Should Our Club Have a Website?
The short answer is YES!!! and here eight reasons why.
Unless your club is not interested in growing its brand and attracting new members, then you need a website.
These days, getting your club a website is easier than ever: it doesn’t cost much money, you don’t have to know how to code or design websites, your clubs information isn’t restricted to times when your volunteers open up the clubhouse, and its one of the best ways to advertise your club for free.
Your club having a website isn’t just about selling sponsorship banners or kits, it’s about providing something of value to potential members and your local community.
With so many low cost or free options (that we’ll go through next week), there’s no excuse to keep putting it off.
Still not convinced having a website will help grow your club???
Here are eight reasons every sports club should have a website:
1. Your members…and their parents are online!
With 89% of the UK Population and 87% of Irish Population having access to the internet, rising to 99% of 18 to 35s, why is your club not there? The internet is our most significant source of information these days. Remember ten years ago, when we would have debated with our friends about any small fact like how many goals did Ronaldo Score in the EPL in 2005?…now its a rush to see who can type it into their search bar the fastest to get the answer….normally on a mobile device.
If you are new to an area and looking for the nearest Gym/bar/restaurant… or sports club, its unlikely you ring directory enquiries anymore, you look it up on the internet, generally on your phone….. and if your organisation is not found, that’s a missed opportunity for both the person looking and your club.
Its the same with parents, when we receive a flier in the school bag from wherever, we almost always google them to find out more. I know that I am unlikely to trust my child with a group that doesn’t even bother to put their contact details/services/information on the internet.
2. Very few other clubs have a website
While recently working with a club here in Ireland on their club accreditation, we went in search of other local clubs websites in that sport, to find out a bit more information about them and what they offer. We were shocked to find that less than 10% of this sports clubs had a website, and only one had up to date information… although they hadn’t updated the site in over two months!!
So we did a bit of research on eight other sports to find much the same story. Once you move away from the big three sports (GAA, Rugby & Football) who are all around the 70-75% of clubs having a website, then it drops to between 10% and 20% of minority (Cricket, Netball, Hockey etc. etc.) clubs having sites…even less that are actually up to date.
This leaves an enormous marketing potential for your club to be the leader in your area for your sport.
3. It will keep everyone informed
Think of your clubs website as being your online brochure or catalogue. It is much easier and quicker to update information about what your club offers on your site than in print material, making it an efficient way of letting your members and fans keep unto date with all that is going on at the club including;
- upcoming events,
- special promotions, i.e. kit match reports
- when their fees are due!
Unlike print ads and posters which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news.
You can also link your social media channels to the site to have them show on it and vice-versa have the site post on your clubs social media channels.
4. It’s always open
A website is available to your members, fans and community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year providing them with the convenience of keeping up with the clubs goings on when your clubhouse is closed.
With today’s busy lifestyles, this is a fantastic selling point when engaging with members, fans and your community.
Providing information to your members, their parents, your fans and anyone else who is interested takes time, whether it’s on the phone, face-to-face, in a brochure, or in emails.
With an online presence, you can do this instantly.
It can also save your volunteers time, and money, by collecting information such registration, memberships fees and even team availability through the website.
You can use a range of tools to set up your social media channels to automatically post, meaning you never forget to put the fixtures for the week ahead on Twitter, or information about a fundraiser on Facebook again.
Once your website is up and running, it is available to your customers indefinitely, providing lots of information about your club and its services, saving you time. And what is time? Time is money!
6. You can make money off of it
As mentioned before, you can collect fees on your website. Meaning, in most cases, the clubs money is straight in the bank when its paid…. rather than when the treasurer can put them physically to a bank.
You can also make money in a variety of ways from your website; you can run raffles, sell sponsored areas and accept donations.
You can have an online shop. If done through your supplier, this means that you shouldn’t have to hold expensive stock and people can buy it at any time they want.
An excellent example of this is I have been trying to buy my own clubs tracksuit for over a year…but either the shop hasn’t been open, I’ve forgotten cash (they don’t take cards), or they haven’t had my size.
And knowing me and tracksuit tops, that’s probably three missed sales, as I lose/wreck them with alarming regularity.
7. It provides an opportunity to showcase your club.
No matter what type of sport you’re in, a website is a great place to showcase your club and what it offers. Whether its the senior team winning leagues, your successful youth section or even the facilities that are available to hire at the club itself.
By including a portfolio or image gallery, as well as testimonials about your club, you can demonstrate what makes your club unique to new members, sponsors and fans.
A clubs website helps you get your message, mission and personality in front of an audience faster, and cheaper, than print adverts or fliers.
Potential new members, parents and sponsors are already looking for your club online, including customer testimonials on your site is a great way to impress them.
8. It can create a central point for club resources
Your clubs website can also benefit your members through having documents such as registrations, fixtures, training schedules, minutes of meetings, constitution etc. etc. meaning your members can download and print them themselves.
The club can create a hidden page (one that is not visible anywhere on the site so it can’t be found unless someone is given the direct link) with performance analysis videos, training materials, or even internal forms to help your teams, players and coaches learn everything they need to know about their schedules.
What’s Your Reason for Not Being Online?
If your club wants more members and business, a club website is now like the business card – a must-have for any club or business – and don’t think you need to offer an all singing, all dancing e-commerce site to have one.
A website that serves as a digital business card, providing searchers with information about your club, what it offers and what you can do for them is still worthwhile.
When researching this article, we spoke to some clubs who we have worked with as to why they don’t have a website; some came up with costs or time. However, most came back with a lack of knowledge of how to build a website
Therefore, our next article will be on how to build a website for free.