Branding Your Gym Through Your Website… Say Cheese?

Website imagery

Calm down, hardcore Paleo people. We aren’t talking about actual cheese here. We are talking about the importance of photos and design with your website.

Why is imagery and design so important when it comes to your website?

Over 50 percent of the time, the first interaction a potential member will have with your brand will be through your website. When a new user — new, potential member — lands on your website, impressions about your gym are formed in literally seconds. Many studies show that an opinion about your business is formed in less than 10 seconds once the user lands on the home page. First impressions are everything, so it is important that you use quality imagery/design to excite the user so they form a positive opinion about your brand.

Do good photos and design really make a difference on my bottom line?

We consistently do case studies on our clients and look at how the improvements made to their website result in more leads. We can very accurately quantify many of the improvements on Search Engine Optimization, website conversions/lead generation, decrease bounce rate, etc. But it’s much more difficult to quantify the results that are experienced from quality photos and an aesthetically pleasing design. We can look at heat maps, user engagement, etc. but to correlate an exact number is difficult to do. With all of that said, this is no reason to write off the importance of quality photos and design. If you look at some of the biggest brands in the world it is very clear that quality branding is a game-changer.

Look at companies like Oakley or Red Bull. Do they have superior products when compared to their competition? That is debatable, but glancing at their websites and other marketing, it excites you about their brand and makes you at a minimum curious about what they have to offer. This is exactly what we want to do when we are marketing to new members.

How to get good photos?

Ideally, we recommend hiring a professional photographer to take some photos of your gyms, members working out, staff, etc. Good photos can make a huge difference in the perceived quality of you brand, especially when they are complemented with a unique professional design. Below is a great example of a quality photo:

Photos and branding

You can see how this photo is incorporated into this gym’s website and the impact it makes.

Don’t have a budget for a photographer or access to a quality DSLR camera? Is your phone the only option you have? What should you do?

Of course, having professional photos taken is ideal, but we understand that can be expensive, and a good DSLR camera can cost you well over $1,000. With that said, we have some tips if you do have to take your photos with your phone.

Tip #1: DO NOT use filters on your photos, as many of these filters will downsize the photo file size and make it blurry or grainy when it is scaled up.

Tip #2: Check your lighting for the photo. Phone cameras are typically very sensitive to light. If your photo is in an area with low light it will give you a grainy photo, but if you have a bright light source directly in your photo you can get a blow out (lots of white light equals not much detail in the photo). If you must use your phone camera, make sure to be in a very well lit area, but do not have a direct light source in the frame (i.e. the sun or a lamp).

Tip #3: Do not upload the photo to Facebook or Instagram and then add them to your website from there. When you upload photos to Facebook or Instagram, they will automatically downsize the photo file size to save space, and this will cause issues if your website increases the size of the image.

Trey Tamble is the chief digital strategist for Siteplicity, which provides web design, development and digital marketing services for hundreds of gyms around the world. Got questions? Contact him directly via or visit