No youth sports league would deny the importance of a website to promote and manage its organization. In fact, most leagues do have some sort of online presence that allows them to post news, share pictures, and distribute schedules. However the directors, coaches, and parents of many of these leagues are far from satisfied with what their websites offer.
Keeping sites updated is always an issue; a homepage with news from two months ago makes it unlikely parents and coaches will rely upon it as a resource. Websites built from blogging platforms often are missing basic features (such as automatically updated standings) that people expect in 2016. Some league administrators also find sites unwieldy, thus discouraging them from putting in the work to maximize the pages’ potential.
A perfect youth league website shouldn’t be a pie-in-the-sky dream—it’s not only achievable, but also capable of delivering features that you might not have thought possible just a few years ago. Here are some strategies to build that site:
1. Incorporate online registration
Online registration is an incredible tool for league directors and families alike; it makes life much easier for admins and offers a level of convenience for parents who are more likely to sign up their kids with just a few clicks on a website. The challenge with online registration with homespun youth league websites is the amount of expertise involved in creating pages and a platform is often beyond the average volunteer who knows only a little coding. With online payments involved, the process must be seamless and secure. Fortunately, the best league management software provides this option so that you can be confident that registration will be smooth for all parties.
2. Enlist help to keep the site updated
Another struggle directors encounter with their youth league websites is the seemingly endless updates required to keep standings, schedules, statistics, and news current. For example, if the schedules and standings aren’t somehow tied together online, twice the number of updates will be required. Admins may try to do all this work by themselves, thus increasing the likelihood they will fall behind. Instead of shouldering the load alone, directors should bring coaches, officials, and other volunteers into the process. One score entered into the website can, with the right software, automatically update every applicable schedule and standings page. With many people striving to keep a youth league website updated, it stays current and is more useful to the community.
3. Encourage contributions to team pages
Individual team pages on websites build communities, bringing teammates and their parents closer together—and always keeping them informed. Yet often, these pages languish, with coaches and families rarely contributing to them. On one hand, a lack of updates is understandable: Families are busy and may not find the time add pictures or video. However, sometimes the website itself is hampering potential contributors. Encourage your league community to take full advantage of the team pages on your website. Sponsor contests for the best video of a cheer or the silliest team picture. When someone does post something entertaining, share it to the entire league. You will further promote your website, which in turn will further promote your league.
4. Pick the perfect platform
Building a youth league website from scratch with all the features you want can be daunting, if not prohibitively expensive. League management software is a more cost-effective, less stressful option. The best platforms include online registration, easy updating capabilities, team pages, roster management features, advanced communication options, and more. Additionally, the website will look fantastic while also being functional. In short, it will be perfect.
What struggles have you encountered with your league’s website?