Feb 25

Best 5 CrossFit websites in the US

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Grading the best #crossfit websites in the country is a subjective exercise but one that I enjoy.    Like many in the fitness space, I’ve spent countless hours reviewing and building countless CrossFit Affiliate websites.    Here are some of the criteria I will be judging CrossFit Affiliate websites by:
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#5)  CrossFit Anywhere  Multiple Locations, CA   Affiliate owner Blair Morrison is creating the CrossFit Anywhere brand by now offering three locations in Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Roseville.   Blair’s logo of the exhausted athlete embodies the spirit of a CrossFitter post-WOD is my favorite logo and branding concept of any CrossFit box in the world.   Blairs incorporation of his own videos, multiple locations and exotic outdoor workouts make Reebok Sponsored and CrossFit Games Competitor Blair Morrison in my 2015 TOP 5 Best CrossFit Websites.

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4)  Paradigm CrossFit in San Jose has an infinite scroll type homepage, with animated features when you hover your mouse over some of the images and the navigation bar.   The black background, combined with the bold blue provides for a goregous design complement and an excellent mobile experience.    You’ll see a “Member Log In” option at the top right of the site.   This is a custom platform that Paradigm CrossFit purchased from Level One Sites, that provides a built in social network, WOD Journals, Leaderboard, etc.   See video overview of the site options.   This investment in the members and community that attend helps contribute to low attritiion, high retention and the members having the feeling of being a part of something special, with added value provided by the box with technology benefits of being a member.

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3)  CrossFit Abu Dhabi      CrossFit Abu Dhabi is located in the social hub of the United Arab Emirates capital.    The cleanness of the website design, and the organization of their content is what sticks out the most to me.   I find this site extremely easy to navigate, their homepage WOD looks amazingly unique and the animations when you hover over certain aspects of the homepage keep site visitors engaged.    Clean integration with Wodify provides an almost seamless integration with third party apps.    Clean mobile experience is an added plus to the overall user experience.    At the launch of CrossFit Abu Dhabi, Level One Sites received their highest amount of “likes” and “shares” of any site launch on Facebook since 2012.

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#2)  CrossFit Roughnecks in Houston Texas embodies the art of a clean, simple and effective site design.   The white backdrop, with the bold reds and accented with dark black contributes to bold and strong brand design.   The boot in the footer of the homepage includes the name of the box drawn into the tread of the boot.   Excellent extension of the overall name and brand of the gym, creatively embedded subtly into the boot tread.   Soft animations over the navigation elements, as well as the information boxes under the main slide show provide just enough engagement to provide some light pizzazzzz to the first time site visitor.    CrossFit Roughnecks shows that sometimes “less is more” can be far more effective then “more is more” when it comes to site design and content organization.   Similar to the Paradigm site listed at 4, Roughnecks has the same RX Package from Level One Sites providing their members additional functionality to aid in the retention of their members and the bolstering of their community.

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1)  NorCal CrossFit.    The main box for Jason Khalipa.   This is not the most complicated of designs in the list by any standard, but the beauty of this site resides in the simplicity of the site.   With 4 United States locations, an additional 8 HGST locations, plus a thriving apparel line provides an opportunity to overwhelm site visitors with “TMI”  (too much information).   It’s a common error many boxes make.   They feel the need to tell everyone everything on their website.   The true purpose of the website is to provide enough information to visitors in order for them to make an informed decision about reaching out to owner for more information.    The beauty in NorCal CrossFit’s new website is the three legged stool approach.   NorCal has three core revenue streams:   CrossFit, Corporate Wellness and their apparel store.    As you’ll notice at the top of their page, their navigation only provides the opportunity to visit these three revenue/lead funnels … and over to the right, an opportunity to Contact.    Although this site could be filled to the brim with photos of their famous owner, blog content, videos, social links and much more … there is such wisdom the thoughtful refinement of not overwhelming your visitors and keeping the focus correct.   In this case, the focus was to provide people clear paths to the information they want, while directing towards the three main revenue streams that makes NorCal the juggernaut of CrossFit’s when it comes to revenue, business strategy and total member count.

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Feb 25

How to pick the right name for your new CrossFit Affiliate?

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One of my simple pleasures in life is seeing all the awesome names people choose to use for their new Affiliate.   Names like CrossFit Fire Breather, CrossFit Purgatory or my home gym CrossFit Wicked (a play on the Boston over use of the work wicked … like wicked cool, or the Sox are a wicked good baseball team).    Others use their address, like 1960 CrossFit in Houston TX that is on 1960 Road, or CrossFit 580 that resides right off of I-580 interstate highway in California.I had a recent converstation with Billy Gapinski from Gold Medal CrossFit in Burlington, MA.   He asked me “Vin, if you were to open up a gym in Burlington, MA what would you have called it?”   Without giving it much thought, I said “CrossFit Burlington if it was still available.”    When prompted with the obvious “why” follow up question, I stated my rational.First, I’m a technology guy and a website guy.   A lot of my perspective is viewed through those glasses.   Knowing how Google spiders and indexes websites, I know that if someone Googles the phrase “CrossFits in Burlington” that CrossFit Burlington will be the #1 search result … always.   As long as there is not a CrossFit Burlington, then Gold Medal or any other gym can rank #1, but CrossFit Burlington will always dethrone for that keyword search.   Why do I find this so important?

As Reebok’s continued involvement and ESPN re-airing historical CrossFit Games during prime time TV hours – CrossFit as a whole is moving from the fringe to the mainstream.   The growth of CrossFit currently mirrors the growth of Subway Sandwich franchises in the 90′s … now the largest fast food chain in the world, passing McDonalds in 2010.  As CrossFit becomes more mainstream, I expect there to be more Google searches for “CrossFit’s in _____” (insert your town or neighboring towns name).    As a business owner, I would want to insure that my business is viewed positively by Google and other various review sites.

That being said … some of my most successful clients have names that do not include their location.   They do a phenomenal job of branding themselves within their local community.   Regardless of name, they just run good a business.   Name is only 1 component of your new CrossFit Affiliate, but nothing will replace running your business well.

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Feb 25

Level One Sites releases Version 1.0

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Level One Sites completes version 1.0 of their WOD Builder Software and makes it ready for public use.   After visiting literally every CrossFit website in the USA and interviewing CrosssFit Affiliate owners, the team at Level One Sites launched it’s fully customized software platform built exclusively for CrossFit gyms and their owners.   Level One Sites is providing fully integrated websites to aid in the management, marketing and community building aspects of a successful gym operation.    CrossFit Affiliates have specialized programs and needs, so Level One Sites built a fully customized software solution for their needs.   The team at Level One Sites do not use WordPress, TypePad, RubyonRails or any other canned web solution since their limitations prohibit the integration of social networks and online journals. We are a BCFC company …. by CrossFitters, for CrossFits!

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