Website Facelift: Free Tools to Improve Your Customer’s Experience
By Liza Horan
While it’s vital in 2006 to have a fresh website for your club, shop, or company, the fact is that you’re in the tennis business, not the internet business. But there’s hope — without spending any hard dollars on development, you can improve the customer experience on your site to keep them coming back. A website with a few interactive features and special touches can work for you while you’re on court, stocking product, running meetings, or on vacation.
Update that greeting
Perhaps there’s a billboard on your drive to work that never changes. Every day you see it, and every day it looks the same — staring back at you with the same old message. Perhaps you’ve come to hate it. Don’t let your website visitors get this feeling.
To make sure your website doesn’t become stale:
- Change the home page message regularly: It can be as simple as posting the week’s events, last week’s results or a holiday message. Skill Level: 1
- Provide a weather report: Easy instructions from Weather.com allow you to run a pre-formatted weather box for your local area, or customize your own. weather.com/services/oap.html. Skill Level: 2
Offer tennis-themed goodies
Increase the “stickiness” of your site with games and cursors.
- Phong: This Ping Pong-styled game takes practice and helps build reaction time. Try the demo here: dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex12/pong/index.htm. Skill Level: 3
- Cursors: Link to this page so people can change their pointer to a tennis ball or racquet: cursorcafe.com/sports_leisure_tennis_310.html. Skill Level: 1
Add interactive tools
Highlight the fitness benefits of tennis with calculators that provide cues on health.
- Quantify Calories Burned: Link to Prevention magazine’s website for calculators that provide the number of calories burned for singles or doubles: prevention.com/toollisting. Skill Level: 1
Publish event photos
Posting images of your customers online can serve as a wrap-up to an event and allow people to purchase photos. Once you’ve shot pictures with a digital camera, set up a free account at KodakGallery.com and “Create a Photo Album.” After the images are uploaded to that site, you can invite attendees to view them, or simply post a link on your website. kodakgallery.com. Skill Level: 1
Ask for feedback
Existing and potential customers could teach you a lot about what matters to them. Allowing them to weigh in on matters will show that you value their opinions and wish to service them. Retailers could research what colors its shoppers prefer, while club owners could ask members if they’d prefer the theme of the next event to be a BBQ or Mexican party. Go to this site and sign up for the free registration: zoomerang.com. Skill Level: 1
Key to Skill Levels
- Must know how to add a link to a web page.
- Should know basic html.
Need a web-savvy person?
If you don’t have someone on staff who can make these changes to your website, consider posting a notice at your location. There may be a club member or customer who would be willing to trade a couple of hours of work for court time or a discount.
Or, contact a local high school or college for student help. Young people are always looking for opportunities to gain experience that will look good on college applications and eventually resumes.
See all articles by Liza Horan
About the Author
Liza Horan ran TENNISWIRE.org and WorkInTennis.com.