Organizing and preparing for a sports season – whether it be rec adult sports, school-related, or youth sports – can be a daunting task. Collecting forms and fees, organizing schedules, and recruiting players to play and parents to help are tough jobs, especially if you have no website building experience. To make your job easier than ever, I’m going to teach you how to build a sports website, no matter your experience level so you’re fully prepared for the new season.
Setting up a website for your teams, club, or league doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just follow these quick tips…
Register a domain name for your sports organization
First, before taking any other steps, register a domain (eg, www.example.com) with a web hosting service, such as GoDaddy, domains.google, or Name Cheap. It’s typically just around $12 per year to register your own domain. Make sure to create a simple, relevant URL that makes sense for your team. After doing so, you can use any website builder you’d like, and connect your domain so it’s easy to visit and remember.
A domain name will also help insure that your site appears at the top of Google when people search for you online (for example, you’ll want to rank for searches like “youth (insert sport) in (insert your town’s name)”).
PRO Tip: Choosing a sports template to build your site would make the process more efficient. Only build a website from scratch if you’re experienced and comfortable spending a lot of time managing your page. Templates allow you to use predetermined layouts that you can customize for your sport, branding, and preferences. Jersey Watch makes it easy to organize all of your team’s information under as many headings as you want, so your players and parents can access everything quickly.
Make updates often
To guarantee your players and parents are getting the most up-to-date information about your team, update your site regularly. If you don’t make updates often with important info, parents won’t return to your site. Set a goal at the beginning of the season to hop in at least once a week (may vary based on the length of your season and frequency of practices and games) to update your team’s schedule, game results, and any other settings that need refreshing. A weekly email recap or preview is a great idea to continue engaging parents, participants, and coaches.
Allowing all of your parents to know what’s going on during the season is crucial to maintaining open lines of communication with them. Families may be planning weekend trips or week-long summer vacations, and they must know as soon as possible what the season looks like. When weather threatens a practice or a game is postponed, be sure to send out updates to parents as soon as news comes in.
Make it easy for participants to register and pay online
Before the season starts, it’s important to have your website up and running a few weeks before practices and tryouts begin to make sure your players’ parents sign any necessary documentation and pay fees in a timely manner. Be sure to send out plenty of email reminders of the registration deadline to parents.
Managing registration online instead of in-person can save you dozens of hours of work if you’re a volunteer. All of your player information can be stored online, and funds can easily be deposited into your organization’s bank account.
Creating registration and payment options on your site will also make parents and participants happy. Instead of filling out paper forms by hand, writing checks, and driving to your in-person registration, they can just register quickly and pay with a card from the comfort of their home.
Many sports websites will allow you to collect registration information and payments through the site so everything can be managed in one place, with little to no paperwork.
Don’t overdo it with administrators
It may sound like a great idea to give everyone on your board access to the website so that they can make updates as needed. But, too often that leads to no one taking responsibility and the website becoming static. To prevent a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation on your site’s backend, limit the number of administrators you have and pick 2-3 people to help with the site, with one person as the “point person”. You can also find a tech savvy high school student in your community to run your site and keep it up-to-date for your team’s players and parents. Limiting your administrators also guarantees consistency within the site, including branding, communication medium, and voice.
Connect your social media accounts
Finally, link your team’s social media accounts to your site so that your players, parents, and fans can follow all the action on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, among others. You may want to link other relevant accounts as well; for example, if you manage a high school baseball team, link one of the accounts to your high school in addition to your baseball team’s profile. That way, your team’s supporters can get latest updates from anywhere they’d like. Also, make sure that your community and local governments have links to your website or social media profiles, so everyone, including players who want to be included on the team, can find your pages easily.
Linking your social media accounts on your website is a great way to keep all of your organization’s communication in one place.
Looking to set up a website for your sports organization quickly? Jersey Watch is the easiest way to collect payments, register players, schedule events, and communicate with participants for your team, club, or league.