Starting a sports blog is very easy. The hard part is how to start a sports blog and make money. I mean, anyone can bring together a few blogging tools, build a blog, and start writing about blogs.
But sports blogging is unique, and unless you know exactly what needs to be done, it may be hard to make it successful.
That’s why in this post, I will explore the techniques and steps to starting a sports blog and building a successful business from it. Ready? Let’s go.
Seven steps to start a sports blog
There are seven steps in starting a sports blog, and I outline them here in a specific order so that they are easy for you to follow.
Please follow them in that order to get maximum success.
Let's get into it.
Step 1: Choose a narrow sports blogging niche
You are most likely not the only one thinking about starting a sports blog at the moment.
Some of your to-be competitors have more resources than you do. The only way you'll have a fighting chance is to narrow down your target, at least, in the beginning.
In this case, choosing a sports blogging niche is the first recommended step in the right direction.
Also, without a narrow area of specialization, you'll find yourself competing against:
- Sky Sports
- Yahoo! Sports
- as well as other giants that you stand no chance against, whatsoever.
There is no need to set yourself up for failure from the beginning. Choose a niche where you'll have a chance of shining-- and succeeding.
While I don't assume that you have no idea where your interest fits, here are some examples of sports blog niches you can choose from:
- Soccer: Football, without an argument, is the most popular sport on the planet. The search for information regarding football dominates Google search every single day of the year. If you have expertise or interest in this area, it may a good niche to go into.
- Tennis: The second arguably most popular sport in the world is tennis. From time to time, it causes discussions of its own on social media and the ripples effect can be
- far-reaching. Everyone knows Serena William because of it.
- Basketball (NBA): I know Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Hakeem Olajunwo, and many others. And I can't lie to you, I don't even follow Basketball that much but the sport is popular enough to produce universal superstars.
There are several other areas you can focus on with your blog, but the idea here is to give you some examples.
Another thing I want you to understand is that volumes of audience differ, and so is the earning potential of each niche.
While it is important to focus on a niche with a number that can be profitably served, you should never forget that, in the blogosphere, the size of the audience does not always determine the level of income.
Imagine if, in the football niche -- for example -- the potential monthly traffic volume is 1,000 but the earning potential from each site visitor is just $1. That means your earning potential is $100 for every 100 visitors.
But in the volleyball industry, as another example, suppose the monthly potential traffic is just 600, but earning potential per visitor is $30 each. Your earning potential is then $300 per every 100 visitors.
Now, you see why audience size does not always matter.
Things are not as rosy as that. Again, this is just to explain a concept to you.
But first, determine which sports niche you want to blog in.
Here are some things to consider:
- Does it have enough audience that can be served profitably through any monetization program? (You can know about this by doing keyword research, social media listening, etc. I will discuss these things later)
- Do I have what it takes to blog in this niche or enough passion to keep pushing it through?
- Can it be monetized?
- When you have satisfactorily answered this question, then it is time to move to the next step
DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Choose a domain name
As you know, a website needs a domain name, a sort of web address that your readers can type in their browsers to land on your website.
To choose one correctly, think of what name is best suited to the purpose of your blog and consider the following:
- Ensure that the name is not too long.
- Make sure it is the same name as your business name.
- Make sure it is memorable.
- If possible, choose the one with dot-com at the end of it. It is usually easy to remember than others.
- If your desired name doesn't come at .com, you can add some prefix or suffix to it, e.g. The, Hub, HQ, FC, Club, and so on.
- Don't buy an expensive domain name unless it has an SEO value or it's absolutely important with your branding.
Typically, a domain name should never cost you more than $16/year at most.
If you don't know where to purchase your domain name yet, don't worry. In the next section, I will show you how to get your first-year domain name free of charge at Bluehost. Let's discuss that in the next section.
Get a hosting plan
A combination of a domain name, blogging platform, and content is what is referred to as a blog or a site.
To gain access to most blogging platforms, however, you need to buy server space from their hosting partners.
Examples of blogging platforms are:
Some of them are free, but using a free blogging platform has disadvantages, especially if you plan to make money from your sports blog.
A free blogging platform, like Blogger, for example, offers you very limited options to customize your website.
They may also delete your blog whenever they want without informing you.
But WordPress, which is what the most successful blogs in the world use, does not limit you in any way, even though it's completely free.
To access WordPress (wordpress.org), however, you need a hosting provider to host your website on their server. And that's where buying a hosting service comes in.
To buy a hosting service, below are the steps you need to take.
Go to bluehost.com.
Click on "Get started."
On the next page, you'll see where you can choose a plan that works for you. There are four options, choose one depending on your goal and budget.
Remember I promised you I can get you a domain name for free for your first year, this is where you will get that. Use my link by clicking here to go to Bluehost.
After choosing a hosting package, you will be taken to the page below. Use the "create a new domain name" box to get a domain name and follow the instructions I gave you in the previous section.
When you are done with that, click on Next and move to the payment stage where you'll insert your account information and proceed to choose a payment plan.
Then insert your payment information.
Choose your payment method and make a payment.
After that, you'll be led to a page where you can create an account. The details you used to create this account are what you'll use to log into WordPress and it will be forwarded to you in your email immediately.
Go to WordPress.org, download WordPress, log in with your Bluehost login details, and start building your blog. If you want to access the WordPress admin section directly from your browser, you can do so directly using this link: https://wordpress.com/log-in.
You can also log in to WordPress through your browser since Bluehost will lead you directly to a page where you can start building your sports blog.
If you are unsure of anything, do not worry, Bluehost has one of the best customer support in the world. Their live chat is immediately available on their website and their technical help teams are superb.
Now, it's important you get your Bluehost hosting now if you are ready before we proceed. This is because every other thing we are going to be discussing now can only be implemented after you have done that. You can click on the link below to get your hosting account.
Select a theme
Just like fashion, sports blogging is a battleground for visuals.
A successful sports blog would require visitors to spend a lot of time on the site, that is, it has to be fanciful.
So, if you want your blog to be successful, then the next thing in your journey of starting a sports blog is to shop for the best and the most relevant theme for your sports site.
To do this, once you are in your dashboard, go to Appearance ---> Themes.
There you'll see a number of themes that you can choose from.
But if you have a specific one in mind, you can search for it by clicking on Add Theme.
If you are not too tight on budget, you can purchase the premium options that will be shown to you. And some free themes also come with a premium option you can always upgrade to.
To customize your new theme, go to Appearance ---> Customize.
Below are my top three best WordPress Theme for your sports blog:
1. Elementor page builder
Elementor page builder isn't a theme per see. It is a page builder with many templates that you can use to design your website.
With many customization options and several templates, Elementor is very malleable.
While there is a free option that you can start with, I'm actually going to advise you to use their paid option as to not make the mistake that I made in my earlier days of blogging that drew me back.
Trust me, your site theme affects the overall performance of your blog and I can't stress that enough.
If you care deeply about personalization with ease and no recourse to coding, then Elementor is the theme for you.
However, if you are strapped for cash, don't feel sad. Start with the free option and move to a paid option later.
If your goal is to find a made-to-order WordPress theme for a sports blog, then you should go for Splash.
If you could have a theme that will stop your website visitors on their tracks, amidst a rush for access to information, and keep them glued to your site for a moment, using the power of sharp imagery and cutting-edge design, would you not do it?
Of course, you will. I would have done the same thing. Look at the image above and tell me if that can't keep anyone glued.
If that is your goal, you have Splash to your service.
3. WP Soccer
With two predesigns of homepages and six layers of colors, WP Soccer is one of the best WordPress Sports themes you can have for easy installation and quick customization.
The visual above tells the story better than I ever can. Unlike if you are building a real estate website where you have to find a theme that permits some deep site architecture, any other theme can also work for your sports blog at the start.
And now it is on you to decide.
But bear in mind, you cannot run a successful sports blog without placing premium on themes.
Congratulations as you have successfully set up your sports blog. Now it is time to start publishing content on it.
But what kind of content do you want to create?
It depends... on what you plan to achieve with your sports blog, that is, what made you want to start a sports blog in the first place.
It may be a sort of analysis sports blog which analyzes sports as in the case of scores report and all that.
It may be one that tells stories like the stories of top sport personalities and so on.
And it may be ones that teach about sports tools, where, and how to get them.
Look around at the blog sports that exist on the web today to derive inspiration. Or work based on your passion or area of strength.
You can also get creative about it, and differentiate your blog by doing things differently than the conventional ways.
If you plan to gain most of your traffic from Google, then don't create any blog post until you have conducted keyword research.
You can learn more about keyword research here.
But in any case, let's discuss some forms of content you can create to please your audience.
Articles are by far the most popularly used form of blog posts, and most users who are visiting your page are expecting to find their information in a written form.
No matter what form of blog post is going to dominate your website content, if you have a way with words, don't hesitate to write articles where appropriate.
This piece is a good example of written content. another one is my post on starting a mom blog.
Another form of blog post you can use on your sports blog is video, but it must be used contextually.
While videos have become very popular and most content consumers enjoy them, in the sports blogging industry, not everything can be explained using videos.
Another thing you can do is to write blog posts, and then support them with videos.
If you have the time and the resources, you can write blog posts but make them visually interesting.
Some blog post writers are very good with illustrations, images, GIFs, and so on to make their articles more lively.
The most important thing is to be able to give your audience something that's not only interesting to read, but also visually and aesthetically interesting. This is why it is important to make sure that you choose an aesthetically appealing theme when building your sports blog.
Install essential WordPress plugins
Yes. One of the lures of using WordPress is its seamless integration with other plugins that help you turn your site into anything you want.
WordPress offers easy installation and set-up of the plugins, and I have not seen any other tool that allows for third-party plugins as much as WordPress.
For your sports blog, you may need:
- Yoast SEO: If you aim to have organic traffic really fast, Yoast SEO may guide you on writing search engine optimized articles.
- WP Super Cache: This tool will help you optimize your site for speed. To rank on Goolge, site speed is a must. But with or without Google, research has shown that with every 0.3 seconds delay in site loading, you lose more of your site visitors.
- WP Forms: If you offer some services through your website, or you just like to hear from your readers but don't want to drop your email address in the public, you can add the WP Form to your site as a contact form. Visitors will reach you through it without you revealing your email publicly.
- Askimet Anti-Spam: For a new blog, spam comments is one of the most frustrating things you can receive. But it can be blocked by using the Askimet Anti-spam plugin.
For a start, these plugins should suffice you.
Promote your blog
When it comes to blog promotion, so many techniques help you with blog promotion.
I specialize in using content marketing/search engine optimization (SEO) side of the thing, but I'm not completely oblivious of what happens on the other side.
Hence, I will hereby take you through some strategies on how to promote your sports blog.
Even if your goal is to have most of your audience on social media, never underestimate the power of search engine optimization.
Over the years, several findings have established the fact that site visitors who find your blog through organic search are more likely to pay for whatever you are selling on your site.
So, do not sleep on your SEO. If you are interested in SEO for your blog, you can learn that in this my how to start a fitness blog post or this piece I wrote for Search Engine Watch.
Social media promotion
On social media, people come together every day to discuss issues of collective interest or collective concern.
While this post is not here to teach you the nitty-gritty of promoting a blog on social media, I will give you the one golden rule of succeeding at that: branding.
When it comes to social media, people are too busy, and to cut through the noise, you are better off knowing that you must do something that makes you stand out.
In this regard, it means finding your tribe, looking into what interests -- and perhaps, frustrates -- them the most, and focusing on it to bring them together.
You can do this by joining Facebook groups that have an interest in the area of your blog focus, or do that promoting your blog on Facebook as well as on Twitter.
You can also do this by joining forums like Quora, Reddit, and Pinterest.
If you consistently provide valuable insights on these forums, a lot of their audience will flock to your site to learn more and you will have a load of a loyal audience to yourself.
Just make sure that you have an email list tool in place to ensure they sign up before they leave your site.
But this is not as important for you as it is for someone who wants to start a lifestyle blog.
How to monetize your sports blog
Finally, the point you've probably been waiting for, I believe by now you must have put in the work and created a loyal audience for your blog.
After you have taken your time to cross your t's and dot your i's in setting up a sports blog, driving traffic to it, now it is time for your blog to support you.
There is nothing bad or ignoble about making money from a blog you paid to set up and use to make information available to readers.
If you have the courage to start a sports blog, then you should have the courage to make money from a sports blog.
So, there are many ways to monetize a blog. I listed some of them below.
If this was a general blog, my preference is usually affiliate marketing, but that is not the case here.
Depending on your niche and audience, you are in the best position to know which one works for you the most.
Below are some of the ways to monetize your sports blog.
Affiliate marketing has been here for a long time, but it is presently the hot cake when it comes to making money in the blogosphere.
There is a gold rush for it at the moment, but it is a huge market worth billions of dollars.
If anything, it needs more people to come in, not only because there is enough money to go round, but also because none of the parties -- the product owner, the affiliate marketer, and the buyer -- loses through affiliate marketing.
As you plan for the monetization of your blog, look into what kinds of affiliate programs are available in your niche, and join them.
Below are some affiliate marketing programs you can join:
Ad is one of those ways bloggers with heavy traffics make money from their blogs, speaking of AdSense specifically.
And to be frank, if you don't have a lot of traffic, running in hundreds of thousands monthly perhaps, don't bother trying to use AdSense.
I also don't like it for the fact that it clutters your website. But if you are willing, it is up to you.
There are also other ways to make money from your sports blog. They are:
- Sponsored post
- Offer freelance services
- Offer subscription-based access to your premium content
Sell digital products
Another way you can make money from your sports blog is to sell digital products to your audience.
For a sports bogging audience, this can be a subscription to access exclusive content, a sports-related e-book, and even online courses.
Sell your skill
If you started a sports blog, you obviously have some skills that are particular to you. Even if you didn't have any before starting a sports blog, blogging will help you develop skills and hone them.
As you work every day to make your blog better, you would acquire a number of skills and would eventually master them.
This may be anything from building a sports blog (or building a blog in general), writing content, making great videos, providing training sessions, SEO, blog promotion, and consulting.
If you have any skill that's useful, it can be monetized by mentioning it to your readers to hire you.
Final words on how to start a sports blog
As far as the Internet is concerned, football fans are some of the most enthusiastic and interesting people in the world. They are always willing to discuss footballs and go to lengths just to satisfy their interest.
While starting a sports blog and making money from it may not necessarily be an easy ride, you just need to follow the steps outlined above and you are on your way to finding success.
Here is a summary of everything you've read in this post:
- Choose a sports blogging niche
- Get a domain name
- Buy hosting
- Choose a theme
- Customize your blog
- Promote your blog
- Monetize your blog
Let me know if you have any questions in the comment box.
Related: How to start a health blog