like something designed in the early 1990s with frames and awful colors.
Depending on the complexity of your website, the fix may take some time.
Option 1: Talk with an Church Website Expert
If you are HTML dependent for every page, you’ll need to work at making the coding changes necessary to make your website mobile friendly. That is beyond what I can write here. In fact, Paul gives you an invitation to talk with someone on his team:
If your website still is not mobile-friendly, don’t freak out. But don’t curl up into a ball or put your head in the sand either. Move forward. Decide as soon as possible whether you’re going to make your current website mobile-friendly or get a new website. Decide as soon as possible who is going do the work.
If you’re not sure about these decisions and would like to talk them through, schedule a free call with one of our experts.
Tell Paul’s team I sent you.
I’ve known Paul for several years from OurChurch.Com. You can find him on
- Twitter, @Paulsteinbrueck
- OurChurch.Com web design, hosting, & marketing services:http://OurChurch.Com
I’ve done a webinar with Paul, plus an interview on Church Websites (though recorded in 2009, it still has some good conversation starters)
Option 2: If you use a CMS, change your Church Website theme.
If you use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla on a self-hosted domain, you can search for a mobile friendly theme.
I personally use professional themes for WordPress from the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. All of their themes are mobile friendly. I have personally found that using WordPress to manage the content on my site to be the way to go.
A theme change (or new setup) for your mobile friendly website is not that hard.
You can change a theme in less than 2 minutes after you find the one you want.
Most of the work will be involved in making sure that all your content and sidebars reappear in the new themes.
I have had to change a few WordPress themes on some of my other website to make them mobile friendly. It took me a few hours to make sure everything transferred into the new theme that I bought from Genesis.
Option 3: Use a Church Website service that does it all for you.
Here is one solution to turn your clumsy embarrassing church website into a awesome front porch for your visitors to come and see you before coming to see you.
Sure, you could do it free in WordPress or Joomla, but has anyone fixed your church website site in 10 years?
Clover Website is one solution to a church website that works.
I subscribe to a email list of church administrators and this one has been highly recommended in that list. You can read those recommendations here.
We just switched to Clover Church Websites Sites last month. Our Youth Pastor maintains it and loves it. They even have a live person that answers the phone if there are any questions!
Definite limitations due to the fact that they’ve designed it for easy use by non-web designers but the benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh the limitations. We haven’t been backed into a corner by any of the limitations. Most have an easy work around.
Your church website should not embarrass you.
Look into Clover for your church website. This is an affiliate link which will benefit our ministry work in Latin America.
Read here if you need to convince your leaders about getting a church website.
Note: Links to Ourchurch.com, Studiopress, and Clover.com are affiliate links. Any purchases made through those links will benefit our ministry in Latin America.
Seems to be an overreach to try and convince pastors that google will ‘bury’ their website .. while mobile sites are becoming more relevant.. not everyone uses mobile. + This really seems like advertising for clover and joomla to me.. just saying. Pointing people in a certain direction instead of telling them to contact their developer.. just seems wrong.. sorry but it does.
In time it is true that mobile sites will be more prevalent but so will apps.. so which of those two will win out? My guess is apps.
If the pastor or church has a web developer, then yes, that is where they should begin in order to find out what to do to be prepared for the Mobile friendly changes.
But I see too many churches websites that reflect the fact they dont have a web developer.
The soultions offered are for those that don’t have decelopers and need a starting direction, with some of many services that are available.
Churches must have mobile friendly websites, even if only 1/3 of their traffic is mobile user. Or the search engines will devalue them and shove them down in rankings. Most pastors will have no idea of where to start.
I have had websites affected by prior changes, and have seen the decline until I made appropriate changes. I dont want that to happen on church websites
Dansmith J. Aisevbo
I need your help to make my Church website Mobile friendly as suggested by google.