Pretty much all fitness and sports businesses today have a Website – it plays an important part of your marketing strategy. And there are many important reasons as to why you should have one – it is always accessible, it gives your business added credibility, it keeps your clients and leads informed, plus it saves you time and makes you money.
Think of your Web site as your virtual front door – it is often the first thing a person will look at before they meet with you in person or step through your doors. Therefore it is vital your Web site makes a great first impression and gives people a positive experience so they take further steps with you.
To ensure you are getting the most from your Website, here are my top 10 tips of what your site must have to ensure it looks its best and is giving you the best return possible.
1. A clean and modern design
Your Website should have an attractive design, reflect your brand and showcase your personality. It should have an easy to read typeface, great images and complementary colours.
Ensure it looks professional, there are no broken links, it is clean and captures the user’s attention to encourage them to stay on the site for as long as possible.
You often need a professional Web designer to help you with this but check out other sites to give you ideas on the best design to bring your brand and business to life.
2. Easy Navigation
Navigation plays a big role on the success of your Web site. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find the content they are looking for.
Always put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer – why are they looking at your site? To find a solution – to help them lose weight, lower their stress levels, to build up their strength and fitness.
Your site should always cater for the needs of the user, not yours. As soon as they visit your Web site, they should know exactly what you are offering and how it will fulfil their needs.
For example, instead of having drop down menu items called personal training, outdoor training, small group training etc, why not a menu item called “want to lose weight?”, “want to eat better”, “want to drop a dress size?” “want to improve your fitness? or “want to train with people just like you?” These are the reasons people look to join a fitness or sports business so why not get straight to the point.
3. Great images and videos
People relate to people so always use wonderful and beautiful images to really capture the person’s attention (especially on your home page).
I have always said that videos are even better so add some videos featuring you, your centre, your trainers and your clients – this gives people a better idea of who you, what you do and how you can help them.
Try to avoid pictures of models. Focus on pictures of healthy and fit people, not those who look they have just stepped off the runway. Even better, use images of you and your clients, to make it more realistic and attainable.
4. Great content
Along with great images, you need easy to read copy to go with it.
A good place is to start is to make a list of keywords which you can use and will help with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or how high you rank when people search for you in a search engine such as Google).
Make your copy short and sweet – get to the point straight away. Fit all the copy into one screen, people don’t like to scroll down pages and pages to find what they are looking for.
Again put yourself in your reader’s shoes – avoid going on about how good you are, tell them how you can solve their problems or help them reach their goals. Make sure your message comes through loud and clear – you understand their concerns and you are there to help.
And whatever you do, make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes – it doesn’t matter how good your copy is, if you can’t even spell, this is going to reflect poorly on you and your business.
This is something every fitness business should have – a long list of success stories. Your clients are always going to be more persuasive than you are. People want to know that you can deliver results and they need to trust you before they will use you.
Before and after photos have been around for years because they work and will give you added credibility (and please include a person’s face too – faces are the most eye catching part of a photo).
Make sure the story is relatable and real. Use testimonials from people who typically represent your target audience – people will be more receptive to people they resemble.
This is another thing you must include. As I discussed in my previous blog, you should be blogging to position yourself strongly in the market, to give you integrity and to help warm up your leads.
7. Contact information
Now that someone has gone through your Website and is impressed enough to take the next step and contact you, make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Have all your details listed including, if relevant, your physical address (this shows you are legitimate). Have links with your details so people just need to press a button to phone you or send you an email.
Have forms available too which captures at a minimum their name, phone number and email address. If an invalid phone or email address is entered, make sure a message goes back asking them to submit it again. Have a “thank you” message once the details are successfully submitted. And don’t forget to follow up on all enquiries as quickly as possible.
Have all your contact details listed such as your phone, address, email and so forth. If you have a physical centre, have an interactive map and directions as to how to get there.
8. Social media channels
Along with your Website, your social media channels are usually the next items a prospect will look at to learn more about you and what you can offer them. So it makes sense to incorporate them onto your Website as the two should work together.
So include visible social media buttons or showcase your Twitter feed or Facebook posts directly on your website. Include share buttons so readers can share or recommend your business with others.
9. Mobile friendly
People are using their mobile devices more and more these days so you want to make sure your Website looks just as good on mobile phones and other devices.
There are a lot of tips of making a site mobile friendly but this gets a little technical so talk to your developer about this. The best thing is to test your site on a variety of devices, platforms and operating systems. You shouldn’t have to manipulate the screen but be able to clearly read all the pages, make your contact details super easy to find and use high resolution images. Make the experience just as good as if the person was looking at your page on a desktop computer.
My last tip but certainly not least, make sure you are always thinking about ways to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ranking or ways to make it easier for people to find your Website on search engines such as Google or Bing.
With so many Websites listed today, there is no way to guarantee your site will rank first on Google but there are plenty of simple things you can do to increase your site’s chances of ranking high.
Now this is a huge topic on it’s own so let me just go through some basics – as I mentioned before, quality content is a big driver of your search engine rankings and there is no substitute for great content. Quality content created specifically for your intended user increases site traffic, which improves your site’s authority and relevance.
Think about keywords, these are words and phrases that people use in their search engines to find what they are looking for. Once you have your keywords, include these relevant keywords in a number of high-attention areas on your site, including the titles and body text of your pages, your URLs and your image file names. Just don’t go crazy and “stuff” as many keywords as possible as Google will know.
When have your Website up and looking its best, don’t forget about it. Make sure you regularly update it with fresh content, pictures, blogs and images. This provide your visitors with the latest information, gives them an incentive for coming back and reflects well on your business. But maybe more importantly, the more frequently you update your Website with articles, downloads and new web pages, the more frequently a search engine will stop by to visit your site. When search engines look at your site more frequently, you have the opportunity to achieve higher rankings based on the content you provide.
So ask yourself, when was the last time you reviewed your website? Ask feedback from your members as to how your Website could be improved. Visit your competitor sites to get new ideas about content and design. Your Website should constantly evolve to ensure it is looking its best – it is one of the most important sales tools you have available.