Discover Must-have Elements for a Visitor Attraction Website.
At Agility, we build effective, impactful and future proofed visitor attraction websites.
In this blog, we share our top 10 ‘must-haves’ for all leisure websites; all relevant whether you are a zoo, theme park, farm park or scream park.
1.Pay attention to website load speed
Load speed will be one of the biggest marketing challenges for all visitor attractions in years to come. As leisure businesses, you know a picture and video say 1000 words, so there is often a trade off between load times and design.
As 4G networks becomes the norm, people are having less patience waiting for web pages to load.
Google has a free tool for you to find out your load time compared with other leisure attractions at https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite.
Thorpe Park has one of the lowest load speeds in the sector, however, we are always surprised to find how some of the other large visitor attractions (with huge budgets) have poor load time. Beware, it’s a very addictive tool!
This tool highlights what you can do to help your website, however, there are some simple techniques to speed up load times, namely; image compression, browser caching and cleaner code.
2.Balance information with value messaging
When people visit your visitor attraction website, most want information on prices. Some will actively seek out what you have on offer, but most will just want to know the price.
As a visitor attraction, your aim is to ensure they understand the value they get for the price. If they don’t visit any other pages than the pricing page, they are unlikely to have fully understood this.
Looking at 30 different attraction’s Google Analytics, we know people are willing to visit an average of 2.7 website pages. That is 1.7 pages more than your pricing page. If you are getting less than this, you are missing an opportunity.
The customer journey should make it easy for people to access the factual information but on their journey throughout your site, you can also include subtle sub messages. This could be about forthcoming events, social proof through testimonials, the range of attractions or any discount offered by booking online. All reinforcing their decision to visit.
3.Maintain website build independence
To build your website, you have many different options.
For all websites we build, we always recommend WordPress, which is used by 33% of all websites globally.
With an experienced web developer, WordPress can do virtually anything. The biggest benefit is that it gives you access to a huge collection of integrations with third party software (eg. with MailChimp) and has over 50,000 free plug-ins that can give you powerful functionality for minimal outlay.
Other similar platforms (which collectively are known as open source) include Joomla or Drupal but after the website has been built, their content management systems are a bit trickier to use. It’s also harder to find web developers well versed in Joomla or Drupal.
A newcomer in recent years have been web-building software that you pass a monthly licence to use (eg. Wix). These are often limited in functionality but fine for a very small business.
Some developers also have their own custom built systems. Whilst they work as well as WordPress, you are tied in. If you want to move to a different developer, you need to build a brand new website. For these reasons, we’d recommend WordPress to give you freedom of choice.
4.Visitor attraction websites should include clear call to actions
Prior to building the website you should be clear about your primary and secondary call to actions.
Primary call to actions, i.e. generally links to ‘buy ticket’ pages need to be repeated throughout the site in various ways as people absorb information differently. They should be added within paragraph text, on promo buttons and on sticky’s (a message that remains in the same position, irrelevant of the customer scrolling).
Secondary call to actions will vary for each attraction and also at various times of year. You should build into your website different ways of including these important sub messages through promo boxes and widgets.
5.Consider content and functionality first
It is easy to get carried away with impactful designs.
Before you let your designer’s creatively loose, you should develop wireframes. Wireframes provide a line drawing of what content and functionality you want where on each page. It helps identify what and where the most important content should appear.
As websites need to shrink down for mobile and widen for desktop, it’s a good idea to do wireframes for both views. Developing wireframes adds about 1-2 weeks at the front end but helps saves time at the design stage.
6.Design for mobile
With mobile usage continuing to increase, your website has to be built to work well on mobile.
If you are a family attraction, we’d expect 60-80% of your customers are viewing your website from a mobile. This drops to around 50% if you are a historic house appealing to the older generation and can increase to 95% if you are a scream park.
Via Google Analytics , you can view how people are viewing your website and will provide a steer on the importance of mobile, tablet or desktop views.
7.Choose a design that reflects your brand
Your website is a visual extension of your brand and should reflect the rest of your marketing look/feel.
There are however some general rules with website design;
- Don’t be too clever. You should follow web design conventions. E.g. having the logo clickable so it always returns you to the home page and including a hamburger menu on mobile navigations.
- Don’t overdo the colours (usually 2-3 main colours work best) and ensure typefaces are legible (again, not more than 3 different typefaces).
- Consistency across the pages is key. As people navigate from page to page, they shouldn’t feel they are visiting a brand new site.
- Use visual hierarchy to organise website elements to that visitors naturally gravitate towards the most important first.
- You should meet the Governments accessibility requirements for websites.
8.Take advantage of NAP
Search engines will only prioritise sites they believe are legitimate. The easiest way of achieving this is adding your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) to the bottom of your website.
Search engines use your NAP information to decide which listings to display in a geo-targeted search. A consistent NAP across multiple websites helps give you better local SEO. For example for Agility, we could be Agility Marketing Ltd, Agility Marketing or simply Agility; to be consistent we use Agility Marketing.
The additional benefit of adding it your website footer is that many people are used to finding it here and know where to look for it.
9.Incorporate SEO basics
Google is continually updating its search algorithm and it is very difficult to rank for high volume search words like ‘days out’ for example.
Attractions can, however, rank for specific category day out key phrases in geographical areas. For example ‘Zoo in Peterborough’ or ‘Farm Park in Bedfordshire’ simply by undertaking best practice on-page SEO.
The days of keyword stuffing and buying bad links are gone. Today SEO is about ensuring relevant content on your website for the keyphrases you are aiming to attract traffic for.
Our top tips for on-page SEO;
- Across the website every webpage should have a selected keyphrase. Each page should have a different keyphrase.
- The focus keyword should appear in the headline, page title, first paragraph of copy, meta description, alt text for images, page URL and also in some of the page’s subheads.
- Actively link to other pages of your website. Google likes pages to link with each other.
10. Continue to add fresh content
A website is a living tool. After the website has been launched, it should be updated regularly with new events, new attractions and new reasons to visit.
We’d also recommend images and video should be updated to reflect the difference between the winter season (with lots of indoor / all weather attractions) to the summer season (when the focus is on more outdoor activities).