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Published on November 9th, 2011 | by King James

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Let’s Improve Your Online Presence

I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. But sometimes keeping up with all the teams in the South Central can be difficult. I fully admit that I entered into this venture voluntarily, and that any hardship was only brought on by myself. However, I think we can all learn something from this. What I’m hoping is that you improve your online presence, and that this in turn makes my job easier. That way you can make sure that you get all of your important information to as many as people as possible.

I want to keep up with every Derby team in the South Central, whether they be WFTDA, Apprentice, or Non-WFTDA teams. To do that I need information. This blog started off as a hobby to keep my mind busy, but has quickly grown into a popular web page for Roller Derby. I’m having to reexamine the work I’m doing given the large audience of readership I have now. It is very important that I get accurate information, and I get it quickly.

This sounds like I’m asking a lot of people, but it really isn’t that much work if you do it smart. I’m going to go over what avenues to take to disseminate your information, and what sort of information is needed by people. Here’s the executive summary:

Be on every one of the social media outlets, and present your information quickly.

What is the information?:

I’m doing this because I love it, so I’m willing to dig through many poorly laid out webpages for the information that I need. I understand it costs time and money to run a webpage, but the essential information is easy to put up. I can promise you new fans, prospective skaters, and local media personalities aren’t going to go through as much effort as I do to find information. There isn’t a lot that a person really needs from your webpage. Sure it should look cool and have logos and pictures on it, but if you had to break it down to the bare minimums here is what you need.

Who are all you people?:

This one seems obvious, but it somehow a lot of people miss it. You have five teams in your league, but which one is your travel team, your B-team, and an interleague team? All their cool names sound equally awesome. It should be easy to pull this information out to the casual viewer.

When are you playing?:

That is this year’s schedule please. This is how you make money, by telling people when to pay you, and where to go to hand you the money. It would be awesome if you even updated it with past scores. While you’re at it, make it obvious which games are travel, home or away, B-team, Intraleague, etc. If you have previous years scores and dates, then you rock. Don’t forget to include non-WFTDA games, games from before you were WFTDA, or from when you had a different league name.

Where are you playing?:

If all you have on your webpage is how the next game is at “SkateTown on Highway 1″, well you may know what that means, but I don’t. I don’t even know what state you are in. I have scoured several teams pages for this information but been unable to find it. I literally did not know if the game took place in New Mexico or Georgia. Sorry, but I have no idea which state “Huge Mountain Roller Derby” would be located in. (If that is a real team, sorry.) The South Central region is literally over 1,500 miles across, and I’m not that good at geography.

Tell me about yourself?:

Lastly, please give me a history. I know everyone puts their Mission Statement and other stuff, but tell me your history. At a minimum when you were founded, and how many years you have been playing games. If your league changed names, put that in there too; otherwise, people may mistake you for a new league and not the experienced veterans you really are.

How do I get it out immediately?:

People, including myself, are ravenous for information. When I want a score from a game I will go to Derby News Network and constantly refresh the scores page hoping for the score I want pop up. And that is for teams I hardly know anything about, imagine what your rabid, but distant fans are doing to their poor servers.

Here are a few ways to disseminate information immediately.

Twitter: Creating and updating a Twitter feed is really easy, and about the fastest way to get information out there to your loving fans. You don’t have to update it all the time, just do it at games. It is a fast and easy way to get score updates to your fans ASAP. Just do one every 15 minutes or so and that is only 3 tweets per game. If you can’t find a staff person to do it, have a trusted fan or significant other do it. You may want to go back and edit the tweets afterwards if they were drunk.

Facebook: Similar to Twitter, but a little more labor intensive. If you are going to update Twitter with scores, Facebook is a good secondary place to do it. You can also invite people to events, whether they are games, fundraisers, or practice. Make sure you take control of it, and don’t let people put negative information on it. In other words, moderate it.

The Web: The most intensive, but the most user friendly. A webpage, if it has the information listed above, from “The Information” is really useful. It is a great way to archive and display a huge amount of data, pictures, and profiles. You can even have a custom closed forum for your skaters. It would also be a good idea to have links to your Facebook and Twitter, as well as update the page with score results with a day or so if possible.

What not to do: To wrap this up, let me close by saying that there is some information you don’t want to put out there for everyone to see. I am really not calling anyone out on this, both of these are way to common.

False Information: If your webpage says you beat The Oly Rollers, WFTDA 2009 Champions, but in reality you beat Oly’s ‘Rec league, well, lets just say I will trust you about as far as I can throw you. If you played one of a league’s Home or Interleague team, don’t imply you beat their travel team. Don’t even say you beat “Olympia.” That is not only uninformative (since there may be multiple leagues in Olympia, example: Denver) but not totally truthful.

Sometimes this is inadvertent, but not only will people think you aren’t truthful on your webpage, they may think you are untruthful on the track. “Oh, that was tripping? Yeah, and you beat Oly.” It really comes back to presenting the information people need.

Whining: Don’t do it, and don’t let your players do it publicly. If you lost, do it graciously even if it was the cheapest, worst game ever. Whining is uninformative, and detracts from your leagues positive points. Feel free to whine in person, privately (Note: Facebook likely isn’t private), or at the after party. Thats all I’m going to say about this.

Thank you for reading through this. I really think that if we can improve the web presence of the teams in the South Central (and everywhere), we can improve all of our teams. Better information means more fans, which means more money, which means you can travel more and play better teams, afford nicer stuff, and so forth. I hope everyone took this with a bit of humor, I truly do not mean to offend anyone with the above complaints.

Minor side-note: I’m actually thinking of getting a database running with all the teams in the South Central’s schedules on it, as well as wins and losses so that everyone could see it in once place. WFTDA and Non-WFTDA. If this is something you think would be worthwhile and that you would use, please leave a comment and let me know.

King James is a retired coach for the Tallahassee Rollergirls, and runs SouthCentralDerbyNews.com in his spare time.

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