While social media is an important tool, it's worth stepping back and examining one of the key fundamentals of any club's external marketing platforms.

Many clubs are rightfully venturing into the world of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but it's important not to forget about the humble website.  There's no doubt many people are so tech savvy that they've moved beyond websites, but websites are crucial when it comes to maintaining a basic digital presence.

Every club should have a website.  No matter the size of the club, it's an important tool to communicate with your members, provide information about facilities and list contact details.  For many club members, the website is where they go first to find out information such as food menus and upcoming events, while younger members would likely seek that sort of information on your social media channels.

It's important to have a differentiation between the information contained on your website and that on your social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.  While the bulk of day-to-day communications are usually the domain of social media, websites are less of a blog and more of a fixed platform grouping relevant information together via web pages.

Whiles it's crucial for every club to have a website, it's equally as important to make it enticing to the user.  Websites should be basic but visually appealing.  It should be easy for people to navigate and where possible, incorporate web safe colours, which are a set of colours for people that are vision impaired.  It's great to incorporate various colour and movement elements, but by the same token ensure that they don't clash.  Having a rotating banner is also a great tool to help publicise all of your club's upcoming events and promotions.

Medium and large size clubs have availing themselves of websites for years, but many small clubs still have not entered the digital space.  While some may put it down to time and cost, it's often inexpensive, relatively fast and can reap major benefits.

When a club is looking at creating a website there are a number of online web suppliers they can turn to.  It's very easy to build a website based on a variety of templates.  It can be as simple as choosing a template, inputting information and uploading photos.

So even if you're a smaller club that doesn't have access to a web designer, you can still build yourself a fairly respectable website that's easy to update. 

Once a website is up and running, your club will also have access to plenty of information about how your members interact with the website and the information contained on it.  You can track how your website is going on Google Analytics, which is a free service that provides statistics about the number of users logging onto your website and the types of information they are looking to access.  Those who are interested in how their pages are tracking should definitely register their website with Google Analytics, as it's a great tool to help you get the most out of your website.  If you use a template provider these days, often they will also provide you with basic analytic tools.

While it's important is engage with a younger demographic over social media, it's just as vital that clubs have their fundamental online presence correct too via a user-friendly, information packed website.

(SOURCE: Ben Rossliegh, ClubsNSW Media Officer, ClubLIFE June 2017)