The Value and Importance of Developing League, District Websites
Whether using a laptop, tablet, or phone, the first stop for most people looking for information on their local Little League® program is the internet. Perry Pierce, Connecticut District 1 Administrator; Little League® International Advisory Board member; and Major League Baseball’s Vice President of Baseball Enterprise Systems, touts the value and importance of districts and leagues developing their own websites to help provide future success for their organizations and support their families and volunteers.
Any local league or district is permitted to have a website and Little League International provides guidance and direction on how and what to consider before development begins.
“Having a dedicated website is a valuable tool in the communication plan for any league and/or district,” said Mr. Pierce, a member of the Darien (Conn.) Little League Board of Directors for more than 20 years. “For more and more parents, if it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.”
Mr. Pierce explained that in his experiences the most impactful items to have built into local league websites are:
- Team pages – On these pages, individual schedules of games and practices can be listed and updated throughout the season; as well as team records and standings for the division; and team-related statistics, such as pitcher’s reports (pitch count).
- News page – General news about league activities; include updates and “blast” announcements. It’s important to place this information on the home page and make sure it stays current and relevant.
- Processing portal – Minimize operational paperwork by having an electronic solution. Examples of tools in a process portal include capturing play and volunteer registration information as well as conducting the required background checks each year.
- Information page – To promote league transparency, develop a page where the Board of Directors can upload documents for public consumption, such as the league’s constitution and local bylaws, draft method(s), Board meeting notes, historic dates, etc.
- Game Information – Integrating GameChanger into the website, so people who cannot attend games, can follow along remotely. The ability for a local league to produce games coverage that can be heard or viewed through a local league website is also becoming a common, but it must be properly managed.
Little League International, through its partnership with DICK’S Sporting Goods, encourages leagues to utilize the DICK’S Team Sports HQ free website creation platform. Using DICK’S Team Sports HQ, local leagues and districts can customize a website with a Little League template, providing easy connection between the local league and Little League International. For more information on the process, DICK’S Team Sports HQ has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about developing a local or district website.
A dedicated website allows a league or district to curate content and provide regular service to its constituents, such as – updating game scores, reporting on field status, posting game schedules (during the regular season and tournament); denote practice schedules and field availability, organize and schedule volunteers, promote league-related events, and recruit participants.
“Start with a web address that can be remembered,” said Mr. Pierce. “Make it clean and simple so people can find you.”
On the development side, he said make sure the site is responsive so it always fits the device (i.e. phone, tablet, desktop, etc.), like the Little League websites available through DICK’S Team Sports HQ.
“When people are looking at a website they want to see everything, no matter what size devise they may be on,” said Mr. Pierce “The site must fit into that space without the need to adjust the browser.”
Lastly, the integration of social media pages into websites is simple and a must.
“Children and parents consume information from many outlets, so look beyond Facebook,” said Mr. Pierce. “Keep in mind the goal is always to ask, ‘What is most relevant to me right now?’ That’s all direction you will need to populate an effective website.”