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Picture perfect Make sure the images
used on your website refl ect your club’s
membership profi le – but without
alienating other possible target markets
and so on – and all potential target
markets should ideally be able to identify
with the photos used on a club website.
keeping it fresh
Given the role that health clubs play in
people’s lives, you might naturally expect
their websites to be bright, vibrant and
energetic. Yet in general, health club
websites are surprisingly pallid. Again, by
far the best of the bunch are LA Fitness
and Harpers, both of which use bright
colours against light backgrounds to
create a feeling of energy and vibrancy
– not what you’d want from a serious
corporate website, but exactly right for
a lifestyle brand such as a gym.
Another website worth a mention
is that of Bannatyne Fitness, which has
a ‘randomised’ main image at the top
of each page that varies on each log-in.
This is a well-used but nonetheless
effective technique that helps keep
pages interesting, not just for unique
users but more importantly for
returning visitors.
information navigation
Another really important factor when © IST
building great websites is good
information design – ensuring that the David Lloyd Leisure excels at this, their trust – it is the health club brand
layout of all content is easy for visitors’ providing encyclopaedic levels of they are trying to purchase from that
eyes to organise and comprehend. health advice ranging from diets and will bear the brunt of the frustration, not
Grid-based layouts help enormously in fitness regimes through to vitamins and the ‘invisible’ software provider.
this respect, and by far the best in this minerals, and even foods and recipes. Spa operator Champneys is a
sector is the David Lloyd Leisure It’s all very informative, well laid-out very good example of a website that
website which, in spite of its slightly and an excellent resource for anyone combines extensive booking and
dark and foreboding colourway, is very looking for this sort of help. It even has online facilities while still managing
well laid-out, making it easy to digest. a series of video content in its ‘Video of to communicate large amounts of
It might sound a little too simple, but the Week’ feature, enabling the website information about the different sites
being able to search an entire website to step out of merely being a gateway to and services. The clean and engaging
for content featuring certain keywords the gym to offer its own unique set of design, together with a voucher and
is a great way to put users in touch services to the user. online booking system, all help to
with content. That’s pretty easy to do make the website a highly successful
nowadays, and it works very effectively website functionality enterprise for the Champneys brand.
on the Virgin Active, Esporta, David Online registration and bookings are
Lloyd Leisure and Fitness First sites. other important features for any health could do better
Surprisingly, though, it’s not a universal club website. Fitness First, Harpers, LA In general, the quality of websites offered
feature and is absent on websites such Fitness and David Lloyd Leisure all allow by the fitness and leisure sector is far
as LA Fitness, which otherwise offers users to join online, with the latter from perfect. Given the relatively low
exemplary navigation tools for the user. three also enabling members to book cost of developing and maintaining
Looking beyond aesthetics and classes online. This sort of functionality websites compared to other forms of
functionality, another key requirement can greatly increase revenue by ensuring marketing (and indeed of running a gym),
of visitors to health club websites is to that, once the user is engaged with the as well as the constantly evolving nature
find general information, for example website, their interest can be converted of online marketing, there’s certainly still
about health and fitness. Health club into an immediate sale. plenty of room for improvement.
brands that satisfy this quest are again However, such online booking systems
likely to generate credibility and affinity can be complex and even prone to nicholas mann is md of website
for their brands, and are likely to attract crashing; if this happens, clubs risk losing design company interdirect
members as a result. the users’ attention, money, and arguably
november/december 2009 © cybertrek 2009 Read Health Club Management online 59
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