If You Build It, They May Not Come


When he first opened CrossFit Annihilation, Kyle Flowers wanted an inexpensive, easy-to-use website for his Box.

He hired a “website guy” to create the website. But whenever Flowers wanted the site updated or something added to crossfitannihilation.com, he would have to go through said “guy.”

“Every time we wanted to add something to there, it was a little more complicated. I had to either call or email the guy and it would take a little while to make changes,” said Flowers.

That routine grew old. Flowers eventually canceled the membership and decided to build his own WordPress site, which he essentially uses like a blog to update the WOD.

But Kyle Posey, the CEO and lead developer of Powered by Awesome, believes that CrossFit is no longer in an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. And a Box’s website should not follow that approach either. Simply having a website may not be enough. A strategy must be involved.

Keeping the mindset that “people enjoy CrossFit because they don’t have to think of their next workout” Posey believes people should get to a Box’s website and follow a path that has already been laid out for them. And building a useful path comes down to more than design.

“A lot of times, we’ve redone nice looking websites and still see improvements and results. That’s kind of led us to believe that design is only one piece of the puzzle and while it is an important piece, it’s still leaving members or money on the table,” said Posey.

To Affiliates who don’t outsource their site, Posey said his first question to that owner is, “How many members are you losing because of that choice?” Posey believes an Affiliate’s time would be better spent developing their business, programming, sales strategies, etc. than worrying about coding. Let those who know websites help with that part of the business, he added.

“I would go with a company from the standpoint that problems are going to pop up. Things are going to happen to your website that you can’t figure out, you’re not going to know what happened,” said Matt Plapp, a co-owner of CrossFit the Tracks, and the owner and president of Driven Media Solutions. “You can get a website nowadays from a lot of these companies for $500 to $2,000 and if it’s done correctly, it will pay for itself in a couple months.” Paying for itself, Plapp stated, means that people will be so attracted to your website, they will turn into members.

On the other hand, Flowers doesn’t believe he needs a “fancy website” for CrossFit Annihilation. “Our members were actually happy when we switched to the WordPress site because they could just see the workout of the day right from their phone,” said Flowers.

As for pictures and videos, Flowers used to offer multimedia on his old website, but he doesn’t think anybody took time to view the images. He believes if people want to see images, they will search the Box’s social media channels.

Ultimately, if an Affiliate doesn’t know what makes his or her Box stand out, Posey said a website is not going to help their business. Posey believes an Affiliate first needs to know what differentiates their Box from the competition, and then build their business, including their website, around that mentality. It’s up to the owner to decide if that’s a project they can handle themselves or if they want a company to handle website functionality for them.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.