Running a fishing charter business is no easy task. In addition to fishing, you end up handling marketing, permits, accounting, and let’s not forget the never ending list associated with boat maintenance. It’s time consuming and expensive staying on top of things. In many ways, your website is the engine that drives customers to your dock. It’s important to have a reliable site that is up to date and continuously maintained.
Just like the electronics on your boat or the latest reels from Penn, many websites are outdated within a year or two of being published. It’s important to maintain an online presence and stay with the times but this can be an expensive proposition. The online landscape has changed over the years and a website redesign used to cost thousands of dollars with a traditional agency. Fortunately with Optuno, you can rebuild your website without any upfront fees. The B.O.A.T. (Break Out Another Thousand) adage no longer needs to apply to your website.
Choosing the Right Web Developer
It’s important to choose the right web developer for your charter website. Old school marketing agencies that charge a flat rate should be avoided like the plague. You never know what you’re going to get when you have a “friend” build out your website and the only thing worse is another cookie cutter developer that literally develops websites for half of your competition.
Here at Optuno, our websites are Done FOR You NOT BY You ™. We have a full service design process and will happily design your website from scratch or redesign your existing website to get it up to speed.
As a fishing charter business, it’s important to have a well laid out, functional site that is mobile friendly (responsive), clean, and jam packed with features that keep it up to date and make your service look inviting and stand out from your competitors.
Important Website Features for Your Charter Business
There are a number of different features that are a MUST for your charter business. We recommend that the following tabs are featured in your navigation. The information below may seem like a lot but we have built countless fishing charter websites and can help you build the site of your dreams by simply filling out a questionnaire and providing some basic information about your business.
- About Us
- The Boat
- What We Catch
- Fishing Reports
- Contact Us
Home Page of Your Charter Website
Your home page should POP with banner shots of your boat, great pictures of catches, and include an overview about your business. In many ways, your homepage is a preview of your entire website so we usually build out the homepage in sections that feature different aspects of what make your business unique.
On the homepage, we’ll usually include your best photos, followed by a preview of your site. We call the sections “layout blocks” and will usually have snippets on your homepage that feature the different sections of your site. We usually start with some information about your business, put a section about your boat, the captain, feature a few fishing reports, and always provide contact information in the header and footer of your site so that your contact information is just one click away at all times.
In addition to featuring the different pages of your site, your homepage should have a section featuring some stellar reviews and since photos are such a core element of what sells your service, the entire homepage should be rich with pictures and have a clean layout.
About Us- Feature Your Captain and Crew
Regardless of your experience level, it’s important to feature a bio about yourself as the captain and face of the business. If you have 3 decades of experience and you’ve fished all over the world, write about it. If you’re just starting out, talk about how you grew up fishing and express your passion for your career. Regardless of whether you have a long list of tournament wins or simply passion for the sport, a biography is crucial for building trust and familiarity and will lead to more bookings.
Feature Your Boat!
No boat is perfect, everyone knows that. If you’re inshore fishing, the ideal boat for poling might not be a safe bet for a group of 4 who want to fish an inlet. If you’re fishing offshore, a sportfish might be a better bet for a large group who wants a bathroom but a center console also offers speed, comfort, and fishability. Regardless of what boat you have, it’s important to feature it on your website and outline its highlights.
Many of your customers don’t know the difference between a Hatteras and a Chris Craft or SeaVee vs. a Goldline. Don’t project your bias onto your customers. As far as potential site visitors are concerned, you have the BEST BOAT for what you do. Include great pictures of your boat, talk about the custom features (or factory if need be) and express how your boat and equipment can help lead to a more enjoyable day on the water. Don’t stress if you have a convertible sportfish with no tower or a center console with no bathroom. Either way, you have an awesome platform that gives out of town and local anglers access to the water.
Target Species Page- “What We Catch”
This is a great section to talk more about your fishery and outline what you catch depending on the time of year. If you choose to go with an unlimited page website with Optuno, this is also a great section to take advantage of On-Page search engine optimization (SEO). It’s important to talk about your fishery to inform clients about what they should expect based on the time of year but if you have decent writing skills, take it a step further and create individual species pages for the top 10 fish species you target. Highlighting these target species is a great way to tap into search rankings for people searching phrases such as “sailfish charters Miami,” “halibut charters Homer Alaska” “snapper charters Palm Beach” etc. Your homepage can be used to target your big money keywords such as “Miami Fishing Charters” but your species pages can be used to target more specific searches about charters for different species, etc.
Nothing on your website is more important than an up to date blog that features your latest fishing reports. Customers want to see fishing reports updated monthly at a minimum. The fishing report section of your site is a great way to show off recent catches and can also be used as a blog to write about different tips and techniques. Our Content Management System - FICMS makes posting a fishing report with pictures a very easy process. Our software makes website updates a lot like using Microsoft Word on your blog but you can also just email in your reports and we’ll post them to your website for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your FAQ page is a great way to save time and energy with customers who want to go back and forth via e-mail asking the same questions over and over. It’s also a great area to address your deposit policy, booking process, expectations, etc. Your FAQ page isn’t a great resource for SEO but it is important for customers who are actually interested in booking or have booked a trip. Managing expectations is a huge part of your job as a charter captain and your FAQ page is a great place to start.
Fishing Charter Contact Page
It’s important to have a designated contact page on your website with a form mailer, your address, contact information, etc. You can also answer basic questions about the booking process, etc. It’s important that you are warm and welcoming on your contact page and encourage clients to reach out to book over the phone or link them to the booking page of your site if you have that integrated.
Fishing Charter Booking Systems
So many captains are dragging their feet when it comes to integrating booking systems onto their website and we can tell you from firsthand experience that a properly integrated booking system will translate to more bookings for a number of reasons. First of all, when you’re busy fishing or working on the boat, you may miss a call from someone who would have otherwise booked online if they had the option. In addition, booking systems allow customers to book 24 hours a day. If someone wants to book a trip late at night or if they are international customers, booking systems are a great way to capitalize on the trips without the stress of picking up the phone at crazy hours.
Don’t get us wrong, a booking system doesn’t need to replace phone calls. It can simply supplement and streamline your booking process and lead to a higher conversion rate on your website. Booking systems are also great because they send automated confirmation emails to your clients, take deposits on your behalf, provide cancellation information and policies, etc. If you haven’t set up a booking system, we can help you with the integration during the redevelopment of your website.To speak to a member of our dedicated sales team, give us a call today at 1-888-678-8662 or click here to schedule a free consultation.