Do you think of your website as a core part of your business’s success or is it just an afterthought? When you think of your website what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a constant annoyance, always needing updates, or fixing broken elements that are not functioning properly? If so it might be time to make some meaningful improvements to your site.
Websites are often a hassle that gym owners would rather not think about, but this could be costing you valuable customers. Worst of all your site might be causing a secret loss of revenue since you never hear about the 90% of customers who got onto your website and then left never to come back again. These losses can be substantial, however, they can be reduced or eliminated with some improvements.
Websites need to be replaced or redesigned about every 3-5 years. Just like uneven bars or a spring floor, parts of your website will stop working as time goes on and technology improves. The major difference is that spring floors are replaced and vault tables repaired, but no extra effort is set aside for the website. This is because it is often seen as a frivolous addition to the gymnastics business rather than something that is at the very core of your success.
In a digitally reliant world created by COVID-19, most customers will see your website far before they have ever talked to anyone from your gym or stepped foot in your facility. This means that your site is their first impression, and it is hopefully a good one. Customers are picky these days when it comes to websites, if it is loading too slowly you just lost someone, a page does not work, just lost another. If your contact form does not deliver emails properly to your inbox you could be losing the rest, and before you know it your website is generating no value for your business. Think of it as just as important as your gymnastics equipment, it is your digital representation of your business online. Without a great website, it is very difficult to successfully find new business online.
How to tell if your website is Out Of Date
Here is a quick checklist to see if your website is working properly:
1. Does your website take longer than 3 seconds to load?
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load then it is considered a slow-loading website that will lose customers. Make sure to test this on both computer and phone to ensure that it is loading quickly across all devices.
2. Does every page work on your website?
We have all run into broken website pages before and they always cause frustration. To ensure that there are no broken pages test every page on your computer and phone. Or a faster way is to use this online tool to check for broken links.
3. Can you find any broken elements?
On many websites, I have seen various broken elements such as an embedding of maps, a gallery, or worst of all a contact form. These broken pieces greatly hinder customer signups as they sidetrack or completely stop the signup process. When checking your website look to see if you can find any specific elements that are not functioning properly on your phone and computer.
4. Does your website currently get any signups?
Nearly every website out there should be getting some submissions from your contact form, even if it is just spam. So if you are hearing radio silence then that is not a good sign. This usually means one of two things: 1) Your contact forms are not working and the emails are never getting to your inbox 2) You are not getting any traffic so nobody can find your website. Overall if you do not receive any contact forms in your inbox that should be cause for alarm to look deeper into the issue.
5. Is your website optimized for mobile?
Customers are turning to mobile devices for browsing the web more and more every day, in 2023 about 60% of customers will navigate your website on their phones. So make sure that your site is working well on a smaller screen. To test this try browsing your website on your phone, as well as two other mobile devices. Each phone has slightly different dimensions so it is important to check that a variety of sizes work properly. For optimized sites you should not have to zoom in to see everything, it should all be easily read, fonts should be large enough that you do not have to strain, spacing should make sense, and not have overlapping elements. A faster way to check your entire site is by using this resource hosted by Google. It will scan your website for potential errors that customers will face on mobile.
6. Does your website look old?
This metric is a bit more subjective however it still plays a crucial role in your website’s success especially with younger parents looking to sign up. Website development has improved greatly over the last 10 years so if your website is not up to snuff it could be costing your business. If you are unsure if it looks old, ask some of your younger coaches to see their feedback on the site and how it could be presented better.
7. Does your site rank well on Google?
Keeping all of the complicated SEO stuff out of the way, ideally, your website should rank as #1 on Google when you type in Gymnastics in (your location). Depending on your area and competition this might be a more difficult achievement for some gyms than for others. For example, if you know there are only one or two other gyms in your area you should be either first, second, or third in search results. Likewise, if there are 10 gyms in your area you should be at least in the top 10 results. If your gym is not showing in these areas then there is most likely something wrong with your website that is causing Google to have a difficult time understanding your website. This is a strong indicator that you will need to make some improvements as it will be a large factor in finding new customers online.
8. Is your site content out of date?
Even if your website looks amazing and works well it does not really matter too much if all of your information is out of date. If your classes listed are no longer offered it will confuse and frustrate new costumes. If your schedules are outdated you might also lose customers in the confusion. It is optimal if your website can be well maintained to create an easy user experience and smooth onboarding of customers.
Looking for more website design tips to improve your site or fully redesign it? Check out our ultimate guide to gymnastics marketing that we created here.
What to do if your website does not pass these tests?
If your website does not pass one or many of these tests then the best thing to do would be to fix them as soon as possible and set up a system to ensure that they are checked regularly. Proper maintenance of your website will save your business both time and money down the road to avoid costly repairs and technical issues which give everyone a headache.
Some of these points are easier to resolve than others, a contact form being broken might just need a slight tweak, or a page might need to be replaced here or there. However, if your website is loading slowly, looks old, does not work on mobile, or has a combination of many issues it might be time to redo your site. These issues run through every page of a website so in many cases repairing them will be more work than a redesign, or hiring an expert to handle it for you. For more information on how you can redesign your website check out our guide to design your new gymnastics website.
If your site passes these tests
If your website passes all of these tests then it is very capable of generating new trials and customers for your business. However, remember to regularly update your website to ensure that it is still maintaining this level of quality.
Once your website is well established the next step will be to run promotions that push people onto your website so that you can improve your traffic and signups. Even if you have the best site in the world, it does no good if nobody is seeing it. Great websites are perfect for helping customers find your business when they search for gymnastics in their area, but what about all of the potential customers who are not searching for gymnastics?
This is where other forms of marketing such as Facebook ads come in to increase interest in your business and multiply your sales. We recommend checking this guide for starting your own Facebook advertising campaign to get the most out of your website and generate much more online business for your company.