If a new member is looking at a gym through a website, the homepage acts as a first impression. And that has 5 to 15 seconds to capture a potential member’s attention.
Vin McCauley, the owner of Level One Sites, believes showing a list of WODs — and displaying workouts as intimidating as a triple Murph — on your homepage is not going to leave the right impression. “WODs can be intimidating to current members and they’re even more intimidating to prospective members,” McCauley said. “There’s a lot of Boxes that use a long blog roll on the home page and we strongly discourage that. That’s a big no-no for us.”
Not to mention, a WOD blog can be outdated. When Matt Plapp, the owner and marketing director at CrossFit the Tracks travels, he looks at various Boxes where he can drop in. Outdated information, such as a WOD from three months prior or photos of a Christmas party when it’s July, reflect the upkeep of the gym. “If you’re not updating your website, are you cleaning your bathroom? Are you paying attention to your programming? Are you showing up to classes? It’s like any business,” Plapp said.
He suggests setting an appointment with yourself every week to not only update your website, but the homepage as well. At CrossFit the Tracks, there is three parts he constantly updates: the athlete of the month, the WOD and upcoming events. Even if the events aren’t scheduled yet, Plapp let’s his members know that events are going to happen on that month.
If Affiliates are worried their social events are not accurately represented on their website, that is where social media channels can be best utilized.
McCauley states whatever is displayed on your homepage should reflect the culture of a Box. “People that haven’t taken the time to come and experience [the Box] can actually get a taste of it online. We’re not all for using sort of sneaky strategies to get people in,” said McCauley. “The groups that they’re targeting, whether that’s family or firebreathers, the goal is to communicate that accurately online. Because you want to attract your target market, whoever that is.”
He suggests using pictures of “regular-looking people getting taught how to be more fit,” and photos of kids CrossFitting.
Unless you are a web designer, Plapp and McCauley said the website should not look like it was homemade. Both agreed they hardly see that anymore, thanks to templates and companies like McCauley’s that help Boxes create websites.
Ultimately, Plapp says a homepage needs to be interactive, simple to use and easy to navigate on mobile devices, which templates help curate. “Ninety-nine percent of the traffic that I see from our website is current members coming to our member login at the top of the website and potential members coming in to look at our class schedule. So as long as you have those things right in front of you, you’re fine,” said Plapp. He said recently, as much as 80 percent of traffic comes from mobile devices.
It comes down to setting a weekly reminder. This can help Affiliates with updating a Box’s website and accurately display its culture.