However, one thing is to own a website, another is to attract your target audiences to the website regularly. As they say in the digital circle "the most beautiful website is not the most colorful, but the one that attracts the largest traffic..." visitors flooding to it daily. It makes no sense really, building a very colorful website that can't even get a straying visitor to return back after the first visit.
Getting football consumers to always flood your club's website doesn't happen by chance, it is by design. I assume we all know what the benefits of a website is to a club... Where their target audiences (football consumers) go to get information, make inquiries or complaints...or even purchase the club's merchandise online.
A website afford the club the opportunity to engage its audiences...interact with them in such a way that ensures continuous and more frequent patronage. It afford them the opportunity to answer objections and clear the air in times of crisis. It's a tool I think every professional club should give the altmost attention and ensure they build a world class website.
Pooja, an award winning website designer from India, that build CheerOnNigeria Blog, Real Madrid website and for other top flight football clubs, share with us the 10 essential ideas you should take seriously when building a world class football club website:
1. Use Quick Eye and Ear Appeal: Web surfers are impatient. If the club website's Home page doesn't grab their attention, they'll quickly click away... and you have lost another visitor forever.
Strive for a clean, colorful home page featuring eye catching images... Put that award-winning action shot of the hottest player at the last game... or portrait of the club's more popular star up front. Using a slide show of several interesting shots can achieve such easthetic effect.
And don't ignore the possibilities of sound! The club's anthem, fight song or any appropriate sound effect can be a positive addition.
2. Ensure Easy Navigation: Make sure your visitors can move around the site easily. Include clear and easily understood icons and a navigation bar on each screen... to allow browsers to access information. Arrange the navigation tools to guide visitors to where you want them to go.
3. Ensure Fast Loading: Remember, not everyone has a state of the art device. Although, graphics and bells and whistles are important, avoid pages that take too long to load.
Double check your club's proposed design on an older, slower version of computer browser, to see how long it takes to load...
Surfers want information now-now and won't wait patiently if it takes several minutes for your home page to appear.
4. Make It Interactive: The internet is a two way medium, so get the visitors to your club's website involved. Be sure to include a contact form, so visitors can write back to the club. You can include a forum were fans can engage themselves or comment on last night's match or send email to their favorite players.
Include a trivia contest and fans poll... How about automated email program (auto responder) that allow the club to respond to emails real time with preprogammed letter.
5. Guide your Visitors from Getting Lost: Be careful not to lose your visitors in a maze of pages. Every page on your club's website should have a clearly marked Home Page Button to get visitors back to the beginning.
Avoid links that take your club's visitors to another site with no way to return them, you may loose them forever.
6. Keep It Current: The internet means instant information, so don't let your website get old. If you include match to match results or updated standing on the league table will be nice. Make sure they are refreshred quickly and accurately.
If your club doesn't have the personnel to keep the site up to date, then it's better not to include information that will soon turn into yesterday's news and website look so obsolete.
7. Content Is King: Don't let technology divert your attention from the basic fact; visitors strumble on your website if have the needed content. Visitors will return to your website only if you provide information, activities and services that meet their needs.
So be adapt at helping them do research and compile flagmented information on the web in one place. Put intelligence to it by bringing popular personalities and imdustry expert analysis to give your site a reputation as an authority website.
8. Radio and Podcasts for your Visitors: Most clubs allow fans listen to live radio broadcast of their matches and other events right from their website. They either establish an internet radio station of their own or partner with a more established radio station to broadcast clubs pre and post match contents.
Podcast may also be included on the website, where the.club management could broadcast press releases or answer objections regarding certain important issues fans want to know the club's stand or decision on the matter.
9. Enable SEO: let your contents be easily found on various Search Engines, especially on Google. That can be achieved by optimising each of the content you publish on your club's website.
The more your contents are found among the top list of any related topics, the more likely visitors will flood your club's website. So consider Search Engine Optimisation seriously.
10. Data Collection: know your visitors and make them real fans. Provide email subscription form on your website. Offer them interesting downloadable contents or free ticket to the club's events, to encourage them to give their contacts and answer your survey.
Better still, build an App that is connected to your club's website...so it is easier to track fans activities. Let your website include an ecommerce section where visitors can purchase club's merchandize and etickets.