We know this is a sports blog, but this post is going to lead off with a business-related statistic. Please bear with us:
According a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 44 percent of project managers do not use project management software, even though its use has been shown to increase performance and satisfaction.
For a youth sports league, if you consider league directors, admins, and coaches as project managers, software to help run your organization and maintain your website should be welcomed. Yet, many leagues resist, just as many PMs in the business world resist as well.
Part of this resistance for sports leagues might be a previous bad experience with website software. Moreover, the solution might not have necessarily been anything bad, but just a hassle. League volunteers aren’t programmers, and even a WordPress-based site might be too much work to build and maintain. But in 2016, a league without a website is generally viewed unfavorably—parents and coaches all rely on online resources to check schedules, post news, register, and so on.
Fortunately, today’s league website builders affordably streamline the process for directors, admins, and other volunteers. With minimal effort, organizations can create, maintain, and expand a powerful online presence. Here are four must-have features to look for in a league website builder:
1. Ease of use
Many league administrators go into a website project with the best intentions, then discover the solution they chose is clunky. As already stated, a homegrown website requires more technical skills than the average volunteer brings to the table, but even some software over the past years has proved unwieldy for users. And if a lack usability makes it too difficult to implement, update, and maintain a website, admins will be more apt to let it founder. Today’s best league website builders promote ease of use at every step the process. Online software avoids installation and storage headaches—admins simply log in and can start building their websites right away. Once the site is established, features as drag-and-drop functionality, easy sync, and mobile capabilities make maintenance a piece of cake rather than a chore.
2. Website versatility
A one-size-fits-all league website builder in most cases won’t fit anyone. If your organization chooses not to keep stats or standings, for example (a possible scenario with younger age divisions), but your pulldown menu defaults to those features with no way of taking them offline, site visitors are going to see blank pages, which just looks unprofessional. Top league website builders are rich in versatile, customizable options, including easy adjustment of themes, color schemes, and graphics such as banners and league logos; custom menus; and document and rich content modules.
3. Photo galleries and slideshows
You want your league website to look good, but you also want your league to look good as well. Adding photos to your site is a wonderful way to showcase all your organization has to offer, not only to prospective players and their families, but to existing players and families, too. This is a great concept in theory, but for some websites, it was difficult to pull off. Adding (and coding) pictures might have been a pain, and some commercial platforms didn’t facilitate photo pages in both the viewing and the uploading of such files. League website builders deliver basic functionality users otherwise expect from other photo sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Uploading is efficient, and the best platforms allow for more than galleries—slideshows, videos, and individual player cards can also be created. Furthermore, coaches and families can upload their own photos, thus inviting them to celebrate their teams and the overall league community.
4. Simple management tools
Adjusting your website shouldn’t be a monumental undertaking. Besides changing the look and adding and deleting pages as needed, basic tasks such as updating schedules and creating registration forms must be simple; otherwise, again, leagues will stop using the software they devoted budget toward. Choose a league website builder that provides simple yet robust management tools. The ability to conveniently add, move, or delete files may seem obvious, but admins will appreciate the functionality when they must perform a major update (for example, in the preseason) to the site. The less time directors spend wrangling with their league’s website means more time they can spend running the league—and making it great.
What features do feel are essential in a league website builder?