Is your website up to date? If you are or know the one that is the website administrator, then you should read this article of how to build a sports club’s website. During the fall 2021 we received a request by Malmö Tigers Wrestling to update their website from IdrottOnline to something new. After some initial meetings we managed to not only update the website, but also upgrade it and make it more user and member friendly. In this article we will share how you can create a website, what we did, how we did it and why.
Today it is a must to have a website for sports clubs in order to be found by new potential members but also in order to help your own members with the latest news or recruiting new staff or coaches etc. In Sweden the sports clubs have a history of websites that are built up on the system IdrottOnline, which is the Swedish Sport Confederation’s own system where all participation is registered in order for sports clubs to receive important income called LOK-stödet.
When IdrottOnline was launched in 2007, the vision was a single operating system for the entire sports movement, but today many sports organizations work in other systems, which requires a structured collaboration. IdrottOnline has also grown in complexity, which means managing the website is not up to date and lacks a modern structure as all websites require today.
At the end of 2022 this website tool at IdrottOnline will be shut down, which means that a lot of sports clubs need to make a change and setup a new website. Even though this may sound challenging, we do think that this is a good step forward for the sports clubs. Why? Well, IdrottOnline is an old system that is not user friendly, which makes it problematic to provide good communication to members and potential members. The user experience is key when it comes to digital engagement. About 5-7 seconds is the time limit before a visitor online takes a decision and either stay or move on to another website. And if we want to keep provide the best sports opportunity and getting more members, we need to communicate clear and be user friendly.
What to think about when getting a new website?
So now what? You know you need to change the website platform, usually called CMS, which is the background platform tool which makes all magic for each website.
Do you have a website at IdrottOnline? To get a smooth change as possible – do not wait. Start with an analysis of the current situation. What works well or less well with your existing website?
Here are some things to think about when getting a new website
- What are your target groups?
- What features should your website have?
- Which administrative system (s) do you use within your sport?
- Do you have your own domain name? Learn more about domains here.
- Don’t forget to save and download all of your texts, documents and images from your IdrottsOnline website.
What is a domain and a web host?
What is a domain and do we have one? What is a web host and do we need this? How do we choose a website solution? Which price range is reasonable? You do not want to spend a lot of money on the website, nor do you want it to take too much time. The non-profit time is already limited and therefore you want it to go quickly and smoothly. More about this here.
First step when getting a new website
A good first step could be to bring together those people in your club who could be a good reference group. When you found your group, start looking at what is good about your website today and what you want to improve. If you are not part of the board, you might need to book a meeting with the board to get approval to run the move. And be prepared that this will take some time before the construction of the new website itself is underway.
5 things to consider when choosing a domain name
These 5 tips plus another one come from Internetstiftelsen.
- Do not bother about it
This is useful if the site name and domain name are identical, except for accepted abbreviations. If your sports club’s name is not available, try to get a domain name that is easy to remember or relate to your club, which is more logical and therefore will appeal to more people.
- Think about the pronunciation
Say the URL you want to register loud to yourself a few times. If it sounds strange and difficult to say the address, the domain name is probably not good if you want many visitors to the site. URLs are often used in everyday speech and then it is important that the domain name can be pronounced without major problems.
- Avoid misunderstandings
Once you have found a domain name that works, search for the word or site name in the nearest search service. If there is an address that is already established and that also has similar content to what you will be doing on your website, then consider registering another address. If it is easy to confuse the websites with the names and domain names, it is probably not good for anyone. Remember to make sure that the domain name you choose does not infringe on the rights of others.
- Ask for advice
Check with your colleagues and friends what they think about your choice of domain name. Is the address simple enough? Can it be memorized? Does the site name reflect what you will have it for? Feel free to test your domain name on those who are not constantly online professionals for the best quality of opinions.
- More than one address
When you get the address with example.com or similar, you can also register example.se / example.nu or similar. There are countless variants of this, for example registration of accepted abbreviation used in everyday speech, xample.se, xmple.se and so on. Do not forget to point your different addresses to a main address, for example example.com. You can do this in the domain manager at your registrar where you register the domain name or get help from them with the pointing.
But will it be enough with a domain name? No, you also need a web host. And if you don’t not really know what it is, a “Web host” is a physical server where your website “lives”, so you need to rent a small area with space for your website. There are many different options to choose from and there are also options where web hosting is not needed at all. So a whole jungle. We will share more about this further down.
The best tip of the day is to take some time for you here. Even though this search and reading might feels overwhelming and stressful there are a lot of useful and free recourses and courses to learn more around all of this.
Maybe most importantly to look up, if the web host delivers SSL certificate. An important companion, choose a web host (if you are going to have one) with support in Sweden and check that they have “SSL certificate” (yes, another new word you might have learned in this process), it is something that encrypts and which makes the information on the website secure, if you do not have this, you will also end up further down on Google’s search function. Which means that less people will find your sports club in Google and that is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out. Here, too, there are free options to choose from.
Does it cost to build a website?
The biggest change from having your website for free at IdrottOnline is that the next website will now be a cost for your club. So now when you will make your new website, you need to consider all costs that comes a long with a website.
One recommendation is to check with your sports association if they have an offer for you. This list shows which sports associations that are offering something to your sport:
When is a good time to build a website in your sports club?
One question that is a popular one working in sports, is how much time you have? Time is the biggest and most challenging asset we have in sports. When you build or move your website, you need to consider your time. When is a good time to make your new website? Depending on the sport or sports you do at your club, the timing to create a website will be different. No matter what, you need to plan for at least a week of thoughts, plans and decisions and then additional weeks depending if you create it yourself and if you do it full time or not or if you hire a consultant to build it. If you are an outdoor sport, you will most likely have July or December as your best time for improvements. And if you are an indoor sport, you will most likely have June-July as your best time for improvements.
What are the most popular services to build a website?
The most common website platforms to work with when it come to building a website are WordPress, Squarespace, One.com and Wix. The good thing is that these four are all easy to use because they provide a drag and drop function, so you don’t need to know how to code. And more important thing to also think about is the email functions, which comes included at One.com. With the other ones you will need to get a separate email operator. However, if you already got your email operator, then you can skip this thing.
WordPress .com or .org?
We are using WordPress and like what you get from the platform. However, if you are going for WordPress it could be good to understand that there are two different versions of WordPress, wordpress.com and wordpress.org.
But what is the difference?
“.Com” is more limited. You can’t create and manage that much with your website and you got limited templates and functions. But this is great if you just want the basics get up and running. You don’t need to know that much about WordPress and building websites, and the best benefit is that you can avoid the web hosting aspect too. With .org this is part of the setup.
“.Org” is unlimited when it comes to the choice of themes and functions. You can design and use all templates and functions you want, but you will need a web host and this will require more time in the start-up phase. And not only this, in order to get out the potential of a website with .org you need to learn a lot how to setup up and design several functions.
One example of moving from IdrottOnline to a new website
Still not sure if you can find a web plattform that is best for you and how to proceed? Don’t you worry, we will now share how we helped a sports club with their move from IdrottOnline to a new website.
Case study: This is how Malmö Tigers Wrestling got a new website
The president of the wrestling club, Malmö Tigers reached out to us during the spring 2021 and looked for help to create their new website. They were using IdrottOnline (see image below) and were limited in a good user experience and a digital presence. We set up an initial meeting in order to better understand what Malmö Tigers were looking for. During our conversations with Malmö Tigers we made sure to understand their core values, vision and what was important to find on their next website.
On the left side you find Malmö Tigers website with IdrottOnline
Background check and set up website
After the initial meetings we went through their current website and their social media accounts in order to understand what is available today and what could be used on the new website. For us it was important to use as much material as possible that the club already had in place. Combining this part with their vision and core values we created a mindmap and a draft on what will be important to highlight and what should be easy to find on the website.
One question that is good to consider is what menus or topics are important to have accessible for your members and visitors. This answer will help yourself or the consultant that will build the website to set up the new website.
With Malmö Tigers we went for One.com as it is a platform that includes email hosting as well as an easy drag & drop website builder, which does not require any coding skills. This was a great benefit for Malmö Tigers Wrestling when they would take over the website later on. They can in their own pace go through the website and get familiar with the drag & drop system.
Sportidealisten built a website for the sports club, Malmö Tigers Wrestling
After going through the current material, the vision, the core values and all discussions with Malmö Tigers Wrestling’s president we startade to find the right feeling, design and added more content in order to improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The use of an SEO focused website will help potential customers, members and athletes to find Malmö Tigers website. When people are searching for things, at least wrestling on Google they will hopefully find Malmö Tigers.
We had a continous check in with the president in order to include the sports club as much as possible in order to deliver a great customer friendly service.
And what was the final result?
On the right side you find Malmö Tigers after our work
What Sportidealisten provides for sports clubs?
When we helped Malmö Tigers and other customers, we have provided a setup where some pages are key to the foundation of the website. And we can deliver a basic package to get started with a new website for you too.
A basic package with a ready-made design that makes it easy for you to get started new website. We help you enter your color and your logo.
The package consists of ready-made templates that are used to create different parts of your website. Our package contains the most common templates for you to be able to build and grow with your website as you wish. The website is of course adapted for both mobile and computer.
Templates in the package: • Home page • News • About • Information page • Contact With the templates you can then create which structure and how many pages and workspaces / subsites (eg for a team or a big competition, etc.) that you are in need for. For example, information about your next competition, results, contact information, photo gallery, history of the club, newsletter, document archive and more.
Add ons and possibilities creating a website with Sportidealisten
Even though everything above sounds great you might not be done with your dream website. Well, there is more.
In addition to templates, you have lots of possibilities with other modules and features with an increased license cost. When the website is built with a module-based solution, we can easily change, add and change parts on the website, without the need for training or access to
Examples of modules and functions:
• Search function
• Google Analytics
• Automatic archiving
• YouTube and video
• Pictures and slide shows
• Side trees
• Authorization control
• Spell check
• Link control
How it works with building a website with the help from Sportidealisten?
Contact us and we set up a meeting to discuss your needs. Together we set up a contract that delivers the basic package and support. You also share your profile color, your logo in the correct format and size as well as which domain name the website should have at launch.
Sportidealisten carries out installation of the base package, adds your color as well as your logo. The website is then assigned one temporary address (domain) as used for editing before it’s time for launch.
When the website is available via a temporary address you have the opportunity to edit and create pages and post the content as you wish to be on the website.
You will be given access to an IP number so you can point your domain name. So as soon as you have pointed the domain name for this IP number the website is launched. If you do not have one domain name we can also help you with this.
Plenty of options on the market
The market for websites has developed enormously in recent years. As you have learned in this article, there are a number of free and high-quality website platforms with great opportunities for tailor-made adaptations. We recommend sports clubs and sports federations that use the IdrottOnline website to choose one of the free alternatives for the website that are currently on the market, or contact us to get guidance and help.
Do you feel that building a website feels like a big challenge? Don’t you worry, Sportidealisten can help you, either to build your next website or advice you with what to do and how to do it.