In an era of stunning new technologies -- virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence, just to name a few -- websites might sound a little old-fashioned. But the truth is: Your business needs a website as much today as it did a decade ago.
Of course, just having a website wasn't enough back then, and it's not enough now. To be successful, you need a good website -- that is, a website that actually generates traffic.
"No matter how much time, effort, and money you've put into building your website, if you're not getting traffic, the value of your site drops because of all those potential customers who never see it. And that's just bad for business," says Entrepreneur.com contributor Thomas Smale.
Generating web traffic in this day and age requires having, above all else, a modern website. And according to Smale, "modern" is synonymous with "mobile."
"In May 2015, Google announced that the volume of searches on mobile devices had surpassed those on desktops for the first time. This trend has continued, and with mobile devices getting faster and more sophisticated, there's no reason to think it will abate any time soon," says Smale, who suggests using Google's free tool
to assess whether or not your site is mobile-friendly; if it's not, you'll need to think about a redesign.
Another thing a "modern" website should be? Fast.
"Another factor that … greatly impacts usability is page speed. Nobody likes to sit around waiting for a page to load. According to Kissmetrics, 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load," Smale says. "One of the most common culprits when it comes to slow page-load times is image size. Free tools such as ImageOptim make it easy to compress your images before you publish them on your website. Depending on what platform your website is built on, plug-ins like Smush for WordPress can optimize all your images retroactively. If your website is image-heavy, this can substantially improve its performance."
At the end of the day, your website doesn't necessarily need to be slick. It does, however, need to be fast and user-friendly.
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