Here Are the Keys to Effective Private Club Web Design
Always choose Substance, Functionality, and Ease of Use over Style! This does not mean your site cannot be stylish, but do not let style destroy function and effectiveness.
Forget intro pages where you make people wait for a flash show before they get into your website; they are just annoying.
Make sure your site loads fast!
Put the main menu at the top or on the left, never at the right or at the bottom, depending on peoples’ screen size, they may disappear.
Make your flash show large enough to be impressive and showcase your club’s amenities in pictures.
If you are a private club, your key focus should be timely communication with your membership, so design your homepage in such a way that keeps all of your upcoming events right in front of your members. This can either be in the form of a banner ad that changes itself with each new event or in the form of scrolling member news. Don’t make them log in and go look for it! This also will show prospective members (who don’t have access to the member’s only area) all the activities they are missing at the club.
If you want new members, make sure you have a prominent box on your home page that collects data and offers a quick and prominent route to more information.
The same is true if your club accepts outside banquets or outings. Make sure you have a box on your home page that highlights this service right up front!
Have enough copy on your home page to provide a decent overview of your club and aid in search engine rankings, normally at least 150-200 words minimum. Most web designers act as if they are afraid of words or feel that words pollute their beautiful design. IGNORE them; you need text to sell your visitor and to generate search engine ranks. Always error on the side of too much information and you will hardly ever go wrong. People will decide for themselves what information is relevant to them and what is too much!
Make the copy large enough to read, in a simple font with little or no background color. Over 60% of all websites are unreadable because they are created by teenagers with great eyesight. Anything less than 10 point Times is unacceptable and bigger is always better. Not from a design point, but from a RESULTS point! The same holds true for reverse type or any graphical element that makes reading your site harder, JUST DON’T DO IT!
In this example, the background color and stylized background type make several words on this page very hard to read.
Make sure all your key pages such as membership, have complete sales presentation, not just bullet points.
Make the member login easy to find.
Make sure the visitor’s eye-path is not asked to do too much. People read from top to bottom and left to right. Too many distractions cause a pinball effect that never helps results.
The closer you stick to these guidelines the more effective your website will be.
This is a nice clean example of a very functional private club website. Here’s why:
• While the design many not win any graphic design awards, the design is attractive and very functional. No landing pages, no waiting for a flash intro to load where you the “click here” to skip it anyway, just straight into the site.
• The menu is at the top, easy to find easy to navigate, always there!
• The wide design showcases the club’s pictures in a flash show of eight images that are large enough to be impressive.
• It has enough words on the home page to impact search engine rankings and they are in font and text size that is very readable.
• Member news and happenings are right up front, where they need to be to drive incremental revenue.
• Membership info is right up front since it IS your primary business in a private club.
• Logo top left for all you branding fans!
All The Best,