Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Setting Up A Baseball League Website

Most youth sports leagues have websites. It's a great way to communicate with parents, coaches and players. Some are well constructed and thought out. Some could use a little TLC. Here are some important things to remember when designing your league's website:

Capitalize on expertise. If you don't have the expertise to design, build and run your league's website find someone in the organization who does.

Plan your website. Discuss with other league officials what your league wants to publish and how you want to use the website. Most leagues use them for publishing scores, standings, league wide messages and most of all online registration. It's important for your league to have a website plan that goes along with your league's mission.

Don't reinvent the wheel. There are a number of companies that provide turnkey tools to build websites specifically for leagues and teams. Do a google search on "league website" and you will find them. They all offer similar features but one of the most important one is online registration. This can save leagues tons of time.

Test drive before you buy. Before you decide on a website hosting company take your time to evaluate all of them Your going to spend a lot of time building this thing so you don't want to get to the end of it and find out your provider doesn't have a feature you need. Pick a company that has a web-based tool that's easy to use and allows you to post the info you need to publish.

Have a Privacy Policy. If your using your league site for registration chances are your hosting private information about the people who sign up for your league. Your league should have a published privacy policy which outlines what your league does to protect information. One of the most important things is to limit access to the website... this is done by controling who has passwords to what levels of the site. League officials should take great care in managing this.

Public vs Private Info. Learn and understand what should be made public on your site and what shouldn't. For example, never list the names or information about minors on your site. Only list information about adults if you have their permission. Once your site is up the search engines will index it and generally any information that is listed on any public page will become part of the internet, thus accessable via google and other search engines. Be careful what you put on there. Use PDFs when listing names on rosters. The most important thing to remember is to keep personal information of children off the website.

You can add cool pictures, music, videos and other great stuff to provide a great resources for your league's participants and customers.

Coach Bob


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