In the following article I will discuss the top design principles for golf club websites, the must have’s, the do’s and don’ts. I aim to inform golf-course owners, managers, and marketing teams on the best design principles for golf club websites to attract more new members to their golf club, and to stand out from the rest.
Golf clubs, like the other golf sectors, face a challenging marketplace. Golf clubs are often high-level establishments, and golfers generally develop attachments to their clubs, so joining is a difficult decision and usually requires selecting one from a group of many. From a marketing perspective, this is a huge challenge. What golfers are looking for is something that caters to their needs, providing them with a golf experience that they will enjoy and be motivated to repeat.
Traditionally, golf clubs have struggled to attract new members because they are a product of their surroundings. To increase your members’ satisfaction and therefore your membership base, you need to provide them with something they didn’t even know they wanted. The web is a great way to create products and to highlight services that golfers want. Golf clubs need to start creating digital products and services that their potential clients genuinely want.
Design Principles for Golf Club Websites
– Quality content
Content is the key to a golf club’s website, as a website is a representation of your business, and therefore the key to you as a company to be trustworthy and credible. Your content should be clear, concise, and relevant. It should also be fun and engaging. The first thing you need to do when designing a golf club’s website is to have a clear understanding of your goals for your website. What do you want the visitors of your website to see? What do you want them to take away from it? What is the message you want to send out about the golf club?
Answering these questions before you begin designing your website for golf courses ensures that you at least have a decent roadmap to success.
– Layout and colors
Make sure your website is optimized for the browser using text, images, and video, as this is what most people are going to be using. These formats allow you to provide different views of what your golf club is about, for example, a pdf version of a print brochure that can be seen in the club itself, or a video that can be shown to a visitor, or a more interactive and dynamic form that people can fill in themselves to learn more about your golf club.
– Responsive design
The reason why I say this is because, as I mentioned, mobile phones and tablets are now the norm, and so a website needs to be responsive. It should be designed to work regardless of whether it is viewed on a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone. Also, the site should be designed to work optimally in all browsers i.e. IE9 and above, and Firefox 3 and above, and the more recent versions of Chrome.
– Hook yourself in early
Don’t rush through designing a golf club’s website. Take it slow as you design and ask yourself questions about your website such as: What are you selling? What are your customers looking for? What is your message? What makes your golf club different? In order to attract and retain new members, you need to be sure that you answer these questions.
Every golf club website is going to have its own unique style, and that is down to the person, or the organization creating it, which I believe is a good thing. Some golf club or course websites are very colorful, but as I mentioned, the internet and mobile phones are all about more practicality. You also need to think about how your website stands out from other golf clubs in the area and try to make it stand out from your competitors.
Try to ensure that you balance the information on your website; it does not have to be all golf, but you do have to cover all the bases.
– Use a professional designer
A professional designer can make a huge difference, as a professional designer will know how to balance the content on your website.
– Create a master plan
It is especially important that you have a master plan. This could be simply telling visitors to your golf club who the golf club is and how they can get involved and showing them how they can do this. You also need to give visitors a lot of information about your golf club, including contact information, links to your social media pages, where the driving range is, and any other relevant information.
– Have a strong social media presence
At the start of a golf season, it is particularly important that you have a strong social media presence, as this will help you to attract new members to your golf club. You will have Facebook and Twitter pages, and you will need to be using these to gain followers as well as to share news about your golf club.
– Have a good eye
Make sure that your golf club website design is kept up to date. Do not leave anything up to chance and have a good eye when making any changes to the website. Your golf club website design is only as good as the person who is creating it, and as such, if you or your in-house team cannot rapidly develop web-design expertise, it may be best to delegate this responsibility to the employ of 3rd party, outsourced design professionals.
– Design it for your target market
You need to consider the target market of your website. For example, if you are a golf club that is new and relatively small, your golf club website is probably going to need to be a lot more basic than if you have been running the golf club for years. You also need to consider how active you want your golf club to be, and what target market you are aiming at.
It is important that you take your time when creating your golf club website, and that you consider all the information above. It will not be perfect the first time you release it, nor is it likely to be so when you first make a change to the website, but this natural process of trial and error is the only way you will really know what is working and what is not.
If you want to go one step further, I recommend that you maintain someone in-house who knows how to create websites.
I hope that this article has provided you with a starting platform of information from which you can begin designing your golf club’s website under tested principles. From there, through natural experimentation, you, as lead designer, will be able to see and fine tune the nuances of design as you see fit, and as you learn is best, through on-site and online interaction analysis.