The Front Page

If you run a sports business organization, let’s say you’re a college or professional team, there are two, maybe three critical things you should have on the front page of your website:

– A way to buy tickets
– A way to buy merchandise
– A way to donate money (if you’re a college or university, enough said – or if you run a professional team that has a popular foundation or non-profit entity)

This is not to say that nothing else is important and that you shouldn’t have ads on your site and feel like you need to clutter it up to get everything on there – you don’t. And I think you should have all those things on there, but remember what is most important – your own brand!

You’ve got to promote yourself before you promote anything else on your website.
You’ve got to have fans to click on those ads and do business with your sponsors, so start with the fans in mind before you do anything, which is what you are doing anyway…right?!

1. Always make your tickets links and advertisements the most prominent of any other content on the homepage and make sure it is in the top third of the page. If you’ve got a mobile version of your website – which you absolutely should and you’re losing business every day you don’t have one – make sure your ticket link is size appropriate for everything else there as well. Mobile web design is critical, so make you test that out well before implementing. In addition, make sure your ticket specific webpage includes a way to sign up for emails as well – any good sales person would love to have fresh leads coming in every day from people wanting to know more about what it is that you offer, so start with that as a daily tool.

2. Make your online store and merchandise outlet prominent and advertise items appropriately. The ads for “what’s hot” or “new items” should be specific to the time of years as well as where you are in the playing season. When one of your players gets nominated for a big award, make sure their jersey is in those ads. When it’s just starting to get cold outside, take down the tank tops and put up the gloves and mittens. If you’re tracking appropriately, you already know what sells in the actual retail store and around what times your inventory changes, so make sure you online store reflects those same moves.

3. If you are a college or university you are probably already well versed in how important donations are to the bottom line. As a result, don’t forget that your website is the front door to your department as well as to your school. Athletics are often spoken of as the “front door” to the university, so make sure you make that connection. (Maybe you feel that you don’t owe them anything…at any rate, remember your audience includes high school prospects of which a select few will be playing on your teams one day.) The homepage of your website is the gateway for anyone who wants the official word on your organization. If part of your organization is funded by philanthropic giving, make sure you are communicating how important that piece of the equation is to the entire organization – tell the story of how what you are doing is more than just “asking for money.” If you are a non-profit university, you’ve got a great story to tell…and this is one way to start. GO!

On the other hand, if you’re a professional team with a prominent non-profit foundation, make sure they have some real estate on your website. This can go a long way in terms of developing further bonds within your community and establishing new connections around what it is that that group does. It’s OK to boast about all the great things you are doing in the community and your website is where that starts. Much of what we do is going digital and so must your philanthropic efforts as well. Remember, we’re not trying to sell everyone the same thing. We’re only trying to find more people who connect with what it is that we represent and believe. By putting these things online, you’re giving others an opportunity to find you and connect.

Go Forth!

I hope you enjoyed this post about how the front page of your website is important to not only giving people news, but getting them on their way. If you’d like to receive emailed, daily updates, please enter your email address in the box to the right.