It is generally acknowledged that a company often makes their first impression by their website. Often, before a person ever contacts the company, the customer will check the company's website to learn about the company and see even if they want to do business with them. A horrible website, and an opportunity to connect with the customer is long gone. It is no different when it comes to racetracks. An attractive website may draw new customers in while a poor website may result in the racetrack losing business; they may as well not have a website.
One of the worst harness track websites has to be Freehold Raceway. I am not talking about handicapping information; the website is one of the most unimaginative websites out there. It is dull, lacking color, and the design has not been changed in years. Looking at this website, you can't even easily tell if there is dining available. The site is not being kept up to date as the last entry for publicity is September 7.
Yes, most wagering is done off-site through simulcasting or ADW wagering, but tracks should be at least trying to get some people to show up at the track. Let's say a couple is visiting the area and when they ask someone what there is to do, they get told there is a racetrack as well as several other entertainment options. Do you think after this couple checks out Freehold's website there is any real chance they are going to the track for an afternoon of entertainment? What about someone who lives in the area looking for a different entertainment option; is this website going to entice them?
On the other hand, let's take a look at Northfield Park's website. Here is another track that also has no alternative gaming but at least their website is inviting and colorful. Not only is there racing but someone visiting the website can easily see dining is available and other things are going on. The Northfield website not only provides information, it promotes the track. Someone visiting the area or a local resident looking for something to do may, after looking at the website, be tempted to come to the track. Their site promotes the sport and the racetrack. As a result of the website, Northfield Park is a valid entertainment option.
A website tells a companies story. Sometimes there is no second chance.
Side note: The Meadowlands has redesigned their website. There are a couple of glitches and is now geared towards the thoroughbreds for their season, but it is worth a look. You can take a look here.