It took me years to create my own effective sports blog, but I finally pulled the trigger. I want to help you create the same thing.
Welcome to a little different slice of STL Hat Trick. I have been learning a ton about how to blog effectively and I want to pass it on to my readers here that may want to take these methods to create an effective sports blog.
When you peruse the internet the one thing you find a lot of information about is blogging. However, the thing you don’t find is effective information that translates to creating an effective sports blog.
There’s plenty of how-to’s about getting started, but nothing about the process. I want to change that. I want to give you the reader some great tools to figure out this sports blogosphere on your own.
How to Get Started
Find Your Lane
Normally this is what we in the blogging world would call “find your niche”. However, we already know your niche is sports. So, you need to figure out which venture you plan on covering. Do you plan on covering Cardinals’ baseball or Blues hockey like we do?
Maybe you want to cover MLB or NHL as a whole. Whatever lane you chose, be sure that this is a topic that you can be an authority on and that you can do justice ON YOUR OWN. The reason I emphasize “on your own”, is that partners and staffers aren’t consisted and invested in your project, so they can’t be relied on to cover an area you may not consider yourself an authority on.
Discover your mission
What do you want this blog to do? Are you just creating the blog to ramble about Mike Matheny’s inability to adjust from year to year? Or are you trying to create a brand that will be around to cover a subject for a long time?
These are important questions because it determines your interest level and investment level. If you are unsure on things and don’t know whether you want to do this full time or even part-time, then a wordpress.com/wix-site/medium blog is perfect for you.
However, if you are like me and intend to profit off of the blog and become an authority within your audience, it is imperative that you create a self-hosted blog. This isn’t free, so it is important that you understand that and are willing to make the investment.
Getting Domain and Host
The links below here are affiliate links and if a purchase is made using these links, I may make a commission.
This is the part that costs money for you. Hosting and domain can be pricey, so if you are unsure then start a free blog on WordPress.com or one of the other places first.
However, one cannot beat the deal that one of the most popular hosting providers in BlueHost is providing right now. They are currently offering a hosting plan for under $3 a month that includes your domain name for free.
For my sites, I have stuck with HostGator for my host and Namecheap as my domain registrar. Both offer hosting and domain options although Namecheap is more known for their domain registration.
Some effective sports blogs have also have had good success with places like Siteground as well. Siteground and BlueHost were both places that I considered having my site hosted when I started this journey back in February of last year. However, at the time I got the better deal with HostGator.
All of these options are great. Whichever you are most comfortable with will work great for your site and the problems should be minimal at the worst.
Check out our work:
Setup and Design
To get the site running, you are going to need to setup your host nameservers to your domain. Normally, this is something that is including in your hosting welcome e-mail. It’s a fairly simple process that is easily explained here. Sometimes this can take up to 24-48 hours to complete, but if you don’t mess with things it shouldn’t take too long.
Now comes the fun part. It’s time to pick a theme. My suggestion is to pick a free theme from WordPress that you like at first and tweak it to your liking. The WordPress customization tool is fairly easy to use even though at first, it can seem like a bear to deal with. Trust me it’s a lot easier than hand coding your website.
If you struggle with getting a grasp on the customizer tool and can’t seem to figure it out, you can contact a developer to develop the site to your liking. You can also use a theme from places like Theme Forest or Template Monster and those themes can sometimes be easier to design.
Now, this is the most important thing about blogging. Content. Content is where you voice your opinion and where you develop your voice, your brand and your authority. Over time, I will give you great advice on what type of content works and what type of content doesn’t work.
To start things off, I would have a handful of pieces ready to go before you officially launch to your target audience. To go with that, create a nice landing page on your homepage to give your audience an introduction to who you are and what you plan to write about.
Networking and Social Media
Apart of growing your brand and your reach is going to be social media. You are going to need to set up pages for each social network and create branding to go along with it. Part of that will be creating a nice logo to showcase on your site and your social profiles.
I had decent success getting my logo created for around $15 on Fiverr. You can reach out to a friend who does graphics work or maybe someone apart of your social following will be willing to help you out.
You have to be willing to be active on these social channels for them to work. I am not the best at interacting on my Facebook page, but it’s also not my best place for reach. I instead keep up with different group pages where I will frequently comment about the latest news/analysis on the teams I follow.
With this interaction, I create an awareness and an authority that a brand page can’t do. This way when I share my posts, I will get more of a reaction and more clicks out of the article. If I just spam the page with my blog posts it will show and people will tend to ignore me when I do post.
It is also important that you find groups that accept promotion. You don’t want to waste your time in a group that doesn’t allow promotion. You’ll always be tiptoeing around the rules and someone will find out if you are breaking them.
Unless you have a previously established track record and audience, analytics and stats shouldn’t be given much weight in the beginning. However, in order to properly count statistics, it will be imperative to get hooked up with Google Analytics.
Jetpack will help keep statistics natively through WordPress, but they are nowhere near as accurate as Google. With this, you can properly analyze your traffic from many different avenues.
This is just the tip of the iceberg to creating an effective sports blog. There are many more things that I want to share with you moving forward. One of those things being monetization. At the beginning, you should primarily focus on getting content up and running before you start tinkering with ads and affiliates.
It’s important that at this time you are developing your brand and influence. Muddling that too soon might stunt the growth of your brand. Stay tuned for more effective sports blog information moving forward!
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