Your Website – Is It Working for You or Against You?


Don’t “set and forget” your most responsive medium

Hard to remember life before the Internet. But I do. Fast forward a couple decades and many light years through the digital technology universe, and today your casino website is absolutely essential, and can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal – or it can work against you. Here’s why:

Like so many, I am an Internet super-user, from finding addresses and phone numbers, to booking hotel rooms and making dinner reservations. If I can do it online, I will – it’s a pure timesaver. And there’s no doubt that I am loyal to, and spend my money with the businesses that make my life easier and keep me interested. I can tell you in a heartbeat what my favorite and least favorite websites are, and I bet you can too. For example …

Amazon is great because of the easy and comprehensive Search function. Lots of info and pictures, and I love that your shopping cart doesn’t “expire” if you come back the next day to complete a transaction. My least favorite site has a horrible Search function, provides zero detail about its products, and is as visually exciting as craigslist. You couldn’t pay me to spend money with this company just on general principle, because they have so little regard for my time or sensibilities. Just thinking about it makes me mad. They could care less about their customers’ online experience.

But you care about your customers and recognize that it’s important to create and maintain a living, breathing website that will strengthen – not repel, your casino’s bond with its audience. Here are some tips to help you get the most benefit from your casino website:

Do a comprehensive website audit.

Start with proofing the nuts and bolts. Look for words that are misspelled, bad grammar, inaccurate or (heaven forbid) outdated information. I don’t know about you, but I have real trust issues with a company whose website looks like it was carelessly written, or written by a 6th grader.

Incorrect information, like restaurant hours or show times, can result in an inconvenience for guests, and even cause hard feelings. And having anything outdated, such as a promotion that ended yesterday or a holiday buffet from last week, just plain looks bad. And will no doubt drive your boss crazy! If someone has to physically log in to the admin side at 9 p.m. on a Saturday to pull down the concert promo, it’s worth it!

Check for functionality.

How easy is it to make a hotel reservation? Apply for a players club card? Make a dinner reservation at the steakhouse? Do your navigation titles make sense? Do you list hours for outlets? The “Contact” page had only an email form. Check your website’s experience with toggling between pages, load speed, responsiveness, etc. Does it navigate you away from the casino website for any reason? I actually could not find a phone number or address on a casino website the other day! True story.

Stay current and fresh.

Add new content before people start looking for it, which means before the first marketing message hits the TV, the mail or Facebook. And if it’s out there in advertising, it better be somewhere on your home page, or one may think they have the wrong casino. Remember, your website supports your marketing messaging. When someone sees an ad about a promotion or concert and wants more info, chances are that they will go right to your website. What they find when they get there could make or break the conversation that can lead to a visit. Don’t let them down (and shoot yourself in the marketing foot).

One of the biggest mistakes we see made with casino websites is “setting and forgetting,” which is great for slow cookers, but not great for the most responsive medium on the planet. You want your audience to visit your website often, so keep it interesting by rotating or updating the header images, restaurant images, etc. Promote new slot games. Feature a new winner every day. How about a weekly steakhouse recipe or chef’s tip? If you have a major two-month promotion that’s driving revenue, it’s really important to keep it fresh: update the artwork, add qualifiers or winners’ pictures or candid shots of last weekend’s huge crowd. If it’s not fresh, then it’s stale. Plus you are telling the audience that no effort is being made to entertain them online.

Stay on brand.

Your website should be a strong brand ambassador for your casino and reinforce its personality, “voice” and messaging. Whether your brand is hip and cool, refined and elegant, or a hometown hero, your website wants to reflect this. Consistency across all channels – especially your website – strengthens your brand, inconsistency weakens it.

Fresh eyes.

It’s very effective to have someone who does not sit and look at your website every day, do a website audit for you, because if you look at something enough times, you stop seeing it. In my circle there are a few go-to people who love to visit casinos and are great sounding boards for me when I need fresh eyes and a player’s perspective. Find your fresh eyes.

If your website is a pleasure to visit, then visitation time and number of pages per visit will be high, which is all information that you can check through Google Analytics.

Your casino’s website wants to be the number one resource for your customers to have their questions answered and learn what you want them to know today, which will hopefully lead to a visit. If you have an engaging, attractive, informative and functional website that keeps your audience engaged, it can inspire real loyalty. Like Amazon.

Mark Astone