Everyone deserves to spend their time doing what they love. If you love sports, starting a sports blog can be an extremely fun way to take your love of the game to the next level.
According to Forbes, on a compounded annual growth rate, the major leagues’ media rights in North America alone have increased by 5.5%, to over $21 billion, through 2020.
Sports sponsorships are up by 3.9%, to $18.7 billion, with the MLB, NBA, and NFL claiming the top spots, respectively.
With these types of numbers (which are only expected to continue to grow), it makes sense that so many people are considering starting a sports blog so they can carve out their own little piece of the pie.
A lot of aspiring sports bloggers get excited and jump in without a proper plan or roadmap. That’s why they often find themselves faced with challenges and obstacles that they have no idea how to overcome.
And while you may not have blogging experience, a formal education, or connections in the industry to have a successful sports blog, you still need a proper plan to follow when creating such a platform for yourself and I can help.
How to Start a Sports Blog in 10 Steps:
If you just need someone to walk you through the process of setting up your blog quickly and easily, check out step 5.
There are many reasons why you might want to start a sports blog, and these include:
- Sharing Your Opinion: If you already talk constantly about any sport, starting a sports blog is a great way to share your opinion with the masses on teams and recent games.
- Making Money: Whether you’re blogging about sports for fun or as a career, it could eventually be a way for you to make money talking about topics that you absolutely love.
- Improving Your Writing Skills: By blogging consistently, you will also be improving your writing skills which could end up helping you in your career.
- Building Your Resume: Starting a sports blog is a great way to build your resume, and it could even lead to sports journalism offers.
- Getting Free Tickets to Events: While sports blogging is already a dream job for many, it can also come with the added perks of getting free tickets to certain events.
- Making Industry Connections: Your blog could be the gateway to meeting some of the athletes that you admire.
Whether you focus on a specific sport, a specific team, or all branches of both major and minor leagues, sports blogging is certainly a great way to let your voice be heard and make money at the same time. So, here are the steps to follow on your journey to becoming a successful sports blogger.
1. Decide on Your Focus for the Sports Blog
Your first step is to spend a bit of time thinking about the type of sports blog you want to create. The reason why you need to decide on a specific focus for your sports blog is that ‘sports’ is such an extensive topic that if you start there, it’s unlikely to do well.
Merely having sports as the theme of your blog is way too large a subject for you to handle on your own, especially at the beginning. There are just too many sports that you could talk about, and too many different elements of each sport to dive into.
It would be impossible for you to be able to focus on every one of them and your audience would be far too large.
A better way to start your sports blog is to focus on one area that you can cover. It’s best if you choose an area where you have previous knowledge and a firm understanding of the players, history, rules, techniques, player transactions, etc.
Ask yourself questions such as:
Will my blog be about baseball or football?
Will it cover major leagues or local college football?
Do I want to focus on a local team or an entire league?
Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling on your brainstorming process:
- You can focus on a local sports team (college, professional, or even high school).
- Write about the athletes of the teams including their upbringing and accolades.
- Write about the latest sport or athlete news.
- Blog about your favorite sports stadiums.
- Share information about your favorite team(s).
- Cover an entire major league (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, etc.)
- Create articles and reviews of sports clothing and equipment.
- Write about different sports movies and your thoughts on them. Though this may be better if you want to start a movie blog instead.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a focus for your blog.
However, it’s important to choose something that you will enjoy writing about on a consistent basis for months and years to come.
You should also note that you can always change your focus later, so pick whatever feels right and move on to the next step.
2. Choose Your Sports Niche
You should never try to become the ESPN of blogs. Instead, you need to choose a specific topic that you will focus on so you can become an authority on that topic.
Choosing a specific niche for your sports blog increases your chances of getting more targeted traffic, and therefore making more money from your blog.
So, instead of trying to appeal to a huge mass of people with varied interests, your blog needs to cater to a targeted audience.
By doing this, you will not only make your journey to becoming an industry expert easier and more proficient, but having a targeted audience will also help you reach out and connect with the right people in all your marketing endeavors.
Finding your niche is a crucial step that will help ensure that you build a firm foundation for your sports blog. Listed below are some of the most popular and most watched sports in America that generate the highest revenue.
Use these ideas to help you decide on a niche for your sports blog.
1) American Football (NFL)
This is America’s most popular sport, rated 9th most popular around the world. It has some of the highest-paid athletes in the world, as well as the largest numbers of fans that turn up to watch the sport in stadiums.
If you choose to blog about the NFL, you can be sure that you will never be short of interesting topics to write about or an audience to appreciate your hard work.
2) Baseball (MLB)
This is America’s second most popular sport, rated 7th most popular around the world. Also known as the national pastime, this sport has mainly two levels of competition: minor league, and major league baseball (MLB). This is a great option for a sports blog niche if you’re already a baseball fan and just can’t get enough. If you’re looking for an example of an affiliate blog in this niche that’s churning out great content and product review, check out Batsfinder.
3) Basketball (NBA)
After football and baseball, basketball is the third most popular sport in America. It’s also rated the 10th most popular sport around the world. Basketball has produced some of the greatest and most famous players in history, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and many more.
This niche would certainly give you a lot of opportunities to write interesting articles on a variety of topics about the athletes, teams, and the league as a whole.
4) Ice Hockey (NHL)
Hockey is America’s fourth most popular sport. It’s also very popular in Europe and many other parts of the world.
The NHL in America is the highest level for hockey, and, thanks to the advent of artificial ice rinks, the sport continues to grow in popularity as the country’s favorite indoor sport.
Soccer, the fifth most popular sport in America, is one of the most-watched and most played sports in the world. There has been a marked increase in viewership over the years, and interest in the sport continues to grow, making this yet another good option for a sports blog.
This is the next in our list of the most popular sports in America and the world. The game of tennis is equally popular for both men and women.
Many of the tennis greats, like the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, provide inspiration for young players and fans in America and throughout the world. You could focus on this niche to take advantage of the spotlight they shine on this sport.
Next on our list is golf, the 7th most popular sport America and 8th most popular in the world. This sport produced Tiger Woods and many other contemporary golf figures that have helped make golf more popular over the years.
As a golf blogger, you could cover golfing tournaments, news, individual players, and much more.
8) Wrestling (WWE or NCAA)
Pro-wrestling is the USA’s 8th most popular sport. WWE wrestling is also followed by a large number of people worldwide. There are a lot of popular wrestling superstars and events to blog about if you decide to go this route.
9) Motor Sports
Motorsports, including motorcycle racing and auto-car racing, is the 9th most-watched sport in the U.S. NASCAR is the largest organization in America which organizes motorsports races. This is a good niche to consider if you love motorsports as it is second only to football as the most-watched sport in North America.
While boxing isn’t as popular as it once was, MMA has increased in popularity and continues to expand its fan base with time. If you created a blog about MMA or boxing, you could cover the fighters, news, newly announced fights, rankings, equipment, and more.
Anything you can come up with, even different leagues, local sports, or narrow topics or niches that you can focus on.
3. Choose Your Blogging Platform
When choosing your blogging platform, there are a lot of options available to you. Some are free, such as Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace, while others are paid.
Each of these options comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Most bloggers who are just starting out choose free blogging platforms like Wix.
While this may be alright for someone who wants to get a feel for the blogging experience without investing any money into it, it’s not a good idea if you ever hope to make an income from your sports blog.
This is because free platforms like the ones mentioned above limit your ability to make money from the sale of products or ad revenue on your website.
They have a ton of restrictions and what you may eventually want to grow into will be stifled by these limitations.
Furthermore, a free blogging platform is hard to customize and looks unprofessional, which makes it hard for people to take you seriously as a blogger. That’s why I recommend using WordPress.org as your blogging platform.
Reasons to Use Self-Hosted WordPress (WordPress.org)
- WordPress is free for anyone to download and use.
- You can choose from thousands of free plugins (helpful tools that extend your website’s basic functionality).
- WordPress offers affordable themes so you can customize your website without having to learn how to code.
- You can monetize your blog in a number of different ways.
- The platform has amazing customer support.
As you can see, self-hosted WordPress is the logical choice if you want to build your sports blog on a firm foundation that will ensure future growth and success.
It’s popular, easy to use, and does not require a lot of technical skills to get started. Still not convinced?
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should choose WordPress
There is no doubt that WordPress.org is the best platform for your sports blog. Millions of businesses and individuals all over the world can’t be wrong.
Now that you’ve chosen your niche and you know which platform is the best for starting a sports blog, it’s time to move on to the next step, which is choosing your sports blog’s domain name.
4. Decide on Your Domain Name
This step involves coming up with a great name for your new sports blog. Although this is a vital part of the overall process, you don’t need to spend too much time on this. Give yourself an hour or two to complete this section and then move on.
You can also read this article which explains the different steps in choosing a domain name. Below, is a brief explanation of each of the points mentioned in the article:
10 Steps to Choosing a Great Domain Name
1. Buy a .com Domain Name – This is because you want your sports blog to be easily recognizable and memorable, and using a popular top-level domain like .com makes it easy to recall.
2. Stay Broad With Your Domain Name – The reason for this is to give yourself room for expanding your sports blog down the line. If your name is focused on a topic that is too narrow, such as ‘ChicagoBearsFans.com’, you may find it hard to consistently produce engaging content on such a super-specific niche.
3. Keep it Short and Sweet – When choosing a name for your sports blog, choose one that is short, sweet, and easy to remember. It should also be relevant to your target audience. For instance, you could call your blog 24TennisNews, MySoccer365, FootballLovers.com, or something like that.
4. Make use of Alliteration – Alliteration is when you have two words in a row that are similar-sounding words or that begin with the same letters, like FootballFans.com. This helps to make your blog more memorable to your audience.
5. Get Creative – If the sports blog name that you want is already taken, you can try using synonyms of the word instead. Try to find unique and weird words that mean the same thing, as these are more likely to still be available.
6. Add Extra Words – If you still can’t get the name you want, you can try adding words like the, HQ, hub, club, and other words o come up with a version of your blog name that is available.
7. Attach a Concept – When choosing a name for your sports blog, it helps to think of a concept that you can add to the name. When you can think of different branding ideas around your new blog, it will make it much easier for you to come up with a name.
8. Use Domain Name Generators – If you find yourself stuck, simply use blog name generators like Instant Domain Search and Lean Domain Search to get some inspiration for naming your new sports blog.
9. Don’t Buy An Expensive Domain Name – No matter how good it looks, it’s never a good idea to spend money on an expensive name when a standard domain name will work just as well. Later, as your blog grows and becomes profitable, you can then buy any domain name you want.
10. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Here – As previously stated, don’t get stuck here. This should be a reasonably fast decision and you should not spend more than a couple of hours on this task. You don’t need to figure out the ‘perfect’ domain name. Simply pick a name that you’re happy with, and move on to the next step.
Examples of Popular Sports Blog Names
- Bronx Pinstripes
- The Athletic
- Sports Rants
- Bleacher Report
- River Ave Blues
Each of the above blogs are very popular and good examples of how to name your blog in a memorable way.
Once you’ve got your sports blog’s name in mind, it’s time to move on to the next step, which is buying your domain name and hosting.
5. Buy Your Domain Name and Hosting
Now that you’ve chosen your platform and a name for your blog, the next step is to purchase your domain name and website hosting. Your blog’s domain name refers to the web address online visitors will type to come to your site.
For instance, ESPN’s domain is espn.com. Along with your domain, you will also have to get a domain hosting account. This is an internet service that will ‘host’ your website on their server so that it can be found online.
Here is a walk-through to help you get your domain name and hosting:
Below is a YouTube video and screenshots showing you the exact step-by-step process, choose whatever tutorial that works best for you. Step 1: If you haven’t yet, and you’ll be brought to the WordPress Hosting page that you see below.
Step 2: Next, you’ll be brought to the hosting plan page. You could choose to get a “Plus” or “Choice Plus” plan, but honestly, that’s not a requirement.
The Startup plan is the cheapest at $3.95/month through my link vs. the normal $8.99/month.
This plan has everything you need including 50GB of webspace (plenty of room for your files), a free domain for a year, plus other standard features like a free SSL and a secure WordPress install. Feel free to browse a bit to decide the right plan for you, but rest assured that Basic will work just fine if you want to minimize your investment.
Step 3: After clicking into the plan, you’ll be brought to the next page where you will type-in your new domain, or you can just choose “I’ll create my domain later” if you haven’t decided on one yet. The domain is the URL people will type into a browser to view your website in the future.
Step 4: Once you submit, the next page will ask for all of your information. That will start with your account information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 5: Next, you’ll have to input your Package Information. This is to choose how long you want the plan to go for. My advice is that you choose 24 months to get the discount and save some money, but you can go as low 12 months if you want.
Step 6: Next you’ll have to choose what “Package Extras” you want. You can scroll over “More Information” to understand what each of these items are, but here is my own advice.
I would get the “Domain Privacy + Protection”, this makes it so that no one can tie your name to the domain name you create. To me, the only other one worth considering is “Codeguard Basic”. The other two I wouldn’t personally get. But choose what is best for you.
Step 7: The next step is Payment Information, which is self-explanatory.
Step 8: And the last step of signup is to confirm that you read and understand the Bluehost Terms of Service, Cancellation Policy, and Privacy Notice. Click the check button and then click “Submit”.
Step 9: Next you’ll be prompted to create an account and password. This is the information that you’ll use to login to the Bluehost platform to manage your site and account info.
Step 10: At this point Bluehost puts you through a short questionnaire to better understand your scenario. You can answer all of these questions, or click “Skip this Step” on the bottom. If you’re a newbie, I advise you to answer the questions as it’ll help your onboarding experience.
Step 11: After you’re done with that you’ll be advised to choose a theme. For now, you can just choose to use a free theme. You can always replace the theme later if you’d like.
Step 12: From there, you’ll be brought into the backend of WordPress in the admin panel. This is where you’ll manage your site from. You can add posts/pages as you see fit, but when you’re ready click on the blue button that says “Launch Your Site”.
Step 13 (Final): Your blog is LIVE. Just go to a browser and type in your domain name. Once you do this, you’ll be able to access your website!
Congrats! You officially have a website.
If you’re wondering how to edit things on the website, all you have to do from here is go to your website URL with /wp-admin at the end in a browser and login.
And don’t worry, we cover how to edit things more in the rest of this guide as well. So please continue reading.
6. Choose and Install a Theme For Your Sports Blog
With your WordPress installed, now you can choose a theme for your sports blog. A theme is the design template that dictates the way your blog looks.
It will help you turn your vision into a reality by allowing you to make decisions regarding your menu layouts, logo, featured images, and many other design elements of your blog.
There are thousands of WordPress themes for you to choose from, some free, and others paid. It’s important to choose an awesome theme because visitors to your site are going to judge your blog within the first couple of seconds based on the design.
If you want people to stick around, you’ll need to have a blog design that is beautiful, unique, and professional-looking. This is not something you’re likely to get from a free WordPress theme.
What to Look For in a Good Theme:
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Reliable Support
- Beautiful Designs
- Customization Features
- Well-known Brand
- Positive Reviews and Ratings
Sports Blog Theme Options for WordPress
Personally, I always recommend Thrive Theme Builder to people. Why? Because it’s completely customizable and you can adjust your blog to look exactly how you want by pointing/clicking as opposed to hiring a developer.
In fact, this blog was build using Thrive Theme Builder and I’m absolutely thrilled with the result. Long term? I think this is the most cost-effective theme you’ll find.
Click the image below to watch a video and learn more about Thrive Theme Builder.
And, if you’d like to watch an extremely detailed tutorial you can watch this playlist on YouTube.
If you feel Thrive Theme Builder isn’t for you, here are some other theme options that are perfect for a sports blog.
- Astra Sports Themes: Astra is another very highly-rated site builder, similar to Thrive Themes, but they have very specific themes perfect for sports bloggers. Read my Astra Theme Review.
- TrackStore Sport Shop
- Goal Post Sports Blog Theme
- Your Fitness Sports Blog Theme
- GamePlay Sports Blog Theme
- SportsTime Blog Theme
These are really good theme options for a sports blog. They provide all the essential features that every great theme needs, including mobile responsiveness, speed, exceptional support, and beautiful, unique designs that are easily customizable.
These themes also come from well-known brands with longevity in the industry and countless positive ratings from satisfied users.
Search for and choose a theme you like, and install it in your WordPress dashboard in a few clicks. You can now proceed to change the fonts, colors, images, and more to customize the look and feel of your new sports blog.
7. Create Essential Pages & Logo
Next, you need to create the essential pages for your blog and publish them so your audience can easily find important information on your website.
To create a new page, simply go to Pages > Add New on your WordPress dashboard. Enter the name of your page, and its contents, and then click Publish.
Essential Pages Include:
About Page: This page tells your readers a little about you. Don’t worry about going into too much detail at the beginning. Just give them the basics, such as who you are, why you’re starting a sports blog, what you hope to achieve, and so on.
Contact Page: This page should have your contact information, such as your address, email, phone number, etc. It should also contain a contact form to make it easy for anyone who wants to get in touch. You can also include your social media information on this page.
You can take a look at how other sports bloggers structured their essential pages to get ideas for your own blog. After you’ve added these basic elements to your blog, it’s time to begin blogging.
Create a Logo: In addition, it’s also a good time to focus on creating a logo for your sports blog. There are a LOT of different ways to do this, but I’m a big fan of using this logo maker.
To get started, you can click here to create a blog logo. I think it’s a good idea to create a logo at this point now that your blog is all setup.
This platform will provide you with a free logo for your blog and if you need the high-resolution logo files, you can pay a very minimal amount for access to those files and a few other things.
8. Begin Blogging
Now the fun begins: writing your first post! This is where you’re going to set the tone for your new sports blog and get your readers excited about what’s to come. But where exactly do you begin your content creation efforts?
What to Write About on Your Sports Blog
It’s a good idea to start writing about what you’re most passionate about. Whether it’s specific teams or games, player profiles, or sports history – whatever interests you the most, start with that. The most important factor here is to ensure that your content is valuable, unique, and engaging.
Here are a few blog types to provide you with some inspiration for the type of content you can create:
- Create lists of some of your niche’s best-ever players or sportspeople.
- Conduct interviews with popular players within your niche.
- Write about the latest sports events from around the world.
- Blog about the sports events that are worth watching.
- Create behind-the-scenes posts focused on the daily lives of players.
- Write the story of how your favorite team was founded and how it became successful.
- Focus on game recaps.
Blogging about sports isn’t that different from any other type of blogging. Although the details may be different, the writing techniques are the same, for the most part. Keep the following tips in mind for every blog post that you create:
Tips for Creating Great Blog Posts
- Craft a catchy and compelling title that will make readers want to click through and read your article.
- Do keyword research to find relevant keywords and phrases on your chosen niche or topic. Use these within your posts, titles, and subheadings.
- Always follow best practices for creating content that is engaging and optimized to rank high in Google and other search engines (e.g. use short paragraphs, include eye-catching images, etc.)
- Drop links to various reputable sports websites in your writing.
Consistent Writing is Key
If you ever hope to achieve success as a sports blogger, you will need to keep producing content consistently. No one wants to follow a sports blogger who is inconsistent.
Whether success means monetizing your blog, making a name for yourself in the industry, or being chosen as a sports journalist, the way to the top is the same: consistently write epic posts that will get your sports blog noticed.
Produce Relevant Content
Always stick to the niche you’ve chosen, and write about the topics that your target audience will expect on your blog. For instance, if your sports blog is focused around Football, your readers will be very confused to get to your site and find a post about Muay Thai Boxing.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Plan your first post and make an editorial calendar to ensure that you’ll be posting content regularly. Whether you post once a month or three times a week, the important thing is that you do it consistently.
This is particularly true in the beginning when you’ll need to have frequent entries to help you build up your content stores and cultivate an audience.
It would also be a good idea to give thought to at least three months’ worth of content in advance so that you don’t have to scramble to create content when it’s due.
Publish at least 10 Posts Before Promoting Your Blog
You should write at least 10 posts and have them published on your blog before you start promoting. Each entry should be at least 300 words, but longer entries are even better.
Of course, this will depend on your niche and your particular audience. Some readers prefer long, in-depth posts while in other niches (like news and sports) short posts are more popular. Research what works for your niche, and go with that.
Remember to include lots of high-quality visuals in each post, including images, videos, infographics, stats, and more.
9. Promoting Your Sports Blog
It’s possible to write awesome posts constantly and never see significant results from your efforts. In addition to creating great content, you also need to get that content in front of the eyes of your ideal readers.
That’s where blog promotion comes in. It’s all about building attention in the most effective ways. So, rather than publishing multiple times a day, a better way is to ensure that each piece of content you create gets the attention that it deserves so that you can get a good ROI on your time investment.
Here, we take a look at all the different ways to promote your sports blog.
1. Tell Your Family and Friends
This is usually the first thing every blogger does after their blog is live. Sharing your sports blog with your family, friends, and everyone else in your network is a great way to get the word out there and get people to visit your new blog. Ask everyone you share it with to share it with their network to give you even more exposure.
2. Social Media
As long as you keep producing content that is well-optimized for search engines, you are on the path to success. However, social media will undoubtedly help you get you there much faster by allowing you to promote your content to a much wider audience than just your blog readers.
Share each post you create on your social networking profiles and include a link back to your sports blog. Social platforms are also great for interacting with your fans and keeping them engaged.
3. Guest Posting
This is a particularly effective tool to help beginners grow their blog traffic. If you’re new to the industry or if you don’t have any connections, this can be a great way to get your name out there and leverage other people’s existing audiences to build your own.
Simply write amazing pieces of content and then ask reputable bloggers in your niche to publish it on their websites with a link back to your sports blog.
4. Email Marketing
This type of promotion includes collecting emails from your readers in exchange for something valuable, like a free ebook or report. You can then send an email to each of your blog subscribers whenever you publish a new post (or when you have other news/promotions to share). Include a link in each email that will send them to your blog.
5. Online Forums
Online forums are a great way to promote your blog. All you have to do is find forums or groups in your specific sports niche, and then leave insightful comments, questions, or feedback that others will find helpful. Include a link in your bio, or include links to your blog posts within discussions. Just make sure to do so in a way that is non-spammy and adds value.
10. Start Making Money
And now, we come to the part that you’ve been waiting for. In this section, we’ll take a look at the different ways you can start to make money with your sports blog.
Affiliate marketing is when you get paid a commission each time a customer buys a product or service that you recommended to them. You can sign up on ticket websites, sports companies, or affiliate networks like Amazon Associates and find sports-related merchandise to recommend.
Once you do, simply include your affiliate links to those products within the content you create on your blog and on social media.
Displaying Google ads on your site is one of the most popular means of monetizing a sports blog. Each time readers click on an ad, you’re paid a certain amount of money.
Alternatively, you could simply sell ad space on your blog to businesses within the sporting industry that will pay you whether people click on the ads or not.
Find merchandise that your readers will appreciate and sell it on your sports blog. Any sports blog has massive potential for making lots of money selling sports-related items with the team’s logo or photos of players on it, like sports equipment, t-shirts, mugs, pens (and, these days, face masks) – basically anything that can be printed on, you can sell on your blog.
Sponsored Posts and Product Reviews
This is yet another great way for generating a profit from your sports blog. It involves writing posts or product reviews for other businesses or websites, for a fee. Just make sure that the topics are aligned with your chosen niche so that you don’t alienate your readers.
Create a special ‘members-only’ blog section where your followers can access valuable exclusive content for a very small fee. This works only if you can create content that is not easily found elsewhere on the internet.
Or, you can curate content from many different sources in your specific niche, and make it available in one convenient place. Readers will gladly pay a small price to avoid having to spend hours searching online for the information they need.
Refer Visitors to Sports Betting Sites
This is something that has the potential to make you a lot of money from your blog traffic. Sports betting referrals work in much the same way as affiliate marketing. Each time you refer a visitor to a gambling site, you get rewarded for the actions they take on that site, such as registration, making deposits, and so on.
How to Start a Sports Blog: The Final Word
Now you have within reach everything you need to get started building your very own sports blog.
If you follow the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you will be able to create and monetize your blog within a relatively short space of time. Before long, you could be the proud owner of a successful and profitable sports blog.