This week we'll take a look at a newer site built on Joomla, and delve a bit deeper into the business decisions that can drive a small, upcoming business to choose this CMS, or any other CMS for that matter. CrossFit Tustin, a small gym operating in Tustin, CA, USA, opened their doors as a CrossFit affiliate roughly one year ago.
Owners Joel Thompson and Tim Brooks met in college and became good friends before ever thinking about a career in the fitness industry. As their commitment to health and fitness grew, the realization that they should go into business together became more apparent.
BAJW: Joel, what would you say have been the biggest benefits to your business since the build out of your website?
Joel: A lot of gyms that do what we do end up with a website that's just a little bit more than an online business card, so I'd say the fact that we were able to have a professional face to our business established so quickly and so easily was huge. That and how integrated the community aspect is for us. That's a big part of what we do, so it's really important to be able to do it easily. Our membership has skyrocketed from very few members to the point now where we are putting bids on new properties for expansion. Most of our memberships have come from the website in one way or another.
Here's a look:
BAJW: As a business owner, and not so much a tech guy, how do you approach dealing with the technology piece of your online presence?
Joel: I think we definitely have the desire and the ability to tackle those problems, modern business technology and everything, but we realized we really wanted to work a lot more on growing our business and a lot less on working in the trenches of running our website. Tim is a lot more ready and willing to spend time on the tech aspect of what we do, but we both have limited time, and we want to focus on our members and making our business better. With our website running the way it is, we can focus our attentions where we really want to.
BAJW: I think that's pretty true of most small business owners these days. How do you think having a Joomla powered site has helped to make that possible? Any particular components of the website play a big part in that?
Joel: We post our WODs on our website along with the results from many of our members after they work out for the day. A WOD is just what we call the workout of the day, but it's great to be able to post that information really easily on the website. Members can check on each other's progress and it provides a little bit of friendly competition and encouragement. It's a nice piece of technology to show it as an RSS feed, but it really does work as a business tool for us. Our blog is a really big part of it too.
BAJW: Did you guys consider any other CMS systems before settling on Joomla for your business solution?
Joel: Not really. We barely knew what Joomla was when we started with this project. It really was delivered to us as a business solution as you put it. It was part of our overall package that made marketing and staying in touch with our members and our community a lot easier. Community is a huge thing in our line of work.
BAJW: So how specifically has your site enabled you to stay in touch with your community?
Joel: The blog, like I mentioned, is huge. We're just really getting going with it like we want to, but having the ability to break it into categories for things like Nutrition, News and Updates, and our Tip of The Week makes it a lot easier for us to stay in touch with members when they're outside of the gym. When we have an event, like our recent BBQ, we can post that with pictures and members can comment. It just works very easily for us. Our site is pretty no-nonsense. We have some nice features like a tour video we've posted, but we just want it to work and stay working. I can monitor things and post blog entries, and it's all integrated into our online presence.
BAJW: Do you guys integrate social media into your online presence?
Joel: Oh definitely. We have our Facebook Fan Page linked to a module on our site so members can see comments from each other even on our home page. Potential members can see that we really all talk to each other and share with each other when we're not working out. That's actually helped a lot with SEO and creating more interest too. When people on Facebook see what their friends are up to, they get interested and might come in to give it a try.
BAJW: Have there been any interesting or frustrating moments in regards to your Joomla site?
Joel: Well, I'm not a web designer, but I do like to take the initiative at times. And one time I tried to update a couple of modules in the template and didn't quite get it right. It messed up the CSS, and for about a day or so the layout of those modules suffered quite a bit, Ha! But our admin explained the beauty of Akeeba backups, and we were back up all clean and pretty in a couple of hours after mentioning it. I leave major tweaks to the designers now.
BAJW: What's your overall impression of how this site has impacted your business?
Joel: The great thing about our site is that it really does show who we are. It's our personality, our mission statements, our members and community. Aside from the massive membership boost, which is huge for us, it's amazing to have an online face that is really ours.