The number one trend in the fitness industry in 2019 was fitness tech, according to IHRSA.
Plus, with the COVID-19, the use of fitness websites and apps has grown almost twice. Fitternity, for instance, has seen a 200% increase in corporate requests.
That is why it is forecasted that the fitness industry revenue will amount to $21,4M by 2024.
Even though many gyms have already opened up all over the world, there is still a big risk of getting infected. According to CNBC, it is expected that only around 20 to 30% of people will be working out in the gym.
Judging from the data above, it is probably one of the most lucrative times to enter the online fitness industry and learn how to build a fitness website.
1. Why Build a Fitness Website: The Market Overview
It is expected that the market for fitness apps will grow by 12,8% in 2020 compared to 2019. Revenue in the fitness industry is calculated to reach $21,918m in 2020.
Analyzing the top search queries in Google Trends, you can see the rapid growth of interest in online training.
As for the number of users in fitness apps, it is predicted that it will amount to 1,133.5m by 2024.
As for the global scale, most revenue will be generated in China – $6,690m in 2020.
2. Top 5 Types of Fitness Software
The fitness industry is very versatile and includes at least 5 core types of fitness software. It grew enormously in recent years due to people choosing a healthier and more active lifestyle. Not only did numerous types of apps have emerged but also different online personal and group coaching websites.
Here is an overview of the most popular types of fitness software:
Gym and Club Management Systems
Gym and club management systems are fitness software that gives fitness businesses the functionality to manage schedules, memberships, and facilities.
Gym and club management system functionality:
- Membership management
- Administrative task management
- Class Scheduling
- Storing member information in a database
- Automate marketing
Gym and club management systems are usually used by fitness-focused companies: gyms, athletic clubs, dance, yoga, aerobics, swimming, and fitness centers.
Examples: Vagaro, GymMaster
Fitness apps have an enormous impact on people’s health and well-being. According to Flurry, users become more involved and dedicated to their workout routine and health in general once they start using fitness apps.
1) Diet and nutrition apps
Diet and nutrition apps are used by people who want to:
- lose or gain some weight
- eat healthier and keep track of their food diary
These kinds of apps need to utilize graphics, notifications, and visualization, in general, to keep their users motivated in using the app.
2) High-intensity interval training apps (HIIT)
HIIT apps used for quick workout sessions, but with high-intensity exercises. This type of fitness app is great for more workout-advanced customers.
Examples: Tabata HIIT Interval Timer
3) Activity Tracking Apps
Activity Tracking Apps are mobile apps that help users to keep track of their daily activity by checking out statistics on their phones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers. Usually, these apps are integrated with a GPS in order to track users’ covered distance and speed.
Examples: Runkeeper, Runtastic, Nike+ Running
4) Personal Trainer, Studio Apps or Workout Apps
Personal trainer and studio apps offer customized training programs and personal trainer services. Some studio apps serve only for booking or canceling offline sports sessions.
5) Meditation and Yoga Apps
Meditation and yoga apps provide their yoga lovers with different daily sessions according to users’ level. They can both provide users with recorded videos and live sessions.
Examples: Daily Yoga, Down Dog
6) Running Apps
Running apps help to track users’ running results including distance, speed, and elevation. Usually, running apps are able to track users’ results with the help of a phone, smartwatch, or fitness tracker.
Examples: Runkeeper, Strava
Fitness aggregators are basically a middleman between gyms and customers. They provide users with the ability to search for the best gym or fitness program cost-, time-, and location-wise.
These aggregators collect information about gyms and fitness centers all over the Internet and offer detailed information on the gyms and their programs.
Related: How to build a listing website
Usually, fitness aggregators like ClassPass or Gympic offer the features of searching, booking, and paying for the workout sessions.
With the COVID-19, some fitness aggregators, like ClassPass started to offer online classes.
Examples: ClassPass, Gympic
Fitness brand websites are promo- websites of a certain fitness brand that wants to promote their business. Typically, this kind of website has some general information about their gym or a fitness studio. Such sites aim to showcase their services and areas of expertise, best trainers, and the timetable of classes.
Examples: Phive, Studio Fitness
Fitness websites are websites not only have features of brand websites but also offer a range of additional services for fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Whilst fitness apps tend to target a very specific niche, like nutrition or activity tracking, online fitness websites often specialize in providing users with as many services as possible. Usually, they include:
- Online personal or group training
- Live streams
- Nutrition plan
- Recorded video training
- Personalized program
Examples: Omstars, BodyStar, Booyafitness, DailyBurn
Today we are going to take a closer look at this particular type of fitness software, namely fitness website: its core features, ways of monetization, and how to create a fitness website. Stay tuned!
3. Top Fitness Websites
ClassPass is one of the most popular fitness websites worldwide. It is a New York-based website for fitness that offers membership programs from 25,000 studios all over the world. ClassPass was founded in 2013 and has raised around $549M in 9 funding rounds.
It serves as a mediator between customers and gyms or studios. Users can purchase a subscription and watch around 5 million classes a month. For additional costs, users can also live stream the classes, whether it is a workout or a yoga session.
This year, ClassPass became the first unicorn startup of the decade.
Active.com is a fitness website that provides users with a variety of classes, sports, and recreational activities, facilities, and venues. It was founded in 1998 in San Diego, California, and fundraised $15.5M.
Active.com is a great website for users who are into sports and different sports activities and who want to stay on top of future sports events. This company goes beyond fitness and gym. It offers different customized plans if a user is training for a marathon, hiking, etc.
As for online services, Active.com users can only participate in virtual races or marathons.
Active.com has seen some increase in the number of visitors at the beginning of 2020. An increase happened due to the pandemic that spread across the globe at the end of 2019. From March to May there has been a steady daily number of visitors which means that the hype has passed and the user base more or less remains the same.
Fitternity is one of the largest fitness websites in India. Founded in 2013, it has raised $7.5M in 6 funding rounds.
Before the lockdown, Fitternity offered its services for booking fitness and gym classes through their app.
However, when the COVID-19 hit, it had to pivot to offering online classes, pre-recorded workout videos, and personal online coaching.
Since then Fitternity experienced an increase of 200% in corporate bookings. This happened because big corporations still want to offer their customers the same benefits as they had before the pandemic.
Here are a few more examples of successful fitness websites that had traffic growth in the past couple of months:
Alomoves is an online video website that offers yoga and fitness classes. In February 2020, Alomoves had a major user growth and the number of total visits sums up to over 1M a day.
DailyBurn is a fitness and nutrition tracking website and app that is headquartered in New-York and was founded in 2007. It raised $540K in 2 funding rounds.
Since December 2019, the website has seen some spikes in users. It may have been influenced by people being on lockdown, unable to visit a gym.
4. Benefits of Building a Fitness Website
According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a trend in the fitness industry of using online training and on-demand or live streaming workout sessions. Many fitness brand websites don’t have this functionality. Thus, many decide to build a fitness website.
Here are the main benefits of building an online fitness website:
- A new channel for attracting customers
- Increasing demand due to COVID-19
- Still little competition on the market
- Growing market
- Constant availability for users
- Cost savings on equipment
The Guardian states that the gym dropout rate in the first eight weeks after signing up maybe around 80%. This can happen first of all because some gyms are not able to follow sanitary standards and secondly, due to peoples’ busy schedules and gyms being far-located.
5. 10 Core Features for Creating a Fitness Website
With registration, you’ll be able to collect some basic info on your users and target them later in case they haven’t tried your website services yet.
Registration feature includes login and signup. Both these features shouldn’t be too complicated. The easy way out is to have a social media integration on your website for fitness, it can be either Facebook, Google, or both.
A user profile should have some basic settings, like changing the password or your contact information. Users should have the ability to view their previous classes, their billion information, and upcoming classes.
Users can search by a type of training, by studio or trainer. Obviously, this is tightly connected with what type of fitness software you are offering.
You can either partner with studios where they have already selected trainers and have the qualifications to coach customers or your online training software can include independent trainers who have the time and skills to offer their services on your fitness website.
Trainer’s or Studio’s Page
Trainer’s or Studios Page is the next thing after users choose a certain trainer or class. If you partner with studios then a studios page should have basic information on the studio, like its description, contacts, social media accounts, reviews and feedback, and class schedule.
If your website only partners with trainers, then a trainer’s page should have information about the trainer’s qualification, contact information, reviews and feedback, and the timetable of available slots.
You should keep in mind that quite often users only trust gyms that they have been in, rather than standalone trainers. So, if you do decide to collaborate with trainers, give as much information on each trainer as possible.
Plus, reviews and feedback usually work like a charm. As an additional trust booster, you can ask a trainer to make a video about themselves and their experience and some things where they workout in a group or individually.
The booking feature on fitness websites usually includes the ability to choose the best time slot, leaving notes if necessary, and then paying for the class.
Online fitness websites often use an escrow payment system. With an escrow payment, the money is charged from a user’s card before the class but transfer to a trainer’s bank out only when the class is finished. Meanwhile, money is stored in a payment provider, like Stripe for example.
Video Call or Live Streaming
Video calls and live streams are probably the main things why people would use your fitness software for online training. With a video connection, trainers are able to have live communication with a customer as if they were offline. Trainers can pinpoint if a user is doing everything right and correct them while showing the exercise or a position with their own example.
Video calls can be either group or individual. If you are planning to have group sessions, then make sure your website can handle multiple users all connecting to one video call. Plus, probably not only one trainer is going to have a call at a time. Usually, several trainers can have their classes with their own groups at one moment.
In case, trainers and clients have any additional questions or they want to change their class, a messaging system enables them to communicate with each other.
In brief, an activity log is a plan that users follow to make their training more effective.
It is not enough to have only videos with exercises to make a change in someone else’s lifestyle. Your website for fitness should offer a complex plan that users can follow. The plan should consist of exercises, nutrition, and overall daily activities.
Several ways to motivate users to stick to the plan:
- Goals: one of the first things a user should do on a fitness website is to set up their own goals. Usually, users have goals about their weight or eating healthier habits. After a user chooses their goal, it is worth asking how many times a week can a user work and for how long. Then, a fitness website can offer daily and weekly goals.
- Calendars and notifications: make it possible for users to have calendar reminders about their upcoming workouts. Don’t let them forget about their goals.
- Progress analytics: people tend to get even more motivated when they see some progress. And visualization like graphics and diagrams are very helpful here.
Giving free access to some of the video tutorials on your fitness website will encourage users to use it more frequently and at the same time will gain users’ trust.
Besides, if you choose a subscription revenue model or freemium then premium video tutorials will be the source of your monetization, either the main or an additional one.
Besides having video tutorials as an additional source of value, educational content can help users to be more engaged and knowledgeable about health and fitness.
Having a blog will bring you traffic, which may result in a higher number of customers.
6. How to Monetize a Fitness Website
The most popular monetization model for a fitness website is a subscription-based revenue model. Within this monetization model, a user pays a recurring fee, either monthly or annually.
What do fitness websites offer for a subscription fee?
- Premium content: workout videos of any kind, ‘how-to’ articles, recipes.
- Video calls: like at the actual gym where a customer buys a limited membership according to which you can participate in a limited number of classes of different types, you can offer the same. By buying a subscription, users will be able to participate in group or personal training sessions a limited number of times.
- Activity log: the feature that we previously mentioned is a personal and customized package. There are 2 ways to create such a package: either have a trainer create a package for a user after finding all details and goals or creating a simple algorithm that can set up, for example, weight and activity goals according to a user’s questionnaire.
Freemium revenue model stands for offering users 2 types of website usage – free and premium. Premium features may include workout videos by top trainers or activity logs. In some ways, freemium is similar to subscription, the only difference is that with a freemium model a website offers not only paid but also some free services.
The commission is a revenue model where a user pays a fee for each payment transaction. Usually, commission-based models are used by websites for fitness that offer online workout sessions or live streams. A commission fee can be charged both from a customer and a trainer or from either side.
Unlike subscription, commission, or freemium, advertising is normally an additional revenue source for fitness websites. This model has relatively low profitability and a high distraction level. Users often get annoyed when they see too many ads or can just get drawn away from your website too soon.
Fitness websites typically partner with companies that sell fitness-, workout- or health-focused products. Partner companies advertise their products on a fitness website by paying a fee depending on a click-through-rate or a per-view.
Another additional revenue stream is publishing sponsored content. Gyms and fitness studios provide websites with valuable content and get visibility on your website.
Common types of sponsored content may vary:
- Free customized online training
- PDF fitness program
- Fitness videos
- Live video workouts
- Online group training
7. 3 Best Ways to Build a Fitness Website
Eager to know how to build a fitness website? Here are three main ways:
Custom development means building a fitness website from scratch. Custom development is usually a long-term project. To create a website for online fitness from scratch, you can either hire a team of in-house developers or you can hire an outsourced team.
Pros of Custom development
With custom development, you will be able to create a fitness website that will suit your budget and implement your unique vision. Oppositely to any ready-made solutions, custom development has no feature limitations, the only limit would be the available budget.
Most of the market ready-made solutions are built the way they are hard to scale when the project grows enough. Thus, a company would have to create a brand new website and move all the data to the new platform. And it even would not be a big deal, unless it brings some tech risks and big risks of losing positions in the search engines.
Cons of Custom development
Developing a minimal version of the product can take at least 3 months, depending on the needed features. If it is too long to start validating the idea, then perhaps you should opt for other choices.
Custom development is the most expensive way to build a fitness website. Surely, the price would depend on a number of various factors. But generally speaking, the price for custom development starts from $20-30K.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a service subscription that provides a ready-made software, “for rent”. Usually, such solutions are pretty cheap, have a standard set of features, and are very hard to customize.
Pro of SaaS
The huge perk of SaaS is the price. Especially if you just would like to try out the idea, quickly validate within 2-5 months and then move to some other kind of product.
By contrast, in the long run, SaaS can appear even a more expensive option.
Con of SaaS
Lack of customization
In the best case scenario, SaaS provides an ability to change some basic UI and UX or add some simple features to your fitness website.
A white-label solution is a product or service that is owned by a provider which you buy, rebrand, and use as your own custom website, However, a white-label provider keeps a right to resell the codebase of the solution.
Having analyzed the trends, Sloboda Studio developed a ready-made solution for fitness websites. This solution can be launched within a week and is at least 5X cheaper than building a custom website. Besides, it is written with the Ruby on Rails framework and is easily scalable.
Pros of a White-Label Solution
The white-label solution is a custom solution but at a much lower cost. And in the long run, it is cheaper than a SaaS solution.
The white-label solution allows you to launch your fitness website in just a few weeks.
The white-label requires much less time and investment but at the same time can have the quality of a custom solution. This combination is possible if a white-label provider is a custom development company, but monetizes the solution through multiple sales of it.
In a time when your fitness website starts to grow, you’ll need to add some additional functionality. Usually, only custom-developed websites are easy to scale. However, given the fact that a white-label solution is actually a custom, but a resellable solution, it has all perks of custom software, including scalability.
Cons of a White-Label Solution
Technical support dependency
Just like with a SaaS solution, a white-label product is supported by a software provider, but unlike SaaS, you won’t need to pay a subscription fee every month for updates and support.
In brief, the coronavirus has pushed many to use online fitness solutions, from mobile apps to fitness websites. Since the outbreak, the number of users has grown significantly and the fitness industry revenue is predicted to reach $21,4M by 2024.
Here are a few tips on how to build a fitness website:
- Do a market and competitors research
- Choose the monetization model
- Select the best-suited way to create a fitness website
- Hire a team of developers
- Single out only the core features
- Build an MVP
Sloboda Studio has been on the market for almost 10 years. In fact, we started our journey by building MVPs in various industries. Recently, we have built a white-label solution that has the same functionality as an online fitness website, like ClassPass, for example. Contact us if you are in need of a high-quality, quick, and cost-efficient solution.