A Five-Point Website Check-Up


The bottom line is in today’s world your website is as much a part of your brand as the bricks and mortar of your facility. You wouldn’t go home at night leaving burnt-out lightbulbs or an empty information rack; it’s time to look at your website the same way. Make sure it’s delivering the value users want and getting the job done for your business.

Who is your site for? And what is it supposed to do for them?

If you’re like most Boxes, you want a site for prospective new members where they can learn what you offer, get a sense of where they’ll fit in and how much it will cost. You also want content for existing members that helps them feel like insiders and empowers them to maximize the value of their workout experience.

And then there are all of the different types of prospects and members: What do you have for human resources directors at local companies who sponsor gym memberships? How about women – including new moms – recent vets and student athletes?

Each of them comes to your site with specific interests, needs and aspirations. If you’re not clear on the “who” and the “how,” you’re not getting the job done.

How hard do they have to work to find what’s important to them?

There’s nothing web users hate more than looking for a simple answer and being dumped into the web equivalent of an old general store. In most cases if you can’t connect them with what they want in less than 10 seconds, they’re gone.

Make it easy by using unique urls on your social media posts and ads, so if the call to action is about handstand pushups, they click directly to handstand pushups and not your homepage.  Within your site, make the navigation clear and intuitive. It not only keeps visitors engaged, but it supports your brand by showing you are well organized and user focused.

Do users know what’s going to happen when they click?

Videos, quizzes and other rich media are great in the right place. The same goes for the 12-page article reprint or the results for every event in your last competition. But for every viewer who’s happy for those deeper dives, there are 10 others who are going to click out if they get surprised with that type of long-form content.

Be clear with your users about what they’re going to get and give them options for different levels of engagement. Say right up front how long a video takes, how many questions are in the self-assessment survey, or how many pages are in the reference piece. It’s better to be candid while you still have their attention then to surprise them and have them click-away disappointed.

Does it deliver an optimal performance on every platform?

It doesn’t matter how good your site looks on your laptop, if it doesn’t perform on phones and tablets, it doesn’t perform for your most activated customers. Spend 15 minutes one of these days to review all of the key functions on your site from your phone when it’s not on wi-fi so you really know what your users are experiencing.

Do you know who’s using your site?

Start with Google metrics to find out how people get to your site and what they type in to get there. Then review your process for collecting names, qualifying visitors and getting opt-ins.  Figure out the places where people are most willing to volunteer information and what you have to offer in return – coupons, work-out guides or customized feedback.

Michael McLinden earns his road rash as a serial entrepreneur, and consultant to health, wellness and fitness related companies in the U.S. and Europe with a focus on market analysis, branding and value creation. He has held executive management and strategic planning responsibilities in a number of regional and global advertising and marketing firms, including Mc|K Healthcare, which he co-founded and ran until 2014. He holds an MS from Purdue University and an MBA from TIAS Nimbas business school in the Netherlands. Email him at mmclinden@miscopeto.com.