If you’re visiting for the first time in a while, you may have noticed that the blog has undergone a transformation. Over the past few weeks we’ve done a complete overhaul of the site – both visibly and behind the scenes. Here are a few lessons we learned while updating the blog:
1. Make it mobile friendly
The old design was built in 2009 – when only 17% of Americans were using smartphones to access webpages on-the-go. A decade later, nearly everyone has a smartphone. Over 60% of readers of this blog are using mobile devices, and we expect this number to only increase as mobile devices become more ubiquitous.
Opening a website on a phone is a fundamentally different experience than opening it on a computer. The size of the screen and the ability to use touch gestures make it necessary to build your website with mobile in mind.
We realized that the old design was not producing a good experience for a majority of readers. Our new look incorporates responsive design, which automatically adjusts the page to fit on any screen. This means that if you open the blog on your phone, the site will display the page in a way that is accessible to touch gestures and easy to read.
2. Make it easy to find you
93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. But, too often, the blog wasn’t showing up on the top of Google results.
Search results are determined by an algorithm that prioritizes relevant, fast, mobile-friendly, and modern websites. The process we took to make the blog more attractive to the algorithm is called search engine optimization (SEO). There are a variety of tools that can help you in this process but we started by identifying key words that may be included in a search about you. By planting these keywords in your posts, you make it easier for the search engines to find you. Now, when you search for “Fr. Michael White blog,” we are right on top.
3. Make it easy to read
Perhaps the most noticeable change is in the visual appearance of the blog. The new design is cleaner, simpler, and more modern. The most important content – the blog posts themselves – are now positioned prominently on the left side of the page.
The rapid pace of development in technology demands that we not only adopt new technologies but also keep our existing tools up-to-date. Increasingly, the way people find and interact with our parishes will be determined by the accessibility of our online presence.