As community manager of SocialWOD and someone who is generally interested in functional fitness, I spend a lot of time on affiliate websites. Some of these are news sites, like Tabata Times, and others are web pages for actual gyms.
As I was looking at different gyms’ sites, I started noticing the same few mistakes over and over. Poorly designed websites, no obvious contact information, and broken links/images to name a few. These mistakes are small and definitely fixable, but still need to be addressed. For most people, the first way they are going to learn about you gym is through your website. If your site it unappealing or difficult to navigate, that potential client might not even bother coming to your gym to see what it’s all about.
Here are 3 common mistakes that I see affiliate websites commit. Is your site guilty of any of these?
1. Not Owning Your Domain Name
I can’t tell you how many gyms are www.affiliate-random.blogspot.com or www.affiliate-no-name.wordpress.com. Really people?! You’ve invested thousands of dollars to find a space, get equipment, and pay for insurance yet you won’t step it up and pay the $10/month in order to own your site?
I have no issues with people using WordPress or Blogspot but for goodness sakes, own your own name. There are a couple good reasons do this. Firstly, legitimacy. You just come off as more professional if you own your own domain. Another is that SEO tricks won’t work as well because it won’t optimize for your page but for whoever you’re hosting with.
2. Not Having Your Contact Information Clearly Stated
This was another super common issue on a lot of gyms’ sites. Sometimes, I didn’t even know where a gym was located! Make sure your address and phone number are on the first page or that you have a clearly visible “Contact Us” link on your home page.
Additionally, if you have a Facebook or Twitter by all means link to those from your website. A lot of gyms didn’t note that they had a Facebook account on their page so I had to Google “functional fitness Random Facebook” in order to find their Facebook page. Link everything together!
Finally, if you do have a Facebook, Twitter, or blog for your gym please keep it updated. Having a social media profile and not updating it is worse than not having one at all. And make sure that your gym’s Facebook profile is a public page and not a personal profile. There were actually a few gyms that had Facebook profiles for their gym which meant that you have to friend request the gym instead of “like” it. Ridiculous!
3. Sad, Sad, Web Design
I am not a graphic designer nor am I here to put any specific gyms on blast but man…there are some ugly affiliate websites out there. Not as ugly as this but close.
I don’t expect you to be a small business owner, coach, and website designer all in one. Of course not, you’re only human. Luckily, there are tons resources out there to help you build a great website. In fact, our buddies at 321GoProject work solely to help affiliates with their branding, design, and image. If your site looks anything like the one I linked to above…please give them a call.
Kissmetrics has a great post on this called 7 Usability Mistakes That Will Kill Your Online Sales. If you have time, I definitely recommend you read it. It addresses a lot of other problems with poorly designed/laid out sites.
What do you think? Are there other issues you’ve seen on affiliate sites? Let us know in the comments!