The event that generated the most buzz at this year’s Oscars was Ellen Degeneres’ selfie. I got the picture about a minute after she took it—so did a few million other people. In fact, there was so much activity around the image that Twitter crashed just minutes after it was posted.

Today, everything’s instant. It’s a different world than it was just five years ago. It’s a different world in selling, too. We used to see people who were retired or approaching retirement as the ideal prospects. But the recession transformed the Don’t Move, Improve mindset into the Do Without It if I Can mindset. People are downsizing. And they’re certainly not going to dip into their nest egg for a home improvement project.

Today’s New Homeowners
So what about this younger demographic? The people in their late 20s, 30s, early 40s? That’s the kind of lead I used to dread. I’d see some guy in his 30s and think, he’s not going to buy anything. Now what I’m seeing is this same age group starting families. They have good jobs and they’re interested in improving their homes. It’s like someone moved the customers around.

The younger demographic is all about mobile browsing and websites. They’ll click around your site before they do anything else—certainly before they call. If they’re not intrigued or engaged by what they find online, you’re history.

A website is no longer just a website. The whole definition of what it does and what happens when you get there has changed. Five years ago, a website was simply an electronic brochure. Customers visited and found out everything you wanted them to know about your company and your products. This bare-bones approach isn’t going to cut it anymore. The websites that reach the top in search rankings are the ones that have extra information. Think: blogs, photos, third-party content—the works.Google is ranking you based on what kind of resource your website is.

Hourly Updates
Your website has to be a hub that links to everything that’s relevant to your business. Original content—refreshed and updated on a regular basis—is a must. Everything’s instant. I just hired a firm that updates my site hourly.

In many cases, that fresh content is going to be a social media post. Social media is vital to increasing your Internet footprint. You should be posting on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And if you’re not blogging regularly, you’re not going to get too far when it comes to organic search results. That’s one of the things Google looks at when it ranks sites.

It’s come down to this: If your website is pulling traffic and you have data, that’s important to Google.

In effect, your company website is a never-ending publication. And the publication is not a book—you publish it and you’re done—it’s more along the lines of a cable news station with new stories and content constantly going up. You can’t just load your site with a bunch of keywords like “windows,” “siding,” “roofing” and expect to rocket to the top of the rankings. If anything, that effort to stuff the site—in effect deceive the algorhythms—will backfire.

If your site isn’t set up for mobile, you’re missing out more and more every day as smart phones and other devices become the primary means of social and commercial contact. Some 35-year-old homeowner driving back from work could be trying to check your website out right now.