Medalist Athlete Branding Guide

Learn how to build and grow your athlete brand.

How to create an impactful website in 5 steps

This is the edited version of an article that I’ve been asked to write for a project backed by AthletesCAN. This is the last of a two-part series on how athletes websites have changed over time and what is required now to have a striving online presence.

Like many athletes, your outdated website left adrift on the interwebs is likely to confuse visitors and ultimately hurt your band. It’s time to fix this. With the proper structure, you’ll be able to create an impactful website that will do wonders for your brand and act as the quarterback of your online efforts.

It’s safe to assume that you are currently publishing highly valuable content across multiple social accounts spread throughout the web and growing multiple audiences here and there. The whole point of the modern website is to regroup and consolidate those identities under one roof and to take ownership of your brand until your website becomes, in a way, an online hub and the main point of entry for curious visitors eager to discover who you are.

An impactful website needs to both make a great first impression and quickly cast light on these three questions:

Who are you?

What is your thing?

Why should they care?

Here’s how you can ensure that your website answers the who, what and why:


1. Make an impression with stunning visuals

On the first page load, it’s imperative to catch your visitors full attention. In order to achieve it, nothing beats crisp visuals to impress at the first glance.

Need maximum impact? Choose a breathtaking action shot.


Branding yourself beyond your sport? Pick a glamour shot. 


Looking to share the lifestyle? Aim for something a bit more casual. 


Want to promote your speaking services? Opt for a shot of yourself delivering a speech. 




2. Set the tone

Now that you’ve caught the visitor’s attention, it’s time to set the tone. The tone is the sum of all the aspects that form the initial opinion a visitor will have upon first seeing your website. It’s a less tangible part of the website creation that is often overlook but it’s crucial in the process of crafting a thriving online brand.

There is no exact science on what specific set of details inevitably makes for the perfect tone but there are definitely some design and user experience aspects to consider:

  • Using a hue that matches your visuals – to literally set the tone

  • Optimizing the styling, color and size of your name and tagline – to reflect your boldness.

  • Placing your sponsors logo front and center – to give them proper recognition and to show you mean business.


3. Convey the right message. Less is more.

Given the limited span of attention granted by your visitors, you need to make sure that your message is easily accessible, focused and to the point.

Offer your visitors a brief bio and a quick overview of your career highlights.

Failure to give them updated information in bite size portions often results with visitors going away leaving your content untouched and unseen.

As a rule of thumb, keep static content that needs to be manually updated to a minimum. That way your site will remain lightweight and as a result will be easier to maintain reducing the risk of ending up few months later with a bloated and outdated website.

At this point, most visitors will be on their way out. And it’s okay!  They wanted to know who you were and got what they came for. Now, it’s time to convert those who decide to stick around into loyal fans.


4. Sharing the journey

Before expecting strangers to become followers or fans, you want to first establish a connection to give them an incentive to care about you, or in other words, create an intent before hooking them in.

This can be done by giving them an inside look to your athlete lifestyle and your journey by leveraging your blog posts and social content.

Your social content should be part of your site, not just a widget in the sidebar. There are multiple ways to integrate your tweets, Instagram pictures and Facebook updates. If possible, try to embed them to form a flow of events which, when combined with your blog posts, will feel like a timeline of your career.

It’s a way to give a longer shelf life to your update and give visitors a quick way to discover who you are and quickly feel engaged in your journey.


5. Growing your brand with a clear path to conversion

You’ve made an impression, set the tone, conveyed your message and shared your journey.

It’s finally time to reap the benefits and convert qualified visitors into loyal fans and followers by placing clear call to actions on your website. It is fairly common to start by listing your social accounts links within the main navigation of your site.

Then, structure your social embeds to link to their source. For example, upon clicking an Instagram on your website, one should be redirected, on another tab, onto the original image on Instagram where multiple ‘Follow’ buttons are placed, thus introducing the visitor to your Instagram account with an intent to become a follower.

Given that the action of following will likely happen off site, it might be hard to monitor from your website’s analytics but you should see your growth by monitoring your audience growth on your respective social networks using the analytics tools they provide.

Not big on social? Create a mailing list and start collecting email addresses by placing  subscription forms on your website. Use the list to announce your latest adventures or to link back to your blog posts. There are many services that makes the management of email list an easy task such as Mailchimp.


Takeaways:

An impactful website has for main job to inform visitors on who you are, what you do and why they should care. It’s there to quarterback your online presence by feeding your social networks with potential followers and to help you gain exposure, build an audience and ultimately grow your brand.

Written by Antoine Meunier
Athlete & Co-founder of Medalist
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