The fact is, with over 33,161 golf facilities in 208 of the world's 245 countries as of year-end 2016, you are competing with a lot of other golf choices for your prospects attention.
So your website must deliver the "Is this what I want?" and "How do I get it?" quickly and effectively over a wide variety of devices.
If your message and call to action looks great on a PC but can't be found quickly and easily on a handheld device, you'll lose leads (and sales!) to your competitors.
If you're responsible for generating positive ROI, you can't afford to miss your prospects when they're looking or when they're ready to make the purchase decision.
How will responsive design help you make more sales?
Today's golfers use a combination of devices to research golf products, book tee times, and keep up with golf events.
According to a report from Fleishman-Hillard, 89 percent of consumers turn to Google, Bing or another search engine to find information on products, services or businesses prior to making purchases - many times on their office or home PC or laptop. (The larger screen size makes it easier for some people to see the product and navigate around the web when researching products.)
So they may use their PC at the office to checkout golf courses for their next family vacation, then use their mobile devices to book a tee time when they hit town. Or use their iPhone to look for your golf shop because they forgot to pack a box of balls before they left home.
Your website should make it easy for buyers to find what they're looking for on a hand-held device, laptop, and desktop, and maintain your branding across platforms.
Responsive Design Solves the Problem with One Website and One Set of Code
The key to making sure your website looks and loads correctly across a wide variety of devices is to use a "responsive design". That means one website is built using code which enables the website to adjust to fit whatever device your prospect happens to be using at the time.
A few years ago you could maintain dual websites, one for desktop and one that's optimized for mobile devices. But search engine's discourage that approach as it leads to "duplicate content". Search engines punish duplicate content by demoting you on their SERP's (search engine results pages).
Another downside of maintaining two websites is cost. The cost of maintaining multiple websites is prohibitive for most businesses.
A responsive design is a much better choice for almost all website owners.
Responsive design enables web designers to use one set of display instructions to target multiple devices using the same website.
It's best to start with a "mobile-first" design. A mobile-first design should logically display the information in a column on the smaller devices your target audience might be using and expand to accommodate larger screens.*
Usually the designer will start with a small smart phone (* see below) in portrait orientation and scale the design progressively up as the screen size widens. For instance, in landscape orientation you have a little more room so you can try two columns of body text instead of one.
It's also advisable to avoid designing for actual screen sizes. Dozens of different-sized devices are developed every year, all of which may become obsolete as new devices come on the market.
It's much better to design each site for the content you wish your user to consume and only enhance it as the site "breaks".
* Don't forget the watch! If you have a lot of younger golfers in your target audience they may be using these devices so make sure your site displays well on very small screens.
How can I tell where my website breaks?
If you're using a laptop or desktop computer, grab your browser window and drag this page smaller and larger.
Notice how the page reorganizes itself to fit the window size?
Now repeat that with your website.
Does your page spill off to the side? Do you see the dreaded horizontal scroll bar? If you're using a smartphone or tablet, is the copy too small to read without resizing the screen?
If your website annoys you, believe me, it will annoy your visitors, too. And you only get three seconds to make a good or bad impression!
I specialize in fixing design problems like that and would be happy to help you if you need to update your website.
Browser Support for Responsive Website Design
But wait! Email should be included in your online marketing process as well ...
The shift to mobile reading of emails is too big to ignore. Millions of people are now using their smartphones and tablets as their primary email reader.
Integrating your website design into your emails is a must for maintaining your branding and ease of use for your customers.
Golf Marketing Solutions will make sure your website and your email makes your product or service easy to find and buy, no matter what device your customer is using or where they are in their buying process.