Blue Sombrero » Blue Sombrero http://www.bluesombrero.com Free Online Registration and Sports Websites Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:30:59 +0000 en-CA hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.8 June 2018 Product Updates and Enhancementshttp://www.bluesombrero.com/june-2018-product-enhancements http://www.bluesombrero.com/june-2018-product-enhancements#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:30:59 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=39585   Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things that our team has been working on through the month of June! What’s […]

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Every month we strive to reach a goal of pushing new customer-facing enhancements to better our user experience. Here’s a quick update on the exciting things that our team has been working on through the month of June!

What’s new with Team Sports HQ?


Registration Updates


 

Registration Listing Module Countdown Clock

Administrators can now use our Registration Listing website module to tease upcoming programs before they are open to register. If a program has a future registration open date, a countdown clock will tick down and then turn into a ‘Register Now’ button when families are able to sign up. Once the program is open, the registration listing will display the season dates (start date and end date).

2018-06-19_23h52_18


 Communication Updates


 

New Email Group Helps Retain Players!

We recently added a series of reports to help address player retention, including the Inactive Participants Report. This month, a new email group, “All Inactive Participants”, has been added to help administrators take action and communicate to players who have participated in the past, but are not signed up for any current activities.

The goal of this report and email group is to identify players who may be slipping away from an organization and help administrators attempt to retain them. Communicating open registrations or upcoming activities to these players can keep them involved before they drop out of a sport or go to another neighboring organization.

Edit Custom Email Groups

Creating custom email groups allows administrators to combine multiple pre-created email buckets into one list, or to add individual email addresses to a list such as email subscribers, board members, or extended family. Once a custom email group is created, administrators can now edit and remove recipients from a list. This way, if a recipient was added to a group by mistake or no longer wants to receive emails, there is no need to start over and create a whole new group.

Simply select the custom group and click the “View/Remove Members” option that appears next to the group name.


 Order Management Updates


Bulk Transfer Players into a Payment Plan

Bulk Transfer saves lots of time when large groups of players need to be moved into another program or division. If an administrator initiates a bulk transfer into a program that supports payment plans, each player included in the transfer can be opted into one of these installment plans. Whether you are transferring one player or one hundred players, we want everyone to benefit from the convenience of spreading out costs via our Automated Payment Plans.

 


 Schedule Updates


 

Archive Schedules

Once all events from a game or practice schedule are completed, administrators will want to remove this schedule from being visible. However, deleting the schedule entirely will remove all historical data related to those events, such as scores, standings, and match-ups. A new option to Archive Schedules is now available for this purpose.

Archived schedules will be hidden from view, but the history of those events will be maintained. To view data associated with these archived schedules, navigate to the Archived Schedules page to unarchive or delete these schedules.

Additional Recipients for Schedule Notifications

Administrators can now add additional recipients to a schedule so that they can receive schedule notifications. This may include referees, additional team personnel, extended family, or anyone that may need to be included on event updates, cancellations, reschedules, or postponements. During Step 1 of creating a schedule, add email addresses into the new Additional Recipients text box, with multiple email addresses being separated by a semi-colon (;).


When our customers want something, we listen. Our team wants to hear from you, so we can help provide the best user experience in the industry. If you ever have an idea on where we could improve, you can always submit an enhancement request. We appreciate all feedback!

 

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[UPDATE] It’s Playoff Time!http://www.bluesombrero.com/its-playoff-time http://www.bluesombrero.com/its-playoff-time#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:55:49 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=6645 [UPDATE] Double Elimination is HERE! You asked for it, you got it! We are very excited to announce the launch of our new tournament bracket feature for all sports organizations using Blue Sombrero. This was created for in-house […]

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[UPDATE] Double Elimination is HERE!

You asked for it, you got it! We are very excited to announce the launch of our new tournament bracket feature for all sports organizations using Blue Sombrero. This was created for in-house and inter-club competitions like an end of the season tournament.

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We often hear from youth sports organizations about the time commitment needed and difficulty of setting up a simple end of the year tournament. Our goal was to create a simple, intuitive solution for anyone who would like create a simple single or double elimination competition for their participating teams.

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Rank teams or randomize pairings

Key Features:

  • Instantly add your current teams and divisions to a bracket
  • Control who is playing, where they will play and at what time
  • Easily update, post, and share tourney results

The schedule will automatically be visible on the participating team’s page, the DICK’S Team Sports HQ Mobile App and regular email alerts about upcoming matches. You also have the ability to export and email the bracket after being completed.

This feature is already baked into the Schedules section of our platform and it’s super easy to create your first tournament bracket. To access the new feature, head over to the Schedules tab and find the green ‘New Schedule’ button. Cruise down to the bottom and find the ‘Create a Tournament Schedule’ to begin the setup. Click here for a detailed walkthrough.

schedule1

As part of this new tournament feature release, we’ve also made enhancements to the scoring system. Coaches and Admins can now update scores and standings on a single screen which is a huge time-saver. Here’s how to update and post scores following a completed tournament result.

Attention Baseball Programs: you now have the ability to add pitch count to your game results!

[UPDATE] Double Elimination is HERE!

double elimination tournaments

Simply select ‘Double Elimination’ as the tournament type.

Do you want to make sure your teams are guaranteed to play at least two games in a tournament? Now you can!

  • Winner and consolation brackets automatically created
  • Easily add a tournament from your Schedules page
  • Perfect for end of the season tournaments, jamborees and more!

The best part about this upgrade is how easy it is to use, simply select “Double Elimination” when creating your tournament. When you go to score the games, there is now a Winners and Consolation Bracket. Once a team loses a game, they then drop down to the Consolation bracket. If they then win the Consolation bracket, they then make it back up to the Winners bracket. If the Winners bracket champion wins against the Consolation bracket champion, then they win the whole tournament.

However, if the Winners bracket champion loses to the Consolation bracket champion, they must play a second game as that would be the Winners bracket champion’s first loss (since it is double elimination). The winner of the next game would then determine the tournament champion!

For a quick tutorial, please visit: How to Create a Tournament Schedule (Double Elimination)

RESOURCES:
How to Update and Post Scores
How to Create a Tournament Schedule (Single Elimination)
How to Create a Tournament Schedule (Double Elimination)

Blue Sombrero Support

 

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SEO for Youth Sports Organizationshttp://www.bluesombrero.com/improve-seo-youth-league-website http://www.bluesombrero.com/improve-seo-youth-league-website#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 13:40:28 +0000 http://www.bluesombrero.com/?p=6118 SEO for youth sports organizations has always been a hot topic for many of our customers. We’re in the business of helping you, our partners, create the best experience possible for your members and having a great website […]

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SEO for youth sports organizations has always been a hot topic for many of our customers. We’re in the business of helping you, our partners, create the best experience possible for your members and having a great website that can be easily found is a huge piece.

The Importance of SEO for Youth Sports Organizations

Is SEO important for my site? Yes! But, let’s put it into context for youth sports organization. For a lawyer or doctor, having a top position on Google can literally be worth tens of thousands of dollars and the competition is FIERCE.

Thankfully, SEO for youth sports organizations is far less competitive and manageable. Dedicating even minimal time to do some of the baseline recommendations we’ll make in this article can have a huge impact on your ability to be found in search, by your parents and potential customers. No matter your level of web-wizardry, these tips can help you achieve your goals and create a better user experience for your organization.

Before we get going, we wanted to share an important video clip from the search engine Goliath, Google. They quickly explain how search engines work and give you a glimpse of what they’re trying to accomplish.


Friendly Disclaimer

As much as we would love to offer a special set of to-dos that would rank everyone #1 in Google, unfortunately we don’t have that power. Every organization’s situation is different and a lot of it comes down to building a good site and being patient. The more put in to your site with respect to the tips below, the more you will get out of it. SEO is like a mutual fund investment. You shouldn’t expect huge gains up front, but if you contribute consistently, you’ll reap the benefits over time.

OK, Now to the Practical Steps!

This will focus on your Blue Sombrero website, but if you would like to build your SEO knowledge more generally, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by MOZ is a fantastic resource.

The two main components of successfully being found in search engines are:

  • On-page Optimization – how well your site and page content adheres to Google’s guidelines
  • Inbound Links – how many other sites have links to your site (and how many)

On-page Optimization

This may sound scary but it simply comes down to making sure that you have some basic ‘boxes’ checked when the Google bots scan your page. This include a page title, description of the page’s content, page keywords, a picture (or a couple), a healthy amount of content (text), and possibly some links to other pages on your site. Often, doing the baseline minimum will result in a substantial improvement. Here is a great visualization of the ‘perfect page’:

seo for youth sports

Put yourself in a parent’s shoes. If they hop on their computer to look for registration information, what are they most likely to type? Do parents often use the full name and acronym of your organization interchangeably? These are important things to think about as we prepare the site title, page titles, and page descriptions.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask some parents! Your perception may be different than what people are actually using to lookup your organization.
  • A great tool is Google Autocomplete. You know when you type something into Google and it starts producing other related searches? Those are actual keywords people are using to search, take advantage of them by catering to what people are already searching for.

google autocomplete


UberSuggest
is a great (free) tool for employing this approach.

How Keywords Fit In

No matter your level of expertise with SEO, you’ve undoubtedly heard about keywords. The truth is that keywords, in the way a lot of folks think about them, aren’t as important as they used to be. When search engines first started organizing web content, they relied heavily on keywords as a way to classify and sort webpages. Savvy (and often unethical) web marketers knew this and figured out how to manipulate the system. They could push their pages to the top by doing things like adding a specific keyword 100 times in white to the background of the page, or paying to have links added to a high-traffic, foreign websites with target keywords that point back to their site. These tactics got results, but created a bad user experience for the average searcher who couldn’t find the best content available.

Google has actively tried to address this issue over the years and formulate their algorithms to better serve Internet users by ranking the best content. The good news is that real sites, with real users (like yours) are the big winners.

What This Means for You

Applying this to youth sports organizations, it’s still important to use keywords that describe your organization and what you do, you just don’t have to go overboard with it. In general, you want to pick one keyword per page that is your focus and use it no more than 4-6 times. It’s also just as important to add ‘supplemental’ keywords that relate to your main topic on that page. These provide Google (and users) with the context needed to classify your page and place in the search listing.

keyword tree visualization

Example of a keyword tree which demonstrates how Google’s classification system thinks.

 

Final Takeaway on Optimization

Identify one keyword per page, write a good, concise page description, and make sure to fill each page out with healthy amount of content. There are no magic guidelines like a specific word count for content, but, generally the longer the better. Think about it like this: Google’s mission is to make the Internet as user friendly as possible. They are in the business of rewarding the folks who put in time to build out their pages and deliver great user experiences. If you can dedicate even minimal time to ensuring each page has these basic elements, you’ll be far ahead of the rest.

How to Improve SEO on Your Blue Sombrero Website

1. Log in as Club Admin or Website Manager- Admin -> click ‘Website’ from the menu bar at the top

2. You’ll see all your Current Pages, choose one and -> click ‘Settings’ (gear icon on the right side)

3. Fill out the information (including a descriptive, concise page description!). When you do a Google search, this is what shows up under the name of page. It’s like your advertisement for the page.

Page Name = Menu Bar
Page Title = What is shown in the browser and search engine (you can be more descriptive here)

4. Make sure your Page Title keyword is included in your Description at some point!!


blue sombrero football

 

On to Inbound Links!

inbound links youth sportsThis may sound scary too, but do not fear! It is the more challenging side of the coin, because ultimately, you have less control than your content. However, it is a very important piece of the algorithm that will dictate where your site lands in search (especially if you are looking to make gains for a specific keyword).

In a nutshell, when another site has a link that directs a user to your site – this is an inbound link. Think of it like someone ‘vouching’ for you, at least that’s the way Google sees it. The more you have from other quality sites, the better off you’ll be. So where do you find these sites?

Here are some places to look:

  • Your Facebook and Twitter Pages
  • Sports Organizations or Leagues you Participate In
  • Newspaper ‘Local Sports Roundup’ Articles
  • Local Sports Blogs
  • Local Business Owned by Parents or Sponsors
  • Local Parks and Recreation Websites

For some of these, it’s as easy as adding the link to your Facebook page yourself. Log in, add it to the info section and you’re all set. You have a new link from a high-ranking website. For others like a local newspaper, this may take some extra work like emailing the local editor and making your case for inclusion. There is no real science to this, and a lot will depend on the resources your organization has available and the efforts you’re willing to make.

As we mentioned before, even small additions can be hugely beneficial so you don’t need to get carried away with this. But, if you are actively trying to improve the SEO of your site, this will be something you can continue to pursue month after month. From our own internal testing, we’ve seen one new inbound link from a reputable website have a dramatic impact on SEO for youth sports organizations. It’s all about being creative here!

Parting Message

Hopefully, you now have some clarity around SEO and the practical enhancements you can make to your own site. There is a wealth of information out there (The Moz Beginner’s Guide is a great place to start) and our trusty team of Support Ninjas is here to help as well. If there are other topics out there that you would like to hear about regarding SEO or marketing, we would love to share our knowledge! Thanks for reading!

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