For many wellness businesses, web design is like Indy car racing: fun to watch but scary to do.
Keep these trends top of mind in 2014:
1. Single page websites
These are sites that keep the reader on the same page, often for a single purpose, to take action in small, obvious ways. “How can you help me lose weight when others have failed?”, “Where are you?”, or “Do I have to sign up for an entire year or can I go month-to-month?” Single page websites make it obvious where to click. They work well for businesses who don’t have a lot of content but do have a lot to say. They’re often easy to take mobile. But don’t confuse them with sales-letter-style sites that feature overflowing testimonials about supplement X, loud popup videos, bonus prizes and must-act-now offers. Here’s an example of a good one-page website design from LifeFitness for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
2. “Flat” user interface and graphic design
This back-to-basics approach works well in a world where you have to fight for people’s attention and customers have increasingly disabled plug-ins, animations, and popups. Sometimes the quiet voice (NOTE: don’t read this as “silent!”) is the one people listen to. A clear message, just a handful of pictures, not too many menu choices, and “click this next” instructions help get right to the point, and customers are likelier to stick around. Bonus: “Flat” sites are more portable to mobile platforms.
3. Fewer words, larger type
If you’ve got something to say, say it. Is your workout and nutrition plan designed by diabetics for diabetics? Lead with it! Getting right to the point is something your readers will respect, and it takes fewer words. That means more room for what really counts. You can always strut your credentials, provide product ingredient lists, or discuss program details when someone comes in the door.
4. Third party products and services
Odds are that your fitness or wellness business is not the first to design a website. It’s probably not the first to sell yoga pants online, conduct an email campaign for its outdoor tai chi program, post a social feed about its couch-potato-to-5K training program, blog about group bike rides, or invite people to a webinar. If your web developer is telling you that you need lots of custom development work to do these things, Run The Other Way. Picking an extendable, business-friendly platform such as WordPress, Joomla, or SquareSpace can connect you to a network of reputable and affordable third party plug-ins, drag-and-drop design kits, and software-as-a-service (Saas) offerings from vendors with decent customer support that can have you up and running in days or weeks, without programming.
5. New ecommerce tools
Services and plugins like Stripe, MembershipMouse and Easy Digital Downloads make it easy to process payments for both digital and hard goods. Most provide fairly straightforward instructions for integrating to site builder platforms like WordPress, support multiple back-end payment processors, and have recommendations and best seller lists already built in. They typically charge a very small fraction of the item purchase price plus a small fee whenever somebody buys something.
Your wellness business can capitalize immediately on these trends.
Getting your message out and heard should not be a complicated thing. Designing and maintaining a successful website that doesn’t distract you from this goal can be a business enabler. And connecting with your customers, in person or online, is a critical part of your success.