Do you remember 4-2 win of France over Croatia and those nerve-wracking & heart freezing moments of the final FIFA World Cup 2018?
Over 3 billion audience counting second to second progress, just to be in sync with the pulse of football. This is the power of sports.
Is there any doubt that sports bring people together?
Sports keep people united in the common spirit of competitive brotherhood. Fans follow, cheer, and motivate players to achieve maximum. Sports are such a beat that gets maximum traction at any particular time.
Sports is, no doubt, one of the most dynamic mainstream industries. Annually, billions of dollars in revenue are generated from ticket sales for sporting events.
That is only one aspect. People love and enjoy reading about their favorite sport, teams, gossip and players.
You can help them through a sports blog.
Yes! Sports Blog is one way to help fans know more and feel connected to their favorite game. The blog can be a source of inspiration for a budding sportsperson.
Having a passion and understanding of a particular sport, the rules, techniques, teams and the players help in starting a sports blog.
4 Steps on How to Start a Sports Blog
Following all the sports, events, players and stats is an impossible thing. You cannot be an expert in all sports. Look for your passion for a single sport, a country, a team or for one topic. An area in which you are an expert, that will set you apart.
Various sports are a micro-niche in itself. Create a blog in the sports in which you have the expertise.
- Formula 1
Apart from the mainstream sporting events a lot of leagues have caught attention. Few of the sporting leagues which can be your micro-niche are as under;
- English Premier League
- La Liga
- India Premier League
- Pro Kabbadi League
- Big Bash
Sporting micro-niches can be the major sporting events happening worldwide. But the micro-niche can be seasonal. Still, a lot of information can be shared on player/team preparations, strategies and event locations.
- Grand Prix
- Tour De France
- Commonwealth Games
- World Championship
Micro sports niche can be topics revolving around a particular sport.
- Player Transfer
- Match Statistics
- Blog on Favorite Team
- Sports Coaching Blog
- Legends of Game Blog
- History of a Game
On analyzing domain names, I find that the best domain names have already been taken by media houses, magazines and sports channels.
My analysis of sports blogs suggests that the best domain names are the combination of the name of sport/activity + the attention-seeking word. For example “Tennis Now” and “Sporting Life”.
You can use the domain name finding tool Leandomainsearch.com to get more domain name ideas.
For example, the tool returned the following domain name suggestion for the word “Skiing”.
Try to find a word relatable to your sub-niche.
If you can’t find a suitable domain name then you can start with any domain name. I too started my blog with the domain name “wisebaniya”, then I changed it to “moneysparkle” but still I was missing the connection.
Finally, I got the right combination in the domain name “CashOverflow”.
The other things which you should keep in mind before finalizing the domain name are:
- Pick a .com extension: If it is already taken then go for any other extension.
- For a country-specific audience, you should go for that country’s extension. For example, for blog audiences in India go for .in extension and likewise for a US-based audience you should choose a .us extension.
- Avoid domain names with hyphens and special characters. Because your audiences may find it difficult to spell and remember.
- Avoid words that are difficult to spell and hard to remember.
Step 3 – Buy A Hosting
You should avoid free hosting because in free hosting you do not own the site. You are given a subdomain, that looks like “mysite.yoursportblog.com”, a completely unprofessional look.
In free hosting space, you do not have access to the control panel. On top of that, the server speed slows down with time.
There will be NO help and support options. To make things worse, free hosting does not give you the flexibility to design your website as it has limited functions.
A good idea is to buy hosting space from the safe and reliable hosting service provider having quality customer care.
I would recommend you to buy Siteground hosting
Siteground gives you a safe hosting space on their high-speed servers. Your website loads faster on their solid-state drives (SSD) and free content delivery networks (CDN).
All the shared hosting plans from Siteground are protected from hackers and brute force attacks using HTTP/2 tech and AI security bots.
You get a free SSL “Lets Encrypt” certificate and assistance from quality customer support agents.
Steps To Buy Hosting From Siteground
Step 1: Go to Siteground website and select “Web Hosting”
By purchasing web hosting you get hosting services for your blog on the Siteground’s shared servers.
Step 2: Select GrowBig Plan
GrowBig plan is for starting level growing websites. You get enough resources for starting a growing blog, like;
- Hosting more than one website
- Having 20GB of webspace
- At a time, the plan can handle up to 25K visitors
On the other hand, you can host only one website on StartUp Plan having limited resources.
The GoGeek Plan has higher resources and is best suited to high traffic websites or to support the portfolio of growing websites.
Step 3: Register or Enter Domain Name
You should not get a domain name registered from your hosting service provider for the following reason:
- In case of website transfer, you may want to shift the domain registrar also which can be confusing.
- For a portfolio of websites, managing domain at the registrar is better.
- For added security.
Name Cheap is a good option for registering a domain name.
Step 4: Select Plan Period and Complete Purchase
Here you can select the hosting plan period from 12, 24 or 36 months. Siteground GrowBig plan has a fixed transparent price of $5.95 per month irrespective of the plan period.
Next, you will require a WordPress setup to see your blog live on the internet.
Step 4 – Technical Steps To Setup Your Sports Blog
Installing WordPress, themes and essential plugins make your sports blog go live and functional.
You can create beautiful websites by installing the free content management system of WordPress.
You just need to go to the control panel and click on “Install WordPress” in order to create a blog.
Some hosting services provide a pre-installed WordPress, but that entirely depends upon your hosting provider.
WordPress is used to create web pages, posts and add images. Further, WordPress lets you install themes & plugins, to help you customize and change the appearance of your blog.
Themes include layout, style elements and color schemes to help you improve the overall look and feel of your website.
The next section contains a list of the best WordPress themes for sports blogs. You can check and choose the theme which fits your micro sports niche.
However, when starting a blog you should not waste precious time in finalizing the theme.
Instead, you should pick up a free theme or any reasonably priced theme and focus more on other important things like content & growing your blog.
Make sure that whatever theme you choose, the website should;
- Have a responsive design
- Open with the help of any browser
- Be easy to navigate
- Give a professional look and have a proper structure
Steps to Install a Free Theme
You need to go to the dashboard> “Appearance” menu and select the option theme.
Next, you can select one from the list of themes and click on add new.
Steps to Install a Paid Theme
- Download the theme file from the theme website
- Click on upload theme
- Choose the theme file
- Click on install
Once the installation is done, click on the “Activate” button to make the theme functional.
Plugins give you the much needed additional features. They are helpful for having extended functionality. For example protection against spamming, incorporating SEO features, creating an e-store and many more.
Further, as you grow you may require advanced plugins like email marketing or affiliate marketing plugins.
In the initial phase, you can start by installing only necessary plugins, the list of which is as under;
- Yoast SEO/Rankmath
- TinyMCE Advanced
- WP Smush
- Shortcodes Ultimate
- Big Slam
- WP Soccer
- Whistle Sport
- Sport AK
- Splash Sports
- Moto Sports
I would suggest you to buy a SEO optimised wordpress theme.
Your expertise in sports can be converted into online courses to teach audiences. For example, Online Tennis Lessons.
Useful videos can be created showing the correct techniques, ball placement and sports equipment use.
Die-hard fans are always on a lookout to support their teams by using the team jersey, and flags.
That gives you the chance to monetize your sports blog by selling the favorite team merchandise, gears, equipment, shoes, bags and sports apparel.
A lot of people struggle to understand scoring in sports like golf, kabbadi, kayaking and cycling.
Help your audiences understand their favorite sport better by creating ebooks and guides.
Through a membership portal, you can offer for fees to your audiences;
- Autographed merchandise
- Old event photographs
- Exclusive content in the form of information and videos
Through your sports blog, you can offer your freelance writing service for a sports magazine, newspapers and channels.
There are online sports and gaming portals like “Dream 11” and “Fantasy Premier League” where fans create teams and simultaneously enjoy a sporting event.
You can help the audience find such a portal and earn a commission for opening an account.
In countries where betting on horse racing and other sports is legal, there are betting brokers. They pay you fees for getting new accounts.
In a sports niche, there are affiliate programs, right from club membership, equipment, clothing, smart water bottle (that tracks your water consumption) to shoes and fitness trackers. Even an affiliate for online sports merchandise shops.
- Under Armour
- Sports Memorabilia
You can help the audience reach all of them and earn through your sports blog. But you need to take care to promote niche related products. Products that you have used and are genuine or you know someone who has used and benefited from the product.
The empty website spaces on the right side and bottom of web pages can be used to display ads. Google pays $0.5 to $10 for your allotted space through the AdSense program. Which is very less and depends on geographic location.
But I do not recommend you to use Google AdSense for monetization. Because you do not have any control over the type of ads getting displayed.
Display Ads divert the blog traffic and give an unprofessional look. Further, they are also responsible for your website getting slow.
A better way to use empty white spaces on your blog is to sell the advertising space to sports brands and businesses to pitch useful products and services.
That way you will have better control of the ads displayed. Later on, you also have an opportunity to do a brand collaboration.
You can help a newbie sportsman on selecting new equipment, gear or accessories through product reviews.
Product reviews can be used to introduce new and useful products for audiences which their favorite player or team is using.
Before doing a review post you should make sure that the products are helpful to your audiences and are in line with your sports micro-niche.
Check out – how to start a fitness blog
You can pull traffic to your sports blog in two different ways, through Social media and Google.
Just like any other website, your sports blog may take some time to rank on Google. You can use this time in promoting your blog through social networking sites.
Getting readers and their feedback is important for you to understand user intent, their expectations and establishing connections.
You should explore various social groups and forums to find initial audiences. In the beginning, you need to provide value to the group by helping people and solving their problems.
Then only you can expect things in return. Your primary aim should be to build relationships and not spamming the group with your blog promotion.
You can start engaging with the relevant sports group on Facebook. In order to find a sports group you can search using the term “Sports”.
For example, you can check the search below;
You can click open a relevant group where you can find the group details and a link to join the group.
For example, below is the screenshot of the “Super Car Club” group on Facebook.
You can join the group and start engaging.
Email marketing is a great medium to connect with engaging audiences. Use it to reach out to sports fans & enthusiasts.
Deliver useful personalized content. In return, politely ask them to share information about your blog with others.
While you are promoting on social channels, do not forget to post blogs regularly. You should cultivate the habit of creativity in publishing regularly.
Once you have enough content volume then Google will start indexing your pages and bring organic traffic to your blog.
You would like to read – How to do SEO keyword research
Sports and sports blogs have the potential to connect people, communities and the country. The niche has a huge fan following worldwide.
If you have a passion and interest in any of the sporting activities then you have on hand a valuable opportunity to start a sports blog.