Hey, it's January and winter storms are about to hit the Midwest and East coasts. Bundle up, sit down at your computer, and spend a half hour or so setting up your website now for softball season and you'll save yourself a ton of time once March and April come around.
Where do you start? Follow these tips to set up a softball website in 2018...
Tip #1 to set up your softball website - post your schedules early
If your schedule is up-to-date on a website in the preseason and during the season, you'll spend less time answering questions and listening to confused parents.
Game schedules are important once the season starts, but it's also critical that you have other important events like the first day of registration, board meetings, and Opening Day on the website. Parents will be visiting the websites looking for important information so you need to make sure it is easy to access.
Tip #2 - start collecting online payments now
Stats show that 80% of people prefer to pay with credit or debit card as opposed to cash/check. It's more secure, it's easy to track, it's convenient, and best of all it makes your life easier if you're volunteering to run the organization.
Setting up online payments and collecting player information (like birthdates, jersey size, division) has become quick and easy online. Even if you have no familiarity or experience collecting credit card payments or setting online forms, it just takes a couple minutes to get started.
Since registration "runs itself" once you get statred, there's no reason not to get registration opened now if you haven't already.
Jersey Watch has an all in one feature that can be set up in a few minutes.
Still concerned about allowing participants to register and pay online? Check out our article with the 5 myths about Online Registration.
Tip #3 - Send Messages via text and/or email
Communicating quickly with participants, parents, and coaches is difficult. Parents and coaches often prefer different forms of communication (some love Facebook, some prefer email, some just don't check anything). And, the last thing you want is parents constantly calling and texting you at home or work during the season to ask when/where they need to be.
The good news is your website can become the communication hub for your softball program, and send out notifications to parents and coaches with just a few clicks. Need to cancel a game or remind parents about registration? With a few clicks you can notify large groups of people and direct them to the website to find updated information.
Regular communication that parents can receive directly on their phone will also make them happy so they don't have to go searching for information in different places.
Tip #4 - Make it mobile friendly
It's also critical to make sure that your website visitors have a smooth, user-friendly experience when they land on your page. About 50% (maybe more) of your website visitors will be trying to register, view schedules, and find information from their phone. If your website isn't made to work well on phones, you'll frustrate parents, coaches and participants (if you're already a Jersey Watch customer, your website is automatically mobile friendly, so you're good to go!).
Luckily, it's simple to get a website that works well on any device, just make sure the website is "mobile responsive" so that visitors from phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops all get a smooth experience.
Nowadays, it's important to make sure you've got a website that works well on any device, so those parents that are addicted to their phone can find your information easily.
A play at the plate...
Maintaining a website for softball season doesn't have to take a lot of time - the website should be time well spent that reduces your workload as a volunteer. Keeping an updated schedule - even months before the season starts - will help parents and coaches get prepared for your season. Make sure you get registration started well in advance to give participants convenient options to pay. During the season, spend a few minutes each week making sure the website is up-to-date and consider using your website as a central hub for all communication by sending texts and emails with important updates.
Questions about setting up a new website or updating an existing website? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to get started on a website? Click here to try Jersey Watch.