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A Complete Guide to
Fitness Website Design

A Definitely Definitive Guide to Building a Strong Online Presence for Gyms and Fitness Studios

If you’re looking to find inspiration for a beautifully designed fitness website, you’re in the right place. You’ll find plenty of examples here.

But I believe the main reason you are here is because you need to know what you should be looking for in an effective, client-winning fitness website.

Did you know fitness website design is more than how a website looks?

Believe it or not, people don’t sign up for your product or service because your website looks good. Although they might not sign up if your website is poorly designed…

Ultimately, it’s a well-executed strategy that converts visitors into buyers.

Don’t worry if you’re thinking that’s so vague!

We will break that down into 5 essential areas for you to keep in mind when working on your lead gen system that is your website:

  1. How template websites might be greatly limiting your marketing efforts and preventing your growth in the future.
  2. Elements of beautiful fitness website design that make UI (user interface) and marketing strategy work harmoniously.
  3. The benefits of building a brand that works for you (trust us, it’s not what you think)
  4. The myth of SEO’s (Search Engine Optimization) role in your gym website.
  5. Why modern gym websites are no longer static and the direction you need to go.

These topics are the most important in our experience based on the past 10 years of working with all sorts of fitness studios, gyms, and personal trainers. We’ve put together the best fitness website designs along with the reasons why the strategy works. Plus, we’ll tell you all you need to know to build your own strategy!

Strong fitness website design builds a brand that generates leads and steady cash flow.

Gym Websites: Top Reasons Why Templates Won’t Help Your Business Grow and Examples of Successful Websites

It’s hard to know where to start with fitness website design when you’re not a designer. Many gym owners are tempted to take a shortcut and throw up a template for their website. In addition, so many website designers use templates with no effort to customize these days.

This is actually a mistake that will cost your business in the long run. Seriously, say no to generic website templates!

Using a template website limits your marketing efforts in the long run. You’ll find it harder to add functionality as your business grows. Starting with the right foundation permits you to add landing pages, change offers, and track your site’s effectiveness.

Here’s why a template website won’t help your business grow:

1. No strategy

Fitness website design needs a strategy to convert reasons. The main reason why templates won’t help your business grow is a lack of strategy.

Website templates start with a design and one purpose – to look good. Unfortunately, a site’s visual appeal isn’t what drives users to click and sign up for your service.

Your fitness website needs to act like a funnel or a guide to a consumer journey that drives your ideal audience to take a specific action.

Think about it like this:

You’re looking through website templates on WordPress or Wix for example, how do you choose the one you want? For many people, it’s the one that is visually appealing.

Then, you fill in the placeholder text, replace some of the pictures, and click publish.

There are many elements to consider that a template ignores:

  • What’s your call to action?
  • What information should you include and in what order?
  • Which audience are you speaking to and what are they looking for?
  • How and when should you present a low barrier offer? (i.e. a 7-day pass, $1 trial offer, etc)

Your offer will be lost without this strategy and the right framework.

A fitness website that’s designed for you by experienced fitness marketers can incorporate these critical strategies throughout the website. The result (new leads and clients) you gain from a well-executed website can offset the additional efforts and resources.

SEO and web optimization lands you in the top spot and brings in organic traffic for years.

2. Not SEO optimized

There is a lot of focus on ads in the fitness community. It’s a great way to get quick leads.

But if your business isn’t easily found in searches, you are missing out a big time. I mean hundreds of potential clients. Okay, so that’s wrong with templates you might say?

A properly designed fitness website will land you on the first page and in the top spot. You’ll get organic leads without having to constantly spend money.

And when SEO is done right, it pays off for years.

There are several factors that impact SEO on template websites. We’ll go into a few of them in more detail later in this article.

As it relates to a template website, site speed and code are the most important

Google confirmed site speed as a ranking factor in July, 2018. As they put it , “when more than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes over 3 seconds to load.”

Your users want their information fast. If they have to wait, they’re going to check another site. And it’s unlikely they’ll come back.

Site speed ties into two other factors, bounce rate and time on page. When users leave your site quickly, Google deems it as less relevant.

All of these factors together could cost you a top spot or page one ranking.

A poorly coded site spells trouble too. Although it’s not a major ranking factor, a poorly coded site could cost you the edge you need.

With a template site, you can’t fix it when it’s loading slowly. You can’t fix the code underneath either.

3. No Expansion Later

Major template platforms like Wix and SquareSpace claim your website can be up in just minutes, and barn! You and your website live happily ever after together…

But that quick decision could have lasting effects.

For starters, Wix and SquareSpace are proprietary platforms. They function on their own system and can’t easily be moved to a different one.

If you no longer want your gym website hosted with them, you’ll have to recreate it entirely on your new platform. Also, once you stop paying their fees, you lose your site.

Those template websites are closed-code platforms too, which means you can’t see or modify the underlying code.

There are limited options if you want to create or use an extension to add functionality. You have to take what they give you.

On the other hand, custom fitness website designs are done using open standards like WordPress. Anyone can build or modify the underlying code making it extremely flexible.

WordPress works on the majority of hosting platforms, so you can easily move your site from one to the next.

But even using a template with WordPress has it’s limitation if you’re not starting with a strategy.

Top 5 Elements of the Best Fitness Website Design in 2021 You Won’t Want to Miss

As we mentioned earlier, a website without a strategy can’t win clients. So what do we exactly have to do to create a winning strategy for gyms or personal training studios?

First, your strategy needs to include consumer engagement, which boosts traffic conversions, generates more sign-ups, and even shortens a sales cycle. This is especially important in today’s highly competitive fitness market. You have big box gyms nearby in every town and free workouts are everywhere on social media.

Here at Fitness Web Formula, we use FitBrand Profile to build a plan for our clients to learn the best way to engage visitors on their website. Also, check out how to build a successful fitness brand later on this page.

Next, hit these 5 points to create a memorable experience for them on the website: User Experience, Strong Branding, Clear call to action, Social Proof and Search Engine Visibility.

Each component improves the logistical side of your website, making it both beautiful and effective.

User Experience

Excellent web design follows certain principles for optimum user experience. Your site’s structure will be intuitive to your visitors, keeping them interested and on the page

Strong Branding

Excellent web design follows certain principles for optimum user experience. Your site’s structure will be intuitive to your visitors, keeping them interested and on the page

Clear Call To action

Your website will have the crucial information your prospects need to sign up. This means less selling on your end and less time between prospecting and closing

Social Proof

Your new site will tell the story about what makes your brand great. You’ll attract the right clients and position yourself as the leader in your market

SE Visibility

You know you must be #1 on Google. But how do you land that top spot? We optimize every page to be found in search above your competition

To learn more about these five components, take a look at our Personal Training Web Design article.

Here are the hand-picked best fitness websites from our own as well as great websites designed by other people.

 

Ultimate Performance

Ultimate Performance opens their homepage with a video guide to their services. We know that pages with videos convert visitors 76% more frequently than pages without video.

Videos allow your visitors to take in a lot of information about your gym in a short amount of time. It can also answer a very important question that every user has when visiting your website: who will I be working with and what will I be doing?

Adding a video to your page is a no-brainer and easy now that smartphones have excellent video cameras. Of course, it’s better if you can hire a professional to do your video.

Either way, there’s no excuse not to have one.

Visit the site

Jari Love

Jari Love is a celebrity fitness trainer whose best selling fitness DVDs have been featured in Oxygen, Self, and Oprah Magazine.

The structure of her website is the key to the success of the design.

When users land on the page, they’re shown a promotion from her eCommerce store. From there, users can choose their own journey, either view more products or learn more about Jari Love.

The initial website strategy makes it easy for Jari to add new products and manage existing ones. Each item in the store is optimized for SEO, increasing traffic to site.

An easy to navigate site like Jari’s increases conversions because her visitors are able to find what they’re looking for.

Visit the site

Reggie C Fitness

Reggie C, in Houston, Texas, knows his target audience. His high-energy, dance-infused group training classes attract African-American women between the ages of 25 and 50.

When you get your audience that dialed in, you can design a website that speaks right to them.

Reggie C Fitness is able to position itself as a leader for female body transformation in the Houston area because he knows his audience so well.

As a result, he has a hard time keeping up with the number of leads he gets each month and his conversion rate is through the roof.

And all of that comes from knowing your audience and building a website strategy that knows what gets them to say, yes!

Visit the site

OC FIT

OC FIT’s website is a master of SEO strategy. They rank on the first page of Google for over 100 keywords, bringing THOUSANDS of visitors to their site.

All of this happens in a very competitive fitness market – Orange County, California.

How do they do it? They built their website structure around their location.

If you have multiple gym locations, building a separate page for each of them will improve your search engine rankings.

Also, they incorporate the right keywords that are relevant to their business. That way, users can find them when they search.

Visit the site

Caliber Strong

Caliber Strong’s site is visually appealing. The clean lines and minimalist color scheme grab the users’ attention.

But where Caliber Strong really shines is its brand messaging.

When visitors scroll down the page, the first section they see describes the Caliber Method, which is their unique approach to fitness. Leading with their unique method sets them apart from other sites immediately.

Further down the page is the process. It lets visitors know exactly what will happen once they sign up. While it may seem simple, it eliminates the unknown that users have and makes it easy for them to sign up.

Finally, the social proof.
Caliber Strong includes real case studies from real people. It gives the site instant credibility.

Visit the site

Kayla Itsines

Fitness is personal. If you’re a single personal trainer, you’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling your program.

Kayla Itsines’ website brings her personality to her fitness website design.

As soon as you land on the page, you see her above the fold. There’s a picture of her in a plank next to a clear offer: Zero Equipment. Zero Excuses. Workout anytime, anywhere with Kayla.

That offer taps into the ease of her program, and visitors know exactly what they’ll get when they sign up: a custom workout experience with Kayla as their trainer. She even makes it easy for them to sign up with bold call to action buttons in the header.

The next section introduces her to the audience and builds authority with stats like “been a personal trainer since 20087 and “educated and encouraged millions of women to improve their health and fitness!’

She also does a great job showing her services on the home page with a price breakdown.

Visit the site

Real Benefits of Branding:
Build a brand that works for you, not against you

Branding is more than logos and colors. Your brand is the visual representation of your company. When it’s done right, your brand lets your ideal audience know exactly what you have to offer and why you’re perfect for them. This can be done with different tactics such as good visual presence, clear messaging, and strong SEO.

But some specific components we found useful are:

  • Price Premiums – positioning yourself so that your customers know they’re getting value for your service
  • Perception of Quality – when customers preserve the overall quality of a specific product or service is beyond their expectations
  • Recognition and Loyalty – consumers need to trust your brand. Trust builds loyalty, and loyal consumers will continue to come back to your services.
  • Differentiation – one of the most important aspects when it comes to your brand. You want your brand to stand out to others and not be associated with other common competitors.

A good brand can help your consumer understand what your company is about. You want to make them feel like they’re a part of something and that they’re the perfect candidate to join your program.

Building a logo and website with strong branding drives your company’s success. When designing a logo, website, and brand you’ll need to consider color, imagery, and the “tone” of the language on your website.

Your brand strategy should take into account your target audience. Being consistent with your logo or brand will leave a lasting impression on visitors. Consistency ensures visitors will return if they don’t sign up on their first visit.

Here are some great resources on how you can get started in creating your unique brand!

Learn more about strategies behind a successful fitness brand and building a powerful personal fitness brand.

Google’s Myth and SEO Performance

There’s a huge myth that SEO is dead for trainers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

After analyzing nearly 100 websites, our clients routinely get 25% – 50% and a majority of their traffic from search engines. And that traffic is often 2x – 3x greater than traffic from social media.

Having a search engine optimized website brings in traffic month after month without spending money on ads.

Here’s how website design impacts your SEO performance:

Website load speed Website

Website load speed is an important factor for SEO and fitness website design.

We’ve already discussed why site speed is important to Google and how it affects your rankings.

Your website needs to load fast, so your visitors don’t leave. The time they spend on the page impacts your search engine rankings. As time spent on the page goes down, so does your position on the search engine results page.

You’ll need a team experienced with SEO and web development to optimize your site speed and give you a competitive edge in the rankings.

SEO and web optimization lands you in the top spot and brings in organic traffic for years.

On and off page optimizations

On the surface, fitness website design looks a lot like putting words and pictures on the page. But your gym website needs the right keywords and placement.

In the beginning days of SEO, search engines ranked sites based on the number of keywords on a page. If the keyword appeared on your site more times, you’d rank higher.

Pretty basic right?

This lead to keyword stuffing, which is exactly how it sounds – cramming keywords on a page to get higher rankings.

Early search engines were easy to exploit. It was a very bad experience for users.

As search engines became more sophisticated and rankings factors changed, on thing stayed the same: the need for the right keywords.

There’s a method to optimizing the page for keywords in headers, title tags, and alt-text.

While on page optimization doesn’t factor into rankings as heavily as the early days, it is still a critical element of SEO for fitness website design.

There are other components to consider too:

  • Site structure
  • Meta-descriptions
  • Name, Address, and Phone
  • Site speed
  • Code validation

All of these things help Google get your fitness website in front of the right user.

When your gym website design strategy is to fill in the content on a template, a lot of this gets lost.

That’s why finding a company that’s skilled in fitness website design to guide you benefits you in the end.

Bounce Rate and Time On Page

Bounce rate is an important metric to Google. Bounce rate means how many visitors land on a page then hit the back button with visiting any other page.

Imagine you’re looking through gym websites. You land on one that looks out-dated. You don’t have to be a web designer to notice a website looks old!

You might start to wonder – is this gym still open? Unless the rest of the site is dialed in, you’ll likely leave.

When a visitor leaves a site quickly, it signals to the search engine that the website didn’t satisfy their search question.

Since Google wants to serve visitors with the best search results, it makes sense that sites with high bounce rates will rank lower.

There are a number of factors that affect bounce rates:

  • Website load speed
  • Out-dated looking websites
  • Broken functionality
  • Poorly written copy /strong>

The time a user spends on a page is related to bounce rate.

When users spend more time on your site, Google assumes your content is more relevant to their request. More relevancy means higher rankings.

Fitness website design strategy is crucial for keeping users on your page. With the right strategy, your users will find the information they’re looking for on your site.

Your site will convert more users, and you’ll get a boost in rankings with the extra time spent on the page.

When your site ranks higher, you’ll attract more visitors – leading to more views, more time spent on the page, and higher rankings.

You can see how SEO pays off!

Modern Gym Websites Are No Longer Static

One thing we hear from clients over and again is people aren’t responding to the same offers any longer. They’re getting less leads from ads, and their ad cost is going up.

That’s because many gyms run the same version of the same offer.

A modern gym website needs to be dynamic and change with the times. If an offer is no longer bringing in leads, it’s time to change it.

There’s no greater example of a website’s need to be dynamic than the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gym owners and personal trainers were faced with shutting down their gyms, sometimes with only a day’s notice. Membership cancellations were high, and gyms were left scouring for revenue.

The most successful gym owners were the ones that were able to quickly pivot to online training. They updated their offers and changed the messaging on their website to reflect their move to virtual training.

Likewise, as marketing software gets more sophisticated, you can use it to improve your marketing efforts. But software will never fully replace the work humans can do.

Modern websites can be designed to present targeted information based on what the visitor is looking for. It can even be customized to target a segmented audiences as they visit your site.

Al plays an increasing role in fitness website design. You may have seen chat boxes popping up on websites. Smart-technology will give you an edge because the business that responds first is often the one that books the customer.