33 Useful WordPress Plugins for Sports Team Websites
WordPress is the perfect tool for creating sports team websites. Not only is it free, open source and highly customizable, the platform is also easy to learn and manage.
In addition to that, loads of themes allow you to change your website design within seconds.
No wonder the platform is running 25% of the Internet (yes, a quarter of the web — that’s literally millions of websites).
Another one of its many advantages are the myriads of plugins available in the WordPress directory. There’s hardly any functionality that can not be added to your site via plugin.
However, just the sheer number can make it hard to find the right ones for your team site. Because of that, we have set out to do the work for you and find the most useful WordPress plugins for sports team websites.
To make it a little easier to digest, the list is divided into several categories from sports-specific plugins, marketing and SEO to polls, quizzes and more.
Sounds all good? Then let’s get cracking.
Sports-Specific Plugins for WordPress
When you are running a sports team website, probably the first thing you want to make sure of is that you can present your team in the best possible way.
Therefore, in the first part we will look at plugins that help you display sports and team-specific information such as league tables, team rosters and more.
First we would like to bring our very own SportsPress plugin into play.
We work hard to make it the most complete solution for sports team websites out there and — without wanting blow our own horn — are pretty proud of what we have done so far.
SportsPress gives you all the tools necessary to create a professional web presence for your team, club or even league.
Among other things, the free version (available from the WordPress directory here) enables you to:
- Create player profiles and statistics
- Set up game fixtures (including venue map and directions) and display their results
- Create a club profile complete with a player list
- Display league standings (including club logos)
- Provide an events calendar for upcoming games
Plus, we have a Pro version available that has a bunch of really cool additional features.
For example, one of our most popular modules are Tournaments and League Tables. They enable you to easily create an entire tournament (including group stage and knockout stage) of World Cup proportions.
You can see them in action in the video below:
If you would like to learn more, please feel free to check out SportsPress Pro here.
While we are on the topic, SportsPress TV is a great addition to SportsPress or any sports-related website.
The plugin allows you to easily embed premium, on-demand sports content from over 400 channels, enabling your visitors to watch news and game highlights from a wide range of different disciplines, leagues and countries.
And yes, it’s completely free and as easy as installing any other WordPress plugin.
Talking about game highlights and news, what if there was a plugin to display ranking tables, fixtures and scores of more than 550 international soccer leagues right on your WordPress website?
Sounds too good to be true?
With the above-mentioned Soccer Info plugin, you can do both in posts and pages as well as in widget form. In more than a dozen languages to boot!
Awesome or awesome?
WordPress Plugins for Social Sharing
Even though your team and its (hopefully many) successes should take center stage on your site, there is more to maintaining a successful web presence.
We recently published an article on how to market your sports team and get the word out. Unsurprisingly, social media plays a big part in that.
Therefore, having ways for your fans and followers to share your best moments, website content and more is imperative and the following social sharing plugins will enable them to do so.
In case you are not familiar with Jetpack, you might be delighted to hear that it’s not so much one plugin as 30+ (mostly free) plugins rolled into one.
That includes everything from spam protection and site stats (more on that below) to related posts functionality, new sidebar widgets as well as spelling and grammar checks.
One of the available modules is Share.
With it you can easily add social share buttons for all the main networks to the bottom of your posts and pages. You may even create your own buttons and add CAPTCHA if needed.
Apart from that, the service is lightweight and simple to use and so good that WPSiteCare declared it the best social sharing plugin available for WordPress.
If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
Naked Social Share is one of my favorite recent discoveries. That’s because it has a very innovative approach.
The plugin is aimed at developers and more advanced users and focused completely on functionality.
As other plugins on this list, it allows you to simply and easily add social media buttons to posts, pages and blog archives. However, the cool thing is that the social buttons are deliberately plain.
That way site owners can apply their own styling and make sure the buttons fit their site design. Plus, this approach keeps Naked Social Share very lightweight.
Pretty cool if you ask me.
Another plugin with a similarly minimalistic approach is Social Sharing by Danny, which you might also want to check out.
Similar to Jetpack, SumoMe is a collection of plugins rather than one plugin, mostly for increasing traffic, lead generation and the likes.
One of their modules is a handy social share sidebar.
It’s a very useful idea, because the bar is always in the same place, no matter whether you are on a page, post or somewhere else.
Be aware that you need to pay $10/month to remove all SumoMe branding, however, it can be well worth the price.
Twitter is a platform that is very much based on sharing quotes, blurbs and one-line wisdom. After all, what else are you going to say in 140 characters?
Better Click to Tweet enables you to wrap central points from your content into a shortcode to make them tweetable directly from your site. No copy and paste required.
The plugin is fully customizable via CSS, free of charge and has some powerful options. It is also very well maintained and future proof.
If you are looking for an alternative, you might want to check out Tweet This.
The aforementioned SumoMe also has similar functionality. So, if you already have their plugin suite installed on your site, you can use their click to tweet module as well.
Contact Forms to Connect With Your Fans
It’s important that others have the ability get in contact with you, not only on social media.
Imagine someone wants to talk to you about sponsoring your team. They will hardly do so via a Tweet or under your Facebook update, will they?
Therefore, having a dedicated contact site is a must.
In that, a contact form is a better idea than publicly posting your email address unless you want to get spammed to tears. Here are some of the best ones on the market.
Didn’t I mention earlier that Jetpack is a grab bag full of functionality? Well, then it should come as no surprise that they offer a contact form as well.
So, if you already have installed Jetpack on your site, you can simply activate this module and input contact forms into any page from inside the WordPress editor.
Be aware though that this doesn’t come with built-in spam protection (something I learned the hard way), so will need an additonal plugin for that (I used Goodbye Captcha).
Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time with more than one million installs. For good reason.
It enables you to easily customize forms and form emails, supports a number of spam-protection measures and comes with add-on plugins in the WordPress directory.
Plus, the plugin has been translated into many languages, making it usable for almost anyone.
Ninja Forms enables you to create all sorts of forms via easy drag and drop.
Add more than a dozen fields to any form, export user submissions to save them elsewhere and choose between four different anti-spam options.
Plus, if you are a coder, you will be happy to hear that Ninja Forms is very developer friendly.
Quick Note About Email Addresses
It can be a good idea to leave an email address on your page in addition to the contact form for an even easier way to get in touch with you.
However, if you don’t protect it from being scraped, you will quickly find out that 90% of the Internet is actually spam (trust me, you have no idea).
Poll and Quiz Plugins for More User Engagement
Polls and quizzes are a cool idea to connect with and learn more about your fans and foster user engagement.
After all, who doesn’t like being asked for their opinion or knowledge on their favorite sport or team? Nobody, that’s who.
The following plugins make it easy to create these engagement drivers.
First off, WP-Polls is an AJAX-powered poll system that is fully customizable via templates and CSS.
It supports multiple-selection answers and enables you to create polls both in widget form and inside posts and pages.
This polling plugin supports custom fields, enables you to set different permission levels, can sort polling information in many different ways and offers multiple display options for the results.
You can even schedule when questionnaires will appear on your site and run several of them at once. Merely use shortcodes to include polls anywhere or the widget option to place it inside widgetized areas.
If you don’t just want to learn more about your visitors and fans but also give them a way to show off their own knowledge, this powerful quiz plugin is your best friend.
WP-Pro-Quiz allows single and multiple choice answers, can add time limits for extra suspense, has statistics, leaderboards, hints and more.
In addition to that, questions and answers are fully customizable via HTML.
Sounds like all your quiz needs rolled into one plugin, doesn’t it?
WordPress Plugins for Search Engine Optimization
Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if someone searched for your team’s name and your site didn’t appear in the first place? Pretty uncool, right?
In order too avoid this sort of snafu, it’s a good idea to invest in some search engine optimization. After all, WordPress has plenty of plugins for that.
However, SEO solutions can do even more. For example, they may help you rank high in local searches in order to find more team players and members.
Plus, they take a lot of the intimidation and guesswork out of SEO and are therefore a worthy investment.
The plugin by Team Yoast is my absolute favorite SEO solution for the WordPress platform and I am not the only one.
Yoast SEO works very well out of the box and you don’t have to do much to benefit from it.
However, if you do want to really dive deep into search engine optimization, the plugin enables you to control SEO settings both on a global and on a per-post, per-page basis.
For example, you can control titles and meta descriptions, set canonical URLs and more. Plus, with their content analysis, it’s like having a personal SEO expert looking over your shoulder.
If you’d like to know more, check out my in-depth guide to Yoast SEO.
You might also want to look into All-in-One SEO Pack, the main alternative to Yoast’s plugin. It is similarly powerful and some people prefer it, however, I am not one of them.
Links that don’t work are not just a nuisance for human visitors, search engines don’t like them either.
If you have a lot of 404 errors (that’s the “whoops, we couldn’t find what you are looking for” page), they might start viewing your site as low quality. Plus, the visitors you lose to non-existing links are just wasted resources.
The Broken Link Checker plugin will automatically examine your posts, comments and other content for links that have gone stale and report them to you. That includes missing images.
Plus, behind the plugin are Vladimir Prelovac and his people from ManageWP, so you can count on quality.
Talking about broken links: you know what the proper way is to deal with these? Setting up 301 redirects, of course, and here is the ultimate plugin to do so.
Not only does Redirection track all visitors who arrive to 404 error pages, it also lets you easily set up redirects to a new location.
Plus, if you change the URL of any of your posts or pages, the Redirection plugin can record it and automatically send visitors and search engines on the right path.
Analytics Solutions for Easy Tracking
All the SEO in the world won’t matter a thing if you don’t know whether it’s working. Like Peter Drucker said, only “what gets measured, gets managed”.
It is therefore important to have some way of checking your traffic, rankings, social sharing results and how users interact with your site. The plugins below will let you do that.
Google Analytics is the most common analytics solution used for WordPress sites. No wonder, aren’t we all trying to please the big G in the end?
This plugin makes connecting your site with Google Analytics account a matter of three click and even displays the most important metrics inside the WordPress back end.
That’s one less website you need to access and log in to.
Plus, the whole process literally takes two minutes. And yes, that’s the same Yoast as in the SEO plugin.
Yes, I know it is getting old. However, what can I do? Jetpack is just chock full of features and if you have it on your site already, why not take advantage of them?
The Stats module is actually one of the main reasons many people install Jetpack on their site (or is that just me?).
Setup is easy: Just install the plugin, connect it to a WordPress.com account and after 24 hours you will start seeing your daily views, most clicked links, incoming links and a lot more — live in your back end.
I just discovered this plugin while researching the article you are reading and I am smitten from the get-go.
As you might know, on-page SEO (the stuff that you do on your own site) is just one half of search engine optimization. The other half is off-page SEO.
Basically, it is everything you do outside of your website like promoting content and — most importantly — creating backlinks.
While the plugin can’t do that for you, it will keep track of your off-site efforts by reporting search rankings, tracking backlinks, counting social shares and more.
It even lets you integrate info from your Google Webmaster Tools for more detailed analysis.
Plugins for WordPress Multisite
Multisite is relatively unknown, even in the WordPress sphere, but undeservedly so.
The feature enables you to build several websites from one WordPress installation. That’s right, you install WordPress once and after that can set up as many websites as you want.
It goes beyond this post to tell you how to use it, but you can learn all about it in this introductory article.
Why are we so excited about this?
Because we love Multisite. So much that we have made it part of the SportsPress plugin.
In the following I will tell you what you can do with Multisite in SportsPress and show you a few more plugins that are really useful for this feature.
First of all, Multisite allows you to set up several sites from the same dashboard and run them all as subdomains on your main URL. You can even do the same with different sports and disciplines.
That way you can create a sports network with different teams, leagues, tournaments or whatever your heart desires. The combination of SportsPress and Multisite makes it easy as pie.
Another cool thing is that the plugin enables you to share widgets across all sites in your network and control all of them from the same location.
No need to switch back and forth between different sites (including multiple logins), just change what you need with an easy drop-down menu. You’re welcome.
Something that many people don’t like about Multisite is the fact that every site in the network is tied to the same domain and not everything is made to be a subsection.
Especially if you are taking care of several sports team websites at once, there is a good chance they all need their own domain.
Luckily, there is nothing easier than that! This very plugin allows you to “map” a dedicated domain to each site, allowing them to stand on their own.
What is a paid function in WordPress.com you get for free! How great is that?
In case you are not the only one working on your site or sites, this plugin enables you to invite others as collaborators and give them as many or as few capabilities as you want.
You can create and edit user roles at will and control their access to any admin menus, widgets, meta boxes and sites in your network.
Permissions can even be managed on a post, page or plugin basis.
Can someone say total control?
Finally, if you need to know what the inside of your sports team website looks like for another user role, this plugin can tell you.
It enables you to switch back and forth between the admin user and any other role with ease, is WordPress Multisite compatible and can also work with SSL encryption.
Other Useful WordPress Plugins
Last on the list we have a number of plugins that can greatly improve your site but didn’t fit into any of the categories above. They are nevertheless super useful, pinky promise.
WPML is another personal favorite of mine that I use on many sites. The plugin offers a very comfortable way to offer your WordPress site in more than one language.
Easily add and manage languages, create translations of your posts, pages, strings, buttons and everything else. The plugin also works with e-commerce and its support is great, too!
By the way, have we mentioned that SportsPress is certified compatible with WPML? Well, now you know.
What should be mentioned though, is that WPML is not free and licenses start at $29/year.
If you are looking for a free alternative, check qTranslate X. It is the recently revived version of my former favorite translation plugin.
Sometimes is makes sense to create different sidebar content for different pages. Not all info has the same relevance on every page of your site.
However, instead of creating alternative sidebars and writing conditional statements, how about solving this with simple checkboxes in your widget areas?
The author of this plugin was thinking the same. Huge relief.
WordPress Plugins Can Take Your Sports Team Website to the Next Level
WordPress is an awesome tool that enables you to quickly and easily set up a website for your club of sports team.
Not only that, the sheer masses of WordPress plugins out there allow you to further customize your website and turn it into exactly what you need.
From adding player profiles and league tables, setting games and displaying game results, increasing social engagement and search engine optimization all the way to translating your site into several languages — there’s very little that you can not do with a plugin.
Hopefully you have found some useful plugins in the list above that will let you get closer to creating the sports team website of your dreams.
We wish you all the best and hope we could help a little bit in your endeavors.
Image source: Andrew Toskin