Just like your body needs weekly, even daily, maintenance, the same philosophy can apply to your health club's Web site. Proper upkeep, along with a strategic plan that entails a clean look and engaging content, can help drive more visitors to your site and more customers to your business. With more than 200 million people around the country using the Internet and with social networking becoming more popular than ever, Web sites have become a vital part of any businesses' success. The following are marketing tips to follow for your Web site:

1. Avoid information overload. Who is your audience? Does the content on your site speak to those people? In writing copy for your site, make sure to think first and foremost about the readers. Use language that they can understand and include information that they would want to know. Essentials include the services you provide and the fees you charge. Also, think about what sets you apart from your competition. Do you have a unique product or special deal available? Consumers want to know how you can save them money.

2. Add a personal touch. It's important to shape a positive image of your brand through other people's words. For instance, layering customer reviews and testimonials can help paint a better picture of your company's strengths. Other examples include creating a blog (and linking to it on your Web site) or recording interesting things happening within your business. This will engage readers and let them feel involved in your business, as well as give them an opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the things you're doing.

3. Show, don't tell. It's important to engage your reader. Instead of telling them how good of a workout you can provide, show them. Upload images or create multimedia components, such as a video with dialogue and music. These elements can be easily created with a digital camera and help from employees. This will get potential customers excited about using your services. They'll also have fewer questions and more trust in your company. By adding these elements to your Web site, you'll not only save your customers time but your employees, too.

4. Less is definitelymore. Your Web site is a reflection of your business. If it's not aesthetically pleasing, then your client will assume that you can't help them look fit. Consider not only the design but also the colors used. And keep it simple. Internet users are lazy and they want their information to be easily accessible. Use the one-click rule. With no more than one click of the mouse, your potential customer should be able to venture off from your home page to find exactly what they're looking for on your site.

5. Create a stir. Just like you network in person, you must network on the Web. It takes work to bring traffic to your Web site, so link it to as many search engines and social networking sites as possible. Examples include Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Make your business its own Facebook and Twitter profiles where you can display company specifics and your business's link. You also can visit relevant blogs and post a comment with a link to your site below other people's postings. And make sure your Web site is compatible with mobile phones.

6. Keep up to speed. The technology and content on your site should both be up-to-date. You want to make sure you have the proper technical support so readers aren't waiting forever for pages to load and photos to pop up. Frequently check external links and make sure they are actually linking the reader to another site. Additionally, you must update your site's content regarding industry buzz. Stay in the know by reading trade magazines and attending industry events and educational programs.

Bottom line: If you decide to hire outside help for your Web site, it's important to find a company that has the industry knowledge and marketing background to not only drive traffic to your site but convert visitors to customers. And once you've found the right fit, listen closely to that outside source. Make sure they know the end result you seek, but make sure to stay adaptable and roll with the changes they might recommend.

Ron McArthur is the president of WSI, the world's leading provider of Internet marketing solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses. Prior to joining WSI in 2004, McArthur served as president of the largest office coffee division of Canadian-based Van Houtte, one of North America's leading gourmet coffee companies. He can be reached at 888-678-7588 or via e-mail at rmcarthur@wsicorporate.com.