What is the difference between the website of a successful fitness business, and an unsuccessful one?

In my experience there are 5 things that separate the websites that draw traffic and convert, and those that don’t.

I’ve had the pleasure of designing websites for many of the top fitness pros and organizations, including John Spencer Ellis, Chris McCombs, and the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association.

Guys like that have been around for a long time, and they are very successful at what they do. They always ask for the same things when they need a website, because they know what works.

I’m going to share with you what 5 things they have on every website, and why those things always work.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”22″ color=”BA0202″ textshadow=”3″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]1. A strong marketing message[/font]

Look at any of the sites of the top fitness entrepreneurs, top trainers, or top gyms. They all have a personality that you feel right away when you visit the site.

Whether it’s gritty honesty from Chris McCombs, or no BS muscle building from Jason Ferruggia, all the top sites have something “different.” Some people call it a USP, or unique selling proposition.

Compare that to the site of your “average Joe” personal trainer. Most sites like that put me instantly to sleep. There’s nothing unique, nothing interesting, so I don’t stick around to see what they’re selling.

Why are you different? How can you convey that on your site?

Think hard, ask your friends for their opinion. This is one of the most important things you can do to differentiate your business.

Here’s a great article with more info on this subject:

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”22″ color=”BA0202″ textshadow=”3″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]2. A good email opt-in[/font]

emailI’m sure you’re familiar with an opt-in, but let’s talk about it in a little more detail.

Is it in a really obvious place on your site, like the sidebar of every page? Does it have a nice graphic or colorful design that captures attention?

Even more important than the design is what you are offering as “bait.” Bait is something like a free personal training session, a free ebook, or something else of value that you offer in exchange for someone’s name and email.

If you aren’t getting a lot of opt-ins, you probably aren’t giving enough away. Try offering something of more value, and watch your opt-in rates increase!

For example, if you are offering a free ebook, change it to offering a free 1 hour personal training session with no obligation. Make it something of real value, building your email list is super important.

If you don’t know what to offer, the easiest thing to do it just change it, and see if your opt-in rates increase. You may have to do this a few times until you get something that works well. Remember, everyone and their sister is giving something away free, so some crappy PLR ebook about nutrition isn’t going to work. Get creative!

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”22″ color=”BA0202″ textshadow=”3″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]3. Do some simple SEO[/font]

SEO (or search engine optimization) helps you get better rankings in Google, so that you can get more traffic to your site.

You don’t have to get crazy technical to see some big improvements in your traffic from Google search. There are a few simple things you can do without much effort.

First of all, you need to be putting keywords on your pages in the right places. Here’s an example:


You can see on this site that the keyword phrase “Fitness and personal development” is in 3 main places: the page title, headline, and body copy. You can also put keywords in the page url, like

A good place to start with keywords is ‘your business + your local area’. For example, “Irvine personal trainer” or “personal training Irvine.”

The next thing you should do is get listed in Google local. This is a free business listing that is displayed when someone in your local area searches for your services. For example, if someone searches for “personal trainer irvine”, Google would display all the local business listings of personal trainers near Irvine.

You can get your free Google local business listing here:

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”22″ color=”BA0202″ textshadow=”3″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]4. Create awesome content[/font]

Stand out sites have great content.

That might mean a blog, tools, resources, case studies, or just great sales copy.

Great content is not some wimpy blog post that puts everyone to sleep. I’m talking about something that’s super useful, that is honest and insightful, and valuable enough that you would consider making people pay for it.

You have unique experience and expertise, how can you leverage that to create some awesome content that your visitors would love?

If you’re a personal trainer, how about “The ultimate guide to the 7 biggest workout/nutrition mistakes,” or “An illustrated guide to finding the right personal trainer”?

Don’t make just anything, think of your ideal customer/client, and create something they would love. Here are some examples:

A super honest blog post about your personal struggles:

Create a mega-guide to something you know really well:

Make an awesome blog that you keep up with regularly:

Do awesome interviews:

The main thing to notice here is that all of the content I linked to above took time, and a tremendous amount of effort. They are also done with honesty, and based on experience. One post you spend a ton of time on will get traffic to your site for months to come, so it’s worth it.

To prove to you this is worth your time, here’s a personal example. I created a guide on one of my sites that gets 10,000 unique visitors per month (and growing), just for that one page: It took a long time to make, but it was well worth the effort.

[font family=”Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif” size=”22″ color=”BA0202″ textshadow=”3″ alignment=”left” weight=”bold” style=”normal” lineheight=”110″]5. Design matters[/font]

All of the top sites look good.

Some people might say that design doesn’t matter, but I think they are wrong.

If I go to a site that looks poorly designed and unprofessional, I don’t stick around, and I certainly don’t opt-in or buy anything. I don’t trust ugly sites, and I know I’m not the only one.

If your site doesn’t look good, you could be losing sales.

Take a minute to assess your site design, and ask some family or friends what they think. It’s important to be objective, this is not the time to get offended!

It may be time for a redesign. If so, I highly recommend WordPress. Most people are already using it, it’s definitely the best web software out there.

If you need a new site or a redesign, I’d be stoked if you checked out FitPro It’s an affordable solution for fitness pros that has all the features you need to get your business on track.

There’s also lots of other great website solutions out there, just make sure to get something that looks professional. A site redesign might be just what you need to increase sales.

If you are interested in learning more about any of these topics, here are some great resources:

Fitness website design:

scottAbout the Author:

Scott Bolinger

Scott has designed websites for hundreds of fitness pros, including John Spencer Ellis, Chris McCombs, NESTA, and lots more. He is the co-creator of FitPro, the #1 website for fitness professionals.