Over the past year, I have worked with hundreds of websites for affiliate gyms, martial arts schools and boutique fitness studios. I’ve taken this experience and developed a solid understanding of what works and what does not. The following are some common mistakes that gym/studio/box owners tend to make with their websites (and some suggestions for how to fix them).
1). Too Much Content
I would guess that at some point while surfing around on the Internet, you have stumbled on to a website that contains so much text that you didn’t stick around to read all of it.
Too much text can ruin the message you’re trying to communicate on your site. But I get it, you want to share everything you can about your business. And that communication is important! But it has to be delivered in a way that is easy for your clients to digest.
So what do you do?
Take a step back to think about your business. Focusing on what makes you unique will improve the amount (and quality) of your website content. Make sure you answer these questions:
- Who you are?
- What you do?
- Where are you located?
- When are your services offered?
- Why would someone want to sign up?
- How you are different from your competitors?
Include the answers to these questions on the primary pages of your website.
If you have ideas and information leftover, take this content and sprinkle it throughout your site. Or better yet, spin it into a blog post. Which leads me to mistake #2…
2). An Empty or Outdated Blog
Once you have a solid summary of who you are and what your business is all about, this content may not change that often. However, you can keep a constant flow of content on your website with a blog.
How is your website’s blog looking? Do you have any posts? When was your last post published?
Taking the time to post every single day is probably unrealistic for any small business owner. But the good news is you don’t have to! Regular blog posting for you may be once a month.
The important thing is to keep things updated. If your blog is brand new and you find that you don’t have the time to post, consider taking down or “hiding” your blog for a little while. Imagine if a new client finds your website, but then sees an empty blog. They might think that you aren’t actively taking on new business or wonder if you’re even around. Use your blog to help you drum up business instead of unknowingly chasing new clients away.
3). Too Many Calls-to-Action
When a prospective or current client lands on your website, what do you want them to do?
- Sign up for a free trial?
- Reserve a spot in a class?
- Contact you for more information?
- All the above?
Including calls-to-action on your website is a necessity. But what happens when you’re faced with choices? Too many choices. All at the same time and all in the same place.
You run the risk of not making any choice and walking (or in this case clicking) away.
Calls-to-action are tricky. You want your target clients to take action, probably many actions. So you have to be strategic about the placement of these calls-to-action.
Your website should direct your current and prospective clients down a clear path. Provide a single call-to-action where it makes the most sense. If you have a hard time deciding between multiple options, then put yourself in your clients’ shoes and talk a walk around your website. Does it make the most sense to get started with that free trial before talking about reserving classes? Then go with the free trial!
4). Broken Links or Links to Nowhere
Okay, you’ve got your clear calls-to-action or you’ve included the necessary links on your website so that people can find information easily. Great! But what if those links don’t work?
Clicking a link to sign up for a program that goes nowhere is frustrating. You might even lose a prospect because of this frustration.
The older your website, the greater the chance that some of the links you’ve used in the past to gain clients may not work anymore. Things change over time; code becomes outdated.
Again, it’s worth it to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and take a tour of your website.
- What happens when you click on every link?
- Are you directed to a page that makes sense?
If not, make the updates and remember to keep an eye on these in the future.
5). Losing Sight of the Big Picture
At some point of the design process for a new or updated website it’s worth it to take a step back and ask yourself, “What is the purpose of what I’m doing here?”
A website exists to support your business. It is a reflection of who you are and how you operate. And it’s a place for you to grow your client base, conduct business and communicate with your customers.
If you are using your website to gain more clients, then you want to make sure that you’re clearly communicating who you are and what you do. You want to make it easy for people to contact you. Or to try out a class. And you want that whole experience to be simple and straightforward for your customers.
Anything outside of this goal tends to bog down both the launch and the design of a new website. Perhaps you notice something bright and shiny on someone else’s website that makes you think, “Oh! I need to do that too!”
Stick to your own personal plan and try not to be swayed by flashy designs or animations. Yes, these look cool and have a place in design. But if it’s taking away from the primary purpose of your website then it might become more of a distraction, not only to you but to your website visitors as well.
Interested in learning more about what your fitness business website needs to have? Get your copy of our free website checklist.
Website Team Lead
Carrie has a background in exercise physiology and coaching endurance athletes. Before moving to Denver with her ultra-marathon running husband, she owned her own coaching business in San Diego, CA for six years. She is a self-taught web designer and enjoys helping likeminded business owners with “their piece of the internet.” Outside of work, Carrie enjoys hiking with her husband and her corgi, Orion, as well as trail running and yoga.