Was your website designed more than three years ago? If so, chances are you are not receiving the traffic and benefits you could from your website and may want to consider moving to a new “Designer Site.” You may wonder why it is already necessary to “revitalize” websites which are only a few years old. Unlike other aspects of a club’s facilities – its clubhouse or irrigation systems, for example, which may only need rejuvenation every so many decades – web technology is changing so fast that what was “state of the art” three years ago now looks as dated as a ’57 Dodge station-wagon with push-button transmission and Dumbo fins. Websites need to receive major overhauls roughly every three years or they will no longer attract many visitors. And a website without visitors is like a dining room without diners – lots of cost and no benefits.A New Design Makes A Big DifferenceArizona Country Club recently upgraded to a Designer Site from Clubessential. The Marketing and Membership Director wrote to us saying: “In the last eight months since we revamped the look and feel of www.azcountryclub.com, I have received well over a hundred online inquiries about our membership opportunities. Prior to the new [Designer Site], there had not been one.” A new design can have a similar impact on member traffic to the website, in turn resulting in greater member engagement and event attendance levels.Why Artwork MattersYour members are gaining experience with the Internet. Even the older folks who once claimed they would never own a computer are signing on at an increasing rate. Some are ordering vitamin pills online, others designing their new BMW’s or paying bills without stamps. Whatever they are doing online, rest assured that they are gaining exposure to ever more advanced websites. Once they’ve seen the beauty of other websites, they will expect their club to have an appearance in keeping with the club’s traditions of quality and service. But since the web is advancing so fast, this means you need to run just to stay in place.Not Just a SnapshotIt is actually very easy to create pretty artwork for the Internet if that artwork is just a static image. But artwork isn’t enough for clubs, because clubs need to present current news to their members in order to entice the members to return to the website over and over again. So club websites not only need to be pretty, they also need to be functional and editable. This is a far more challenging technical problem which has only recently been solved at Clubessential. Our new Axis product can support the creation of virtually any kind of graphical appearance, and yet the pages can still be edited by the club’s staff. Any website created earlier than 2005 did not have this flexibility.You might ask, if it is so easy to create pretty artwork on static pages, why not just use that process to create a beautiful website, and simply hire the technical folks to redo the pages when changes are needed? The problem is cost. If you only change your website every six or twelve months, using custom developed graphics may work well for you. But if you are trying to build a vibrant website frequently visited by your members, you will need to make changes to many pages, and often. If you pay an outside service to do this, the price will be very high, perhaps $15,000 to $30,000 per year. Further, the logistics of communicating what belongs on each page, over and over, make this approach clumsy at best. A much more cost effective approach is a website that has a built-in beautiful frame, with editable areas where your staff can add content as often and whenever they like. Click Here to see some other Clubessential websites.Online Statements and PaymentsAnother way to revitalize a website is to drive traffic by installing something that members need to use. A perfect example is posting members’ bills, including chit level detail, minimum balances and the ability to make payments online. As with the website, be sure to take the time to make the statement display look sophisticated – members won’t trust financial transactions that look patched together. Clubessential currently has interfaces to fourteen different accounting systems, and uses CheckFree to handle online payments. It has been our experience that clubs posting statements online typically double their website traffic. We encourage clients to incorporate the statement display in such a way that all this extra traffic parades past the most important club announcements. The internal marketing value of this traffic is actually the most valuable aspect of displaying statements online, so make sure that your vendor’s system is flexible enough to allow you to take advantage of the traffic.Make Your Scorecard Display A KnockoutRecent advances in technology now allow for beautiful animated hole by hole course displays. Click here to see an example. Notice how hovering the mouse over a scorecard entry lights up the hole in question, then clicking displays that hole’s pictures and description. With a beautiful display like this, can you see why members would be more likely to return to the website?
It just doesn’t make sense to pay to host an old website and pay your staff to keep it up, if it doesn’t generate traffic because it looks dated. You could completely revitalize your website for less than it would cost for a fancy brochure. Call us at 800-448-1475 to receive a review of your current website and a cost estimate to revitalize it with new graphics and features.