What Your SCUBA Web Site Needs

While attending the DEMA Expo in Orlando, I sat in on a seminar regarding web design 101. I’ve been doing web design since before someone thought of adding a 101 to it, so I didn’t honestly expect too much out of it.

Four Basic Buttons

The single best recommendation that came out of the seminar was the use of compelling call-to-action tools on your SCUBA site. A call-to-action is what gets the consumer to convert from a site visitor to an actual customer. Also, each call to action can be linked to the others to increase your site “stickiness” (how long someone stays on your site and looks around). I will list the buttons based on which SCUBA diver they should target since your verbiage may vary.

  1. The wannabe SCUBA diver. Verbiage like “Dive today”, “Explore the Underwater World” or “Classes starting weekly” are all good ideas. This call-to-action is designed to draw in the person who is not certified, but is interested in the possibility. These are your new SCUBA divers. Show them how easy/fast/extreme/safe it is to get into diving.
  2. The vacation diver. “Upcoming trips” or “Exotic dive locations” are examples of possible verbiage. These are the people you will be marketing your SCUBA diving trips to. Pictures, calendars and testimonials work well on this page. We need to realize that some divers don’t want to be local divers and create a section just for them.
  3. The local diver. Pick a specialty (or a few) that apply to your local area and use that as your call to action. A calendar of local events, including classes, SCUBA club meetings, equipment sales and local excursions benefit this group. Local divers tend to buy more gear because they use it more frequently. Most importantly, they are your local word of mouth marketing.
  4. The future professional SCUBA diving. “Go Pro” or “Earn a living underwater” are examples of a call-to-action for the future Divemaster or SCUBA instructor. The potential profit for a dive center by enticing someone to go all the way into professional levels is enormous, from both gear sales and education, but also the future divers they bring back to your shop as students.

If you can also tie these four areas together effectively, you may be able to move your SCUBA divers from one category to another more easily. The vacation diver may be interested in a local dive (if they can find that information easily) and then they could become a local diver as well. You get the idea.

How ‘Bout a SCUBA Diving Blog?

Your web site should have a blog. They’re great for search engine optimization, but more importantly they give your visitors a reason to keep coming back because you are CONSTANTLY updating information. Give your entire staff access (feel free to moderate if you want) and let them share a pointer from a pool dive last night, the highlights of a local trip last weekend or pictures from your latest exotic SCUBA trip.

Advice to Make a Web Designer Cringe

For those of you who may have attended, there were two things that struck me as a bit off the mark. And yes, I may be being nit-picky on one of these two.

  1. You can design your site yourself. I’m a fan of Henry Ford’s philosophy of paying his employees well enough to buy his cars. If you attempt to design your web site all on your own instead of paying a professional web designer, it will probably cost you more money, not be as effective for SEO and take more time to maintain PLUS now that web designer has less money to potentially spend in your SCUBA store.
  2. Design your site in Powerpoint?! Not actually code it, just do the mock-up or wire-frame. I’m sorry, but no self-respecting web designer would design their site in Powerpoint. Microsoft Paint would be a better option, but real designers use tools like Photoshop or the new Mockingbird site.

Overall, I think there are some fairly good points, especially with the call-to-action buttons.

What have you done on your SCUBA site that is working well?

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