Making the Most of Your Web Site

Most camps these days have at least some kind of web presence, whether it’s a simple home page or a full-fledged, multi-page mega-site with all the bells and whistles. But no matter where in this spectrum your camp’s Web site may fall, this is a good time of year to take a serious and critical look at what is online representing your camp.

The purpose of this article is to suggest ways that you may want to spruce things up. Some are simple, some a little more complex, but they can all be implemented fairly easily. And every improvement made today may eventually help you land more campers tomorrow.

But where do we begin? Well, let’s look at the most important aspect of any Web site, and that is content.

Content Is King

Content itself is a pretty wide-ranging topic, encompassing the various ways in which you can present information. So let’s start with the simplest content: words.

Never underestimate the power of using just the right words on your site. Words have always been the most effective and efficient way for communicating your ideas and intentions. The right words can create excitement, joy, anticipation and wonder. They can cajole, entice, invite, evoke and emotionally stimulate your reader. The right words used in the right way can make everything you have to say more meaningful and interesting to your visitors.

When writing the content, don’t just tell visitors about the camp; paint the picture for them in such a way as to make them actually feel the joys and excitement of being there.

For instance, if your camp is situated on a lake, don’t just say, “Our camp has a lake.” Make it sing. “With a surface area of over 35,000 square feet, beautiful Lake Tango makes our camp the perfect site for boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming … and the most breath-taking sunsets imaginable. The perfect place for young campers to experience and appreciate the beauty and wonders of nature.”

Which one sounds more interesting?

From the welcome page to the last page of activities, the content of your site should be inviting and make people want to send the kids there for the summer.

How To Structure Your Content

You may have the most beautiful words in the world, but if it is not easy for your visitor to find the info they need, then you will lose them quickly. Over the years, people have come to expect a certain flow to the information they find on the web.

When they visit your site, they want to be able to find what they want quickly and easily. This is where site navigation comes into play.

The navigation of your site is simply the way people get around, and it is established in the beginning when the original site architecture is first created. Following is a basic page flow that can be adapted by almost any camp. It is designed to make all pertinent information easily accessible and visible.

Home Page/Welcome Page

From the Director

Activities Page

Baseball

Basketball

Swimming

Boating

Archery

Horseback Riding

Etc.

Facilities

Staff Page

Forms Page/Online Registration (with downloadable forms)

Picture Gallery

Video Gallery

Safety and Medical Facilities

What to Bring

Directions

Contact Us

Optional Areas

Newsletters

Articles

Links

Of course, these are just some of the possible ways to structure a site, but it is pretty basic.

The Two Audiences

As I have mentioned before in previous articles, whenever you are planning any kind of marketing for a summer camp, you should always have two separate, but equally important, considerations in mind: the parents and the children. Parents want to see one kind of thing, and kids want to see another.

Parents want to know about safety, structure and programs. Traditions, values and the opportunities for their children to grow and expand their horizons are important to parents. The kids want to see excitement; they want to be stimulated; they want to know that this is a cool place to be. Parents are the ones who are going to be reading the words; kids are going to be looking for something totally different.

Pictures

One of the best ways to get youngsters’ attention is to stimulate it visually. For this reason, pictures–strong, evocative photographs–are the fastest way to show the kids the things they want to see. They often don’t want to read through paragraphs of info to find out the activities you have available. They want to be able to see them now.

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Related posts:

  1. Ten Tenets of Managing Your Web Site
  2. The Three Knows: Part Two
  3. Holistic Branding & Technology
  4. Staff Marketing
  5. Part Two – Getting The Picture
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