Designing Esports Websites
Esports are undeniably on the rise. According to Newzoo, the Esports industry is on track to bring in almost a billion dollars in revenue this year across the globe. With that amount of growth, the idea of gaming as a profession is becoming more mainstream. With Esports on the rise Esports websites are proliferating.
Every day, more people are turning off the TV and turning to online platforms like Twitch to watch people play games and compete for millions of dollars in prize money. If you’re thinking, “I’ve never even heard of Esports before!”, you’re not alone. This is largely because most Esports teams only publish content to social platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Facebook. Because these organizations are often composed of 18-25 year olds, those are more natural platforms to use for communication.
We find that the more mature and successful organizations, like Echo Fox, have polished websites that serve as a central hub for information about the organization, its teams, players, and events. WordPress is a great platform for Esports websites because it is built to integrate with 3rd party sites right out of the box.
Common Features for Esports Websites
So, what makes an Esports website successful? Ultimately fans are looking for ways to connect with the organization. They will do that in the manner that they prefer, just like traditional sports.
Unlike traditional sports, Esports teams aren’t necessarily geographically unique, so their fans come from all over the world. Players are the heart and soul of a team, and are usually the primary reason teams collect fans. Many organizations have teams that compete in different games, so having the ability to showcase your teams and their players is very important.
Delivering News and Updates
Delivering news in a chronological format is what WordPress was designed to do from the very start. Over time, this capability has been enhanced through core functionality as well as through plugins. Yoast SEO is the de facto plugin to make your WordPress site SEO ready. While Search Engine Optimization isn’t the only thing that’s required, it’s important when you want people to find you. Shockingly, platforms like Esportsify don’t include basic SEO markup in their code. This makes it harder for search engines like Google and Bing, and ultimately your fans, to find your content.
Like professional sports teams, Esports athletes wear jerseys when they play. While Esports fans don’t spend as much money as fans of traditional sports to show their passion for the teams they love, this is a key component of revenue for any esports team. WooCommerce is a powerful ecommerce platform built on top of WordPress. It can handle physical products like jerseys, clothing, and accessories, as well all digital goods such as video, audio, and image files.
As with traditional sports, fans like to have a place to talk about their favorite team. This is often handled via a subreddit, but the problem with this approach is that an organization gives up ownership of the content in these discussions by using a third party platform. With plugins like bbPress, forums can be housed right within an organization’s website. This gives them control over the look and feel of the forums. It also reduces the risk that the third party will change the terms and conditions of their platform.
Teams exist to compete in tournaments. Sometimes these are held online and broadcast on platforms like Twitch, and other times they’re in-person events. Either way, if you want the support of your fans, you have to let them know when and where you’ll be competing.
It’s no secret that people engage with websites more when video and imagery are utilized. WordPress was built to display media. This includes third party hosted videos, images, and image galleries.
Another source of revenue for Esports organization is sponsorship. Sponsors pay teams for valuable placement in front of their fans. You see this on team jerseys, in live streams, and with advertising on your website. Plugins like AdSanity allow you to manage and place ads on your site and generate engagement reports to satisfy your sponsorship agreements.
In addition to chronological content, WordPress allows you to build static content as necessary. There’s no limit on the number of pages you can create, and with tools like Beaver Builder, anyone can make nicely designed pages.
Finally, the ability to customize the look of your site to match your team branding is important. Sure, you could go with something generic and off the shelf, but if your site doesn’t work with your logo, or doesn’t have the feeling of the game you play, your visitors will be less likely to become rabid fans. The more immersive and interactive your brand is, the more likely fans will flock to you.
Room to Grow
The feature list above is a near exhaustive list of functionality that an Esports organization could have on their website. But many smaller Esports organizations won’t need all these things out of the gate. This is where WordPress really shines. You can pick a few of the features that make sense for you and launch your site with just the basics. When your audience and budget grow, you don’t have to scrap the work that you’ve done up to that point. WordPress can grow with your needs. WordPress powers more than 30% of the top websites on the Internet. If you want to get your team or organization online, we’d love to talk to you about your Esports website.
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