15 Top Tips for Re-doing Your Website

According to a recent survey, 70-80 percent of potential customers will check out your website before phoning or visiting your dive shop. Having an attractive, informative, mobile-friendly website is more important than ever; unfortunately, many dive operations haven’t kept up with the times.

In addition to attracting new customers, a modern website can help retailers track the effectiveness of their online ad spend. Using a Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and other tools, business owners can track which marketing efforts are driving sales and which are a waste of money.

Whether you need to update an outdated site or your free Wix/Weebly site no longer meets your needs, use the tips below to ensure your next website is the best it can be. In addition to the 15 top tips, there are three bonus ideas based upon evaluations of more than 50 dive center websites.

Evaluate Your Current Site Using a Website Grader
Not every website needs to be redesigned from scratch. Use a website grader such as Woorank to see what’s working on your existing page and what needs to be improved.

You’ll also be able to review backlinks (other sites that link to your webpage). If a prominent website such as a local TV station, newspaper or other large publication links to your Open Water page, you don’t want to lose that traffic because the URL changes and doesn’t redirect.

Check Your Search Engine Ranking
Open an incognito window in Google Chrome (this ensures your search history isn’t factored into the search results) and Google popular scuba-related searches such as:

scuba diving gear
scuba diving lessons
dive shop
PADI open water
scuba certification
scuba diving certification
padi elearning

Take note of where your current site ranks for individual keywords and where you’d like to rank higher. You’ll use this information when writing copy for your new site.

Establish Goals
Every business website should be designed around its core profit centers. For one dive center, that might be charters, for another it might be gear, or their IDC program. Also, jot down any new areas where you hope to grow (exotic travel, kids programs, etc.) to ensure there’s a home for these topics on your new site.

To prevent your new site from looking like a garage sale, create 3-5 sub-categories such as Equipment, Instruction and Travel. Give each sub-topic prominent placement on your homepage using a graphic so visitors looking for information on that topic can quickly navigate to what they need. In the example below, Project AWARE presents visitors with three images – each a portal to a different section of their website.

A recent study found 75% of website visitors form judgments about a business based on its web site and 94% of a user’s first impression is design-related.

In other words, even if dive equipment is your core business, don’t cover the homepage in pictures of dive gear. This is overwhelming to the eye and may confuse and intimidate new divers. Instead, use one attractive image on the homepage to act as a gateway to more information.

Who Are Your VIPs?
When deciding what content to put on your homepage, also consider who your core customers are and what they’re looking for. Here are a few ideas:

– People looking to get certified
– Travelers interested in booking boat dives
– Potential IDC candidates
– Certified divers who want to refresh or improve their skills
– Cruise ship guests
– Divers who need gear advice
– Parents interested in an summer activity for their kids

Size Up the Competition
Explore a handful of competitor websites. In addition to evaluating other dive operators, choose at least one non-scuba website. The non-scuba competitor might be a cycling store, a ski/snowboard shop or a yoga studio.

– Write down 2-3 things each website does well.
– Note 2-3 things the website does poorly (tip: check out their sites on a mobile device).
– Ask yourself, “if a competing dive center started running my business tomorrow, what would they change?”

Choose a Design That Promotes Your Profit Centers
After defining your goals, key customers, and what parts of your existing website you’d like to update, you’re ready to choose a design. Use the profit centers you’ve identified to narrow down the options. For example, a dive resort that caters to island guests and cruise ship passengers should choose a design that allows them to adequately address the needs of both website visitors.

A local dive center that wants to promote local diving and showcase activities should reserve space for both of those elements.

The site design should also be able to utilize Google Analytics and Facebook pixel code. If you’re not sure, do a quick Google search or ask your web designer.

Finally, responsive design (where the website content adjusts to the size of the user’s screen), is an absolute must. Design with mobile views in mind because there’s a greater than 50% chance your site will be viewed on a mobile device.

Customers should be able to easily navigate on a phone, tablet or desktop device. A mobile-friendly design also helps your business stay competitive; Google penalizes slow-loading, non-responsive pages with a low search ranking.

Compose Key Messages
According to a 2018 article in Inc, 70-80 of customers visit a small businesses’ website before contacting or visiting the store, so it’s critical your website 1) ranks highly in search 2) acts a 24/7 sales person.

Refer to your keyword research to identify the words or phrases where you’d like to rank at the top of Google search. Use keywords words in:

– Page titles and descriptions
– The page URL (ex. divecenter.com/learn-to-scuba-dive-your-city)
– As headlines

When a customer lands on your website, it should be 100% clear your dive operation is the #1 choice for dive equipment, instruction, charters, etc. Here are a few examples of key messages:

Small class sizes and all-inclusive pricing
Dive with the best! 5 Star ratings on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yelp
The island’s most eco-friendly dive resort

Don’t Overbuild
There’s no way to fit all your knowledge and expertise into one website. Furthermore, the vast majority of visitors will only spend about 15 seconds scanning each page.

Make sure important info stands out by:

  • Using bullet points
  • Put key messages in bold
  • Using images or or sub-headers to break up long sections of text
    (long = 100 words or more).
  • Keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences)
  • Avoid using industry jargon such as “confined water, knowledge development and acronyms DSD, RSTC, etc.)
  • Put important info “above the fold” in other words: don’t assume people will scroll down.

With websites, less is more. A flashy video can slow page load time and you should never assume a visitor will watch the whole thing.

That said, it’s a good idea to incorporate a few videos on your website. While only 25 percent of website visitors will read the majority of a webpage, 80 percent will watch a one-minute video in its entirety. Embed course promo videos from PADI’s YouTube channel, or create your own. In either case, make sure your webpage includes text with the same information the video provides, not everyone will watch the video, and if they do they might not have their sound on.

Make Contact Info and Hours Easy to Find
According to a study reported in Inc, 44 percent of visitors leave a website if they can’t find basic contact info such as an email address or phone number. The top right corner of the homepage is typically where a phone number should go. In the same corner, include a link to your Contact page.

The Contact Us page should include your store hours, all contact info and an embedded Google map. Your contact page is also a good place for social media icons and links if you don’t already have them in the website header or footer.

Connect and Be Compelling
Prevent website visits from being one-and-done by inviting visitors to start a relationship with you. Invite them to subscribe to your newsletter and be the first to know about trips and special offers – in addition to linking to your Facebook/Instagram/YouTube account(s).  If you don’t connect with new visitors, it’s like they were never there.

Compel website visitors to take the next step. Tell them what you want them to do and include a large, bold text link or a CTA (call to action) button.

– Schedule a free, no-obligation equipment consultation [CONTACT US]
– Small class sizes for personal attention, Reserve your spot! [SEND BOOKING INQUIRY]
– Download our guide to the top 10 local dives [GET THE GUIDE]
– What’s on your dive travel bucket list? [LET US KNOW]

Don’t Expect Website Visitors to Call for Answers
After working hard to optimize your website, you can easily lose a customer by not including key information such as how much your class cost or when classes are offered.

The age of customers picking up the phone to get this information is over. In a Sep 2018 Google article on best practices, Google shared the following findings:

More than half of smartphone users purchased from a company other than the one they’d originally intended to use because the information provided by another brand was more useful

If you’re concerned about stating the price of the course because the “guy down the road” offers it cheaper, educate customers why your course is worth the extra cost. Maybe you have smaller classes sizes, include rental gear, have a on-site pool, etc. Also consider whether the bottom-dollar customer is one you want in the first place.

Use Images of Smiling Divers
In addition to showing underwater images of your local environment, help customers visualize the fun they’re going to have and the underwater life they’ll see. Use some of your most liked images from social media, or visit the Toolbox section of the PADI Pros site to download images and videos. Quality images of divers having fun help new customers understand one of the main reasons people fall in love with diving: the people!

Create an About Us Page That Turns Visitors into Friends

The About Us page is the second most-visited page by new customers and it should leave no doubt in the customer’s mind that you are THE dive shop they should work with.

  • Include links to reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor, and/or Yelp
  • Showcase smiling photos of your staff, list their certifications and experience  
  • Talk about why you LOVE running a dive shop
  • Share a few details about your hobbies, alma mater, pets, anything to help a website visitor relate to you as a person.
  • Reassure nervous new divers that their scuba class will be safe and fun.
  • Include testimonials if you don’t have them elsewhere.

Find the Right Web Designer
Identify some websites you like and scroll to the bottom of the page. You may find a link to the person or company who built the site.

As part of the vetting process, ensure you’ll have access to update the site whenever you want. Also find out about after-hours support and what happens if the person who built the site gets hit by a bus.

Lastly, ask if they can set up your Google Analytics/Tags and install a Facebook Pixel. These essential tools require installing small snippets of code.

Test Drive Your New Site
Because your website is likely the consumer’s first encounter with your business, make sure it makes a good first impression. Invite friends, customer spouses, grandparents, etc. to evaluate your new site, in person if possible.

Ask them to first look at your site for no more than 15 seconds. What is their first impression of your business? Next, ask them to accomplish an important task like finding out how to get certified, or reserving space on your boat. Watch their mouse movements, and most importantly keep an open mind when they give you feedback.

Website Boosters:
The ideas below will help your new website rise above the competition:

A Dedicated eLearning page
Explain how eLearning saves time and also what the additional costs are. An eLearning page is also a good place to link to the medical form and eLearning student login.

A blog can help your business establish authority in a variety of areas and crush the competition in online search. It’s important that your blog be included under your domain (ex. yourdiveshop.com/blog or blog.yourdivehop.com).

Testimonial Page
Testimonials establish trust and breakdown skepticism for website visitors who are unsure about taking the next step. They’re also a way to put some of your best customers in the spotlight. Be sure you get permission and include a photo.

PADI Online Product Registration: Alternate Method

If you have a student who’s having trouble receiving the registration email from PADI for their eLearning, Touch, etc. below is an alternate way for them to access their digital product.

Email your customer the link below along with their access code from your Online Processing Center.


  • Ask the student to open this link using Firefox or Chrome (as opposed to Safari or a mobile browser).
  • Direct the student to complete the Sign Up for a PADI Account form on the right side of the screen.
  • If applicable: remind the student that each diver needs to use a separate email address. Two people cannot share an email.


Below are the additional steps your student will complete in order to register:

If the digital product purchased is available in multiple languages, the student will be prompted to choose a language. If the product is only available in English, your student will not see this screen.


Next, your student will be asked to review and accept PADI’s privacy policy.
PADI online registration

On this screen, your student will type in the address for their student record. If “send card to student” is selected during the certification process, this is the address where their certification card will be sent.

The final step in registration is for the student to enter the access code you’ve given them. From here, the student will able to access their online training / Touch product via the PADI app and PADI Library app.


This screen shows any digital products that have already been registered. The student can click the VIEW button to get more information on how to view or access their digital products.

ReActivate Affiliation Link Now Available

PADI Dive Shops and Resorts can now add a link to your website that automatically affiliates ReActivate™ students with your store. Copy the link below, add your store number, and use it to create a link on your website or in your email newsletter.


For example, if your PADI store number was 123456, the final code would look like this:


Below is an example of what the page looks like on PADI.com. In the bottom left you can see the store information.

How to set up PADI store affiliation ReActivate

ReActivate email templates are available for both EVE and MailChimp.

Learn more about ReActivate, and order online using product no. 71926-1 from the online shopping cart.

ReActivate Marketing Tips

  • PADI ReActivate imagesReActivate web banners are available on the PADI Pros’ Site in various sizes.
  • Offer ReActivate as an upsell to a replacement card request -if divers can’t find their card, they probably haven’t been diving in awhile.
  • Contact divers you haven’t seen in awhile – mine your customer database for divers who haven’t been active recently.
  • Package ReActivate with group trips – Include a special offer in travel documents or confirmations for divers to refresh their skills prior to leaving on the trip. That way they get to practice their skills and meet their travel companions.

Are you doing something special to promote PADI ReActivate? Email Adrianne.Miller@padi.com and you may be featured in an upcoming Surface Interval article.

PADI ReActivate Overview and How To for PADI Pros

PADI ReActivate

The purpose of this article is to explain how to send PADI ReActivate™ codes and process students. For general information on the program, please check out the links below. Scroll down to learn about sending codes and processing ReActivate certs.

Information for consumers
ReActivate overview from PADI blog
ReActivate course overview from PADI.com

Information for PADI Pros
ReActivate overview for PADI Pros
ReActivate Training Bulletin Special Edition
What’ll happen to Scuba Review?

ReActivate Online How To…

First, purchase a ReActivate course from your PADI Sales Consultant or from the online shopping cart (TIP: type in 71926-1 into the search box).

TIP: Be sure you have the student’s info
A ReActivate purchase automatically includes a replacement card for your student. The student may choose any one their certs to reactivate (Open Water, Enriched Air, etc). While you’re waiting for your code to appear, make sure you have the student’s name, date of birth, email address and either the cert level or the student number for the certification they’d like to reactivate.

About an hour after purchase, look for your code in the online processing center on the PADI Pros Site. To get to the online processing center (OLPC):

  • Look for a banner on the PADI Pros home page
  • Or, click Online Services from the main menu bar, then choose Online Processing Center from the drop down.

When the OLPC loads, click the Assign Codes button to get started.

Send PADI ReActivate code to student

Your recent ReActivate purchase will show up at the top. You can also filter for a ReActivate purchase by using the Product Type filter and choosing Touch.

Confirm you have all the student’s information:

  • Student name and date of birth OR student number
  • An email address.

When you have all of this info, click the Assign Code button at the end of the row.

How to send a PADI ReActivate code to a student

Pull up the diver’s record by entering a student number, or search for the student using the student’s name and date of birth.

Click Select to continue. Then click ReActivate next to the certification level the student would like to reactivate.

Send ReActivate code to student PADI

Lastly, enter the student’s email address and click Confirm. This will  generate an email to the student inviting them to download and start ReActivate. The student can download the program to their Android or iPad and/or view in a web browser.

ReActivate PC viewer

Processing ReActivate Students

When your student has completed their online and in-water training, return to the online processing center to submit their information to generate a new card.

  • From the online processing center home screen, click the Process/View Your Students button.how to process students PADI OLPC
  • Filter for Product Type: Touch and scroll until you find your ReActivate student.You can also search for the student using the PADI ID on their completion form, or by typing in their name and birthdate.How to complete ReActivate certification PADI Pros
  • Confirm the student’s information (name, address, etc).
  • Upload a new photo or use the photo on file (shown if available)
  • Enter the ReActivated date and you’re done!

Fun fact: if the student ReActivating was a Junior Open Water Diver but is now old enough to be a regular Open Water Diver, the card will automatically come out sans Junior.

ReActivate Marketing Tips

  • PADI ReActivate imagesReActivate web banners are available on the PADI Pros’ Site in various sizes.
  • Offer ReActivate as an upsell to a replacement card request -if divers can’t find their card, they probably haven’t been diving in awhile.
  • Contact divers you haven’t seen in awhile – mine your customer database for divers who haven’t been active recently.
  • Package ReActivate with group trips – Include a special offer in travel documents or confirmations for divers to refresh their skills prior to leaving on the trip. That way they get to practice their skills and meet their travel companions.

Are you doing something special to promote PADI ReActivate? Email Adrianne.Miller@padi.com and you may be featured in an upcoming Surface Interval article.

PADI Email Templates – Use with Eve, MailChimp, Outlook

PADI email templates

Email remains a key tool in diver recruitment and retention. To help PADI Members save time, we’ve created dozens of free email templates you can download and use with MailChimp, Outlook and of course EVE.

Here are a few of the email topics to choose from:

  • Learn to dive
  • Take the next step (Advanced, Rescue, etc)
  • Reminders to purchase mask, fins and snorkel
  • Monthly eNewsletter template
  • Learn to dive inquiry
  • Course completion congratulatory emails
  • Gear service reminders
  • “Here’s your receipt”
  • Birthday and holiday-themed
  • GoPro, TecRec, etc.

PADI email templates EVE MailChimp Outlook

Our email template offerings can be found in two locations.

  • The PADI email templates found here can be used with EVE and/or Mail Chimp.
  • Additional email templates can be found on the Pros Site and used with EVE, MailChimp* or Outlook.Please be sure you are logged into the PADI Pros Site before clicking the link above. You can also access the templates by clicking on: Toolbox –> Marketing –> Web and Email Marketing –> (scroll down)

EVE is the most convenient way to automatically send out emails to your customers based on their certifications, equipment service history, birthday etc. If you are not an EVE user, you can still use these templates if you are a MailChimp our Outlook user.

How to Use PADI email templates with Outlook

#1 Click on the email template you’d like to use and save as an HTML file to your desktop.

#2 Send page by email (File > Send > Page by E-Mail…)

#3 Edit the message: add your eLearning and Facebook links by right clicking the links once, edit the text, update your contact details, etc.

#4 Send the email to yourself as a test. Then, send to the relevant customers  (remember to use ‘BCC’ rather than ‘To’).

We have a how to video detailing the entire process of sending the emails via EVE or Outlook. The templates work with Mail Chimp as well.

How to Use PADI email templates with MailChimp

#1 Click on the email template you’d like to use and save as an HTML file to your desktop.

#2 Upload to MailChimp by selecting Create a Template and the choose Code Your Own. Now, upload the file from your desktop.

#3 Customize with your eLearning links, contact info, etc.

#4 Proceed to preview and test, then send out as you would any other MailChimp message.

PADI email template Mail Chimp MailChimp scuba PADI email how to

*The email templates on the Pros Site (only those found on the Pros Site) need a small modification to work with Mail Chimp. Please see image below showing the place where you need to change the mail merge tag. It’s a simple change that will allow your messages to include the recipient’s name.

using PADI email templates with Mail Chimp
Make sure you’re employing the *[FNAME]* merge tag

eLearning™ Pro-level Courses Available for Direct Purchase

Last month, diver-level eLearning courses became available for direct purchase by PADI Members. As of today, pro-level courses are available as well.

eLearning codes may be ordered from the online shopping cart or from your PADI Sales Consultant by phone or email. The part numbers you’ll need are listed below.

Type the part numbers into the search box of the online shopping cart, or click the Buy eLearning courses link in the center of the page.

New to ordering eLearning? View step-by-step directions on how to buy and use eLearning or Touch codes.

  • Buy PADI eLearning PADI ProsDive Theory Online
    (product no. 50011-3)
  • Divemaster
    (product no. 50500-3)
  • IDC online*
    (product no. 50016-3)

*  IDC online is available only to course directors and five star IDCs if ordering via the online shopping cart.


2015 PADI Instructor Manual Available for Download

Download 2013 PADI Instructor manual
2015 PADI Instructor Manual download

The 2015 PADI Instructor Manual is now available as a free download (PDF) for renewed PADI Pros.

How to access:
After logging in to the PADI Pro’s Site, click on Training Essentials from the main menu, then choose Digital Instructor Manual.

The English version is available now with more languages coming soon. Paper versions of the manual will be available at the end of February.

Teaching an IDC ? Be sure candidates download a copy of the new manual and continue to update it with subsequent training bulletins. The Systems, Standards and Procedures Exam at the IE is updated regularly to reflect the most current standards. This is also an excellent way of instilling the good habit of referencing the latest materials before teaching any PADI programs.

download 2015 PADI instructor manual

Changes to PADI Website Logins

PADI Single Sign On Password Change

The next time you login to the Pros’ site, you will prompted to create a “Single Sign On” account. It’s part of a new initiative to simplify access to PADI websites and programs online. PADI Single Sign On eliminates the need for  separate usernames and passwords for ScubaEarth®, the Pros’ Site, eLearning, etc. Single Sign On (SSO), when complete, means you’ll have one login for all PADI Sites.

Below is what the new sign on screen looks like. If you have issues logging in initially, choose the Reset Password link. You’ll receive an email from padi@padidiver.com with a link to reset your password. The email can take up to an hour, be sure to check your spam/junk folder.


PADI Single Sign On (SSO) Fast Facts

  • With PADI Single Sign On (SSO), you’ll have one login for many PADI sites and applications – eliminating the hassle of multiple accounts.
  • Your PADI SSO login will use an email address and password. No more usernames.
  • Each account must have a unique email address, so you cannot share an email address for both a store and an individual member account
  • Many of PADI’s websites and programs will eventually be impacted by PADI Single Sign On including: ScubaEarth®, the PADI Pros’ site, online materials, digital codes, PADI eCards™, EVE PIC Web Service,  and others. This is not an exhaustive list of impacted projects and not all websites will utilize SSO immediately. The program will roll out gradually across all of PADI’s websites.

Questions? Contact the customer service department at 800 729 7234 ext. 2495 (U.S) or +1 949 858 7234 ext. 2495 (outside U.S.).

How To: Share Dives from ScubaEarth to Facebook

Share your logged dives from ScubaEarth to your favorite social network with just one click. After linking your social media account, you can post recent dives to your Facebook wall, Twitter stream, etc.

To connect your favorite social media account to ScubaEarth, click the Edit Profile link which appears under your profile picture. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Social Media.  Then, click the social network you prefer and login. This process will link your ScubaEarth account to your social media profile for quick sharing.


Next, go to your logbook and choose any dive to share it online. Look for the social media chicklets which appear next to the yellow star rating. Below are examples from a dive center and also an individual member’s profile.


share dives from ScubaEarth on Facebook


After clicking the social media sharing button, you’ll be prompted to include a message with your post and, depending on the social network, a choice to share the dive with anyone, or just friends.



Discover Scuba Pre Registration How To

If you conduct a lot of Discover Scuba® Diving experiences, you can save time by having participants pre-register themselves. Students type in their address information, email and birthdate online and these details are automatically populated into PADI’s system. Once the DSD is complete, you won’t have to re-enter their information.

The first step is to find and share your unique pre-registration link. To obtain your link, go to the Online Processing Center on the PADI Pros Site.

How to set up DSD pre registrations PADI


Locate the sub-menu that says My Preferences (it’s at the bottom of the page). On the new screen that opens, choose the Preregistrations tab. There you will find the unique link for your store.

Independent PADI Pros can also have DSD participants pre-register. Send students this link: https://apps.padi.com/PADI/DSD along with your instructor number. The student will be required to include your instructor number to pre-register online.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration settings

Below is an example of the form the student completes online. The store information and logo is pre-populated and the student can type in a date when they would like to do their DSD. The date is an FYI only; when submitting the student information for processing, you’ll be asked to enter when they actually completed their DSD experience.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration online form
online form


When someone registers for a DSD through your link, you’ll receive a notification email from padi@padidiver.com (see example below). If you start to get a lot of these messages, you can update your settings to receive a daily summary instead.

Subject: You Have a Discover Scuba® Diving Experience Lead

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration confirmation email
confirmation email for stores

The DSD participant also receives an email from padi@padidiver.com

Subject: Thank You for Signing Up for your Discover Scuba® Diving Experience

Discover Scuba Diving pre registration email

When the program is complete, you can quickly process any student who has pre-registered via the Online Processing Center.


From the home screen, scroll down until you see the box for DSD pre-registrations. A green box will indicate if you have any in queue.

PADI Discover Scuba pre registration

Select a student from your queue and click Continue Processing Selected Student. This is where the time savings begins!

DSD pre registration processing

Confirm the date and location where the DSD took place, and that’s it. You’re done! No need to type in all the student information (they already did it for you).

process PADI DSD


If you know there are pre-registrations, but the results page says No student record found, adjust the drop down to show registrations farther into the future.

In the screengrab immediately below, the filter is set to 1-Week and there are no student records shown, but when adjusted to 3 Weeks, the student appears.

Discover Scuba pre registration
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Discover Scuba pre registration

For other issues, try using a different browser or device. Generally speaking, using a desktop or laptop device and either Chrome or Firefox as your browser will work well. Using a tablet, or Apple’s Safari browser may cause issues.

If you have questions about this process, please contact customerservice at padi dot com or phone: 800 729 7234 ext 2495 or +1 949 858 7234 ext. 2495.