Portmarnock Golf Club website
Portmarnock Golf club
Prior to getting on board with Portmarnock Golf Club the website was experiencing non existent visitor activity. While their previous website (below) had all relative contact information on its home page, it just wasn't drawing in the numbers Portmarnock were looking for. A creative web design plan needed to be implemented to take Portmarnock to the next level.
PRE SITE DEVELopMENT:
Portmarnock Golf Club approached Lucidity in September 2010 with one simple request, they wanted their site modernised to the current standards of creative web design. What was most stand out from their airings, was that their website received poor levels of traffic flow and even lower rates of time spent on the site. This can come in part to web design and have a large bearing on Google rankings.
Portmarnock reported having a bounce rate of nearly 80% and that time spent on the site lingered around the 20 second mark.
By any standards these were extremely poor results. With the web becoming more and more an ambassador for businesses and a voice, it was imperative that Portmarnock undergo a rigorous site revamp to alleviate this invisible status.
Development began in February 2011 and the site went live in July 2011. Immediately reports came back to Lucidity that traffic to the site and time spent there had increased two fold. What was previously an averaging 20 second visit had leapt to two, sometimes three minutes on the site while the bounce rate dropped to the low figure of 25%. Portmarnock reported that enquiries too had increased in the wake of their new web design.
I asked the Lead Designer on the project to explain how they came about the beautiful web design we see at portmarnockgolfclub.ie today. I was told that in order to deliver the perfect user experience, the best thing to do was take them out on the course itself. He said, “When it came to the design stage we were brought out to Portmarnock and shown around the grounds. This gave us the feel for the place that we needed with the history and the emotion linked to it”. We knew right away the only thing to do was to transmit that same feeling to the site through large, engaging imagery.
The colour tone is based on that of the club. Refined, even muted, and thus allowing the photos to take centre stage. The intent here was that they were background elements and it was important that they didn’t conflict with the all-important user journey. If a user arrives at a website, he or she expects to be able to complete the task they’ve come for, be that booking tee times, getting contact details, getting to grips with the facilities or simply learning more about the club’s history.
The fonts used were Georgia and Constantia bold, both serif fonts and both having a classic and reliable feel conveying the history of the Portmarnock while maintaining legibility.
We tried to strike a balance between the feel the large photos could deliver and the necessity for relevant and usable content. The outcome was beyond anything we imagined:
The Senior Developer explained that the course information part of the site would provide the user with in-depth information about each of the 27 holes at Portmarnock Golf Club. Each hole has a page with a description of the hole, distances, photos and map of the hole. In considering site interaction, we developed a concept where by, on the map of the hole, there are markers that when clicked display a photo taken from that point on the map; this gives visitors the feel that Designer spoke of previously. From there, we created a database to store this information and created a management system for the administrator to create each of the holes and to place markers on the map. Storing everything in the database cut down the amount of custom work that needed to be done per page. All the hole pages are dynamically created from information stored in that database.
The site was also designed with a booking engine for Tee Times. The system interacts with a third party system to retrieve a list of available tee times for any given date. The system can also handle bookings of more than four people in a smooth and easy to use way with bookings being provisionally booked after the user selects a time. Once they have paid for the booking the booking is confirmed. What this means for the user is that they can’t start booking a particular tee time only to have that tee-time snatched away from them by somebody who completed the checkout process faster than they did.
When the website went live, to tie in with its new look and functionality, we had to work to have it seen and heard. We set about optimizing methods and practices that would get Portmarnock on the map in Google places.
For a more in-depth look at our SEO efforts, have a look at this related article.