Tips to increase your Cycling Club membership
Make it easy
Most of your existing members will know their way around your club site and will be prepared to put a little effort in to find what they want.
This isn't the case for a new potential member who is trying to find out about the club, your rides, when you meet, what levels you ride at etc. etc.
Your home page can welcome them and make it easy for them to contact you, or it can completely put them off.
We deal with a few of the issues below.
Who to contact
First things first. Someone knows about your club and they want to contact you. Have you hidden the 'Contact Us' link ? We've seen a lot of cycling club sites that have - obviously unintentionally !
Sometimes its hidden in 'Committee members', often its labelled as something else.
In the worst cases, to contact someone at a club, you have to register on a forum and then post something on it - you are joking surely ? No, we've counted around 10 so far.
On occasion it seems the only way to contact a club with questions is to apply to be a member and then wait for some sort of reply. So:
1. Have an easily seen 'Contact Us' link to an email address or a form.
2. Make sure it works and make sure more than one person sees the incoming mails.
3. Put a phone number on there somewhere.
Don't put your email address on the site as an email address. It will get copied and spammed automatically. There are ways around this, given that a human is going to read it. For instance you can do it like this: club at btinternet dot com. Just mess it up a bit so a human can read it, but an automatic scan can't.
If you're using a contact form, your webmaster should be able to make sure that it won't get automatically filled. (There's some code they can use).
What impression are you creating ?
On your home page its important to give an immediate idea of what sort of mixture of events you take part in. If you fill it with pictures of your best competitive cyclists and details of all their race winning feats, then that's fine if you only want new highly competitive members.
But if you want a mix of abilities, it might well put everyone else off.
Remember, your existing members will find this information anyway, wherever you put it. Its the new visitors that won't know what to make of it.
We would recommend putting all your descriptions of activities on the home page - 'What you can do if you join our club'. But if you can't do that, then make sure the 'About Us' link is easy to find - and don't put the information in 'History' - noone will look there.
Beware the Blog and the Forum
Blogs and Forums are great for existing members, but if a new visitor sees one, they won't have a clue where to start. We've seen personal chatter, row after row of anybody's pictures and all sorts of random stuff on the home pages of cycling club sites that use blogs and forums.
You are guaranteed to really irritate potential new members with this approach UNLESS you have some very big, noticeable Contact and About Us links !
About Us cycling club checkist
We thought this might be helpful:
Where are club activities based around ?
What type of rides - road, tt, mtb, track ?
How many events - you could just how many of each.
What age groups - family ?
What abilities - national or international riders ?
Club affiliations with cycling organisations ?
Any coaching / other formal training ?
Where do you meet ?
Have you a clubroom ?
Do you organise cycling events ?
Cost of membership ?
How to join ?
Any celebrity members ?!
Any notable results ?
Annoying stuff on the home page
Yes, we are talking about flash, videos and all that nice looking stuff that winds people up because they haven't got the latest version of the software.
By all means do it - just not on the home page.
Explain cycling terms
Not everyone will know what a 'club run' refers to. Is it a nice friendly ride around the countryside or a heavy training session. Similarly what is a TT and who has 1st. Claim to what ?
and finally Keep it up to date !! or newcomers will think you've packed up and gone home.
We hope this helps any cyclists who are responsible for looking after their club website. Obviously the websites are run voluntarily and part time, but there's quite a lot of simple things to do to make sure you give your potential new members an easy route into the club.