Consider your website to be part welcome mat, part business card, part customer support. As such, creating a strong, well-maintained site shouldn’t be on your backlist. Often the first interaction customers have with your business is online, even before visiting in person.
Most of us like to do a little research before showing up and search for basic information, like address and business hours, or peek at what makes your business unique through snazzy branding and facility photos. Your website is a powerful tool that can distinguish you from the competition. Most importantly, it can help your prospective customers find exactly what they’re looking for, and they’ll be impressed by how easy and seamless the process felt.
Here are some important considerations to make when designing your website.
Layout – Simplicity Creates Focus
A clean layout design with easy navigation should feel intuitive and guide your visitors to where they want to go. Cluttered layouts look unprofessional and can create confusion. Keep in mind that users probably only have a few goals in mind when visiting your site. Determine what those goals are and label them prominently in your navigation. Common ones include:
Responsiveness – One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Screens come in all sizes these days. Make sure to design and build the layout of your website with the ability to adapt to any screen size. For example, when someone views your site on their mobile phone or tablet, they should experience a narrower, slimmed-down version of what they see on their laptop or desktop computer. This smaller version should still contain the most important information about your business.
Accomplishing this may sound like a daunting task full of code, but luckily most popular website-building platforms already take this into consideration. They will automatically make your site design responsive. To test your site’s responsiveness, try loading it on a mobile smartphone. If you’re able to view and read content without manually zooming in, then your site is most likely responsive!
High-Quality Visuals – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
In our time of increased choices and shortening attention spans, it’s important that your site illustrates your unique story well, yet in a concise manner. Showcase the most important parts of your business through a few strong images and words. As much fun as it would be to include every photo ever taken at your studio, edit down to just a few powerful images.
Try to overlay content on top of large background photos and use consistent brand colors to make the whole experience feel cohesive. If you don’t already have access to high-quality photos, take some of your own with this project in mind, or hire someone to do so. Good lighting (ideally natural) makes the biggest difference. Stock photos can be a good alternative, but keep in mind that they won’t completely illustrate the unique experience and space that you provide. Stock images must also be purchased, so, alternatively, taking your own can be less cost-prohibitive.
Calls-To-Action – Give Them A Course of Action
Good sites usually provide one or two strong “calls-to-action” or “CTAs”. These come in the form of a button on your site that prompts the visitor to complete an action. In the case of fitness studios, the most popular calls-to-action are to “Sign Up”, “Reserve a Class”, or “View Schedule”. Both examples are important in guiding your visitor to becoming a real customer. Once you determine what your most important CTAs are, make sure you place them prominently, even front-and-center, on your site for maximum visibility.
Embeds – Keeping in Touch
Embeds can allow visitors to Sign Up, Contact, View Schedule, or interact with a map of your business’ location(s), for example. They enhance the professional quality of your site and can capture valuable information about prospective customers. Look into ways of using embeds on your website, since they can enhance the overall experience. A few examples of popular embeds include:
- Sign Up forms
- Contact forms
- Google Maps
Hard work pays off, as any physically active person can attest to. The same can be said for time and dedication put into improving your online presence. Your web experience is part of your larger brand and business, and it can help determine whether or not someone decides to take a class or reserve gym time at your facility. By taking these tips into consideration when designing your website, you can craft a great user experience that extends beyond the doors of your studio or gym.