Ten years ago, having a website to represent your club was a luxury. Five years ago, having a club website was nice, but not essential. Today, your group’s website is critical for the growth and success of your club. In fact, we’d wager to say that, nowadays a club that does not have a website, is destined for extinction.
According to “the experts” any website has just 8 seconds to engage a visitor and make them want to click on, read further, or find out more about the organization represented. Yowza! Eight seconds – Poof! Statistics also tell us that if a visitor is confused, overwhelmed, or completely disgusted with their experience on a site they are likely to never return. For clubs struggling with dwindling membership and waning member interest, that first impression had better be pretty dang awesome!
Think of a website as a well-decorated home. (We’ve just been through a move, so “decorating” is getting a lot of attention around here.) Just like a home, websites that are busy, with too many elements and colors, make visitors confused and make their interaction with the site stressful. Likewise, sites that are sparse, or outdated (animated gifs, for example) fail to build trust or convey the essence of the club.
Just like designing a home, there are elements that are “tried and true” for website presentation. Here’s three to consider:
The Foundation – Site Layout
Consistency is paramount with any site. You want your site to have an identity that represents your club, so the “feel” of all the pages (backgrounds, color schemes, navigational tools, headers, and banners) should be the same. Often, we see sites that have been updated, and yet still use the old design for certain pages of the site. It’s like walking through a brand new ultra-modern contemporary home and suddenly finding a room with Victorian decor and furnishings. It’s confusing and makes you wonder exactly where you are! Keep it consistent.
Important information should be visible. As enjoyable as it is to explore the Fun House at a carnival, a website should not take visitors through a series of mazes or hidden entrances to find what they are looking for.
Adhering to standards. The internet has been around long enough that there are certain things on any website that visitors have come to expect. For example, if a text is underlined, users expect it to be a link.
Colors, Font and Alignment. It’s easy to tell an amateur website attempt because often each sentence has a different color or font, and some sentences are left-justified, while others are centered. This is distracting to visitors and does nothing to hold their interest with the site.