Website Building Field Wisdom – Words from a Youth Sports Professional
Here at Best10WebsiteBuilders, we are very interested in learning more from professional experts in their field. This week, we interviewed Janis Meredith of JBMThinks.com. She is a youth sports parenting blogger, podcaster, and author. We asked Janis some questions about sports website building in the youth sports industry. We asked her why having a website is so essential for building a community for parents, kids, and coaches.
How many years have you been in the youth sports niche?
Well, I guess it would go back to when I first got married. My husband started off being a coach, and he coached for 29 years. All three of my kids started playing sports when they were 3, 4 and 5 and they played through college. At the time I was just living that life. I wasn’t writing about it, and I was experiencing it and going through it with my husband and kids. As a mother, I did that for many years until 2010, and when I started the blog. I just started writing just to write, and it evolved into a blog about youth sports.
As my kids grew up, I began to see more of the things that they learned from playing sports and how much of an impact it had on their lives. As young adults now they are 24, 27 and 30. I’ve seen how the sports they played for so many years played a huge part in shaping who they are today. I feel very strongly that youth sports are a perfect opportunity for parents to use these experiences to help their kids learn lessons. I think a lot of parents are not using it correctly. Parents are missing out on opportunities where their kids could be learning some valuable lessons.
What is it that you do that is unique at JBMThinks?
I think there’s a couple of things, and I am also a life coach for sports parents. I am here to understand the stresses and struggles that they go through. I’m there to coach and help them. Also, I think my perspective is a little different than a lot of either coaches or parents. My view is unique is because I do have a husband that coached for many years and I do have kids that played sports, so I can see from both sides of the bench. I can understand the coaches perspective, and I can understand the parent’s perspective because I’ve been on both sides. I think that adds a bit of uniqueness to it and just the fact that I want to be there to help coach parents through it if they are having troubles or are stressed out.
Is the need for building a website in the youth sports industry growing?
There are a lot of people involved, and youth sports is a huge industry and many people out there trying are trying to break into it. I’ve seen a few different people that were very vocal early on, and I’ve seen people come and go. There are a few people who have stayed with it and are consistent influences, and there are some new ones that have popped up recently in the past year or two. I think because it’s gotten so crazy in a lot of ways that perhaps more people are speaking up about it. It’s a massive industry. I mean you’ve got people that are looking at how train kids, to people who offer private coaching. Then you have websites like TeamSnap that cater to the organizational aspect of teams and youth sports.
Because it’s such a large industry, more people are trying to get in on that. I don’t know if they are doing the same thing as I am doing, but they are trying to get in on it. When you look at the fact that there are roughly 45 million kids in America playing sports, that’s a huge industry. There are people look at that number and think, well ok what can I do?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to create a business for yourself in this industry. If you see that as an open opportunity and need, then you are going to jump in. I’ve seen it more in the aspect of people doing business and not necessarily providing content. As a blogger, I’ve worked with so many brands like sports photography, companies selling used gear online. All these brands are relevant to the youth sports industry, and people are trying to look for those opportunities to build a business, and that is connected back because it’s such a large group.
What do you think parents, kids, and coaches want most out of a sports website?
It depends on what their need is and what their pain point is. Some parents are looking for a community, and they want someone that can understand what they are going through. They are looking for advice, and some parents are looking for things that will help their kids in mindset motivation. Or they are looking for training videos or how to help their kid exceed in their sport and get better at their skills. There is a variety of things that parents are looking for on a website. I don’t know if they go online looking for sports parents websites, but they go on for advice on motivation their kid or what should do about this coach that is a pain in the butt? They are looking for answers.
What features should a youth sports sites include?
TeamSnap is a good example, and they offer a lot for youth sports teams. They also provide an opportunity for organizations to build their own within their software. I think that might be a lot of work to create a site from scratch. Within a more prominent umbrella organizations like TeamSnap or other things like website builders where they offer you that opportunity to build a simple gathering point for your team.
If you are in the youth sports business, and you are looking to make a website it just depends on what you are trying to do. For those trying to offer advice, then you obviously want to be doing content and blogging. If you are trying to sell products like mental toughness training, then you probably want to provide videos, as well as some content. I do have a place where parents can buy books. Visitors want to know about the person who runs the blog and about the company behind it.
What is critical for new youth sports business owners in a website?
When I first started, I didn’t know what I was looking for. I knew nothing about websites, and I had someone create it for me. I still have a website guy that does things for me. He does any technical tasks I need completing. I could look at a website now and see things that I like about it and things I don’t like. I think just the flexibility to be able to do things that you want is important.
This is because you change you adapt and grow. You want to be able to change things up on a website and add to it. A user-friendly site is critical. I have a web guy, but he doesn’t do everything. As a blogger, I do mostly everything on a day to day basis, and he works on the more difficult and technical tasks. I want something that is very easy and user-friendly. A website I don’t have to have a degree in computer web development to run.
We want to thank Janis for her incredible professional insight on this topic. Learning more about what makes a great website can help others get inspired to create their own. Website builders are used in a variety of ways in the youth sports industry. For those interested in creating their own youth sports website, we have written a post about the best way to tackle this task.