Do you want to know how to start a sports blog? According to Forbes, sports blogging is all the rage.
Ever get that feeling that those pundits and commentators on TV know much less about the game than you do? Or feel that you could do a better job at breaking down the stats and putting them across to the broader public?
Now it’s hard enough starting up your own sports podcast, and you won’t be getting a call from ESPN to commentate on your team’s next match any time soon!
But one thing you CAN do to get your name (and thoughts) out there is set up a sports blog.
It’s easy enough to start up, and if you match your passion for the game with an equal amount of effort, it could probably get you that all elusive call from ESPN. Plus, added income from a side hustle is what everyone is on about these days.
Follow these five easy steps on how to start a sports blog and make money while you’re at it.
How To Start a Sports Blog
- Choose your sports niche.
- Pick a platform and domain name.
- Design your layout
- CONTENT, CONTENT & more CONTENT!
- Monetize your blog
Some of the links on here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
Related Posts On Blogging:
- Have a look at my ‘How To Start A Blog’ article for more tips on monetization
- Check out 6 ways to make money blogging for some handy tips.
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What Is A Sports Blog?
It’s basically a medium for you to express your thoughts, frustrations, and most importantly, why you love your sport and follow your team.
I just call it my little safe space to rant!
So, imagine expanding the circle of people you share your thoughts with to maybe a hundred folks and then a thousand. If you’re lucky and smart about it, it could even reach millions.
Of course, at this stage, you’ll want to know how to monetize your blog and create that steady revenue stream we all dream about.
We’ll get to that a little later.
Why Start a Sports Blog?
- Get yourself heard
- Nurture and unleashing that hidden passion for writing
- Making your CV look that bit more impressive
- The freebies from sponsors, events, or maybe even your favorite team (once they notice you!)
- That side hustle moolah!
How To Start A Sports Blog?
1.Choose Your Niche
This is probably the easiest part, as you’d already have this in mind.
Write about what you’re most familiar with. What you’re most passionate about and comes to you the easiest.
Narrow it down to a particular sport and sports team in a specific country/league.
The more you narrow it down, the more you relate to a fellow fan and the wider YOUR fan following.
You will need to keep the niche as narrow and refined as possible to keep your audience interested, and it’ll give you room to produce a steady stream of content on a regular basis.
Now, of course, you could go against the grain and be more general with sites like:
But these are, of course, huge organizations with massive resources and staff to churn out content daily.
Here are some solo/personal blogs with a specific niche:
You might want to keep it simple while starting out and try to emulate their success.
With that in mind, most of my tips and recommendations cater to those who want to know how to start a sports blog on a budget.
2.Pick A Platform And Domain Name
Now there might be several options out there when choosing a blogging platform, but trust me, if you’re new at this and looking for the best and easiest path towards a successful blog, choose WordPress!
Next, you need a hosting service, and I would strongly recommend Bluehost.
It offers a free domain name and up to 63% off on web hosting. Bluehost powers just under a million blogs worldwide, and it automatically installs WordPress for you upon subscription, which makes it much easier for you to start building your site.
It provides 24/7 customer service via phone, chat, and email, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. Perfect for newbies like you and (not too long ago) me!
Click the ‘Get started’ button on the Bluehost home page, and it’ll take you to the package options below.
I’d recommend the Basic plan as you can always upgrade to higher plans should your needs require you to. If you’re running more than one website, the more premium plans should be your way to go.
Once you’ve made a selection, you’ll be directed to a page asking you to choose a domain name. You do have the option to select a new domain name or to use an existing site.
You’ll also be given a choice to set up your domain name later, in case you need a little more time to think about it. Be sure to check for typos.
If you select the ‘new domain name’ option, you’ll be given a choice of extensions from .com, .org. .net and many others. The most common would be .com, and that would be my recommendation.
The next step will take you to a page to key in your personal information and once you fill that in, scroll down, and you’ll be asked to choose your account plan and if you require any extra services.
‘Package information’ allows you to select these extra services.
Choose an account plan to start with. The longer the duration, the cheaper it works out for you, but do bear in mind that you’re starting out, and there’s no harm sticking to the basic, more affordable packages first.
You can always upgrade later when you start making some money.
As you can see, the domain registration is free. As is ‘Let’s encrypt SSL.’ This feature is a free SSL certificate that makes your site secure and an ‘http://’.
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate protects your customers’ sensitive information – such as passwords, usernames, and credit card numbers – from being obtained by malicious third parties. Customers can see if your site is protected when they see the lock icon on their browser.
The next feature, ‘Domain Privacy Protection,’ is an add-on that I highly recommend. This will prevent online marketing agencies from getting access to your private information. It will, in turn, show Bluehost’s info for the site instead of yours.
Next, we have ‘Codeguard Basic,’ which creates daily backups and allows you to reset your site to a previous backup just in case anything untoward happens. You can go ahead and unselect this as there are many good, free options for this service.
‘Bluehost SEO Tools start’ is another service that you can opt-out for initially as there are free alternatives. However, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of SEO to your site, especially when you’re just starting out. I would therefore recommend selecting this option initially.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) likes to show it as a top result for searches of a specific keyword.
For more information on how to make SEO work for you, check this site out. It helped me loads.
Next, we have ‘Single Domain SSL.’ It provides your site a dedicated IP. It’s an internet address dedicated to a single hosting account, instead of sharing your IP address with dozens of other people. I would recommend this option on Bluehost, especially if you intend to sell online.
‘1 Microsoft 365 Mailbox’ is a feature that offers an email account with an @ to your site. For example, if your site will be called MySuperCoolSportsBlog.com, and your name is Jeff, your dedicated email ID could be [email protected]. This might appear more professional and would get clients to take you more seriously, but of course, it’s a personal choice.
Lastly, on our list, ‘Sitelock Security- Essential’ provides security for your WordPress website and protects it against hackers and malware. I would unselect this as there are many free alternatives out there.
The next step involves keying in your credit card details for payment purposes. Once your purchase is successful, you’ll be prompted to choose a password for your account.
Once you’ve done that and verified your password via email, you’ll be directed to a page where you get to pick a theme for your site.
You could pick one of the free themes on offer at this stage, or you could skip this step and tend to it later. Next, you’ll get a pop-up saying ‘ALL DONE’ with a button that says ‘START BUILDING.’
You’ll then be directed to the WordPress dashboard, where you’ll be asked several questions to help guide you build your site.
Screenshot credit: Bluehost
If you click ‘I Don’t Need Help,’ you’ll be directed to the main menu, which looks like this:
As you can see, the four main options allow you to:
- Create a new blog post
- Add pages to an existing blog.
- Customize your navigation menu, which you can see to the left of your screen
- And if you’re selling products through your site, you have the option of installing WooCommerce.
You’ll find your tabs on the left of your screen.
- Posts are where you can add new posts, divide them into categories, and manage them accordingly.
- The Media tab shows you your uploaded images and videos.
- Pages allows you to edit pages in your posts.
- The Comments tab lets you view and reply to comments left by your readers.
- Appearance allows you to make changes to your theme. You’ll have access to all the free WordPress themes as well as the option to download custom or premium themes.
- Plugins allow you to install plugins to your site. A cool page-building plugin you can check out is Elementor. It also offers paid and free features that you can explore. Yoast is a free SEO optimization plugin that will make your posts SEO-good and ready to go!
3. Design Your Layout
As mentioned above, there are many free options available to get your blog looking pretty good from the get-go.
If you’re looking for something a little extra, do check out ThemeForest for premium themes that you can customize to your liking. ‘
Narrow your search down to sports blog ideas or sports blogging tips, and you’re given a fairly wide selection to choose from.
Once you’re all done, click the home icon on the top left corner to view your site.
To log in to your WordPress dashboard, either use the Bluehost CPanel or key in your domain name followed by /wp-admin. So that’s mysupercoolsportsblog.com/wp-admin to get to your login page.
4. Content, Content & MORE CONTENT!
This is the most important stage of your journey on how to start a sports blog. Way before you launch your blog, you would need to have an outline for at least a half dozen posts.
Well, to be honest, best to have them written and ready to go.
Successful (and sustainable) blogs start out with a healthy bit of content in order to convince your readers that you’re a seasoned blogger.
Now by this stage, you should have the name of your blog sorted, as well as the basic layout and design.
When it comes to publishing your posts, they should have these elements:
- A Catchy title
It’s been said that while eight out of ten people might read your title while scrolling, only two out of ten click to read your post. It doesn’t matter how good your content is; if the title blows, no one’s going to click on it!
Looking for inspiration? Flip through some magazines or gossip columns in newspapers. Coining catchy titles is their bread and butter.
‘How to’ posts do really well. How to start a Sports blog? for instance (fingers crossed!) Numbered titles are also a crowd favorite. E.g10 reasons to start a blog.
Here is a cool FREE tool to use, to help you with headlines!
- Good Introduction
You need to hook your readers in, get them to read the rest of your stuff. You do this by giving them tiny bits of the good stuff. Dangle it out there. Keep it short and simple. You’re guaranteed to get a few bites!
Your post needs to be easy to skim through. Keep the language simple, with a maximum of four to five lines per paragraph.
- Internal links
Add links to your previous blog posts, where relevant.
- External links
Link to certain noteworthy stories in other sites/blogs. When you do this, you give your post more credibility with legitimate sources.
Not only does it make them look good, but it also makes YOU seem like an expert in the field, citing sources and what not!
Top sports blogs love getting back-linked. It drives more traffic to their site. Reach out to them. Kindly ask if they’d like to share any sports blogging tips. Drop them an email praising their content and slip in the link to your post for them to check out. If you’re lucky, they might even share it!
A key element to any blog post. Include pictures found on any free stock photography sites or any of your own. Don’t forget to credit the source or the photographer.
- Good conclusion
Your conclusion has to hit home. It has to give your reader that sense of satiety all sports fans crave. Studies have shown that most readers click on your title, read the intro, and scroll all the way down to the conclusion. If they like what’s for dessert, they scroll back up for the main course.
Last but certainly not least, run your post through a free grammar tool. Grammarly is my go-to plugin! Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of us. Avoid making a fool of yourself. Use Grammarly! I really should get paid for this!
One Final Tip
Always try to end your post with a question. Ask the reader what they think or if they agree with your take.
This encourages them to comment, and when you reply (which you should!), you have someone ready to come back and read your next post!
5. Monetize Your Blog
This comes into play once you’re up and running and already have a steady stream of readers.
- Display Advertising
Probably the first thing you need to get sorted once you’ve published your first few posts.
Here is a list of advertising networks you can sign up to for FREE:
- Google AdSense- No minimum pageviews
- Pop Ads- No minimum pageviews
- Vigilink –No minimum pageviews
- Media.net- No minimum pageviews
- Ezoic- Minimum 10,000 pageviews
- Monumetic- Minimum 10,000 pageviews – Now they charge $99 for signup
- Mediavine- Minimum 25,000 SESSIONS*
- Adthrive- Minimum 100,000 pageviews
You’ll be given a code that will display random ads to your viewers depending on your posts’ content. You will get paid by the number of clicks these ads get.
You’ll need to learn how to use these programs and plugins to optimize your ad sizes and placements. Check this Youtube video out for more details.
- Blog Sponsorships
This is you getting paid to write about or review certain products or services offered by a sponsor.
This could be other sports blogs, companies selling sporting goods, etc. Just be sure it’s relevant to your posts and be honest about your reviews. Don’t write about stuff you’re not familiar with or material that won’t interest your readers.
Here is an article that will help you find Sponsorship networks
- Affiliate Marketing
Consider joining affiliate programs where all you have to do is find a product you personally like using and promote it to your readers.
Besides sporting apparel and merchandise, you could consider auxiliary products like energy drinks, health supplements, and even gym memberships.
This is a useful course about how to make money via Affiliate Marketing
Well, you know you’ve made it as a sports blogger when you’ve got your own merch! It’s a tell-tale sign of success, and your readers will be well-aware of this.
From your team’s sponsored goods to your blog’s very own customized items, you’re guaranteed a steady stream of income, so long as you keep your production line fresh and your readers happy.
- Social Media
To promote your posts and drive more traffic to your site. It also provides for more interaction with your readers. Your content will have greater access to a broader audience as your posts can be easily shared through these platforms.
- Membership Programs
The larger sports blogs have membership programs that offer your readers who pay small monthly fee, exclusive ad-free content, and offers.
Online platforms like Patreon host many reputable sports blogs and help manage their membership accounts. It offers you the tools you need to interact directly with your readers and further grow your fanbase.
Well, look at you. We were barely getting started, and here we are talking about growing your fan base.
I hope this helps you realize your dream of starting a sports blog, but those five steps will only get you so far. The rest is down to you.
So keep that fire burning, and the sky’s the limit!
The main take-home points I can offer are:
- It takes a lot of time, effort, and many setbacks before you start earning. So be patient!
- Put in that extra effort when it comes to your content.
- Interact with your readers.
- Always remember why you got into this (it’s supposed to be fun!)
So now that you know how to start a sports blog, when are you getting started? What’s it going to be about?
Let me know in the comments section below!