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A youth sports program’s website can be a key tool for keeping parents and coaches informed, recruiting new participants and even earning revenue! Too many leagues and recreation departments are missing out on major opportunities with their program websites.
Learn about the 10 things that should be included on your site to better serve the participants, families, community and your program:
1. About your program: What sports do you offer? For what ages? When does the season start? This information is basic but it is often overlooked on a youth sports website. Along with the basics, tell about your program philosophy and mission. Are you an elite program with the goal of placing athletes on Division I college teams? Or are you a recreational non-travelling program that teaches fundamentals?
This information will help parents decide if your program is right for their child. If coaches, parents and participants are required to sign a code of conduct behavior agreement it is a good idea to post these on your site as well. It serves as a constant reminder of what your expectations of these individuals are.
2. Schedules: Parents should have a place to go to find the most update information about game and practice schedules. If these schedules change too frequently to post online, at least include advice on how to find the most updated information. (Ex: If each coach sets their own practice schedule, it may be best for parents to contact their coach to find out when the next practice will be.)
3. Program news: News and updates should be posted on your main page so they are not overlooked. Post upcoming meetings, events and fundraisers,as well as any recent changes.
4. Social media: Include a feed to your Facebook account. Facebook can sometimes be easier and faster to update than your website. If you have a Facebook feed on your website then those posts will not be missed. Make sure website visitors can easily find you on YouTube and Twitter, too.
5. Registration info: “This youth sports program sounds awesome! I want to sign my child up!” We hope this is what parents will say after visiting your website, so make it easy for them to register. Include a page about how and when to register with links to an online registration portal or a downloadable registration form.
6. Resources: If your website is helpful to coaches and parents, they will keep coming back. A “Resource” page with links to coach training programs, parent orientation programs, sports rules, sports skills and drills, emergency plans and concussion awareness information can help make your program stronger by having informed parents and coaches.
7. Advertising: You may have never considered this, but websites themselves can be a source of income for your league. Active Youth Network is a fundraising company that earns you money by placing advertising spots on your website – they find the advertisers and your league does not pay a dime. Also, you can use services like Google Ads and Amazon Affiliate Network, or simply manage your own online advertising by reaching out to local organizations and allowing them to buy ad space on your website.
8. Sponsor page: Dedicate a section of your website to feature your program sponsors. Include their logo and a link to their website. Let others know what sponsorship opportunities your program has available with uniforms, signs, tournaments, trophies, coaches training, etc.
9. Volunteer opportunities: The majority of youth sports programs would not be possible without volunteers. Volunteers are not just parents. They could be older siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, retirees, community leaders, former athletes, friends, neighbors, and more.
Use your website as a way to inform the community of volunteer opportunities available – coach, board member, official, concessions, field set up and maintenance, help with registration, whatever you may need. Also, include a volunteer application form, background screening information, and other instructions and requirements for getting involved.
10. Feedback forms: Forms are easy to add to your site and are often used for contacting the program administrators. What about adding a form just for program feedback? Obtaining feedback about your program is the best way to constantly improve your offerings. Also, instead of waiting until the end of the season to do coach evaluations, ask parents to rate their coach multiple times per year. It is not a daunting task with the NYSCA Rate Your Coach feature. We provide a button and linking instructions for your website too.
These 10 website aspects could improve communication and take your program to the next level. You may consider creating a board or staff position to get your website up to par and for ongoing website updates and maintenance.
What else do you think should be on a youth sports website?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc
2050 Vista Parkway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
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