Sports sites are fun to do for a lot of reasons. I my case, I run an unnamed basketball site and I have learned a lot about how to do it over the life of the site.
My site is dedicated to one specific college team, but the principles I’m speaking about, for the most part, apply to professional teams as well. Here’s what I’ve learned.
- Update the site every day. Even if you write about something completely unrelated, post something new every day. If you don’t, you might as well stop before you start. And yes, this includes Christmas and other holidays. Your readers want to read. You have to be there. Ideally your posts will be on topic, but if you can write and engage, then people will follow tangents at least periodically.
- Answer your e-mail and be personal. One thing about country music is that the fans expect the artists to indulge them. Learn from country music. Answer. Your. E-mail.
- Ask people to contribute. When someone posts something on your site, he or she will tell everyone they know to go read it. This is really valuable.
- Realize that you have two potential audiences: fans of your team and fans who hate your team. Fans of your team are people who understand what you do, so that’s easy and needs no explanation. Just feed them. The other fan base? They’re ready to hate your guts. Don’t be scared of that. If you have an intense rivalry with another school or team, make fun of them, highlight their foibles. An arrest is always good for some mileage. Once you post something negative about the other side, expect to be attacked. And embrace it. These people are reading you. They’re helping you!
- This is really important. Attack the team but, if possible, make friends with the opposing fans. Your goal should be to make them read your site and hate themselves for doing it – and also to conclude that you’re actually a good guy despite your differing allegiances.
- In every sport there is a polarizing team. In mine – college basketball – it’s Kentucky. If you can piss of Kentucky fans, your traffic will spike. I imagine it’s a similar thing for Alabama football, Yankees baseball and certain Sumo wrestlers.
- Keep everything. When you first start out, you may find that you move your site a few times. People will periodically write you and ask about something you wrote years earlier. Being able to find it is a big plus.
These are some basic principles. I’ll be elaborating on them. Until next time, good luck and fat traffic!
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