This is a question we are often asked? Does an amateur sports club with a very limited budget need to go to all the expense and hassle of developing a website? From our design and marketing experience and our years working with the GAA here is the response from the C&C team.
Social media is great and yes it should be embraced by sports clubs because when it is used correctly social media can play an important role in the organisation and promotion of your sport and your games. It provides an engaging forum through which a community can connect with its players and its members. Sports governing bodies generally look favourably on social media and would encourage it but would also stress that members, participants and fans need to be mindful of the standards set down by the organisation they are part of. Most of them will have a set of guidelines. The GAA’s for example is included at the end of this document.
A club website is also a form of social media. Most are built on what is known as a Content Managed System (CMS) such as WordPress. Basically ‘CMS’ means that you ‘Manage the Content’. You have the power to add all your own information on an ongoing basis. So here as well, those people, the site Admin’s, must abide by their organisation’s guidelines.
Although still being a form of social media we would certainly advocate that any sports club would benefit from having their own website. Yes, it is an investment, but like any good investment, managed well it can pay dividends.
Here are our top 10 reasons why a website is important for a sports club.
1. Your home, your place
As we would be well aware the GAA is all about place, your club is almost always assigned to you at birth and will stay with you a lifetime. Just like your home pitch, your website is your home, it’s your colours and your crest, you don’t share it with anyone else. Your website is the ‘HUB’ of all your communication. Of course, you may use various social media channels but your site has all the main news, detail, contacts, history, policies and fixtures & results representing your entire online presence.
2. Make a good first impression
In the digital age, your website often acts as the first impression to people discovering your club for the first time. If anyone wishes to find out more about your club, chances are they’ll head straight online and search for your website. A cool, well-branded site will leave a lasting impression on new visitors and translate the hard work you do on and off the pitch into a thriving club.
A well-designed site radiates professionalism, organisation and ultimately a feeling that your club is a great place to come, be part of and play some sport.
3. You’re In The Driving Seat
A website allows you to be in control of your online presence. You control what you post, what your visitors see, and how often you post. There is no third-party algorithm that might make your posts invisible for a majority of your members and fans like there are on social media platforms.
It is also quite difficult to predict who will be the main channel in the coming year and even if they will still exist. They can be prone to takeovers and new kids on the block. We don’t believe that anyone is in line to buy over the internet sometime soon.
4. Your crest, your colours, your community
When Club & County was first created it was alongside the creation of the current GAA mark. At the time the GAA created templates for clubs and counties to use if they were creating their own websites. Nice idea if every club and county had their own in-house web team. Club & County, however, agree with the principle – it is important that every club carries their own unique crest and club colours but also clear that they are part of a bigger body and community.
5. Easy handover
As in point 4, we all like to be unique but it is essential that it is clear that we are all part of something bigger. Legacy is a big word in the GAA and can be used across many facets. The nature of the GAA is that club officers are constantly changing. One problem we have faced many times is new officers coming into an existing website with varying levels of knowledge of what to do. The ideal scenario for incoming PRO’s and IT officers is to pick a system that has been tried and tested with adequate support and guidance when needed. The C&C Hub and Help Centre is the Go-To place for novices.
6. Building skills and experience
This is one for the Site Admins. Volunteering in a club does provide excellent life skills that can also be put to good use in other areas including careers. The experience that a PRO or IT Officer will develop in managing their club website and communications can also be easily transferred to their CV and working life. It’s not just on-field skills that can have rewards.
7. Entice new sponsors
Make that first step by increasing traffic, and your club will be a considerably more attractive proposition for potential sponsors. The boost in traffic a well-constructed website can bring will also mean a boost in traffic to any sponsors you feature on the site. The more eyes you put your club sponsors in front of, the more revenue you’ll be able to generate from sponsorship deals. Similarly, sponsors will be much keener to associate themselves with a club website that looks clean, professional and embodies the passion of your club.
Your club, as part of a bigger governing body must adhere to particular regulations and policies. Very often key policies need to be readily available to participants and members. It may even be illegal for a club not to have these available. Your website is the ideal place to store these key documents and have them updated and readily available when required.
9. Increase revenue
We all know that revenue is a vital part of the ongoing success of your club. Get a shiny new impressive design and a number of key commercial avenues will open up for your club. Club websites need to at a minimum pay for themselves so basically, there is no outlay at all. A decent club website will generate revenue. There are several revenue generators associated with the V10 Club Theme. This includes donations, raffles, shop and lotto integration.
10. Tell the Story
Last but not least, your club forms an integral part of the makeup of your local community. Hours of endeavour are clocked up every single week in an effort to make it a success both on-and-off the pitch.
Take this passion and pride and take it online. Make your website the focal point of all that is good about your club and surrounding community. Tell the story.
That pride begins with the look of your site. Stand out from the crowd by incorporating club logos, mottos and colour schemes that reflect your club’s identity.
Ultimately, the club website is a chance to promote your club to the world. It represents your entire online presence and acts as the visual representation of your club.
Encapsulate all the hard work and passion that goes into running your club and a good website will shout it out.
Social media sites are like coffee shops. They’re fun to hang out in…But you don’t want to live there. You need your own space where you can have company over.