How to Strengthen Your Facility's Web Site
These six steps will help define the online presence of health clubs and recreation centers, boosting patron loyalty.
With more than 200 million Internet users in North America, web sites have become an essential component of most successful businesses. Strategic planning, engaging content and continuous maintenance can help boost the online presence of any athletic, fitness or recreation facility — ultimately generating more patrons. Here are six ways to make a web site stand out among the competition.
Give users what they need. Who is your audience? Does the content on your web site speak to them? When writing online copy, keep these people in mind. Use language they can understand and include information they want to know. Essentials include the services you offer and the fees you charge. Also, focus on anything that sets your facility apart from your competitors.
Add a personal touch. It's important to foster a positive image of your brand through other people's words. Customer reviews and testimonials demonstrate the effectiveness of your facility and its staff, and a blog keeps readers informed of recent happenings and creates a connection with them. Blogs also provide users with opportunities to comment and provide valuable feedback. And make sure your site is easy to navigate on mobile phones.
Show, don't tell. You must engage readers. Instead of telling them how good a workout your group exercise classes provide, show them. Get them excited by uploading images and videos from various activities, complete with dialogue and music.
Be strong. Your web site is a reflection of your facility. If it's not strong, potential members will presume you won't be able to make them strong, either. Use engaging, active colors, and remember that Internet users are impatient. They want their information quickly and easily. Use the one-click rule: Your potential customers should be able to venture into your homepage and find exactly what they're looking for with only one click of the mouse.
Create networks. Generating web traffic is a never-ending challenge, so make sure your site is accessible via as many search engines and social networks as possible — including Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Create business profiles on Facebook and Twitter, and frequent other blogs relevant to your customer base, where you can post comments and links to your own site.
Keep up the pace. Frequently check your web site's external and internal links to make sure they're still working, and update content on a consistent basis.
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Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center