A New Website Doesn't Need to Be Expensive, but You Do Need One

Every Parent Sees It

Every parent that sends their kid to Stomping Ground looks at our website. I don’t think we have had one parent not look at our website before sending their child to camp. We find lots of new families through word of mouth, Facebook (the new word of mouth), camper outreach, partnerships, and a million other channels, but they all end up on our website. My guess is the same is true for you. The problem is most camp websites are out of date and aren’t building trust.

Websites Can Be Expensive

Websites can be expensive. Camps regularly spend over 40 grand on a new website. Then they have to keep paying monthly fees so some developer can update it, change it, adjust it, or just upload a blog post. I don’t think that’s worth it for most camps. Plus the internet changes so fast that to stay current you will just need a new design in two or three years.

Your website doesn’t need to be fancy

What is the point of a camp website? It isn’t to be the coolest sleekest thing on the internet. It is to simply get a parent to call camp or sign up. Quick aside that I learned from Tommy Feldman at Camp Granite Lake. You are going to be better at talking to a parent about the story of camp and the impact it will have and ultimately getting them to register than you will be at building a website that does it for you. The first goal of your website should be to get a parent to call you so you can build a relationship.

The new problem for your website then becomes: how do we make it as likely and easy as possible for the right parents to call camp? That is a problem about storytelling and design not about fancy graphics or incredible software engineering. There are tons of great simple website building software platforms out there that get you most of the way there. They do all the engineering so you can focus on the design and copy or pay someone to get you setup. 

Quick thoughts about the platforms

Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly… There are a million great platforms to build a website. For most camps I would go with Squarespace or Wix. In a lot of ways they are interchangeable, but I like Squarespace the best. More on that in another post. Squarespace and Wix are both drag and drop editors and they both are all in one one stop shops. They cost about $10 a month and will let you move your current domain and blog posts over and then you don't have to worry. They will take care of everything except the content. It is basically like a more customizable Facebook or Instagram. You can’t change everything, but you know it will work. Here are some examples: 

https://campstompingground.com/
http://www.campingcoasttocoast.org/
https://www.camphighlight.com/

BUT I THOUGHT WORDPRESS WAS THE BEST!?

With Wordpress you can do more, but you have to do more work and more maintenance. Wordpress can let you setup forums, paywalls, and customize every single aspect of the website. BUT YOU DON’T NEED THAT. You just need a website with great photos and engaging copy. So don’t bother worrying about it.

Where to go from here…

Get your website up to date. You are throwing money away if your website isn't super mobile friendly, has an out of date design, or isn't telling your story. Tons of parents will just move on to the next camp. You have three options. 

One, pay a lot of money for a hard to edit, but developer customized site. I don’t think this makes sense even if you have the money to spend.

Two, make the site yourself on Squarespace or Wix. This makes sense if you have a lot more time than money or love the idea of learning more about web design. I will write more about effective web design soon. 

Three, pay someone like me between $2,000 and $8,000 to get you all setup and ready to go. This makes sense if you have a little bit of money in the budget, not a lot of time, and want a great site that doesn’t need to be super customized.

I am happy to help you get you camp website looking great 

Send me an email and let's get to work - campingcoasttocoast@gmail.com

Here is a list of other Squarespace developers if you want to compare prices or take a look at some other folks style.