On this episode of Bloomerang TV, Murad Bushnaq, CEO and Creative Director at Morweb CMS, stops by to chat about responsive web design for nonprofits.
Steven Shattuck: Hey there, thanks for being here for this episode of Bloomerang TV. My name is Steven Shattuck. I’m the VP of Marketing over here at Bloomerang. Thanks for checking out this week’s episode. I’m really excited to have Murad Bushnaq. He is the C.E.O. and Creative Director over at Morweb CMS. Hey there, Murad, how’s it going?
Murad Bushnaq: It’s going good. You Steve?
Steven Shattuck: Good. Thanks for being here. So tell me a little bit about what Morweb CMS does? What are you guys up to these days?
Murad Bushnaq: Morweb is the responsive design content management system and blog software on the cloud. It’s meant for non-technical people to be able to make any contribution to the website with click and type editing and drag and drop directly on the website itself. There’s no coding whatsoever, and you have one website that looks great across every device.
So you don’t have to update multiple sites or anything like that. You just have the Morweb site and that’s it.
Steven Shattuck: Very cool. And I know a lot of those things are good for nonprofits because we tend to have some nonprofit technical people which is okay in the organization. So a product like yours can help them create a really good looking website and one thing that you guys focused in on, which is really cool, is responsive websites.
I know responsive websites is an up and coming term a little bit, especially in the nonprofit sector. Can you talk about what that is, and why that should be important for nonprofits to pay attention to?
Murad Bushnaq: Yeah, absolutely. Responsive design is fairly new. It became what mainstream in 2013 looked for. Those of you who haven’t heard it or just have heard that buzz word, don’t feel bad, it’s still fairly new. The truth is that responsive design is going to be on every website everywhere in the future. So it’s a new methodology.
It’s a new way of approaching web design, and basically it’s a website that it’s fluid, that it will adapt no matter what the screen resolution is, whether you’re on an iPhone or a BlackBerry or a tablet device like that, your website will automatically adjust to that resolution. So the elements on the page will resize and optimize for that resolution, whether it be images, forms, text, text sizes.
Steven Shattuck: So this is really sort of geared towards mobile, right? Because you talked about lots of different devices. People aren’t just looking at websites on a laptop or a computer monitor. They’re on all kinds of devices. So is that why it’s important to pay attention to this design criteria?
Murad Bushnaq: Yeah, I mean, historically people would make a website and then they would create a mobile website. So the mobile website would have, I’d say, limited information on there.
Steven Shattuck: Right.
Murad Bushnaq: Which kind of defeats the purpose, because when somebody goes to your website on a mobile device, actually they could be looking for something that’s not on your mobile site. So creating a bunch of different mobile sites for different resolutions was what they’re doing before.
And now we have responsive. It basically one website with extra layers of optimization or optimized codes that will automatically go towards those screen resolutions. Not just small but larger screen resolutions. If you have a 30 inch monitor, you don’t necessarily want your website to look that big, you know.
Steven Shattuck: Right.
Murad Bushnaq: Responsive also scales up, which is a really awesome thing.
Steven Shattuck: It seems like this is something, there’s all kinds of things that nonprofits kind of have to pay attention to these days that may be one year or two years ago they didn’t have to. But it seems like this is one that folks probably shouldn’t ignore, especially when you think about how much giving happens on mobile devices and things like that. How important is this to nonprofits in your mind? Is this a big issue? How much should people be paying attention to this if you’re a nonprofit?
Murad Bushnaq: It’s critical. It’s critical. I mean, mobile views are going to overtake desktop views in the not too distant future. So the fact that that many eyeballs are looking at your website on a mobile device is critical. So if you go to Google Analytics, you’ll generally see about  to 50% of your total traffic is on mobile devices. So that’s actually a golden egg waiting there.
Google recently did a study where 61% of all traffic or all mobile traffic goes to a website that isn’t optimized, they actually won’t come back. So when you look at your total numbers, then 61% of the traffic not coming back, it’s staggering. So it’s an extremely important thing, and responsive design is really the best and most economical way of making your website engaged with your visitors.
Steven Shattuck: So what are those ways that it helps engaging people, kind of getting down to brass tacks? How is actually investing in a responsive website going to generate more money for a nonprofit? Is it just going to convert more people? Is it going to give people a better experience? What are those actual things that will happen after that investment’s made?
Murad Bushnaq: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you’ve ever looked at a website on your mobile device, and it’s tiny and you have to pinch and zoom and scroll left and scroll right to see information, that’s not a good experience. And you’re actually missing very important information that is on your website.
On a responsive site you actually see the images, the tag line, pretty much of those key pieces of information that you want to communicate to your customers actually up front and center so that the user doesn’t have to do the pinching or the scrolling or anything like that to view that content. You know, the “donate” button should always be kind of nice at the top. You can have navigation menus. You can scroll down and the “donate” button still stays on the mobile device there.
And what we found, especially from some of our clients that said it’s seeing a great deal of success, one of them being United Way. United Way of the Bay Area, we moved them over to Morweb. We optimized the site. They got a great new, just a very custom website, really nice. And the metrics came in, and year over year their mobile sessions actually went up 34%. So they had mobile traffic at one point and then the next year they actually 34% more mobile traffic.
What that tells you is that people were on there viewing the website, engaging with the website, coming back to the website because it was optimized. And because of that they saw a 28% increase on donations. When we got these numbers, we were like, wow. We were kind of surprised but not surprised. It was nice when they actually showed us the reports, and the proof is in the pudding.
Steven Shattuck: Yeah.
Murad Bushnaq: It was great to see that. And they also had some of their biggest single donation amounts off their website just over the last year, which they’ve never had before. So it was really great to see that.
Steven Shattuck: Cool. That makes a lot of sense. It’s definitely something that can actually increase the actual donation amount, especially when you think of mobile giving. So is this something that people need a brand new website for, or can they make an existing website responsive? How can people actually pursue this way of thinking?
Murad Bushnaq: You know, most of the cases they’re going to need a new website if they aren’t already optimized. They could have a cleaner type of code in the background, not to get too technical, using divs and things like that. Some of the older sites use tables, and tables are complete no-go for responsive design.
If your website is on the table type of format, chances are you don’t have that. If you’re on a div, CSS, HTML type of layout, coding is easier. You can transition to that. However, there still is more. It’s basically like another layer of code. So think about 700 to about 1,000 pixels, right? That content needs to be optimized for that resolution range. Then it goes down and down and down. That’s what a new responsive site would do.
So chances are you’re probably going to need a new website. It is just as the same as redesigning your website. So you were to redesign your website and it doesn’t have responsives, you’re probably maybe looking at 20% more, maybe 30% more for a responsive site, generally speaking. So just keep that in mind.
Steven Shattuck: It seems like if you’re a nonprofit and you’re maybe in the early stages of engaging an agency or someone like your company, that’s a question that you ask if it hasn’t been asked. “Hey, is this website going to be responsive?”
Murad Bushnaq: Yeah, exactly. It should be a question right at the get go. If you want longevity in your website, five years plus kind of thing like that, then your website has to be responsive or else it’s just going to be unoperational. So you definitely want to spend the dollars in the right direction.
Steven Shattuck: Yeah, it seems like this is something people should really pay attention to. So Murad, how can people find out more about some of the resources you have available over at Morweb?
Murad Bushnaq: They can definitely visit our website, morwebcms.com. They can follow us on Twitter, which is morewebcms. We have a pretty good following on there. We’re very active on Twitter and Google Plus, Facebook and things like that. So you can definitely check us out there.
We are releasing a new set of nonprofit responsive things, so getting into that new responsive website [add a] connection save a lot upfront by using one of our [things] and then we can customize that be specifically for your brand. That is an easy way to get into responsive design if you haven’t thinking about it.
Steven Shattuck: Cool, awesome. Yeah, we’ll definitely link to that. I’d definitely encourage people to check that out. And if you hear responsive, or maybe see it on a blog, definitely click that and educate yourself because this is really important.
Murad Bushnaq: Absolutely, absolutely.
Steven Shattuck: Cool. Murad, thanks for hanging out with us for a little while and sharing all off your knowledge and thanks to you for watching and checking out this episode. We will catch you next week with another cool interview with a thought leader here in the nonprofit sector. Until then, we will catch you later. Bye now.
Murad Bushnaq: Thanks, Steve. Bye now.