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Football on grass

Hitting the net: what do football club websites need?

Football on grass

Hitting the net: what do football club websites need?

When thinking of football, you probably immediately think of the big names like Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea, but these clubs are just the summit of what’s known as the football “pyramid”.

There are around 43,000 active football clubs in the UK, and probably one within walking distance of your home. These clubs are pillars of their community and offer ways for people to socialise and exercise every Saturday. And really, every one of them should have its own website.

The problem is that although every football club is individual, many of them have similar websites that follow the same template. In the early 2010s, 86 professional football clubs scored a massive own goal when they signed up to have their sites run by Football League Interactive. These were identikit websites, which wouldn’t have been ideal even if they had been excellent sites, as all these clubs need to forge their own identity and branding, but what made it worse was that the sites were beset with technical issues. They were slow, blocky and ugly, and many clubs voiced their displeasure at them, including the now Premier League club Brentford.

Today, many non-league football clubs have a site powered by Pitchero, such as Liverpool-based Bootle F.C. Though a little basic and formulaic, these sites are at least easy to navigate and have a clean design. It’s not hard to see why clubs like them, although they do mean they end up with the word “pitchero” in their URL and can’t just go for www.[club name].co.uk.

Every club has its own identity, so really they should have a website that reflects this. A custom-built site allows them to make the most of what they offer, and it can be tailored with updates and selling points specific to them. In North West England, there’s no shortage of big football clubs, so smaller ones need to think about what they can offer that the giants can’t. This might include the chance to turn up at 2:59pm and still get a great viewing spot, to pay less than a tenner to get in, to enjoy a pint on the terraces and even to volunteer. It might seem strange to use the term “unique selling point” (USP) for something as leisurely as amateur football, but it applies in much the same way as for any small business.

We have some football-mad staff at Engage Web, and we’ve just signed up to be the shirt sponsor of our local club Ellesmere Port Town F.C. We’ve also taken care of sites for clubs in other sports, ranging from athletics to archery. Why not speak to us to learn more about what we can do for your club?

John Murray

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