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WORK-LIFE BALANCE / SEP. 11, 2014
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How to Launch a Sports Blog

If you are considering launching your first sports blog, you’re in luck. All you really need is excellent content, a solid social media presence, and your trusty PC or laptop. In all actuality, the most important and in some cases the most difficult part of creating your first blog is finding your unique niche and style; here are a few tips to help you get started.

How to Find Your Niche

Your blog niche is basically what your blog is about. Since there are a wealth of sports blogs for readers to choose from, you must decide your approach, type of content, and most valuable writing strengths. Whether your specific niche is broad or focused, defining it before you begin will shape how your blog is designed, approached, and delivered.

Narrowing it Down

Once you decide a general niche, next you need to narrow it down a bit. For example, will your blog be an opinion piece or contain strictly sports news? In addition, decide whether you will be writing about a specific sport, specific player, or specific team. If you feel like being more general, make sure that the subject matter is something you are passionate about and able to write content at least once per week in detail.

Find Your Voice

Since the genre of sports is covered extensively in blogs, you may need to find a unique writing voice in order to enable your blog to stand out from the rest. Research your favorite sports writers and take not of how you would change their articles. The best way to do this is to choose a specific story or sports topic and rewrite the article using your personal style and tone. This will help you find your blogging voice and also help you hone your creative writing and editing skills.

Determining Structure 

Your blog structure may not seem important at first, but the devil is always in the details. You want your blog to be scan-able, offer information that is valuable to readers, and visually attractive. If you intend to make money off your blog you should also consider ad placement. Banner ads can be a good choice, but when starting out you may want to consider alternative ways of advertising such as joining an affiliate program or including occasional sponsored sports product reviews.

Use Widgets

Readers like information rich widgets. Add widgets that display game or player stats, reader polls, and game schedules. The more interactive your blog is the better. Adding widgets and other interactive media to your site can help you gain credibility and garner trust with your readers.

Hosting

For those of us that are not especially technically inclined, choosing a site host is ideal. Attempting to host and maintain your site can turn out costing you more than simply paying the small monthly fee for professional comprehensive hosting. In some cases hosting is absolutely free when using sites like Hub Pages.  

Create a Buzz

Creating a healthy buzz about your blog before you launch is essential. Include snippets of information about the blog, partial articles, and information on upcoming special event podcasts on social media to help feed the fervor. For a sports blog, be sure to visit sports discussion groups both online and off to engage with potential readers. The more followers you have before your official launch the better. 

Additional Resources 

Here are some additional resources to check out before launching your sports blog:

  • "How to Start a Blog People Will Read" by Mike Omar: This book outlines how you can grab the attention of readers using tried and true methods.
  • "Blogger Boot Camp" by John Biggs & Charlie White: This book will show you how to build a winning blog from the ground up.
  • "Blogging Heroes" by Michael A. Banks: This book can help you gain insight from the masters. 

Starting a sports blog is not easy, but when done right it can be extremely rewarding. The first step is having a lot of passion and affinity for sports in general. Once you find your niche and voice, the rest is mostly technicalities. Remember to hold onto your passion as you go and be smart with advertising, you do not want to alienate customers by bombarding them with pop ups and huge banner ads. If your content is righteous and buzz worthy, you will gain the trust and loyalty of your readers.

Image via JD

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