An effective web site requires an ongoing investment, but with a good RoI strategy it doesn't have to costs you.

Every web site needs to provide a tangible and timely Return on Investment (RoI). Your company's web site should be one of the most active and accountable members of its marketing team.

Accountability is a good thing — as long as it's based on sound objectives. RoI objectives can represent tangible things such as cost savings and intangible tings such as the projected impact your Web site will have on customer perception and behavior. They identify how you plan to use the Internet recover your financial investment and to achieve some specific communication goals and marketing efforts.

For example, if you want to increase unaided awareness among the target market of 18 percent to 25 percent, you can identify the percentage of the target market that will visit your Web site.

Of those within the target market that visit your site, you can identify measurable objectives based on other communication goals, marketing objectives, and sales objectives. These objectives might include:

Setting quantifiable objectives for your Internet site that relate to your overall marketing and communication goals is critical. Equally important is the ability to effectively measure whether objectives are met.

Each time an individual visits your organization's Web site, information about their visit can be saved. This information can be used to generate "Web statistics" that characterize your site's overall use.

Web statistics are a useful tool for measuring site use. For example, using Web statistics, you can calculate a number of useful marketing-relevant indicators:

Since Web statistics are not collected with marketing, communication, or sales objectives in mind, other methods of measuring objectives are also required. Data for measuring the success of Internet objectives can be incorporated within the processes used to determine the success of communication goals, marketing objectives, and sales objectives overall. For example, customer surveys should include questions related specifically to the unaided awareness, attitude, trial, and retrial levels of the organization's Web site.

By establishing objectives prior to implementing Internet media, it may also be possible to integrate objective specific reporting features. In the same way site visits collect information for Web statistics, information can be collected for evaluating whether objectives have been met.