Are you tuned up? | Travel Research Online


Are you tuned up?

It’s funny how words change. Or maybe it is how we define them. Take the word “tune up.” To a musician, it may be the preparation for a concert. To a mechanic, it is all about spark plugs and filters. So, let’s cut to the chase and just say that for this week, I am talking about your website. And I am about to list some recent figures about the Internet that you will want to know.

The Internet is a pretty competitive place. As of December 2016, there were 3.26 billion Internet users. And if you were wondering about the power of Facebook—they currently have 1.5 billion active monthly users.

When people go online, they have a choice of 966 million different websites. How do they pick yours? And perhaps more importantly, why don’t they pick yours?

First off, you need to be mobile optimized. I will have more on that in a bit, but for now, you MUST have a mobile responsive website. Google has taken notice and will degrade your rankings if it is not optimized for mobile devices. Google is our overlord—listen to them.

Talk to your hosting provider and make sure your website is up to speed. And I am not talking about the bells and whistles. I am talking about actual speed! Most people do not care about the cool little gizmo that displays your latest special. They are looking for specific information and if they don’t find it… they leave. It is a competitive world out there and here are some stats that ought to concern you:

  • 40% of online consumers will consult 3 or more sources before making a decision
  • 40% of consumers will leave your site if it does not load in 3 seconds or less
    • Of those 40%, 60% will never return

So if you are not on your “A” game, you are losing a lot of potential clients. I routinely have my IT guy look for ways to optimize for speed. If you are using WordPress (by the way, WordPress is responsible for 75.6 million sites and is the most popular CMS), the various plug-ins and themes can slow your site down. Look at them, and eliminate all the ones that are truly unnecessary. Recently, I upgraded my 6 year old server to a newer one with greater RAM and capacity. The difference in speed was incredible. And I am hoping that it will allow me to retain my prospects.

And let’s get back to that bit about being mobile: we all have some sort of mobile device—smart phone or tablet. That alone should make you realize that you also need to be optimized for mobile devices. In 2016, the Internet was accessed by mobile devices MORE THAN desktops. Let that sink in for a moment—a full 52.7% of Internet use was done in 2016 by a mobile device. But here in the US, the news is a bit more grim—a full 75.1% of US Internet users have accessed the Internet via their mobile devices.

While the New Year is still new, take a look at your website as your prospect. Is it fast? Is it responsive? Can you read it on a desktop, tablet, and smart phone? Remember, today’s client is not tied to a desk—in fact, most aren’t.

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