Updated October 28, 2019

How to Start A Sports Blog

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Take your love of sports to the next level with your own sports blog. Our guide has everything you'll need to get started, from picking a name to setting up hosting to writing content.

Why Start a Sports Blog?

Starting a blog will take a ton of hard work, so make sure you're doing it for the right reason—that you love sports. Your blog could start as a fun hobby and develop into a profitable business over time.

But you'll need to add something unique to all the sports conversations happening all over the world. Otherwise, your blog will get lost in the crowd.

Here are some sports bloggers leading the game. Research their sites to learn what works and what doesn't:

  • The Football Faithful
    This British blog follows all things football in Europe, with a focus on the Premiere League. The eye-catching and clean layout makes navigating easy.

  • Dodgers Nation
    This popular Los Angeles Dodgers blog utilizes a dense layout that packs in a lot of headlines. The site makes good use of plugins, including a social button panel and a countdown clock.

  • The Boxing Voice
    This boxing blog brings images to the forefront with bold headlines and a clean, organized layout. The blog also makes good use of emojis in headlines.

While it's normal to draw inspiration from other blogs you enjoy, make sure you don't copy their work and pass it off as your own. This article from Jenna Rainey explains when it is and isn't okay to copy someone else's work.

Picking Your Sports Blog Topic

News outlets have the resources to cover all sports, but you won't. Consider taking on a niche or theme to narrow your blog's focus.

If you love football, pick a specific team. Or choose a smaller sport like lacrosse or follow a specific player.

Here are some other niches to consider:

  • Following a specific player
  • Following a specific, smaller sport
  • Following an element of a sport

Naming Your Sports Blog

Choose a straightforward and sports-based name that reflects the style and intent of your blog. Try to keep the name to 4–5 words and avoid things like hyphens in your URL.


Make sure the name you choose is available to buy as a dot com domain. Domain endings like .info or .biz are uncommon and readers may consider them less legitimate.

Check Social Media for the Name
Make sure the name of your blog is available on all social platforms, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Be sure to reserve the name on all platforms by creating an account—even if you do not plan on using them right away. This prevents identity theft and leaves your options open.

Tips for Starting a Sports Blog

Starting a sports blog means learning from experience. It can take months or years to learn the ropes. These tips will give you a head start.

  • Start Saving
    You will most likely have to buy the game tickets yourself. Take time to budget accordingly.

  • Learn to Multitask
    To run a successful blog, you will have to master several crafts—writing, photography, and IT, just to name a few.

  • Keep Articles Under 1,000 Words
    Readers don't spend much time reading blogs online. Limit the length of your blog posts.

  • Be Consistent
    Keep everything uniform on your blog, like text and writing style. It helps readers recognize your work and it keeps your blog posts clean.

  • Use Key Words Up Top
    Identify the key words for each blog post and fit them in your headline or the first 30 words of the article. This helps with your placement in Google search results.

  • Dig Into the Details
    Learn as much as you can about your blog, from SEO to Google Analytics and even the tech behind your blog.

  • Engage with the Community
    Learn where your community engages most on social media and be active on those platforms. Don't be afraid to promote yourself and your website.

  • Take Classes Online
    If you're feeling lost, consider online classes.

How to Make Money as a Sports Blogger

It may take time before your sports blog is profitable. But here are some ways bloggers can turn a profit.

Affiliate Programs
When you recommend products or places to stay, you get a small commission when people click on the embedded links. It's important to disclose this in advance to be transparent.

Advertising Networks
Start earning money through your blog by placing ads with Google AdSense. Other companies will be allowed to post banner ads on your blog. You will get paid per click when viewers view or click on your ads.

Make sure the ads on your site are products or experiences you would support. You likely won't have full control over the ad, but you can always report it.

Sell Ad Space Directly
Go right to the advertiser and sell your ad space. Make your own deal. But to get good deals, your blog will need to have a solid traffic flow and strong reach.

Sponsored Posts
These are articles on your blog written by other people. In some cases, you can write a sponsored post using content from an advertiser. Make sure the topic, tone, and style fit your blog.

Members-Only Section
One way to expand your blog is to create a members-only section. Offering exclusive sports content to your readers gives you a chance to build a dedicated following.

Merchandise
Consider creating and selling you own sports merchandise. Just be sure not to use any licensed or trademarked content without permission.

Never accept free sponsored posts. Don't compromise your blog's voice and vision.

Ready to get started? Read on to learn the two ways to build your blog from the ground up.

Building Your Website

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Before you begin, you'll need to decide whether to hire someone to build your blog or do it yourself. The choice will depend on your budget and how much spare time you have.

Hire a Pro

Consider hiring someone to build your website if you're short on free time or have a little extra cash to spend.

You can hire a web designer or developer to build your site exactly as you want it to be made.

Web developers and web designers are different.

Web design builds the outline for your site.
Web developers actually construct that site.

If you hire someone to build your website, expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,000 to build your blog. Keep in mind that more website customizations will cost more money.

The other, more affordable option is doing it yourself. But it will take some work. Read on for our step-by-step guide.

Make Your Own Blog

Budget about 5–7 hours to get started, especially if you are not familiar with the platform. Self-hosting your sports blog on WordPress is the most popular option.

You can create a blog for free on platforms like Wix and Blogger. In total, it will cost about $5 a month for hosting and the fee for a domain name.

However, if you're hoping to monetize your blog later, here's why you should NOT choose a free option:

  • You do not own your content.
  • You will not be able to run your own ads.
  • If the hosting platform does not agree with something you post, they can take your blog down.

Instead, look into web hosting platforms to "house" your website. We cover several web hosting options below.

Choosing the Hosting Platform

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Your blog needs a home on the internet. Hosting services will provide that home for a fee. When a reader wants to find your website, they will type in your domain, or the URL.

Web hosting and buying a domain are the two upfront costs when starting your own sports blog. Many hosting services allow you to buy both web hosting and a domain at the same time for a discount.

A shared account is the most practical choice for hosting your sports blog. If you'd like to learn more about other hosting options, check out our article here.

These major hosting services are WordPress-compatible:

InMotion Hosting

Pros

  • WordPress comes pre-installed
  • Unlimited bandwidth and email accounts
  • Free data backups and malware protection
  • Unlimited WordPress sites in one account
  • Quality customer support

Cons

  • Shared server supports only 20,000 monthly visitors
  • Higher prices than other options

Bluehost

Pros

  • Discount codes can reduce plans to as low as $3 a month
  • The only hosting platform formally endorsed by WordPress
  • One-click WordPress installation
  • Offers unlimited site traffic
  • Automated data backups
  • Free domain and SSL certificate

Cons

  • Domain name only free for the first year

Sign up for terms longer than a year to save money on hosting fees.

HostGator

Pros

  • Well-known for shared hosting service
  • One-click WordPress installation
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Unlimited disk space, emails, and bandwidth
  • $100 in Google AdWords credit

Cons

  • More expensive than Bluehost
  • No free domain name

No matter which hosting service you pick, you will be offered a number of add-on extras or domain extension options. Here are the only two you need:

  • Domain Privacy Protection (DPP) will keep your name, address, and phone number from coming up in a WHOIS search. That means spammers can't get hold of your info.

  • SSL Certificate gives your website a secure green lock by the URL, which makes it secure. Most web browsers will warn users against going to an unsecure site.

Using WordPress to Get Your Site Live

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WordPress can also be used to publish any content online. Regardless of your domain host, you start with the same WordPress installation page.

Here's how:

  1. Select a Domain for Installation
    Simply enter your domain.

  2. Blog Title
    For this slot, enter your own name if you're planning to build a personal website. Remember, you can always change this later.

  3. Admin Username
    This sounds tricky, but it's not. Just use anything but the word "admin." Your name works.

  4. First/Last Name
    You can also change this later if you want.

  5. Admin Email
    Enter your email address.

Don't forget to save the username and password generated for WordPress. You will need those later.

Now that the basic installation is complete, set up your site using WordPress.

To access your site, type in YourDoman.com/wp-admin (that stands for WordPress Admin). If it's not available yet, don't fret—it can take up to an hour for your web host to set up the account.

Get acquainted with the basic navigation on the left-hand sidebar:

Dashboard
This is the WordPress homepage—you'll be taken here as soon as you log in.

Posts
This is where you will publish (and edit) blog posts and pieces of text.

Pages
In this section, you can create a page. A page shows up on the navigation section of your website.

Comments
This allows you to moderate reader responses to your posts.

Appearance
This section lets you customize how your site looks. You can check themes, menus, widgets, and more.

Plugins
Add or remove plugins here (more on these below).

Settings
You will find general settings here for your website.

Check out WordPress' online guide to help you with your early struggles.

Finding the Perfect Theme for Your Sports Blog

WordPress has a huge number of free and paid themes. These allow you to customize your website without any coding skills.

Here are a few things to look for when browsing themes:

  • Functionality
    Make sure the theme lets you do everything you need to.

  • Reviews
    Consider pros and cons from other sports bloggers.

  • Developer Support
    If you want your theme to stay current and work through bugs, make sure the developer puts out updates regularly.

Professional themes can cost as little as $50 or as much as $200. Consider spending money for a nicer theme that you'll be happy with for several years.

Stick to the most popular WordPress theme developers: StudioPress, Theme Forest, MOJO Themes, and Elegant Themes. Here are few suggested themes:

Big Slam
This basketball-centered theme has customization options like multiple header combinations and a layout builder. The license fee is $59 a year.

Real Soccer
This theme has been built for football, soccer, and club sports. It features a widget for top-scoring players, player profiles, and more. The license fee is $59 a year.

Sport
The Sport theme comes with many options to customize your blog, from hundreds of fonts to header builders to gallery options. The theme costs $64 annually.

Splash Sport
Images comes first and foremost in this aesthetic theme. The annual license costs $59.

Install Plugins

A plugin is a third-party application for your website. Installing a plugin adds features and gives you the ability to customize more elements.

Here's how to install a plugin:

  1. Click on "Plugins" on your WordPress dashboard and click "Add New." This will take you to a page to search for plugins.

  2. It's not easy to search for specific plugins, so try to type in the exact name of what you're looking for. If you don't have a specific plugin in mind—don't worry, we cover some of the essentials below. Plus, you can always turn to Google.

    Once you have typed in the name, click "Details" to read the plugin description. If this is what you are looking for, click "Install Now."

  3. Once the plugin is installed, click "Activate." After this, there may be additional setup for the plugin.

Some Plugins to Consider

Here are some worthwhile plugins for your site:

  • Askimet
    This plugin helps you manage spam comments on your site.

  • Easy Social Share Buttons
    This plugin creates easy social share buttons on every page.

  • Yoast SEO
    This plugin helps improve your search engine ranking by optimizing your posts.

  • WP Super Cache
    This plugin helps your site load faster for visitors by storing a version of your site in a "cache" and referring to that when visitors come to your site.

  • Comments Not Replied To
    This plugin makes it easier to get back to comments not yet replied to.

  • Wordfence Security
    A plugin to help secure your website.

  • Duplicate Post
    A tool to easily copy any post.

  • Really Simple SSL
    A plugin install an SSL certificate, in case you don't get one when hosting.

  • Sports Press
    This plugin helps you configure standings, player rankings, and more.

You may also want these plugins specifically to boost your sports blog.

Set Up Google Tools

Google offers several free analytical tools to help take your blog to the next level.

First, start a new Google account for your blog. It helps keep your business and your personal life separate for Google Analytics.

Once the Google account is live, log into these Google platforms:

Google Analytics: Understand your blog's traffic and audience trends.

Google Search Console: This makes sure your website is up and running.

FeedBurner: With FeedBurner, your readers can subscribe to your blog by RSS feed or email.

A logo makes your blog stand out. You can make one yourself or have someone else do it for a reasonable cost:

Canva
A free website that lets you create and design banners and graphics. It's simple and easy to use once you create an account.

Upwork
If you are not ready to design a logo yourself, head over to Upwork and post a job. You will receive proposals from interested parties. Review the bids and make an offer.

Fiverr
As with Upwork, browse through offers and see examples of applicants' work in advance.

Don't spend too much time on the logo when you first start out. You may want to refresh or change your logo entirely later.


How to Write Your First Blog Post

Your first post should:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Let readers know what to expect from you
  • Talk about your sports background
  • Let readers into your life

Don't try to do too much. You have endless future posts to cover every topic related to your blog. Instead, work on nailing the voice and tone you're looking for.

Remember: This is your first chance to address your audience.

Before you start, delete any posts or pages that WordPress automatically creates when you first create your website. After that, you're ready to write your first post.

Using Sports Photos and Videos for Your Blog

Blogging about sports can be tricky when it comes to using licensed photos and videos. Make sure to do some research about restrictions and royalties.

Here are some other factors to consider:

Photos
If you can, consider taking your own photos. You will not have to worry about royalties, but you may have to think about restrictions for press.

For example, games at private property venues may have different restrictions than games at public venues. Learn more about image restrictions here.

To avoid image restrictions, consider using free stock photos. Try sites like Pexels or iStock.

Videos
Use caution when posting sports videos online. Organizations like the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) have restrictions on how press and bloggers can use footage from a game, even if you shot it yourself.

Be wary of time limit restrictions as well. These rules may not apply to casual fans, but if you plan to grow your blog and network, you will need to take the rules seriously.

Here are more details on using video online.

Refer to organization and team websites for the specifics on video and image restrictions. You can request licensing access for the NFL here.

If you are unclear about the rules, avoid using the footage altogether.

How to Market Your Content

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Creating great content is only one step in the process. You also need to make sure that readers find your blog. Just like in sports, the competition is intense, especially for someone trying to break in.

Before you get started, consider these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What social media platforms are you comfortable with?
  • How much time and money do you have to spend?

Read on for more info on three of the most effective ways to market your sports blog.

Email Marketing

To grow a following, you need to build an email base. It's a personal way to update readers about your new posts and promotions.

Tools like Constant Contact and Mailchimp help manage and customize your emails, as well as give you access to statistics like open rates and link clicks.

Give people a reason to sign up for emails, like a special offer or exclusive content. Also be aware of how many emails you send—don't send too many or too few.

Building an email marketing list will let you harness the power of your audience.

Make sure to put your email sign-up list somewhere everyone will see it. Try a pop-up or a sidebar. That way, people will be reminded to sign up.

Social Networks

Get familiar with the social media platforms you reserved and start posting your content. Only time and consistency will grow your following.

For sports bloggers, Twitter and Facebook are the two most important platforms. Both of these platforms emphasize live coverage.

It will be important to be active during live sporting events. Use hash tags and trending topics to help grow your following.

Consider a posting schedule once your blog is established.

Consistency is important in social media. You will need to be active on all your platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more—on a regular basis.

YouTube

Another way to branch out with your sports blog is through video blogging, or vlogging.

Vlogging has become an increasingly popular way to talk about sports. The medium allows you to bring your thoughts to life. Readers will connect with you more by watching you.

Plus, it's a good way to supplement the content on your website.

Be careful with using any video or photos you did not take yourself. Agencies like the NFL or MLB set restrictions on how bloggers and news organizations can use the video online.

In-Person Networking

Meeting people and telling them about your blog and the sports you cover will be one of the most effective ways to grow your audience.

Building friendships with other bloggers gives you allies and, hopefully, a way to cross-promote your blog in the future.

The Bottom Line

Starting a sports blog lets you share your passion for the game (whatever game that may be) with others. You'll also join a tight-knit, if competitive, online sports community.

With some hard work and a little luck, your blog may even become profitable. But be sure to stay focused on what matters—your enthusiasm for sports.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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