With 245 million internet users across the United States accessing the web from their computers, phones, and tablets, it’s clear that your website should be the centerpiece of your recreation marketing. People within your community can access your website around the clock, saving time for your staff and improving the experience for your customers. To make sure your website is functioning like a well-oiled marketing machine, follow these ten tips:
1. Have a memorable web address: People need to remember your website’s URL in order to come back directly for news and new programs/classes. Keep in short, memorable, and put it on all your marketing materials.
2. Get your website to rank in search engines: People in your community search for activities, events, and classes that you offer. They also search for your department directly. Make sure you rank in Google for both types of searches.
3. Optimize your Google Places page: Google Places is a free way to post a listing on Google that integrates with Google Maps and can get you found on the first page for searches like pools, Yoga classes, parks, and more.
4. Engage your visitors: Text alone is not dynamic enough. Engage your visitors with photos, videos, synced social media updates and more. If it’s attractive, visitors will stay longer and interact more with what you offer.
5. Have clear navigation: Navigation is key. A lot of times, visitors will come to your page with a specific intention in mind (to donate, register, read news, etc.). Make sure your navigation bar is well-organized, visible, and prioritized based on your popular pages.
6. Update your content: Many websites suffer from news section that have stories dated from 2009, or content that never changes. Since the status update and tweet came along, people demand fresh content. Make sure you change and update your website. It’s easy to do this with a content management system.
8. Make calls to action prominent: You have goals. Whether you want someone to donate, volunteer, or register, make sure you encourage people and make it easy. It’s as simple as having prominent buttons on your home page that say those calls to action.
9. Keep branding consistent: Stay consistent across brochures, letterheads, ID cards, signs, your website, and more. That way, people will start to recognize your recreation brand across all touch points.
10. Enable social sharing and social media: Social sharing buttons on your website allow your visitors to share your web pages with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and more. Social network buttons allow you to accumulate your own followers and likes right from your website.
11. Create a mobile version: For our consumer-facing site, Active.com, 18% of visitors come from mobile. That accounts for millions of visitors per year. Have you checked your site on a smart phone? Check your analytics and consider creating a mobile version for your website.