How To Start A Sports Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Do you love sharing your opinion on teams & recent games? Then sports blogging might just be your dream job.

It can lead to offers in sports journalism or even a career running your own sports blog. You can focus on a specific team, a specific sport, or all branches of the major(and minor) leagues.

The biggest hurdle is actually setting up a blog—especially if you don’t have much experience creating websites. And that’s exactly why I made this guide.

I’ll walk you through the entire process of creating a sports blog step-by-step. Along the way you’ll learn how to install & customize WordPress and how to get noticed as a sports blogger.

Regardless of your technical background I guarantee you can launch your own sports blog online. All you have to do is follow this guide and take the first step!

Building A Sports Blog

Whether you want to blog about sports for fun or career the process is still the same.

You’ll grab a domain + a web hosting account, install WordPress, customize your site and start writing. This may be easier said than done but if you follow these instructions you can have a sports blog online in an hour or less.

Here’s a brief rundown of how to create your own sports blog:

  1. Thinking up some ideas
  2. Register a domain + hosting account
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Customize Your Blog Design
  5. Start Blogging!

First think about what type of blog you want to run. Will it be a football or baseball blog? Will it be a blog covering local college football or the major leagues?

This topic is also called a “niche” and it’s a crucial first step. You’ll want to figure out your niche before you get a domain because it’ll make the process a lot easier.

Spend a bit of time thinking about what you want to write about. There is no right answer and you can always change course later on. Just pick whatever feels right to the ball rolling.

Brainstorming

The very first thing you should do is think up some different name ideas for your sports blog.

This can be tough since you’ll really need to consider what you want to write about, how you want to structure your posts, and how frequently you’ll update your blog. Some people would rather update sporadically and treat their blog like a hobby. Others want to make a name for themselves in the sports world.

I recommend studying other popular sports blogs to see what they do. This will help you come up with name ideas that really fit the goals you have for your blog.

bleacher report blog

Bleacher Report is a very popular sports blog covering every sport you could imagine. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis… it’s all here.

You could literally pick just one of these sports and build an entire blog around them.

Are you more into boxing or MMA fighting? Maybe think of a name for your blog more related to cages, rings, turnbuckles, or anything else related to professional fighters.

I would personally recommend that you go with a smaller niche at first. This will help you stay focused and build an audience around your blog.

For example, it’s wiser to start with a soccer blog before trying to launch an all-over sports blog. You’re only one person and it’ll be tough keeping up with everything. But if you’re dedicated you certainly could cover everything on your own.

deadspin homepage

Another great sports blog is Deadspin. The name isn’t as popular and it certainly doesn’t stick in my head. But this proves you could name your blog basically anything. People will read if your content is good.

If you’re having trouble with ideas try writing down related objects or phrases that might work in a domain name. So baseball has bats, diamonds, mounds, dugouts, etc.

You can mix these words together to create a news site or a more general sports blog. Using the words above you could do a blog called Dugout Times for a news-style blog. Or you could go with a stranger name, maybe a blog called Outta Left Field.

Get creative with this part and be willing to write down at least 3-5 different names. It’s common to find that your first name idea is already taken. But with at least 3 different names you’re bound to find one that you like and that hasn’t been taken.

Domain & Hosting

Your blog’s domain name is the web address people type to visit your site. For example espn.com is the domain for ESPN’s website.

Your domain can be absolutely anything that isn’t already registered. So you can’t get sports.com or sportsblog.com.

But if you really think about what sort of topics you’ll be writing about you should be able to come up with something awesome. This is where your brainstorming session comes into play.

Now along with a domain you’ll also need a hosting account.

Usually a domain name has to be purchased separately from hosting. But if you go with BlueHost they give you a completely free domain with your hosting account.

bluehost signup

Every new account comes with a free domain and 5 free e-mail addresses. This means you can even make your own email like yourname@yourblog.com and host it for free with BlueHost.

First visit the BlueHost homepage and click the big green “get started” button. Then on the next page select the basic plan.

bluehost plan signup

This comes with everything you need and it’s the best deal for a new blogger.

Now enter your chosen domain to see if it’s registered or not. I recommend sticking with a .com domain because it’s the easiest to remember and share with others.

But if you really love a certain name you can try getting a .net or .co domain instead. They’re all free so it doesn’t matter.

Just make sure you enter the domain in the left-hand box titled “new domain”.

enter domain bluehost

If your domain is taken you’ll get a message with some alternate suggestions.

Just keep trying until you find a domain that’s available. Once you get one you’ll move onto the final signup page asking for contact info + payment details.

But you should pay attention to the box labeled “package information”.

If defaults to registering for 36 months so you’d be paying for 3 years. This will lower the price per month but you’ll pay a lot more upfront.

If you don’t want to spend much money change it to 12 months so you’re only paying for a year.

Also uncheck all the boxes except for the domain privacy.

domain privacy check

Whenever you register a domain it has to include contact details for ICANN which is like a clearinghouse for domains. If you check the privacy box your domain will show BlueHost’s contact details instead of yours.

Most people prefer to keep their privacy so I’d definitely recommend this. Everything else can be unchecked.

Once you’ve filled out everything hit “submit” and you should be all set.

BlueHost will send you an e-mail with your login details so you can install WordPress and setup your blog.

Installing WordPress

When you first log into BlueHost you may be asked to create a password for your account. This password only affects BlueHost so it’s not related to your WordPress install. But it is necessary to access your BlueHost account so be sure to keep it saved.

Once you get into the BlueHost panel you should see a bunch of boxes with icons.

The fourth box from the top should be labeled “website”. Inside you’ll find a bunch of links for helping you create a new site from scratch.

install wordpress box

Click the second link labeled “Install WordPress”.

BlueHost offers a simple one-click install process to help you setup a new blog from scratch.

The next page should have a box with a big green “install” button. Click this to get started.

green install button

It’ll take you to a new page where you need to enter some details.

First you have to pick the domain name for your WordPress site. Since you just registered a new domain it should be the only one on your account.

But you can pick between the www or non-www prefix. There’s no difference other than how they look so pick whichever one you prefer. Then click the green “Check Domain” button and let it load.

check domain bluehost

On the next page check the “show advanced options” box to display a few input fields.

The title should be whatever you want to call your blog. This will appear on all your pages and in your WordPress dashboard. However it’s not permanent so you can always change the name later.

show advanced options

Next you’ll want to enter an admin username/password combo for your WordPress blog.

This username/password is unique to your new sports blog so make sure you remember it.

setup wordpress details

And while you can always change your WordPress password, you cannot change the admin username. So make sure it’s something you’ll remember!

When you’re ready check the terms & conditions box and click “Install Now”.

final install

It’ll take a few minutes to install but you can watch the progress bar near the top of the screen. Once it’s done you can visit the details page to get your login info, or you can punch in your sports blog domain into the browser to see your new site.

So for example if your site is mysportsblog.com you can enter that in your browser and it should look like a default WordPress site.

But the default theme is a tad bland so you probably want to customize it.

To do this visit your admin panel by adding /wp-admin/ to the end of your site’s URL.

So if your blog is mysportsblog.com you want to visit mysportsblog.com/wp-admin/

wp login form

This link normally goes to your dashboard, however you haven’t logged into the site yet.

So enter the username/password you just created and check “remember me” if you want to keep it saved.

Assuming all goes well you should be looking at the dashboard of your new WordPress-powered sports blog. But getting it installed is just the first step.

Customize Your Blog

The WordPress dashboard may seem daunting at first. But I guarantee as you spend more time here you’ll get a lot more comfortable with the system.

The first thing to do is make a few changes to your blog’s URL settings.

In the left-hand menu hover the “Settings” link and a flyout menu should appear. From here locate the “Permalinks” menu and click that.

permalinks admin

By default your blog posts use an ID number for their URLs. This looks hideous and it’s hard for people to share your links when they’re just a bunch of numbers.

I recommend changing your permalink settings to the “Post name” style near the bottom.

change permalinks setting

This makes each post URL short and sweet. This URL structure only uses keywords for each post which makes sharing easier, but doesn’t help much with dating content.

If you want your posts to be recognizable by date then try the month or day URLs.

All of these choices are great because they all have keywords in the URL. This is important to help your blog posts rank in Google so when people search for sports-related keywords your articles should appear.

Choose anything other than “Plain” and hit save.

Now move back to the Settings menu and click the “General” link. Here you should change or delete your blog’s default tagline.

wordpress tagline

This usually appears in your homepage title and it helps describe your sports blog. You can write a quick tagline or leave it blank. Just don’t leave the default tagline in place.

All other default settings should be OK but you can look through the different menus if you’re curious. These settings can always be changed later so nothing is permanent.

Picking An Awesome Theme

Visitors judge a site within the first few seconds based on its design. If you want readers to stick around you’ll want an awesome blog theme.

You can either go with a free WordPress theme or pick a premium one from a marketplace like ThemeForest.

free wp themes

I’d recommend starting with a free theme and moving to a paid one as your blog grows.

The most important task for a new blogger is to write content and publish consistently.

ThemeForest has amazing themes and they can last you a lifetime. But you may not want to drop any more dough at this point.

If you are curious take a look through their sports blog themes.

Any free magazine-style blog theme can look great and save you some money.

Here are my top recommended free magazine-style themes for a sports blog:

These are all completely free so you could install a few and test each one. Unfortunately they won’t look like the demo because your blog doesn’t have any content yet.

But the previews should give you a feel of how they’ll look once your blog fills up with posts.

vmag theme preview

For this guide I’ll pick VMag and show you how to install it. But this same process applies to any other free WordPress theme listed on their website.

Log into your admin panel and click the “Appearance” link.

wordpress appearance link

At the top of the page you’ll see a button “Add New”. Click that to see a list of featured themes.

add new theme wp

This page lets you automatically download & install new WordPress themes without any technical knowledge.

In the top-right corner you’ll notice a search field. Punch in vmag or the name of any other theme you want to install.

The page should auto-update and you’ll get a list of results. Find your theme and hover it to get a blue “install” button.

blue install button

Click install and WordPress will automatically download the theme right to your web server.

Then you can click “activate” to make this your current theme. If you visit your homepage you’ll notice it has a totally different design.

activated theme

Unfortunately without much content it’s gonna look pretty barren. But you should try writing a few posts to fill out your new theme and see how it looks.

Many themes also have their own custom features in the Appearance menu. Once the theme’s installed you should see a few links like Menu, Widgets, and Customize.

Go through these whenever you have some time and tinker with your new theme’s design. If you’re confused with any of these menus you can search Google for a quick answer.

But most themes will fill out as you create new posts.

Writing A Sports Blog

Now that you’ve got a brand new blog online you might be left intimidated and a bit lost. Where do you even get started with writing?

There is no right answer but I’d recommend that you start with your passion areas. If you want to write about specific games or teams you can do that. If you want to write profiles about players or cover sports history you can do that too.

The biggest factor is to make sure your content is unique and valuable.

It’s not easy to keep writing but that’s the only way to make it and see success as a sports blogger. Whether you want to monetize your blog or be picked up as a sports journalist the paths are very similar: write awesome posts and get your blog noticed.

If you really have no idea how to structure your posts then check out some other popular sports blogs.

SB Nation is a huge blog that might offer some inspiration.

sb nation magazine

Also think about the possibilities with fantasy sports. That area is growing rapidly and there’s always room for commentators sharing tips, advice, and experience with online sports.

The actual writing process is the most fun and the most work. It requires a touch of personality and every blogger has to figure out their own writing process.

But here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep each article focused on a particular topic
  • Write headlines that people might search for in Google
  • Use brief paragraphs with 2-4 sentences max
  • Include at least one image per post
  • Drop links to reputable sports sites into your writing

Sports blogging is not much different than any other type of blogging. The details may be different but the writing techniques are mostly all the same.

If you ever feel lost or need writing advice hit Google and see what you can find. Thousands of bloggers have already shared their tips and thousands more join the Internet every year.

Social Promotion

It is possible to write constantly and still see less-than-significant results.

Blogging and building attention isn’t all that difficult. But it does require more work than just slamming the publish button multiple times a day.

You should work to get your blog onto social media. All sportscasters typically share their thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, both of which are excellent networks for interacting with fans. You can dish about recent sports games or player’s performances in the games.

I highly recommend going with Twitter because it’s easier to engage with fans on that site. Facebook tends to be a little too “personal” so the results never pan out as much.

social networks

The biggest choice is deciding whether you want a personal Twitter under your name, or a blog Twitter under your blog’s name.

This all comes down to whether you want to make a name for yourself as a writer. If you’d prefer to be more of a behind-the-scenes blogger then you should just make a Twitter under your blog’s name. This way you can engage with anyone without putting your name out there.

But if you do want to eventually get your name into sports journalism then a personal account is a must.

Or if you want both you can always make two different Twitter accounts.

Every major social network is completely free to join. All you need to do is sign up with your e-mail and confirm the account.

What you should actually tweet is an entirely different topic, and it’ll differ based on your blog.

If you’re covering a specific sport you’ll probably want to keep tabs on player changes and upcoming games. But you might also focus on a specific group like the major league, minor league, or college teams.

The first and obvious step is to follow all the big accounts in your niche. Most people have a Twitter account whether it’s personal or just for promotion. But by following some larger sports-related accounts you can build new followers on your brand new account.

slam sports blog

Take a look at other sports blogs to see if you can find their social accounts. For example Slam adds small social links near the top-right corner of their webpage.

These social links can give you some good starting places. So you could follow the Slam Twitter account, then check out who they’re following. Most big sports blogs follow other important Twitter accounts so you can build up a nice following count.

This will help to fill up your Twitter feed with vital news and updates.

The next step is to just keep writing and keep promoting. It may seem difficult at first when you’re unsure of how to blog properly.

But if you push through and just keep writing you will hit a stride. You’ll feel more comfortable in your skin writing & promoting your content online. If you’re ever feeling daring you can join some other social sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

These are more image-based networks so they can work well if you have access to great photos. You can always browse IG tags for related photos and ask the photographer to use them(permission is crucial).

These photos could also be used in your blog posts to give you some unique content! Think creatively and always be curious enough to try new things. This is how you’ll learn what works best and it’s how you’ll ultimately scale your sports blog to the heights of success.

With your sports blog online the toughest part is already over. Now it’s just a matter of writing awesome content and connecting with your audience of sports lovers.

Blogging is a thankless job at first. But if you stick with it and keep producing great content you will eventually see growth.

I hope this guide covers everything you’d want to know about creating a brand new sports blog from scratch. I’m always updating content so if you have any suggestions feel free to get in touch.