The advantage of a strong web presence for midmarket companies cannot be overstated. Fostering web engagement can act as a great leveler between midsized firms and larger competitors. Customers and prospects spend so much of their time — at work and at home — online that a compelling, effective website and consistent, strategized social media action can make a big difference.

A good web presence will keep visitors at your site and have them be more likely to share your content or make a purchase

So much has been made of social media lately, however, that it seems to have obscured the fact that a company's website should be the hub of its electronic operations and among the most critical factors in creating sales conversions.

In light of this, a middle market firm's social media efforts should be aimed primarily at pushing people to the website: the firm's digital real estate where the company can present, in any way it chooses, elements that it believes will make the business stand out in prospects' minds and move them to action. How can your firm maximize its web presence to engage site visitors and reach marketing and sales objectives?

You want to minimize your bounce rate (the percentage of people who look at only one page on a site and then leave) and make your website content sticky (encouraging visitors to linger and learn more or even share what they've found with others) with an eye toward creating sales conversions. Keep the following tips in mind:

Prioritize website design. More people are using mobile devices to access the Internet, so a site's design must be optimized so that it looks and operates perfectly on tablets and smartphones, along with computers. A firm can make changes to its existing website, but if it's time to overhaul, a company should take the chance to examine its market's present and future technology habits and make considerations in terms of designing the new site primarily for mobile users rather than for desktop users.

Test for fast load times. When site visitors follow a link to your site from any of your firm's social media platforms, that linked page must load quickly. Keep in mind, though, that just because a page loads quickly on your employees' devices in your office doesn't necessarily mean that it will load quickly for everyone else, warns analytics provider GoSquared. Wider testing is necessary. Efficient web page construction — such as using a minimum of scripts or reducing images and icons on each page to their smallest effective size — will also make a difference in page-loading times, increasing your visitors' willingness to stay and explore your site.

Relevant content promotes engagement. A website should be customized to present a company's culture, style, and value proposition, but the content that you post — be it words, pictures, audio, and video — should be useful to the audience even beyond its relation to your products. By delivering information and ideas that address various issues facing your customers and prospects, your website becomes a trusted and respected educational outlet. This sort of useful information encourages social media shares as well. You could also allow site visitors to post their own comments on issues.

Develop an effective internal search engine. If your product offerings are numerous or diverse in nature, a robust search mechanism is critical for your website. Different types of customers and prospects are looking for different products, and the site needs to deliver the shortest path for visitors to find what is relevant to them. The inability to locate specific information dramatically reduces engagement.

Measure, evaluate, adjust, and repeat. According to web tools/solutions provider Siteimprove, there are several ways to determine whether every individual page on your site is successful. You'll want to know if site visitors' actions match with the short-term and/or long-term goals of your marketing and sales teams. By knowing the pages where the greatest number of desired actions and conversions occur, a company can then scrutinize why certain pages don't do as well.

Using such information, a middle market company's website should be an entity that is always adjusting. In fact, it's helpful to consider the site as a living environment that adapts and grows for the benefit of the target audience in your industry. With a strong web presence, you'll position your company as a hub in the middle of the action.

Rob Carey is an NCMM contributor and a features writer who has focused on the business-to-business niche since 1992. He spent his first 15 years at Nielsen Business Media, rising from editorial intern to editorial director. Since then, he has been the principal of New York-based Meetings & Hospitality Insight, working with large hospitality brands in addition to various media outlets.