In 2016, a youth sports league without a quality website is an anomaly. The Internet has long since lost its sense of newness; people today expect everything to be online, not only accessible from computers, but also from their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. This expectation extends to rec sports leagues. Parents want to be able to go online and use an organization’s website to register, check schedules, find roster information, view and post pictures, and so on.
However, a youth sports league can’t be satisfied with just any website. The aforementioned expectation often includes a site that looks good, offers an easy user experience, and is fully functional for 2016. Websites created manually either look too 1999 (with few, if any, advanced features) or require a professional to build—often at great expense—in order to make it modern. League management software provides a path to the website you need, at the right price, and with minimal effort on your part. Here are some ways you can build a big league site for your small youth sports league:
Choose the Right Software
Most league management solutions include website capabilities, allowing organizations to build their own homepages and not turn to homegrown attempts or professional designers. Unfortunately, not all solutions are as thorough as league directors would hope for—many platforms are non-intuitive, difficult to use, and rely upon layouts that are far too basic and, again, harken to last century. Therefore, choosing the right software for your youth sports league is essential. The best solutions incorporate an array of advanced features and deliver a sharp look, but don’t require advanced programming skills—the software emphasizes building and maintaining the site without stressing you out.
Advocate Team Pages
A wonderful element of a youth sports league website is individual team pages. These sites can be automatically created when rosters are set, and they offer a little community for each team and its coaches, parents, and players. News, pictures, videos, and calendar items can be posted to the team page, which, when bookmarked, become a one-stop resource for all parties involved. Yet, the power of the team pages shines through only when teams actually use them. Too often, these pages are left un-updated and, eventually, abandoned, thus squandering an opportunity to turn a team into a community. Encourage coaches and the families in your league to take full advantage of team pages. Ease-of-use makes uploading a cinch, and parents and players will appreciate a small corner of the Internet devoted to their team.
Schedules, Stats, and Standings
The website you build for your youth sports league should look good, of course, and promote teams and the entire organization. But it must also be practical—most visitors will rely on the site for schedules, game results, statistics, and standings. Updating this information ordinarily takes time and effort from admins and coaches, but with innovative league management software, entering one game result or box score updates schedules and statistics throughout the entire site. This is a big step up from websites on the past, upon which someone would have to update a score on the league’s master schedule page, then on individual team pages, then on the standings pages—well, you get the idea, and you understand why those old websites often would suffer from infrequent updates.
The best league management platforms take the updating concept a step further by allowing games to be scored live. Once the game ends, the result is automatically applied, and standings, statistics, and league leaders are automatically updated. Moreover, live scoring means that people not at the game can follow along in real time, which is a great feature not only for faraway family members (and other teams curious how their rivals are doing) to see how the action is progressing, but also to make your website truly feel like a big league site in which fans can follow their favorite youth sport league teams play by play, pitch by pitch—just like they would their favorite pro and college teams.
What feature of a youth sports league website would most impress the parents and coaches of your organization?