The importance of your website

Your website is a vital tool in the marketing of your wet leisure business. This article looks at some of the things you should bear in mind when developing or improving your site.

How do people find you?

It isn’t all that many years ago when, if someone wanted to find a phone number they looked in the phone book and if someone wanted to find a business they looked in the Yellow Pages.

Not all that many years ago, but it also seems like a lifetime ago.

Few people use a telephone directory these days and the way that they use a search engine on the Internet is subtly different.

With the phone book people looked for what your business was called. When they use Google, they might be just as likely to look for what your business does.

The only realistic way that you are going to capture these searches and potential enquiries is to have a well designed and well optimised website.

What do you want your website to achieve?

It’s all too easy to say to yourself, ‘we need to have a website,’ or ‘we already have a website’ and think of it as little more than a fascia board outside your showroom or a listing in the Yellow Pages.

Like all forms of marketing the first questions have to be, ‘who do we want to reach and attract’ and ‘what do we want to achieve’?

Your business website has the potential to be an incredibly powerful tool, possibly the most powerful weapon in your marketing armoury. But like any tool, you have to know what jobs you want it to do.

Many businesses see their website largely as a way to attract new customers but in order to do that you’ll need your site to be well search engine optimised so that it comes out near the top of relevant searches.

And therefore, of course, you’ll need to know what those search terms that you are going after actually are.

Your website can do a great deal more than just attract new customers. You can use it to stay in touch with existing customers and keep them up to date with news, special offers and new products or services.

Your website can host your blog where you not only let people know about your latest projects or new services, you also can share information, advice and knowledge about pools, saunas or spas that will show you to be an expert in your field.

Blogs also work well for search engine optimisation (SEO) as they often contain the answers to the questions that people are putting into their search engines.

You might want your website to have an e-commerce element where people can easily order chemicals, spares or accessories.

Business websites have moved on a great deal since the earlier days when they were essentially not much more than on on-line brochure but it is still important that your website looks the part and projects the right image for your business in both words and images.

Web design and content.

The design of your wet leisure business website should reflect your business image and your brand identity.

Wherever the public sees your business or reads about it or hears about it, they should be receiving consistent messages in terms of a ‘look’ and in terms of the attitudes and beliefs that your business stands for.

If they see your vehicle livery and then search for you on the web or if they see a press advert and look up your web address, they should recognise all these different marketing elements as coming from the same place.

Your web designer needs to understand this.

These days it is possible for you to build your own website or to spend tens of thousands of pounds on an ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ web presence.

The do-it-yourself approach is unlikely to produce a site that gives the right impression to customers. By the same token, a complex design and a technologically advanced platform are only worthwhile if they really do reflect your image and fulfil the tasks and requirements that you have set for your site.

Speed of loading, ease of navigation and simplicity of use are the qualities to aim for. Good design is important, but usability and value of content are more important.

Just because it is deigned and built, doesn’t mean it’s finished.

A good website needs to be maintained and should evolve.

The web is anything but a ‘static’ place. The whole landscape of the Internet changes constantly and you need to make sure that your website keeps up to speed with those alterations.

Google and other search engines constantly change their criteria for top results and you should consider talking to an SEO consultant every now and then to make sure that your site is responding to these changes.

That aside, people are more likely to return to your website if the content is regularly updated. That is another one of the reasons that blogs are so popular.

A good website design will also incorporate some form of ‘dashboard’ which will have tracking software allowing you to see how people move around your site and how long they stay on each page.

Looking at this information should give you a good idea about what pages and areas of the site you have got right and which areas might need some improvement.

We hope that the ideas in this article are useful for you.