How to Start a Sports Blog for Beginners in 2022
Are you always providing valuable insights on your favorite sport for your friends? Or maybe you're a former coach/player with exciting insider information?
If so, you should consider starting your own sports blog to share your expertise with the world.
77% of internet users read blogs in one form or another, and starting a blog has never been easier in 2022.
Beyond that, there are also more ways to monetize your blog than ever before - especially with the popularity of affiliate programs. In fact, 65% of affiliate marketers generate their traffic from blogging.
Yet, starting a blog may seem like a daunting task if you're a total beginner.
After all, you need your own website, a domain, and a roadmap for your content. It's all too common for sports fans to get excited and start blogging without developing a detailed strategy for it first.
That's why we've put together the ultimate guide for starting a successful sports blog in 2022 that you can use to make money. I'll break down the entire process step-by-step so that it's far less intimidating.
Read on to discover how you can transform your love of sporting events into a new blog.
Step #1: Pick a Focus and a Niche
The first step is to decide what you want to cover on your blog. Believe it or not, it pays not to be vague here. Instead, you'll want to be as specific as possible so you can stand out amongst the horde of other sports bloggers.
Why is that?
It's because blogging is highly competitive. Consider this, there are approximately 31.7 million bloggers in the US alone, and only 30% of them report finding success.
That doesn't mean that being successful is impossible - just that you need a clearly defined niche.
What's a blog niche, and why do you need one for sports?
A niche is necessary for any business or blog because it helps you build a loyal base of readers and customers.
When it comes to sports blogging, you’ll want to get as granular as possible when choosing your niche. While some may think that sports is niche enough by itself, it’s far too broad and encompasses too much.
If you try to speak to all sports fans with your blog, your messaging will reach no one, and you'll get lost in the fray.
Here's an example to help you make sense of things:
• Blog A is a generic overview of all sports. The updates attempt to cover football, hockey, and baseball - all while only hitting the main points. There's no expertise or deep dive into any particular sport, and the content is rather dull as a result.
• Blog B is an MMA blog started by a former professional fighter. They break down all the major UFC fights, including highlighting specific techniques. They also post interviews with referees, coaches, and fighters on the regular and sometimes feature videos and a podcast.
Which blog would you rather read?
It's clear that Blog B has a clearly defined niche - and it's far more potent as a result. That's why you'll need to hunker down and pick a niche for your blog before you start writing posts.
Tips for selecting your sports niche
Now that you know a niche is crucial for your success, how do you pick one?
There are several ways you can go about picking a niche. First, decide which specific sport or sports team you know the best. Which sport do you play? Which sport do you watch religiously every single week?
You'll want to make sure that you genuinely enjoy your niche to avoid burnout. If you pick a sport, team, or athlete that you aren't thrilled about - you may have trouble finding new topics in the future.
That's why you'll want to select the topic that gets you the most enthused.
Also, try and get as specific as possible with your niche to stand out from the crowd. For example, there are thousands of Dallas Cowboys blogs, so simply starting another one won't do much good.
To get more specific, you can focus on a particular athlete, blog about the stadium, or post reviews of Cowboys merchandise.
Here are some other ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
• Focus on reporting news for a specific team or sport
• Write about the local teams in your area
• If you have a sports hero, you can focus the blog on them (i.e., Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, etc.)
• Blog about the upbringing of athletes and how it affected their success
Beyond ensuring that you love what you write about, you also need to make sure that there’s an audience for your writing.
Do some research online to confirm that there’s enough interest in your topic to dedicate a blog to it.
That can be as easy as doing some quick searches on Google to see if there are other blogs in your niche and if they have a dedicated base of readers or not. If you discover that there’s a noticeable lack of interest in your topic, that may mean you won’t be able to generate much traffic to your blog.
In that case, it’s worth going back to the drawing board to find another topic that also interests you but has a wider audience.
Step #2: Build a Unique Brand for Your Sports Blog
Many sports bloggers forget about brand building, but they shouldn't. It's not enough to pick a unique niche for your blog - you'll also need to build a unique brand that sticks in the head of your readers.
If your niche is what your blog is about, your brand is your blog's personality.
It's what makes readers instantly recognize your content and know that it's from you.
Every aspect of your blog (the articles, header/footer, logos, tone, ethos, etc.) needs to align with your brand.
That's why you'll need to spend an equal amount of time developing a brand as you find a niche.
Where do you start?
You start by identifying your target audience and familiarizing yourself with their wants and needs. That's always the first step in building a brand that directly relates to your readers. It will also help ensure that you always hit the mark with your content.
Identifying your target audience
Knowing your target audience is one of the most crucial components of learning how to start a sports blog.
Once you've selected a niche, you'll need to identify its core audience. There are a few ways that you can go about this, such as:
• Googling your sports niche and reading the blogs/forums that come up
• Researching relevant social media pages (i.e., groups centered around your niche, such as boxing or football)
• Doing SEO keyword research to see what your audience looks for on Google search and other search engines (i.e., using the research tool to identify queries with a high search volume)
• Browsing subreddit pages that deal with your niche sports topic
• Asking people from your target audience that you know about what they want (which will be easy if you have a lot of friends that share your sports interests)
• Find other blogs in your niche and check out their posts/quality of content.
These are all ways to not only identify your core audience but also to learn more about them. Browsing subreddits may lead you to discover a problem sports fans have that you can solve with your blog content.
For example, let's say your niche is covering the Milwaukee Admirals hockey team, and you check out a subreddit on them.
That's when you notice users complaining about the lack of play-by-play breakdowns for each game - as there are fans that can't always see the game live - and they enjoy reading detailed analyses from experts. Bingo, now you know how to create great content tailored toward your target audience.
Things to consider when researching your audience
Besides identifying the audience, there are a few other essential things to consider, such as:
• Your primary competitors. When Googling your niche, pay attention to the other blogs that show up - as these will be your competitors. From keyword rankings to organic traffic, the heat will be on between you and these blogs. The good news is you can take essential cues from competitors, such as which topics get clicks and which don't.
• Your ideal customers. Even though you're still in the conceptual stages, it's wise to always have monetization in mind. If you plan on doing affiliate marketing or selling sports equipment through your blog, you'll want to pick out the 'low-hanging fruit' - or those most likely to buy your products.
It's best to knock these both out during the brand-building phase, so they don't sneak up on you later.
The last thing you want is to enter a niche that already has a massively popular sports blog that you have no chance of competing with. You also don't want to start selling merchandise without a buyer persona in mind.
Write a positioning statement for your brand
Now it's time to start molding your brand's personality, and a reliable starting point is to write a positioning statement.
A positioning statement is a few sentences that state your brand's purpose in no-nonsense terms. It's not something you'll use in any of your branding materials, as it's only meant to give you an idea of what your brand identity should become.
Here's a template for a positioning statement:
We provide (products/services) for (target market) to (provide value). Unlike (competitors), we (key differentiator).
Going with the Milwaukee Admirals example from above, the positioning statement would read as follows.
We provide news, updates, and coverage for Milwaukee Admirals fans, so they never miss anything new. Unlike other blogs in our field, we offer detailed play-by-play breakdowns of every Admirals game in the season.
Voila, now we have a concise positioning statement that will help us develop taglines, logos, messaging, and more. We stated our purpose, how we provide value, and what makes us stand out from the crowd in two sentences.
Choose a brand name, slogan, and colors
All right, the next step is to come up with a blog name. After all, nobody can search for your sports blog online if it doesn't have a name.
You'll want a unique name that sets you apart from competitors.
For example, if you're covering Milwaukee Admiral games, 'The Milwaukee Admirals Blog' is too vague.
You'll want something unique that aligns with your branded image, such as 'Admirals Nation' or 'The Admirals Express.'
Do a little research to ensure that nobody else is already using the same name, as that will be terrible for your brand.
Once you've got a name, you'll want to develop a catchy tagline and branded colors. If you're covering a sports team like the Admirals, it's evident that you'll want to use their colors - but you should add new ones too.
As far as a slogan, it should be catchy and relate to your mission. For the Admirals example, you could use a slogan like this:
'Scathingly honest play-by-plays for every Admirals game.'
Other techniques for coming up with slogans include:
• Use metaphors
• Reflect your customers' attitude
• Write rhymes
• Give yourself a unique label
Once all these components are in place, you'll have a unique brand identity for your new sports blog.
Step #3: Select a Blogging Platform
All right, now it's time to start getting serious. You've identified a niche and target audience and built a wholly original identity for your blog. It's time to make the dream a reality and select a blogging platform.
There are plenty of options, the most popular being WordPress and Wix. There's also Squarespace, Hubspot, and many others.
You can even use social media platforms such as LinkedIn for blogging - but for this article, I'm going to focus on buying a domain name and using a website builder.
Each platform will have its advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to do plenty of research before deciding.
Selecting the right platform for you
Here's a breakdown of all the major platforms and their advantages.
• Squarespace. Do you want your sports website to have an exceptionally visually appealing layout? If so, Squarespace is the blogging platform for you. Its interface is highly user-friendly, and it has a myriad of stunning themes and add-ons, all of which you can customize.
• WordPress. WordPress is an excellent choice if you've got a bit of web experience behind you. It's highly scalable and customizable. Also, if you purchase the annual or two-year plan, you will receive a new domain name for free for one full year. WordPress sites are also excellent for search engine optimization, which is a plus. Also, anyone can install WordPress and start using it for free. Lastly, WordPress has the most options for monetizing your blog.
• Wix. Besides being great for beginners, Wix has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that anyone can appreciate. The team at Wix has also placed tremendous emphasis on improving the SEO of their websites. So if you're brand-new to building websites, Wix is the way to go. While it tends to work best for building static websites, you can use the Wix Blog add-on for sports blogging.
Make sure you do plenty of research (maybe even try out a few free trials) to see which platform you prefer. It's crucial to really nail this, as once you create your blog, there's likely no going back or changing.
While you technically can switch CMS providers for your website (CMS migration), it can be a headache as it's both complex and expensive.
Step #4: Create a Domain Name
Next, you'll need to select a service to use for web hosting so you can buy a domain. You'll want to purchase a .com domain to ensure that your domain is easy to enter in web browsers.
What’s web hosting?
It’s the equivalent of buying a house for your website online. You’ll need a web hosting service to provide you with the storage space and facilities necessary to create and maintain a website.
The hosting service will contain all the files and data that make up your site. To make it accessible to the World Wide Web, you’ll need a domain name.
What’s a domain name?
If web hosting is buying the house, the domain name is your home’s address. It’s what you enter in your web browser so you can visit a website. Computers recognize IP addresses (such as 18.104.22.168) - but those are too long and complex for us to remember. That’s why we use domain names like ‘www.yourwebsite.com.’
Choosing a service for web hosting/domain hosting
There are many domain registrars out there, so you'll want to decide which works best for you. Here's a breakdown of the most popular domain registrars and what they do best:
• Bluehost. One of the most prevalent web hosting registrars around today is Bluehost for many good reasons. They offer shared hosting, cloud hosting, VPS hosting, and more. Bluehost is an excellent option if you want to scale your sports blog if it turns out to be a success - as it's effortless to upgrade to a larger hosting package.
• HostGator. If ease of use is what you're after, a domain from HostGator is sure to satisfy. Hosting a domain is made easy with HostGator's features, such as a free SSL certificate and guided WordPress installs.
• NameCheap. If you're concerned about the security of your domain, NameCheap is the way to go. They have domain privacy protection for life, 2-step verification, SSL certificates, and other safety features.
Once you pick out a domain registrar, you'll need to settle on a domain name.
Tips for creating a memorable domain name
Your domain name should stay true to your branding, just like your blog's title. Ideally, you want a domain that's relevant, catchy, and easy to remember. Here are some pointers to remember:
• Keep it short. A long domain name looks clunky and won't stick in the minds of your readers. (i.e., www.admiralsnation.com looks better than www.themilwaukeeadmiralsblog.com)
• Add extra words. You may find that someone else has already claimed your ideal domain name. In that scenario, you can add additional words to make it unique. (i.e., if Admirals Nation is taken, you could use MA Nation or M. Admirals Nation)
• Get creative. Your domain name does not have to mirror the title of your blog. As long as your domain is relevant in some way to your blog, nearly anything can work.
While it's essential to spend some time devising a domain name, it can be easy to get carried away.
Try to spend no more than two hours coming up with a name, and then move on.
There's no 'perfect' domain name that will cause your blog to become a magic success, nor is there one that will ruin your blog - so don't place too much emphasis on it if you have writer's block.
You can also use a domain name generator to get your creative juices flowing.
Step #5: Create a Theme for Your Blog
Okay, so by now, you should have a domain name, a CMS program, a blog title, and a niche focus for your content.
Now it's time to make your blog visually appealing to readers with a high-quality theme.
Themes are preset visual layouts that builders like WordPress.org provide. There are themes for eCommerce stores, informational websites, and of course - blogs.
A theme will provide:
• Colors, fonts, and an overall design for displaying your content
• A general navigational layout (Home, About Us, Blogs)
• Hyperlinks and buttons
• Areas to embed videos and images
Depending on which platform you choose, you'll have different blog themes to use. For example, Extra is a popular WordPress theme for blogs - but if you're on Squarespace, you'll have other options - such as Envy.
Also, you shouldn't set a theme and then call it a day. These themes are meant to be jumping-off points, not the end result. That's why these themes are all highly customizable.
Make sure to change the colors and fonts to reflect your branding (or the sports team you're blogging about). You'll also likely want to change the navigation elements, photos, buttons, videos, etc.
It shouldn't even remotely resemble the vanilla template by the time you finish tweaking your theme. Instead, you will have a unique blog filled with exclusive content from your brand.
Tips for selecting a theme
Here are the top factors you should look for when selecting a theme for your sports blog:
• Responsiveness. Before pulling the trigger on a theme, pull it up on your mobile phone to see if it works. You'll want a theme that works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. The reason for this is two-fold: 52.79% of all web visits are on mobile devices (as of May 2022), and Google uses mobile-first indexing.
• Customization. The more you can customize a theme, the easier it is to create something unique that embodies your brand. When browsing themes, check out the customization options for each. For example, can you add custom lines of code to the theme? Will you be able to add your branded images, messaging, and colors easily?
• Reviews. Website themes cost money, so you should treat them like any other purchase. Before deciding on a theme, check out as many user reviews as possible. Poor user reviews or a lack of any are almost always red flags, so be wary.
• Loading speed. Even if it's the most incredible-looking theme in the world, it's not worth your time if it loads slowly. Loading speed is a massive issue for SEO and your user experience. If you don't pass Google's Core Web Vitals test, you won't rank on the SERPs. If your page loads slow, your bounce rate will also suffer - as users will click away to meet their needs elsewhere.
Once you find a responsive, customizable theme with great reviews that loads quickly, you can move on to the next step.
Step #6: Write Your Basic Pages (Home, About Me, Contact)
So, what type of information should you include on your homepage?
Your homepage is your website's handshake. It's the first impression your readers will get of your blog, so it's essential to reflect your brand accurately.
To start, try including a warm, welcoming message for your readers. It could be something as simple as:
"Greetings, fellow Admirals fans! Welcome to your #1 source for everything related to the Milwaukee Admirals, including news, play-by-play, commentary, videos, and more!"
In two sentences, you've greeted your readers and let them know what they can find on your blog.
Your homepage should also contain an overview of your entire blog. That includes previews of the latest posts (an image with a brief snippet breaking down what the article is about, complete with a 'read more button), news updates, newsletter sign-up forms, forum posts, and social media hyperlinks.
That way, your readers can quickly get to the content they're after straight from the homepage. Remember, the goal of any user interface is to make things as effortless for your visitors as possible.
This is your chance to introduce yourself to your readers. After all, they'll want to know who you are, your expertise in the sport, and what made you want to start blogging.
You don't have to tell your entire life story here, just hit on the basics.
After reading your About Me, your readers should view you as a trustworthy authority on their favorite sport. Even if you're only a fan, lay out why you're so passionate about the sport and how it inspires you.
This is where you'll want to let your readers know how they can get in touch with you. You should include your address, email, phone number, and any other way fans can reach out.
It's also a good idea to include your social media links here. If you plan on monetizing your blog, your contact page is even more crucial - as it's how customers can get in touch with you to ask questions about your products.
Step #7: Create a Roadmap for Your Blog Content
Don't worry; we're almost to the point where you can write your first new post. Before we get there, though, there's a bit more planning to do.
It's not a good idea to start releasing blogs at random intervals, as your readers will want consistency.
Also, random topics won't do you any good, either.
Instead, you'll want to do research and pre-plan your topics so you can write them in advance. That will ensure that your blog always has a steady stream of fresh, relevant content for your audience.
Consistency and relevant content are the top ways to grow a blog into a powerhouse that actively earns you money - as having a detailed content roadmap will make it easier to sell merchandise or sign up for an affiliate program eventually.
Each post also needs to stay in line with your branding, so it's not wise to write posts willy-nilly.
Start small and work your way up
What type of release schedule do you want to maintain? Do you want to release a new blog once a week, twice a week, or three times a week?
While being ambitious is great, you'll need to be realistic about your schedule and what you can handle.
Sure, you may be able to churn out three blogs one week, but can you stay consistent with it?
I recommend starting small and aiming for a weekly release schedule when getting started. That means you only focus on researching, writing, and publishing one post a week.
This timeline will allow you to test the waters to see how time-consuming it is to blog consistently. If you're able to knock out one blog a post a week, no problem, bump it up to two, and so on.
Ideally, you'll want to release blogs two to four times a week to start seeing results. Yet, it's crucial to work yourself up to this point to avoid overwhelming yourself.
Your topic choices will literally make or break your blog, so you should spend the most amount of time researching new topics.
Remember the techniques you used to uncover your target audience? Those tactics are also how you can find new topics to write about.
Don't forget to keep up with the subreddits and social media groups that relate to your niche, as these are goldmines for finding new topics. The people are always speaking, so you should train yourself to listen intently.
Of course, you can also post about topics that matter to you as a fan or practitioner of the sport. You'll just want to make sure that your views align with the audience you're trying to reach.
Make your posts accessible
Writing for an online audience is different than writing a book. For one, web readers have a far shorter attention span.
As such, you'll want to make your blog posts accessible, readable, and fun.
There's no need to use overly complicated language or confusing sports jargon. Instead, write as if you're speaking to one of your friends. Otherwise, your analysis may come off as preachy or pretentious.
Also, break up the text to avoid long paragraphs, as those are hard to read. You can also use numbered lists, bullet points, bold, and italics to improve the readability of your blogs.
Step #8: Write Your First Blog Post
You've finally made it! Now you can kick off your blog the right way, knowing that you've done all the necessary preparation. You've got a shiny new blog complete with a title, brand identity, niche, and roadmap for your content.
Now it's time to sit down at your keyboard and start typing away.
For your very first post, it's a good idea to introduce yourself to your readers. You don't have to go into as much detail as your About Me page, but you can make mention that this is your first post.
After that, cover the topic in as much detail as you can, all while breaking up the text with images and lists.
Now is also the time to familiarize yourself with the CTA (call to action).
You can end each blog post with a call to action if you're promoting merchandise, services like personal coaching, or products.
It's a brief set of sentences that clearly explains what action you want your readers to take next. That could be to sign up for your newsletter or to fill out your contact form to book a coaching session.
Either way, a CTA is excellent for boosting your click-through rate and sales. In fact, an email containing a CTA can increase clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.
Step #9: Promote and Monetize Your Blog
All right, the final step of learning how to start a sports blog is learning how to market and monetize your blog.
After all, what could be better than making money writing about the sport that you love?
First, we'll focus on the most effective digital marketing techniques for getting the word out about your new sports blog.
The most effective way to generate more traffic for your blog is to use SEO best practices. That means doing keyword research to discover the queries your audience searches for the most. It also means optimizing your content around those keywords and tweaking technical factors.
Since I already spoke about keyword research, I'll focus on two other aspects of SEO, technical SEO and link building.
Internal and external links will impact your domain authority. Try to make sure that each page on your blog has internal links pointing to it. You should also strive to obtain links on other pages that point to your blog, called backlinks.
You can reach out to another blog in your niche to write a guest post to get a backlink. In doing so, you'll get to leave a link to your blog, which is a backlink. You can also return the favor to them so they can get a backlink, too.
Social media accounts are outstanding because they provide free publicity. Make sure to register your blog on each platform and share each post. Remember those subreddits and social media groups? Share all your posts there, too.
The great thing about social media groups is that they provide targeted traffic. The group members have already expressed an interest in what you blog about, which is a plus.
Want to start making money by running ads on your blog? The easiest way is to set up a Google Adsense account. It works by letting Google run paid ads on your blog. Each time a user clicks on an ad, you'll receive payment. You can also sell ad space to sports companies in your niche that want to reach your audience.
One of the most reliable ways to monetize a blog is to become an affiliate marketer. That's where you promote sports equipment and products on your blog in exchange for a commission every time a user clicks on your affiliate link. An example would be using an MMA blog to promote a company selling gloves and shorts.
Concluding Thoughts: How to Start a Sports Blog
We've covered a lot so far, so here's a brief recap. Blogging is a great way to express and monetize your love of sports, but it takes a lot of planning to do it right.
You'll need to select a niche, discover your target audience, and build a unique brand.
Once you've done that, you need to pick a website builder, buy a domain, and create a roadmap for your content.
That may seem like a lot, but your sports blog will be far better off as a result.
If you love blogging but don't have the time, check out our article writing service. Our team of professional writers will provide concise, well-researched content for your website and business.
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