is your website making moves?
A helpful guide for getting the most out of your rugby website
Sports websites are generally a bit different to the standard website. To be truly effective they need special considerations, tailored to the right goals. Many clubs and businesses need unique solutions to manage their communities and businesses, and often a bit of guidance to make them work. To help you out, we have put together a rough outline that will hopefully steer you in the right direction and get your website up and running.
You can’t score without a goal
You have to start somewhere, and the best place is with a solid goal and a foolproof plan for achieving it. It’s very tempting to dive straight into website templates, but don’t underestimate the importance of good strategy. Whether you are a small club or a retailer, you can’t reach your goal if you don’t know what it is and how to get there. Clubs will be focusing on building community, whereas a retailer will be focusing on sales and marketing. It may seem obvious but these differences are critical to all that follows and will set you on the path for success in your venture. Once you know what you want to achieve, you are ready to move on. One good trick for making sure is summing up your goal in a single sentence like the below:
“The Red Arrows rugby club is creating a website that will act as a hub of useful information in order to grow and strengthen our club community”
“Punt is creating a website that will sell and market our range of rugby boots”
Own your domain
And I don’t mean just purchase it… OWN IT. A great domain name can do a lot of heavy lifting in helping your search rankings and marketing activities. A great domain name should clearly say WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU DO. As a rule, before the dot, It’s best to hero your brand or organisation. This will be your club or business name, kept as simple as possible. After the dot, it’s just .com and move on right? No. It’s an easy mistake to make, but domains are an important identifier in the online world and .com doesn’t tell Google or your audience anything about what you do. .rugby however does. If you have a rugby club, why not redarrows.rugby? After all, redarrows.com could be an archery club, or maybe even sign writer. Confusing. It’s better to make sure people know that you are a rugby organisation, and It’s also a great way to be a part of the wider rugby community. If you’d like one of these domains try searching for one. You also don’t just have to stop at one. Multiple domains pointing to your site can be incredibly useful to help cover all your bases.
Here’s just a few high profile rugby organisations that have switched to a clearer digital identity with a .rugby domain.
Picking your platform
Now you have a clear goal and a domain set up, you have the hard task of picking a platform. It’s easy to get option paralysis and settle for the most well known or familiar choice, but stick to your goal. If you are building a community, you will be after a platform that has communication, with signup tools and member management at the forefront. Businesses, such as a retailer, on the other hand, will be after a platform that allows product & service management. This is pretty daunting so we have helped to narrow it down for you depending on your goal. Our website builder is a great place to start if you are looking for sports catered option, however here is our breakdown of the best platforms according to your goas/ website function.
Shopify is the perfect platform for business-focused goals. It has great tools for retail and marketing. Product management is the backbone of Shopify, but if you have a service that requires commerce management, look no further.
Ideal for: Sport Retailers & Services
There are a number of platforms specifically designed for clubs & organisations. A google search for website platforms in your region should help you find the local options for you. If you have other clubs and schools nearby, see if they are also using a platform like this, as it could be a great option and a great way to have the same system as other clubs. These platforms usually provide some solutions that are more tailored for your specific needs as a rugby club. However they are usually not as simple to set up and design by a non-professional as other platforms – so if you’re after a DIY solution, these may not suit. However, all these providers offer setup and support packages at pretty reasonable prices. There are definitely benefits to being a part of your local ecosystem, but sometimes it’s worth taking a risk and trying a different solution, and you might just stand out.
Other examples include: sporty.co.nz Sportsengine.com Sportsplus.app Teamsnap.com
Ideal for: Clubs & Organisations
For the look:
Squarespace and Wix are the go-to here. Both platforms are extremely popular in the design world and their simplicity and ease of use make a simple site very manageable and effective. They both have a wide range of templates to choose from that are a great place to start. You can pick one and swap out your brand and imagery, and be up and running in no time. If you have a bank of great imagery these platforms are great for producing a visually driven website.
Ideal for: Photographers, Athlete Profiles, Sport Services
For niche organisations:
For those with niche goals and technological know-how, you can save a lot of website costs by creating a WordPress site, however, this takes expertise. WordPress sites are highly customisable and often need to be designed and coded and can be very tricky. This is not for the faint of heart.
Ideal for: Sports Tech
For organisational help:
Less of a website platform, but a great tool to work in tandem, Tidy HQ is a Membership organisation platform, and could be part of the solution for you. Website platforms often have plugins that can help with different types of management, but sometimes tools like this are best and leave the website to do what it does best and bring in members.
Making your content
Undoubtedly the part of the website people care about most, making your content can be a tricky task to get right. The main thing to remember for sports organisations is that this should do the heavy lifting in achieving your goal. If you need sign ups, make sure your content can hero this in an easy and creative way. If you are selling Nike airs, you are going to need some great photos of Nike airs. If you’d like great game attendance, you are going to need some awesome live action shots of games. It’s easy to get distracted with just making it look cool, but make sure it does this heavy lifting.
Undoubtedly the part of the website people care about most, making your content can be a tricky task to get right. The main thing to remember for sports organisations is that this should do the heavy lifting in achieving your goal. If you need sign ups, make sure your content can hero this in an easy and creative way. If you are selling boots, you are going to need some great photos of boots. If you’d like great match attendance, you are going to need some awesome live action shots of matches. It’s easy to get distracted with just making it look cool, but make sure it does this heavy lifting.
Get the word out!
Now you have an amazing website it’s easy to just set and forget, but now you have to feed the machine. Utilising social media is a great way to start, maybe announce you have made one and direct people to sign up/ purchase? The trick is picking something and sticking at it. Emails, Facebook, Instagram are great tools, but don’t forget word of mouth. People at the club, or that buy your shoes will be interested, so why not let them know! Either way, make your website count and build an audience that will be interested. Don’t forget to post regular updates and keep it fresh so people return for more. It’s easier said than done, but with a bit of work you will find out what works for you. At the end of the day this is all just opinions and you will know what works best for you once you get into it.
Ready to join the movement? Get your .rugby domain.
If you are a rugby related organisation you can register your .rugby domain name here.