Many new sports facility owners don’t think of themselves as “computer people.” They like spending their time out on the field or the court, not in front of a screen.
They know that a web site is important for their new business, but they don’t know where to start, so they jump at what seems like the simplest option without understanding what they’re signing up for.
I do happen to know a lot about web sites, because my company builds them — mostly at special rates for our sports facility scheduling software clients today, although we used to build a lot more of them before we started focusing on our software.
So, over the years I’ve talked to many, many new sports facility owners who need web sites … enough to know the typical stumbling blocks and the typical priorities that these types of businesses have (including the ones I’ve had for the web site for my own sports facility). That’s why I wanted to create this basic roadmap for new sports facility owners who need a web site but don’t know much about making them.
What You Need: A Summary for Beginners
Regardless of who builds your web site or how much you pay for it, you’ll need four building blocks.
Sometimes when you work with a web designer or buy a web builder package, they include all four in the total price and do the set up work for each one — but you’ll definitely pay for them one way or another.
- A domain name.
You know these; they start with a “http://www” and usually end with a “.com” — also referred to as your web site’s “address” because it works the same way an address does, pointing visitors to your web site’s location and displaying that location at the top of your browser.You can buy (or “register”) your domain name through a variety of domain name registrar companies. Once you register a domain name, you have exclusive rights to it, but you won’t have all the building blocks for a working site yet.
- If your web site were a house, the domain name would be like its address.
- Average cost: $15/year per domain name
Just like physical paper files, your web site’s electronic files have to be stored somewhere. Thankfully, plenty of companies are happy to host those files on their own servers and charge you “rent” for the space. A lot of domain name registration companies also offer hosting services, or you can also use a different company for each service. Still, buying a hosting account is not the same as actually buying a working web site.
- If your web site were a house, this would be like the plot of land that you want to build on.
- Average cost: $15-$30/month for the basics, but prices can climb with added services
- Design & Programming.
This is where the real cost comes in. You need programmers and graphic designers to actually create and code your site, either from scratch or from a basic template. There a lot of folks out there offering these services, from individual freelance designers to big companies with hundreds on staff.
- If your web site were a house, this would be the actual construction — the bricks and mortar, as well as the aesthetics.
- Average cost: Monthly from $30 for basic web builders, or one-time fees that range from $1,000 to much more, depending on how many custom features you want.
- Service and Updates.
Just like any physical asset, aging web sites need maintenance. And just like any physical asset, they can get damaged by unexpected disasters, such as hacking. Technology is always advancing, and criminals are always going to want to steal things, so you’ll need help keeping your web site safe and up-to-date.
- If your web site were a house, this would be like the homeowner’s policy and any repairmen.
- Service costs can be included in your hosting accounts, or can be provided by the people who created your web site. They can start out at as little as $15/month, but pay attention to what your plan includes. Basically, if something goes wrong, you want to make sure you can get a hold of someone to get it fixed right away.