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  • Writer's pictureJack Friend

Website Design: Tips for Creating an Impactful Ocean Rowing Website

Having a professional and well thought out digital presence has become paramount to the success of any ocean rowing campaign. A well-designed website will bolster the credibility of your campaign, serve as a platform to guide supporters to donate, sponsors to get in touch and will provide journalists with the information they need to amplify your story.


For most of us without a background in web design, the idea of creating a website can be daunting, but the truth is, there are plenty of resources and platforms available that do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. All you need is good dose of patience, time, an eye for detail and willingness to learn. Or of course, we can assist you on your website journey.


In this article, we explore some essential tips for crafting an impactful ocean rowing website.





Step 1: Platforms, Domains and Timing


When setting up a website you need to consider when you want the website to go live, what the domain (website address) will be and which platform you will use to design and manage your website.


Ready to Launch...


In terms of timing the answer is simple - the earlier the better! Launching your website early gives more time for search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts to take effect, enhancing your website's visibility. The longer your website remains active and regularly updated, the greater its chances of climbing search engine rankings and attracting valuable traffic.


WWW.?????.COM


Choosing a domain name (website address) e.g. thefriendshipatlantic.com depends on several factors. Your domain will likely want to mirror or be related to your team, so if it isn't too late, we would highly recommend checking the availability of domains when choosing your team name (try a simple search on GoDaddy.com). You should also do some google searches of your potential team name options to see if there are other similar websites with the same or similar names. As a general rule of thumb misspellings of other words or puns as a team name are not going to help your website in terms of visibility on google search results! You are trapped in the age old trade off between witty rowing pun and search engine optimisation...


Once you are happy with your team name and domain you can secure your domain through a site like GoDaddy.com or we would recommend waiting and doing this through your chosen website platform as you might get a discount this way - for example Wix.com currently offers a free domain voucher with a premium subscription.


Platform 9 & 3/4s?


Choosing the right platform is vital for functionality, aesthetics, and ease of management. Platforms like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and others offer various features tailored to different needs and preferences. While Squarespace boasts intuitive design tools and robust SEO capabilities, our team favours Wix for its flexibility, intuitive interface and good value for money. With Wix, we can build and hand off websites back to rowing teams for easy management. Its customisable templates and user-friendly interface provide you with the tools you need to maintain a compelling online presence.


When signing up for a website-building platform, shop around for a good deal - look for discount codes, there are almost always good discounts available. If you will want to include videos and high quality images on your website then opt for a plan that includes enough storage (we recommend at least 50GB).


Step 2: Design, Design, Design


In crafting your ocean rowing website, design plays a pivotal role in capturing attention, fostering engagement, and driving action. Let's have a look at some important considerations when it comes to design.


Learning from the Past


Previous ocean rowing teams offer a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for designing your website. Take a look at some different approaches that have been taken by other teams and decide what you like in terms of lay out, page options, style etc. This will help you visualise what your end goal is in terms of layout and design.


Think About The User Journey


Understanding the user journey is essential for designing an intuitive and seamless website experience. For potential sponsors, ensure the user journey is focused on giving them the maximum amount of information effectively demonstrating why they should sponsor you. As your campaign progresses, you might shift the focus towards charitable donations and ensure users can access your donation page in the minimum number of clicks possible in order to drive significant contributions towards your cause.


Lets think about catering to the following user groups as examples.


Sponsors...


Sponsors play a crucial role in supporting your ocean rowing expedition, and your website should cater to their needs effectively. Ensure that sponsor information, including packages, contact details, and testimonials, is easily accessible and prominently displayed. Professional branding, a dedicated support team, and a comprehensive overview of sponsorship benefits instil confidence in potential sponsors and encourage partnership. For more tips on creating effective sponsor proposals and approaching sponsors check out our other articles.


Supporters...


Supporters will be key in helping spread your story far and wide, they will also hopefully be converted into donors. Make sure it is quick and easy for them to find a way to follow your journey (this could be via social media or a mailing list - ideally have both options). Most importantly make sure it is clear how they can donate and what they are donating to!


Journalists...


Facilitating press coverage and media interest begins with a journalist-friendly website design. Provide comprehensive bios, captivating narratives, and high-quality photos to entice journalists and provide them with compelling angles for their articles. By making it easy for journalists to find relevant information and engaging content on your website, you increase the likelihood of media coverage and exposure for your campaign.


Optimising for Mobile


While it is easier to design a website for desktop use, the likelihood is that over 60% of your traffic will come from mobile devices so you need to ensure you have a website that works well on a smaller screen. Website editors will have a mobile view feature - use it and don't be afraid to add new features to your mobile site or remove features that don't work effectively.


Step 3: Update, Add and Share


So you have spent hours and hours building the perfect website, the temptation is to move onto the next item on the every lengthening to do list, this is mistake number one!


The secret to building and retaining engagement is 'little and often' - keep updating the blog, linking to social media, and sharing updates with your mailing list and make sure you are regularly checking your inbox for enquiries!


Again you can think about what updates you can provide to add value for your different user groups. If we think again about the three user groups we discussed earlier:


Sponsors...


A great way of building increased credibility with sponsors is to show off the sponsorships you have already achieved. Making sure that a new sponsorship is quickly added, pride of place on your website, will keep that sponsor happy (and more likely to tell others) but will also increase the credibility of your team and campaign. Sharing sponsorship announcements on social media can have the same effect.


Supporters...


Updating your supporters with the latest about your story means they are more likely to talk about it at the pub/hairdresser/work/school/uni etc! They might send your social media or blog posts onto a friend who could be a donor or even sponsor.


Journalists...


Journalists may not write about your story straight away if you have launched your website 2 years before your row, but if you can create a backlog of content that tells a compelling story as you go this just increases your chances of your story getting picked up and amplified!


Summary


Hopefully this article has provided a good guide for setting up your ocean rowing website. As we mentioned at the start, with a good amount of patience, time, and willingness to learn it is possible to use a website building platform and do this yourself.


For those whose strengths don't lie in design or who simply don't have the days/weeks of time to invest in setting up their ocean rowing campaign website - we might be your perfect solution.


We offer a cost effective service, building you a flexible Wix website which you can manage with minimal time needed going forwards. We will work closely with you to ensure it represents the very best of your campaign and help open the door to sponsors, donors, the media, and more!


We know what it takes to run a successful campaign - let us help you.


Contact us below!





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