The Role of a Website Has Changed
There was a time where simply having a website was good enough, but in 2017 a website needs to be fast, easy to navigate, search engine friendly, and must have a clear path to conversion for the customer. These days, golf course websites not only play the role of making a good first impression but also act as the primary funnel for the majority of sales.
With most of our marketing efforts pointing people to the website, you would think that the quality of the website would be at the forefront of a golf course operator’s mind. However, buzzwords like “mobile app” and “social media” have clouded the minds of many, leaving websites to take a backseat.
When used effectively, websites are the centerpiece for tee time bookings, golf outing leads, gift card sales, lesson inquiries, and virtually any other revenue stream your golf course has. As technology has improved, it has become easier to monetize your website through things like online stores, booking engine integrations, and more. The goal of a website isn’t to generate interest, but to finish the deal.
What’s Wrong With Your Website?
You ask this 100 times and you’ll likely get 100 different answers, but below we’ve done our best to break down the 5 most common problems we see with websites, with solutions ranging from simple edits, to complete website reconstruction.
Your website is too slow on mobileThe majority of users are on your website are likely using a mobile device. However, user’s smartphones aren’t always connected to Wi-Fi and sometimes have to rely on slower internet connections. When this occurs, it’s important to have a lightweight website, hosted on a quick server, in order to prevent users from leaving.
Slow load speed can lead to your pro shop having to take more calls, or worse, abandonment by the user. A slow mobile version of your website has the potential to single-handedly cause your golf course thousands of dollars in tee time revenue a year.
There’s too much clutterWebsites are great because they can provide important information to potential customers quickly and easily. However, it’s easy to go overboard with images, copy, menu items, videos, and call-to-actions. While you may feel like adding more to your website is helping your business, it is likely having an adverse effect.
You may be thinking “my golf course has a lot going on”, which may help justify the overload of information on your website. However, it’s important to emphasize the main goal, whether it's booking more tee times or getting new memberships. Your call-to-action (CTA) should be the most prominent thing on your website, unobstructed by anything else. Time and time again, we see websites with 3+ call-to-actions on the homepage, all for different things. Providing too many options to users clutters the path of conversion and ultimately hurts revenue.
Your website is annoyingThere are a few reasons your website might annoy users. One being that you’ve yet to update to a mobile-responsive website design, causing users on smartphones and tablets to have to zoom in and out to navigate pages. We all know how irritating that can be. The other reason is your website uses pop ups, slide outs, or other notification modules that are too frequent or deceptive.
Pop-ups aren’t all bad. They can be used to provide value to the customer, letting them know of any sales or promotions going on at the golf course. However, serving a pop up more than once or making it difficult to click out of the pop up can infuriate users. So much so that they might leave and never come back. As rule of thumb, never use more than one pop up at a time and only serve it once per visitor.
The images are pixilatedBusinesses, especially those that need to showcase their property like golf courses, need to use high-quality images. That last thing a potential customer wants to see is a blurry image of your clubhouse or greens before they spend their hard-earned money at your facility.
While we’ve seen some savvy business owners get away with well-thought-out iPhone photography, professional photography is well worth the investment. For a one-time investment of $1,000-2,000 (potentially less, if you know someone) you’ll have a bank of high-quality photos that you’ll be able to use on your website and other marketing materials for years to come.
If professional photography just isn’t in the budget, purchase some stock photography off websites like www.shutterstock.com. You’ll get the professional quality you’re looking for but can control your budget by only buying the photos you need. Stock photos, however, won’t highlight your golf course, as they are generic. They are a good, temporary alternative to that photo you took with your flip phone back in 2004.
You’re not tracking website successYou’ll never know how your website is performing if you’re not tracking it with a 3rd party analytics software (ie. Google Analytics). Google Analytics and other platforms are used not only track how many visits occur on the website, but how people interact with the website. Below are all things that can be tracking via a website analytics platform:
- Tee time revenue booked via the website
- What source your traffic is coming from
- What pages people are viewing the most
- Where people are abandoning purchases
- How many people are calling your golf course via the website
And that’s just scratching the surface. The data that website analytics tools provide can help golf course operators determine what to change and improve, what specials have worked the best, and with marketing efforts yield the best ROI.
Before you get caught up with marketing campaigns, take a look at your website. With golf courses relying so heavily on digital channels to find an edge on the competition, it’s imperative that your website is on par. Remember that less is more, speed is more important than ever, and that your golf course’s image can be glorified or discredited by the way your website portrays it. 1-2-1 Marketing is the leading provider of website design and development to the golf industry. Give us a call at (407) 459-8200 to learn more about how we can help you be your best on the web.