10 Things Every Hunting Website Needs (Plus a Few Extra Ideas)

11 February 2009 974 views No Comment

Do you have a hunting website?

Deer in the Yard

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image credit: striatic

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Along with many other niches, hunting seems to be taking the Web by storm. This is a good thing. Hunters connecting and sharing knowledge, experience, tips, tools, gear, etc. is a great trend that can benefit all hunters.

There are hunting stores, communities, blogs, news sites, directories, and more.

There are definitely a few major players right now

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, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to come in and take the online hunting world by storm. (Think Excite, Dogpile, Lycos, even Yahoo and then think Google)

The Web is still an emerging medium of exchange and communication. Barrier to entry is relatively low.

A few hunting websites (and corresponding hunting businesses) are getting it

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.

But if you’re going to start a hunting Web site you’ll need a few basic features (and corresponding benefits) if you want to have a chance to take down the big players.

10 things every hunting website needs (and for fun I’ve added a few extra ideas)

1.  Blog

A blog has many great advantages for websites

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. If you can truly commit to writing great content for a blog related to your niche you will begin seeing a tribe form around you, your website, and your business.

People are drawn to informative influencers

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. A blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself as an online influencer in the hunting niche.

Use the resources available online to research and study successful bloggers. Read blogs. Learn the traits of successful bloggers and then implement your own blogging strategy.

2.  Photos

Web users love photos. Hunters love photos. There is nothing like great visual evidence of a trophy buck, your rustic hunting cabin, or your view from the tree stand. Along with using your own photos throughout the site make photos easy for your users to upload, browse, comment on and most important -share.

Hunters benefit from seeing quality hunting photos. It gives them hope knowing that others have taken trophies. It also allows them to learn about how to take great hunting photos.

3.  Video

Along with photos, videos are becoming imperative for any hunting website. People need to learn; need to gain knowledge. Some are more drawn to text and copy for their learning while others pursue more visual and audio forms of learning. Providing both or specializing in one is a great way to reach users.

Create quality videos of your own with valuable content and reach the set of users who need visual and audio to soak up knowledge and information.

4.  Personal Profiles

People (as much as we love being individual) need to feel like they’re part of a group. Allow visitors on your site the ability to sign up as a member and interact in a deeper and more valuable way. Give users access to more quality content when they sign up for a profile.

The user involvement with vary greatly

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, but it’s a great way to reach those few super users who will be essentially to your growth on the Web.

5.  RSS

Going with the theme that the Web is about making connections, it’s important to allow users to connect to your site as easily as possible and through popular syndication. Provide all of your content to your users via RSS feeds: blog posts, photo gallery streams, video updates, news updates, Twitter updates, etc.

6.  Email Updates

See #5, but insert ‘Email’. Some people simply prefer email. Allow them to join your conversations.

7.  Twitter

Twitter has emerged as one of the great connection mediums on the Web

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. You don’t have to be a Twitter super star
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to make an impact either.

Visit sites like Twitip

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to learn about the basics of Twitter and begin implementing your own plan for utilizing Twitter as a way to improve your hunting Website (and more importantly your connection with your users).

8.  Something to Sell (Display it prominently)

If you’re looking to start or build an online hunting website you’re trying to sell something. You’re trying to sell a hunting product like a traditional bow, a service like a guided moose hunt in Alaska, content you’ve created in the form of a blog, e-book, tangible book, etc.

People expect to gain knowledge from you. If your product, service, or other content is truly valuable, users will need and want it and be willing to pay for it.

Make sure you are up front with your intentions on the Web and display what you’re selling prominently.

Make what you’re selling easy to find.

This way, when members of your audience are ready to buy they know exactly how.

9.  Great Content

The most important thing any site needs is great content. Whether it’s a great product or service or great How-To content related to hunting, you’re going to need to have some of the best on the Web.

I said earlier that the barrier to entry is low on the Web. This means that if your content isn’t great, others have the ability to take away your audience.

Figure out a marketing plan for the Web

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, then work as hard as you can to create great content.

Create a great product, create the best blog posts on how to hunt, create a service that provides unparallel value to hunters.

Whatever it is you want to specialize in, make sure it’s the best.

10.  Linking Strategy

Linking to other content on your site is vital to your users. Guide them through the important areas of your site. Whether you’re selling your blog posts, archery equipment, camouflage jackets, etc., make sure you’re linking to relevant and related information.

I like how Gary Vaynerchuk links to the wines used in each of his videos

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. He guides customers through his site. He makes the content relevant and relatable and then points customers where they need to go to buy the wine.

Bonus – Extra Ideas

The key to succeeding online (and in any business) is to be different from your competition

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. These 9 things are features and benefits you need just to keep up with the current hunting websites. In order to gain real attention and potential customers is to offer something more.

Bonus #1 – Creative Commons

License all of the content on your site under the Creative Commons. It has many benefits

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such as allowing others to use your and expand on your content (with attribution).

Allow others to use and spread your content throughout the Web. Create great content and encourage others to use, alter and share it.

Bonus #2 – Win-Win-Win Strategies

Look for ways to create multiple-way win strategies for bloggers (site owners), businesses, and your business.

For example, if you’re a site owner looking for sponsorship revenue or consulting revenue (and traffic to your site), think of ways to create benefit for every party involved on the Web.

Come up with creative ways to get power users (bloggers) involved by adding benefit to their sites.

Think of ways to integrate a business’s product or service.

And create recognition for your own service.

Here is a great example

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for you to use to apply this concept to your own hunting site.

Win-Win-Win.

If you’d like to post this exact list on your blog – please do!

Feel free to share your experiences with these or any other website features you find necessary for a successful hunting site. Just please link back to this post.

And let me know so I can check out your post.

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No Comment »
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  • Ben L
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    said:

    Love the post. I have a ton of ideas for a great hunting site. Not to “give my idea away”, but I thought it would be great to have geotagged hunting photos, so if I want to see what everyone got in the area I hunt, viola…if I want to plan a trip to sasquetoon, viola, I see photos according to region. Hunting/fishing is very specific to location when you think about it. A ten pointer in eastern PA is a big deal…in sasquatoon, its a baby.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Ben, that’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing. You’re right on the money with that thought. I’d love to see a hunting photo sharing site with geotagging. With Google Maps capabilities I’m sure it’ll be standard on hunting sites in the future. It’d be great to see photos, suggestions for guides/outfitters, tips for hunting, etc. for areas of interest. Great stuff. Thanks again.

  • drtazz said:

    Nice article I can see I have a lot to learn

  • rhassall said:

    Dayne,
    You are the Jedi Master of Social Media dealing with hunting. There is a ton of information to be utilized on your site!

    Thanks,
    Rudy aka: Winded Bowhunter

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Well thanks Rudy. I’m glad you found some value here. :)

  • KRAY1 said:

    Dayne,
    I saw a contest on TV (Sportsman Channel 605 – DirectTV) and forgot the website and stumbled upon your content after Googling the best hunting websites. I have been reading your articles, tips, checked out the 5 that get it, and don’t recall ever spending so much time at one sitting from a single search result. Fantastic site!
    This year, in just a few months, I went from researching a good gun buy to arming for self-defense, total preparedness, hunting, to all out outdoor obsession. With an MBA I have been intrigued by the revenue generating ability for someone to have fun hunting all over the world and others pay for their working-vacations! I saw sites like SportsmenOfNorthAmerica who give away a hunting trip a week to their members, to some of the ones you mention here. Also Magnumhuntclub is another. You didn’t mention contests or give aways, but there is a huge draw there for folks who don’t have $5k-$15k to blow on a hunting trip, but for free, or $5-$10 a month are willing to join. There is so much valuable info free on the net, I can’t see paying for it, without a chance to win something. Maybe I’m just spoiled. What is your take on those sites?

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Very interesting points K.

    Let me see if I can gather my thoughts on the giveaway/subscription model for hunting businesses on the Internet.

    I’ll take a look at the ones you’ve mentioned.

    Thank you for the comment.