Nowadays, when looking for information about something, most people are likely to search online. Therefore, having an online presence is a must for any sports club or sporting league.
Taking your sports organisation online might seem like a daunting task if you’re not technically minded. You may be wondering where to start and whether it’s really a worthwhile thing for your organisation to do.
Why Should You Take Your Sports Club or Sporting League Online?
- Getting your sports club or sporting league online could enable you to:
- Build a following.
- Provide a single point of information which is available 24/7.
- Publicise your events.
- Create a digital community, with your organisation at the heart of it.
Considering Online Marketing Options – What Do You Want To Achieve?
In order to choose the ideal digital marketing method for your organisation, decide what you’d like to achieve. Do you just want to provide basic information about your organisation, such as how to join, or would you also like to share your latest news?
Do you want to provide access to team sheets and fixtures lists, or create somewhere where discussions can take place?
Other things to consider putting online include:
- League standings.
- An events calendar.
- Club/player profiles and statistics.
- Venue information.
- A photo/video gallery of match action and trophies won.
- Match reports.
Creating a Website for a Sporting Organisation – Getting Started
One of the first options you’re likely to think about is a website. You could build and host your own, which would give you complete flexibility in terms of its design and content.
One option is to create a site using the WordPress.org software (like the blog that you’re reading now!) and use the SportsPress plugin to add extra features such as player and coach profiles, fixtures lists, results tables and automated standings. You’ll then only need to pay a monthly or annual fee to a hosting provider and purchase a domain name.
If you don’t have any web design experience, however, this can seem like an intimidating option. You could hire a web design company or freelance web designer to create and build your new site for you, but this can be expensive. You’ll also need to pay for ongoing maintenance, as well as hosting services and your domain name.
If you don’t have the budget available for this, however, you could use a website builder.
Website Builders – Which One Should You Choose?
Website builders enable people with little technical experience to create sites with ease. When choosing a provider, look for one that offers the specific features you’ll need in order to achieve your aims, as well as one with plans that suit your budget.
Many offer free plans – usually in return for allowing adverts to appear on your site – but charge extra for additional features, so compare each provider’s offers before making your decision.
There are many generic “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) builders you can choose from, but there are also some that have been specifically designed with the needs of sports clubs in mind.
WYSIWYG Website Builder
Well-known WYSIWYG builders worth considering include:
Advantages of WYSIWYG Builders:
- They’re simple to use and don’t require web coding knowledge or in-depth design skills.
- They offer a range of plans at different price points, including free plans.
- You can choose a template to suit your site from a range of options.
- You can easily design a site that automatically functions effectively on smartphones, as well as laptops and tablets.
- You’ll be able to organise information and pages with ease.
- Some have plugins enabling you to add useful features.
Disadvantages of WYSIWYG Builders:
- Updating information on your site is a manual and time-consuming process.
- Free plans may only include limited selections of templates, some of which may lack flexibility.
- Free plans usually include limited features.
- Your site may include adverts.
The hosting of your site is usually included in the plan. If you’re planning to use WordPress, make sure you sign up to WordPress.com rather than WordPress.org if you don’t want to host your site yourself. If you want a specific web domain, rather than using an area of the website builder’s domain, you’ll need to pay an additional fee.
Club Website Builders
Well-known club site builders worth considering include:
Advantages of Club Site Builders:
- They enable you to carry out a range of tasks, including receiving subscriptions, managing teams, and updating fixtures and results.
- Some offer mobile apps for players and managers.
- Some allow you to create and share videos of your matches.
- Some have club management systems that can be added to existing websites.
- You can choose from a range of plans at different price points, including some free plans.
- The hosting is included and you can usually have your own domain name.
Disadvantages of Club Site Builders:
- Free options usually carry advertising.
- They’re often limited in terms of design and club identity.
Social Media Accounts
Many sports clubs and sporting leagues have active social media accounts, but these are best used in addition to a website. Popular social media sites and applications include:
Advantages of Social Media Accounts:
- They’re simple to set up.
- They’re free to use.
- They encourage discussion and participation.
- You can create a following quickly.
Disadvantages of Social Media Accounts:
- Not all options are suited to the needs of sport organisations.
- They are limited in terms of design and identity.
- They are difficult to organise if you need to provide a lot of information.
- They can be time-consuming, particularly if you have a large following or use multiple sites.
Have you created an online presence for your sports club or sporting league? Share your hints and tips below.