What is a website?
Of course you know what a website is – you’ve been using them for years. But have you ever really thought about what makes up the best websites? Why do we have them? What is their purpose?
Your website is your digital storefront, your top salesperson, and the first impression that potential customers will have of your services.
Your website should have 3 goals
- Tell your distinctive story
- Get people to signup
- Save you time by automating tedious tasks
Many people view websites as sort of an online brochure. This might be true to an extent, but I think a website can go much further. A brochure doesn’t talk back. A brochure doesn’t engage with its readers. A brochure doesn’t solve problems or give feedback. It just can’t.
Almost everyone has a website these days. But here’s the thing – most websites are terrible. Just because a website looks nice doesn’t mean it’s a good website. Anybody can go online and get a website made for a cheap price. But you’re probably going to get a website that doesn’t serve its purpose.
How can you tell if you have a good website? Lets review the key elements
1. Tell your distinctive story
- Potential customers need help understanding the difference between your business and other alternatives.
2. Optimize for mobile
- We’ve all seen the “MobileGeddon” ads. Being mobile friendly is now a huge requirement for search engine rankings with Google and Bing. If your website is not mobile friendly, its ranking will drop significantly.
- Almost half of all website traffic is now mobile. If your website was originally designed specifically for desktop, it won’t perform well on a much smaller screen with slower internet.
- The mobile audience is primarily looking for different things:
- How to call you
- Shorter bits of information
3. Aim at new customers and ASK FOR SIGNUPS
- Your website should target people who don’t know much about you or about services in general. THESE are your potential clients. Save the pictures of ripped athletes doing snatches for an “Advanced Class” page and store the day’s workouts in a “Members” section.
- The primary reason visitors leave your website without inquiring further is that they do not understand it or they are intimidated by the idea of an exclusive community.
- Calls to action are key for any website. When your website educates people properly about your product, you earn the right to ask them how to get in touch with them. Showing visitors where they can easily enter their information will increase contact with potential clients a lot earlier in their decision making process.
4. Make sure you are found in maps
- People are often just looking for the 3 or 4 closest Crossfit gyms to choose from. Showing them where you are and how they can get to you is a no brainer.
- Having a fully filled out Google+ page is a requirement to be featured prominently in Maps (the lettered listings that show up at the top of your Google search.) The more reviews you have associated with your map listing, the higher your gym will be listed.
- While it might feel like nobody uses Bing anymore, it is still the default browser on Windows computers with Internet Explorer. We see the Bing map listing as the most forgotten listing in fitness. This is a missed opportunity!
5. Boost your SEO by focusing on long-tail keywords and by being featured in local publications
- Everyone always asks about the magic of SEO, and at times it certainly feels more like black magic than a science. The bottom line is that having the domain name Crossfit(your city).com will all but guarantee you being number one if someone simply searches Crossfit in the area. Number two is up for grabs and so is what are known as long-tail keywords. these are more specific keywords such as “women’s crossfit in (your city)” or “Crossfit for kids in (your neighborhood).”
- One of the easiest ways to boost your search engine score is by getting your business listed in local publications such as “The Top Ten Gyms in Boston” and asking partners to add your link to their site as well. While it may feel frivolous to simply be described as the best, that inbound link is valuable in order to optimize for Google searches.
- It is important to seek out listings for more program specific keywords. To be listed for a term like “interval training” or “personal training” in a city, you need to have a lot of content on your site describing the specific program.
6. Automate contact form responses
- If we haven’t made this clear yet, I will say it again: ASK PEOPLE FOR THEIR NAME, E-MAIL, and PHONE NUMBER or they will not give it to you. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for their phone number, how can you ask them to sign up for a gym membership totaling close to $2000 a year? A website that educates and builds trust with potential members will make this a lot easier.
- It’s hard to answer people right away because you are probably busy coaching or running your business. Wouldn’t be great if an automated “You” could answer their most basic questions right away? This is possible using e-mail automation tools such as auto-replies.
- Okay. So you’ve called your leads but they didn’t pick up. But how do you remember to follow up with them? Please don’t say sticky notes. Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool is key in tracking any potential member who expresses interest in your gym.
7. Optimize your scheduling and eccomerce software to work for you
- There are a ton of tools out there to help you run your gym. Mindbody, Zenplanner, Wodify, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress – How do you get these tools all to talk to each other so that when you add something to your blog, it shows up on Facebook? How do you ensure that when updating your schedule through Mindbody it will immediately show up correctly?
- Understanding all of the complexities of these relationships is hard when the tools themselves are constantly changing. It is important to have a provider or system in place that ensure all updates run smoothly without leaving broken functionality on your site to turn away would-be clients.