Rugby 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 shoe 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 is to force yourself to sum up your goal in a single sentence like the examples below.
“The Red Arrows rugby club is creating a website that will act as a hub of useful information in order to grow, educate, and strengthen our community.”
“Pitch Kicks is creating a website that will feature, market, and sell our range of rugby boots.”
BE You you want to be
OWN your domain name
And we 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.
Domain redirects, name servers, and site platforms
Are you getting a new address for an existing site, or starting from scratch? Updating your platform? Moving Hosts?
If you already have a site, updating your domain name can be a relatively simple task. Here is some helpful information:
- In order to best OWN your new domain, your site should be using it – rather than redirecting to an old name.
- However, to keep old links working and maintain relevant SEO, redirect those old URLS to your new web address. Take a look at this post, The Simplest Steps to Redirect for more information.
- If you use a platform like WordPress, there may be additional steps needed for updating your domain. There are several Plugins that will handle the transition for you, or you can look into your host’s knowledgebase regarding the best way to make the update.
Now you have a clear goal and a domain set up, you have the hard task of picking a platform. This can get pretty daunting, so we have helped to narrow it down for you depending on your goal. Check out our post PICK YOUR PLATFORM! for a deeper dive into what’s available.
Engage Your Users
Create killer 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 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.
Once you know what the content is going to be, you can create and upload it, but make sure it’s the right size to favour page speeds. For great SEO, don’t forget to make sure it’s all named and has strong metadata. Pages and images tagged correctly will help google index your site and push you to the top of searches. This is increasingly important for you, as if your images are tagged “Red Arrows”, any google searches for this will be more likely to serve your site.
A good litmus test for great content is using tools like hotjar – a heatmap plugin that will help you identify how your users interact with your content, and funnel them to the right place that achieves your goal.
Don’t forget the mobile version of your site. Make sure it is still effective as sections will move, and a lot of users might be searching from the sideline.
Get the word out!
Now that you have an amazing website it’s easy to just set and forget, but you have to feed the machine. Utilising social media is a great way to start – announce that you are online and direct people to read more, sign up, or make a purchase. The trick is to pick something and stick with it.
Emails, Facebook, and Instagram are all 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 feel engaged.
Post regular updates and keep it fresh so people return for more. It is often easier said than done, but with a bit of work you will find what works for you.
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