In a lot of ways, your race website is like the first date between your brand and your athletes: if they like you, they’re going to keep seeing you. But if they don’t like you, they’re going to change their number, pretend like you don’t exist and start looking at other, better-looking options (if there was a Tinder for races, they'd be on it like white on rice).
But don't worry! We've got you covered. Here are some tips and tricks for a killer race website that will have your athletes banging down the door for a second (and third and fourth) date.
Hire the right designer/developer
Unless you come from a design background (and no, that one Photoshop class you took in college 8 years ago doesn’t count), you’re going to want to hire a professional to get your website designed and developed.
Whether you're bringing on a designer, developer or ANYONE onto Team Let's-Make-This-Race-Happen, you want to hire someone who understands your vision and goals and, in a perfect world, has experience within the race community.
For developers, you want to lay out all of the functionality you need your site to have. Do you want to have an automatic bib assignment when your athletes fill out your online race registration? Do you need a pop up to collect potential customers’ email addresses? Do you need a unicorn on a skateboard to roll across the screen every time you make a sale? (I mean, you probably don’t, but…that’d be awesome). Bring all of your ideas to your developer and make sure they know how to make your vision a reality.
For designers, you’ll want to look at their portfolio and make sure their aesthetic is what you’re looking for. While designers should have a certain amount of adaptability, someone who’s portfolio is full of cupcakes, flowers and all-things-pink is probably not the designer to bring your hardcore military mud run website to life. #justsayin
Add a strong call to action
Rookie mistake: driving all of your athletes to a beautiful, awesomely designed website that gets them super stoked about your event and then….
They have no idea what to do next.
This might sound harsh, but a huge rule of web design is to assume that your audience needs you to walk them through exactly what you want them to do. And the way to do this is to have a strong call to action.
Want people to opt in to your email list? Have a huge box on your side bar that says “Sign up for our email list HERE” with an arrow pointing to where you want them to enter their email address.
Want them to share your blog post on Facebook? Put a big, bright button on the bottom of your post that says “Share this post with your friends!”
Want them to register for your event? Include a link to your online race registration in every nook and cranny that you can on your website.
This is not the time to be subtle. If you want to convert your audience into participants, let them know exactly what you want, and then beat them over the head with exactly how to make that happen.
Choose the right colors
This might seem like no biggie (everyone has their own favorite color, right?), but choosing the right colors for your website is CRUCIAL. Different colors and color palettes ellicit different reactions and emotional responses from your peeps and, ultimately, can drive completely different behaviors.
For example, blue tends to make people feel calm. Red can make them feel aggressive, and yellow can make them go crazy.
Do a little research color psychology and choose a color scheme that’s going to get you the results you’re looking for.
Keep it clean and simple
If your site is reminiscent of a Geocities fan site, folks will immediately click "X" and go back to their regularly scheduled programming of cat videos.
Even if your event and/or the content on your site is awesome, your audience is going to hightail it out of their if it’s visually overwhelming.
Keep your design clean, simple and uncluttered for maximum effect.
With these tips, you'll have a killer website up in no time.