Why is a sports club website important?
A website for your sports club should be a key part of your club’s strategy in 2023. These days a club’s website acts both as a central point of communication for your club’s members but also your ‘shop window’ to the world.
Why build a sports club website?
Your club website can help you grow as a club both financialy and strategically:
- Communicate more effectively with your membership (a central hub for everything)
- Attract new members
- Recruit more volunteers
- Grow your local support
- Increase fundraising revenue
- Get more sponsors
How easy is it to build a sports club website?
The good news is that it’s really easy to set up your club’s website. Whether you’re a tech nerd or a complete beginner, we’ve captured everything you need to know in this how-to guide!
Everything you should consider before you build your sports club website?
Before you start building your sports club’s new website, there’s a number of things you should consider to make sure you get the best result.
Keep it simple
A simple but up-to-date website is much better than a flashy out-of date one. If you’ve not had a website before, start simple and build it up over time. Don’t over-commit to maintaining huge amounts of information at the beginning – just make sure the essentials are there.
Build your website team
A common mistake that gets made is that one person becomes the website guy or girl. It’s important to build the team so that if that person isn’t able to help anymore, there are still people available to help keep the content up to date.
Whilst one person may take the lead in terms of the more technical aspects of the club, engage with people throughout the club to help make sure that information, particularly news or results are kept up to date. For example, could a parent or volunteer take responsibility for uploading a short news story for each team after matches or events? Is there a team member who’d like to keep the results up to date?
You may find that there are hidden skills in your club that you’re not aware of. At Clubforce, we always recommend that clubs ask members and parents what skills they might have to help on registration forms. There may be someone who works as a journalist, writer or is an IT whizz amongst your members, parents or supporters!
Choosing the right platform for your sports club website?
These days, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to getting your club’s website online – here’s our handy guide on how to choose the right one for you?
Should I use a website builder?
There are a number of tools out there that can help you create a website for your sports clubs with no technical skills required. Clearly, if no-one in your club is technically minded then these can be a great solution to create your club’s website. Even when you are technically-minded, they can often future proof the solution for your club in case you aren’t able to help in the future. Some of these website tools, such as Clubforce, are built specifically for sports clubs, whereas many will be more generic.
The alternative to a website builder is to build a custom website for your club. Clearly this will require a greater degree of technical expertise both to create the site in the first place but also to ensure the infrastructure and code of the site are kept up to date and secure.
We’ve summarised the top reasons why to choose to use a website builder for your sports club website below:
- Simple to implement – a new site can be created very quickly with no requirements for any technical skills.
- Easy to maintain – the website builder will provide appropriate updates to ensure your website works with current technology and security requirements with no intervention required.
- Sports specific website builders such as Clubforce will provide templates tailored to the precise needs of a sports club and integrated with tools for membership, fundraising and fixtures/results.
- The templates are easily customisable so whilst you won’t have the full control of a custom website build, you can adapt the club website template to suit your club’s brand.
- Unless you have a website designer in your club who is prepared to work for free, a website builder will work out significantly cheaper than purchasing a custom built website.
Data security and privacy
When you’re choosing your website platform, you should remember that any personal data used on the site will need to be stored securely. Although you may be using a third party supplier for your website, as a club you are still responsible for the data. You should check the supplier’s credentials in terms of security – for example, Clubforce is certified to international standards for information security (ISO27001).
Planning the content for your sports club website?
Before you start your website project, you should think carefully about the content you want to host on the site. There are three golden rules:
- Make sure you can keep all the information up to date and current
- Choose quality over quantity
- If you wouldn’t shout it in the street, don’t put it online
Make sure you can keep all the information up to date and current
Your club website is your shop window to the world and if the information on your site isn’t up to date then it doesn’t reflect well on your club. Make sure that all the pages are easy to keep current and details, in particular contact information, are all current. You don’t want someone trying get in touch to sponsor your club and their email going to an old address!
Choose quality over quantity
To help keep your information up to date, it’s much easier to start simple and grow rather than trying to be too over-ambitious at the start. Whilst it might feel like a cool idea to add statistics of every match your club plays – can you really keep that up to date?
If you wouldn’t shout it in the street, don’t put it online!
Whilst you want to definitely want to give a sense of the character of your club – make sure that anything you’re posting online can’t be misconstrued or taken out of context.
Your check-list of essential content for your sports club website
In order of priority, these are our recommendations of key content to consider for your website:
- Contact us
- About our club
- How to join the club
- Sponsors page
- Fundraising page
- Fixtures and results
- Photo galleries
How to launch your new sports club website
Here’s our checklist for launching your new website:
- Test everything – before you go live, make sure you’ve tested everything is working as you’d expect.
- Switch off any old websites – make sure there’s no confusion for anyone who might find your old website with old information. If you can try and redirect any old web URLs to the new address.
- Update any links to your new address – check your social media profiles and other places where you might have your web address listed.
- Tell your members – use your clubs communications channels (email, messaging etc.) to make sure your members know about the new website and can share it.
- Share the link on social media – tell the world that you’ve got a new website, who knows who might see any want to join, support or sponsor your club.
Tips for making the most of your sports club website
Design tips for a sports club website
Functionality is more important than a flashy design but that doesn’t mean your website should look bad! Here’s a few things to consider:
- Give your site a bit of your club character by making sure the colour scheme matches your club colours – make sure you don’t go overboard though and make your site really difficult to read.
- Try and get photos that are the right shape and size for your website. Make sure you check how photos appear on the site after you’ve uploaded them – look out for photos where all the action or people’s heads have been cropped out of the image.
- Make sure the design of your site doesn’t make it hard or distract from the important things you want people to do when they’re on the site (e.g. sign up for membership, donate to the club etc.).
- Sponsor logos – make sure your sponsors are displayed on your website (and kept up to date!). It’s often a good idea to show the sponsors how their logo is going to be displayed on the site so they can see in advance.
- Make sure where there is text over an image – like a website header – that there is enough contrast between the photo and writing so the wording is legible.
- Make sure your image files aren’t too large – large image files can slow down your website if you’re not careful. You can easily resize images using free tools such as Canva.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for sports club websites
Once you’ve got your website up and running, you may wish to think about how it might appear in search engines. There are a number of things you should consider to make sure you appear as a result against the sorts of searches and keywords that would be helpful to the club. The main thing to think about is what sort of search you want to appear on – for example, if you are running a new beginner’s introductory course at your club, you want to try and tailor your content to appear if someone was to search ‘things to do in your local town’.
The following articles are a good starting point for you:
Ease of integrations into your club website
When you’re choosing the right website platform for your club, you may want to consider how any other online tools your club uses will integrate with your website. Some website builders will allow integration with certain tools, whereas others may require you to add menu link or button to jump to the other system
As it is built as part of an all-in-one sports-specific system such as Clubforce’s website builder will allow you to integrate:
- Fundraising/lottery systems
- Membership applications and payments
- Fixtures and results*
*Where the league is using the Clubforce Comortais system