In today’s market environment we want information instantly and that goes hand in hand with web site performance. We increasingly have a shorter attention span and more and more the concept of brand loyalty is taking on a broader definition than, say, a decade ago. The most relevant reason for all of these to have occurred rests on the “internet”… and more specifically, web sites. It is a property that has taken its place in the brand conversation in junction with social media. No longer can you separate the two. Both combine to provide a stronger brand presence and brand premise. So how can you maximize your ROI on your web site performance and social media. How can you develop, build and maintain that elusive relationship with your consumers, audience and market.

The short answer is that it is no longer important only to get visitors to go to your site… your site is now the basis of the total social media umbrella. Enhancing your web site performance is key. Your web site should be the gateway and the destination through your other social media properties such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Branch Out, Pinterest…. How to do that?

Here’s a quick list:

1. Navigation should be intuitive and make sense. Make your visitor comfortable, it should be easy for them to find what they want from the home page. It goes without saying that you need to look at your competition and see what they are doing. However, you must determine what will provide optimal user experience for your target.  The faster and easier the navigation, the more customers will return to your site and stay longer.

2. Content is king… it is important to address your customers’ pain. Do this visually for greatest impact…. and do this copy wise for clarity of position as well as keyword optimization. Find out what keywords are “key” to your industry and speak to them.  I am not suggesting that you place every key word on every page… that’s not going to do well. Exercise judgement and common sense. Seasoned marketing professionals and writers will know how to do this well. Make sure you provide your target with a clear understanding of what their pain is, what their needs are and how you can help eliminate their pain. Connect with them on an emotional basis.

3. Again….content is king… it’s important to get in your target’s radar by providing them relevant and timely information. Gone is the the brochure-type of web site. Sites that don’t allow for fresh updates, new posts or tips are losing a huge opportunity in engaging with their customer base and developing a dialogue and relationship with customers.  Write tips or mini articles…. share them on Facebook, tweet….regularly and consistently. This will to a long way in gaining the trust of your customers and convince them that you can answer their pain. Blogging is great for keeping your content fresh, so you are found more often.

4. One more time….content is king…. it is no longer important to only get visitors to go to your site… your site needs to motivate them to spend time browsing through your pages withe information that is relevant to them, so much so that they feel compelled to provide their information on your website so then you can engage them on a one to one, or digitally or as part of your community. This is what is called inbound marketing. Create relevant information that lives independently of your site… but still adds value to your potential customers… and adds value to your brand. Web sites need to be built integrating forums or blogs, and providing fresh and diverse information on the home page to continually improve SEO (Search engine optimization) and get found. More importantly this provides a very effective way to generate leads and integrate sales initiatives.

5. Create buzz and excitement driving people through facebook, LinkedIn and traditional and digital media. We are currently running a campaign for Kressmann Wines through Facebook, Twitter, digital and print ads. In less then 24 hours  we received over 1400 likes on Facebook and have now started engaging with our community. We are constantly commenting and interfacing with our customers and of course, driving them to the web site as well!  This can easily be done in the b2b arenas, niche markets and for community businesses. The digital arena allows for such precise slices of target segments  so every dollar you spend is accounted for and relevant!

6. Information, not data, is key as success is in the measurement….! Track your site’s and social media progress and traffic, and respond accordingly. It’s not about just creating a promotion and just leaving it alone. You need to work it! It’s important to set your google analytics properly so you can respond and react to the information you are receiving. Metrics are important to evaluate where your visitors are coming from, why, and what actions they have taken once they land on the site.

7. Keep it fresh… is not only a good adage for food, but for web sites too.  Monitor your site on a regular basis. Monitor every page of your site, catch broken links or improve on the elements, make sure pages load quickly. Revisit the site with fresh eyes and fine tune accordingly. Don’t let it go stale. Too often, sites get all the attention when they are being developed and then left alone. That’s a sure way of not being in harmony with the market!

Simple, compelling, engaging, fresh, exciting and trackable. Make your site work for you! Achieve inner peace with your site… Ohmmm.