So, you want to start your own football blog site? It really is very simple and cost effective to get started and we have a few tips that you may or may not want to follow.
We ran SoccerinBracknell now for 18 months and it’s a hard job to keep everything up to date, but an absolute labor of love for Darrell and myself.
Here are our top tips for getting started.
1. Don’t spend money (at least to start with)
It’s great to have a custom domain name, a brilliant site, and awesome gadgets, but after trying for the past 10 years to start any kind of blog, it’s worth a try. ‘first to see if you have the time and commitment.
It’s also perfectly easy to do. We use WordPress for FiB and you can create a free account and access a very simple content management system through their website here.
WordPress will give you internet space and some sort of customizable URL as well as access to a number of free themes to make your blog stand out.
Our friends at OxOnFootball have taken this route and it is a very decent website as well.
2. Decide on the orientation of your sites
This is where a little planning pays off.
I mentioned that I had tried starting a few blogging sites before FiB was created. These were attempts to cover all of non-league football or unusual ‘funny’ football stories.
The former is just too broad in scope (and something I don’t know enough about) and the latter as Darrell will tell you – I’m not that eccentric or funny.
When we both stopped running the Bracknell Town website, we decided we wanted to run our own site and focused on what we knew.
Local football, especially Bracknell football. This has obviously spread to neighboring towns like Wokingham and Ascot, but the point is that they are all intertwined in a specific area.
A number of venues have popped up with a similar local focus – OxOn as we mentioned, SevernSport in Gloucestershire and there are undoubtedly more.
3. Consistency and reliability are essential to create an audience
If, like us, you want to run a football blog for (dare we say) fun and you don’t have £££ to spend on advertising, building an following will take time and patience. in equal measure.
The easiest way is to (and excuse us if we condescend – we absolutely do not intend) to do what you do regularly and often.
This can include committing to a preview before each match day or filing the results the same day after a match. Your regular audience will know when and expect information to be posted on your site.
When we first started, we wrote articles for each team we cover (top three at the time) titled “things to expect from Team A vs. Team B”.
They were well read but exhausting to write and we soon found ourselves developing regular clichés and sometimes writing the same thing every week to the point of deciding to abandon the format. We still do it every now and then for a big derby or a cup final, but as volunteers with day jobs the commitment was just too much.
4. Keep an eye on the stats
If you’re on WordPress, it’s worth installing the JetPack plugin which has built-in stats – if you want to build an audience, you’ll soon be able to see what your audience likes and dislikes.
We noticed an increase in article audiences when we put player names in the headlines – this mainly came from social media and goes against what we thought was more search traffic. value for team names.
We have installed Google Analytics for free, which is a bit more detailed and gives us real-time figures via the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin which you can read here.
5. Find a source of images
Maybe this should be number one, but I can’t stress how important it is to have images of people for your website.
Whether you get them by going to games and taking them on your own – a modern smart phone in most lights will do a decent close-up, but the match action isn’t that good – or by shooting yourself. friends with local photographers.
We were fortunate to be already friends with the Bracknell Town photographer as well as the Binfield photographer and had an offer of help from the Ascot United photographer who started going to the games we requested, but you can still make a social media call for any interest. or contact that local news organization to see if they could help you.
Whatever you do, the images will do your website and encourage more clicks on your stories.
6. Social networks …
If you’re only doing one thing, create a Twitter account for your blog.
Our biggest referrer of traffic to FiB is via Twitter. These are people clicking on the links we put out there and this is also how we made a lot of our local football friends.
[cue Inbetweeners gif]
We also have a facebook and instagram page, but the most important of these is Twitter. Simply sharing stories and @ing clubs and players means they are sharing your content (provided it is naturally positive) and generating interest in your site.
What if you wanted to spend the money?
We were fortunate to have a few sponsors to help us pay for a dedicated web space that we have through a company called Site Ground.
They are a dedicated WordPress host and are quite simply the best we have found in 10 years of operating WordPress sites.
They have 24 hour support and will move your site from their current host to theirs as part of the deal. If you sign up using this link, we get a few months off our bills, so don’t hesitate. We have used Go Daddy and 1 & 1 before and can honestly say Site Ground has been the best one and a half mile across the country.
Url: What about that fancy URL you wanted? You can usually get a .co.uk address for around £ 10 per year, but at the time of writing, Namesco is offering the first year for free.
Themes: Fancy a smart theme designed by professionals? Themeforest is where we picked up ours. There is a real vault of options in there.
We also use a GMAIL business account for our email which gives us personalized FiB addresses and a plugin called AdSanity which allows us to display and monitor the effectiveness of advertising on the site.
If you have any questions about the content of this article, please feel free to send an email [email protected]