Mobile-Friendly (Responsive) Website versus a Church App: Why You Need BOTH

We're living in a mobile world. As such, churches today should offer both mobile-friendly (responsive) websites and apps.

In an attempt to keep up with mobile users and enhance their outreach, many churches are creating mobile apps.  The Church App by Subsplash is a great resource for doing this.  If your church doesn’t have an app, check them out (I am not an affiliate nor a paid endorser, just know that my own church uses them and it works great).

Interestingly, there are many churches who create mobile apps yet fail to create a mobile-friendly website.  Why?  One likely reason is a faulty mindset.

A while back someone told me that their church didn’t need to make their website mobile-friendly because they have an app for that.  Yep, there are people who think that an app is a replacement for a mobile-friendly website.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

Apps and websites can share many features, but they serve two unique purposes.  Here are three differences between apps and websites followed by why your church needs both.

[bctt tweet=”Websites are about outreach, apps are about inreach. #1Xevangelism #missionalbranding #churchtechnology” username=”jrothra”]

Differences between Websites and Apps

#1: Websites and Apps Target Different Audiences

The main difference between the two is their target audience.

  • Website: General population
  • App: Members/regular attenders

The website is geared toward the general public.  This includes members, but the majority of the audience are those outside your church.  The app, however, is for members, regular attenders, and those who already follow your church online.

#2: Websites and Apps have Different Purposes

Would you try to cut a steak with a spoon (or even a Dairy Queen plastic “knife”)?  Probably not.

Would you try to tow an RV trailer with a Smart car?  I seriously hope not.

Spoons are not made for cutting steaks, and Smart cars are not designed for pulling trailers.

Just like utensils, vehicles, and other tools, apps and websites have a specific purposes.

Generally speaking, websites are about outreach, apps are about inreach.  A church website’s primary purpose is to promote your church.  The app, however, is about helping people stay engaged with your church.  As a result, the content on each is tailored for these purposes.

#3: Websites and Apps have Specialized Content

Because they have different purposes, websites and apps often have specialized content.  There may be things on both, such as online sermons, contact info, and others.  Nevertheless, the content will often vary between the two platforms.

  • Websites will include information designed to introduce the church to others: church history, staff bios, location info, and summaries of the various ministries and services.
  • Apps will generally include online sermons, tools to keep in touch with small groups, ministry and outreach resources (e.g., gospel tracts), and other tools to help members communicate and serve.

As I said, there is often similar content on both the website and the app, however, each platform will generally include content specialized for the platform’s purpose.

Websites and apps have different audiences, purposes, and specialized content.  As such, it is recommended that a church use both.

Why Your Church Needs Both a Mobile-Friendly Website and an App

Here are three reasons your church needs both a mobile-friendly website and an app.

  1. Most users access the web on mobile devices.  Mobile internet access surpassed desktops in 2016 (but desktops are still a dominant force).  Thus, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s not only user-unfriendly, it’s telling mobile users they aren’t welcome.  The best way to reach mobile user is a responsive website (for everyone) and an app (for members).
  2. Not everyone needs the same information.  As stated, your church has two audiences: the general public and your members.  Each needs specialized content for unique purposes.
  3. Apps are not a replacement for mobile-websites.  They are different platforms and should be treated as such.

Does your church have an app?  Is your church’s website mobile-friendly?  If not, maybe it’s time to catch up to the mobile era.

About John L. Rothra
Know, Show, Share Merch
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