89% of consumers turn to Google and Bing to find information on products, services and businesses prior to making a purchase. That means that the majority of prospective members in your neighborhood are going online to find their new gym or fitness studio. That being said, you absolutely need a strong online presence, and that starts with a solid website.
Your website should consistently drive new leads to your business. If that’s not happening, you’ve got a problem. Not receiving leads online leads is a clear indicator that your website is in need of some serious help.
If your website needs improvement, or (gasp!) if you don’t have a website, here are your options to get one for your business.
Lets first take a look at the basic components you’ll need to get a website up and running. Every website needs the following three components:
- Domain name: this is essentially the name, or URL for your website. For example, our domain name is zenplanner.com.
- Actual website: what your members and prospective members will see when they arrive on your domain.
- Hosting: every website needs a web hosting service provider. This is a business that provides the necessary technology needed for a website to be viewed on the internet.
You essentially have three different options for building out your website:
- Do it yourself
- Al la carte approach
- All-in-one bundle
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each one.
Do it Yourself
With the growth in DIY website builders like Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy, many small business owners opt to save some cash and build a website on their own. Websites are an expensive investment, but it’s important to remember that they are just that, an investment you’re making in your business.
Unless you’re an experienced web builder, doing it yourself can result in an amateurish site. Your website is the face of your business. Therefore, having an outdated or amateurish site that doesn’t match the quality of training you provide can end up hurting your business, and potentially turning prospective members away.
Even if you do have web development experience, you’re not a full-time developer, you’re a business owner. We hear time and time again from business owners that maintaining their website takes up far too much of their time; time that could be spent growing their business, building relationships with members and developing world-class programming and curriculum for their members.
Al La Carte Approach
If building a website is not something you’re interested in doing, an alternative option is to purchase website products individually from one or more providers. This would include purchasing:
- A domain name
- SSL certificate
- A website template
- Development and design expertise to build your website
- Website hosting
- Ongoing maintenance
While you won’t have to deal with the hassle of building out your website, you face a similar issue: time consumption. Taking the time to find individual providers for each component of your website is a time suck and requires a lot of research and coordination to ensure everything falls in place correctly.
Another thing to think about this is option is ongoing maintenance. Website maintenance, which includes everything from keeping the backend of your website up-to-date and making changes on the frontend of your website (adding a new trainer, switching out photos, updating current promotions, etc.), can end up being pricey in the long run. Many developers and designers charge expensive hourly rates, and can take long time to make these necessary updates. Zen Planner customer Conrad Long, owner of CrossFit Sphinx says, “it was a nightmare making changes with our old developer. I wouldn’t hear back for weeks and would have to follow up numerous times just to make a small change.”
If you’re going with option, be sure to factor in time and budget for these ongoing updates, as they will quickly add up.
For busy business owners, we highly recommend this option. All-in-one bundles include everything needed to get your website up-and-running, typically at a fixed cost. No searching around for different providers, developers and hosting companies.
This option allows you to get your website up quickly and efficiently, with minimal work on your end. The best part? You will typically pay a monthly fee that will cover hosting, updates and security your website, all of which are pricing if you’re paying for them on your own.
Next week, we’ll cover how much it costs to get a new website, as well as some of the hidden costs can pop up with the al la carte option.
Does your website need a facelift? Check out our recent webinar, Why Your Fitness Business Needs a Modern Website to discover the importance of having a recent website, as well as which components your website must have.