In this day and age often the first contact a potential new member will have with your club is via our club website. It is important to ensure that this website is set out well and up to date in order to help the site visitor find all the information they are looking for. Current club members will also regularly use the website if they can quickly and easily access the information they need.
When it comes to websites there are many mistakes that are very easy to make. Some of these mistakes include:
Not understanding the terminology and what makes a club website
There are many new concepts and terms that relate to the internet and the running of a website. For example; What is a domain name? What is hosting? Who is a webmaster? It can be overwhelming at first but taking the time to learn what these concepts mean or asking for help from members who have this skill set is important to ensure you end up with a functional website that fulfils your club’s needs. This challenge can also lead to the following:
Not planning the website
A common issue for club websites is that the content and layout is unplanned. This results in a ‘mishmash’ of information that is not easy for visitors to navigate. Often old information is mixed in with current information and can cause visitors to not bother to read anything at all.
Before your club gets its website up and going or if you are not happy with the way your current website is performing, it is a great idea to sit down and think about what you would like it to look like and how you would like it to be laid out.
Questions to help get you started could be; What do you want to tell your clubs different audiences about your club? Do you need an about page where they can learn about your club? A history page? A registration or contact page? A committee page or a page about the different teams at your club?
Once you have decided on the pages you will need you can then plan out what you would like it to look like. Where would you like your club banner and logo to sit on your home page?
Planning your club’s website helps to ensure it will be a great tool and asset for your club over the long term.
Website doesn’t work hard enough for your club
Often club websites don’t have strong ‘calls to action’. These are simple instructions that encourage people who visit the website to perform an action. Whether it be to sign up for a newsletter or as a member, purchase tickets to an event or sign up for a fundraiser. As well as having information about the club and recent results we need to ensure there is a area for visitors where they can sign up for the newsletter, a fundraising event or register as a member. Having strong calls to action helps the website do the work for your club.
This concept applies to sponsors advertising on your website and social media as well. Don’t just display the sponsors logo on your website because this will achieve little compared to a “call to action”. For example if you have a bakery as a sponsor, instead of displaying their logo display an offer such as order 6 bread rolls online and get 6 for free. This is a lot more likely to create a value for the sponsor than simply their logo.
Rarely updating the club website
This is very common among sports clubs due to a lack of time and volunteer resources. Volunteer time is a precious resource for clubs so often the most efficient way to update the club website is to find a member who has this skill set and ask them to volunteer their time. This may be a technically minded member of your club that may want to be more involved and is a job that may take five minutes for someone who is confident with websites. This volunteer does not need to be a member of the committee and may even be a young player or a member’s child who spends a lot of time online.
By updating the club website it ensures it doesn’t stay stagnant. This helps to encourage visitors to continue to come to the website to see what is new and exciting at the club.
Clubs can also encourage members to help keep the club website up to date by sending photos, scores or content to the club’s ‘webmaster’. A webmaster is simply the volunteer who maintains the club’s website. This gives your club a constant stream of content you can use to put on the website to help keep it up to date.
No variation in content
Most websites have a large amount of written and pictorial content. Audio and video content is very engaging for visitors to your website and can be effective in communicating information as well as growing a sense of belonging to the club. An example of audio or video content could be, an interview with a player or coach. These can easily be recorded onto a member’s phone and can then be uploaded as content onto the club website. Your club can encourage members to record video audio and pictures to put onto your website.
There are legal implications to posting photos, video and audio content online and it is important your club is up to date with their responsibilities. A lot of this information can be found at the ‘Play by the rules’ website (www.playbytherules.com.au). This website is a great resource for clubs in terms of knowing their legal obligations.
No privacy or Terms and conditions listed on website
Clubs need to ensure they have written on their website what people can or can’t do on their website. For example, discriminatory comments, offensive language or intimidating behaviour. Letting people that visit your page know what the rule and regulations are helps to protect your club if anything does happen on your website that may damage the reputation of your club
Another point to include is to let visitors know what we do with the information they provide us.
Social media not linked to the club website
Whether your club is on Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn or other social media sites it is important to ensure all social media used by your club has a visible presence on your webpage and links available for visitors to click. This allows visitors to connect with your club on more platforms and allows greater communication as well as supporting the growth of a sense of belonging to your club.
Club websites are becoming more important when looking at achieving club objectives. Ensuring club websites are easy to navigate and up to date helps the website to work for your club and takes pressure of club administrators in the long run.