Florida State updated their official roster page on Tuesday, and after checking it out (yes, I spend time on team websites) I tweeted jokes about Michael Snaer’s bio which contains 9 pages of text. If you don’t believe me, download the PDF. I doubt that the casual fan cares for such biographical gems such as “a lay-up with 4:22 left in the game allowed Florida State to come within two at 59-61 with 4:22 left in the game” or “gave Florida State its first lead of the second half with a jumper at the 9:53 mark to put the Seminoles up 40-38.” No one will read the whole thing. Hell, I won’t read the whole thing and I’m their target audience.
Not long after my jokes I received an email from the FSU Sports Information Office which was a bit testy. Which is fine. I’d probably be testy too. But I’m right.
But I’ve also learned that you shouldn’t criticize something unless you have a recommendation for a solution. Do I want to re-write Snaer’s bio? Not at all. But here are twelve features from team websites (including FSU testy-email-sender!) which other teams could steal in order to improve their own site. Consider it a public service.
1. Pitt Panthers: It’s July, and while many schools don’t even have updated rosters on their sites, Pitt already has a 2012-13 Prospectus which you can download as a PDF. Whether or not the fans consider hoops to be a year-round sport, the programs need to promote them that way.
2. Washington State: Hardcore fans want to be able to go behind the scenes with the team they follow, and a blog is a great way to do that. This particular one isn’t very functional, as there are loading issues, but it’s a start.
3. Boston University: It always shocks me when websites don’t have video tours of their facilities. And most don’t. BU’s has the feel of a recruiting trip, which is the whole point of video tours.
4. FSU: The aforementioned Snaer bio might have way too much text, but in a great move they’ve embedded a photo gallery.
5. Weber State: The Wildcats go a bit further in making their bio’s interactive. Scott Bamforth has a video linked in his. And if I was Scott Bamforth, I’d want this video in my bio.
6. Georgia: Recruits are surfing these sites, so you might as well have a questionnaire for them to fill out. This will let coaches know that there is interest, and if this leads to one recruit in the next 50 years then it was worth putting it on the site.
7. UCLA: No school but UCLA has an icon like John Wooden, but everyone has history. Use it.
8. Vanderbilt: Virtual Vanderbilt sounds so… well…. Vanderbilt, but it’s really cool.
9. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have an interactive magazine. This is great packaging of what otherwise might be dry, unread, material.
10. Seton Hall: Proud to Be a Pirate sounds like a store you’d find in the Castro. But in this case it’s a photo contest for Seton Hall fans. That’s cool.
11. St Mary’s: The Gaels have an app, which makes me wonder why that’s unusual. Isn’t this 2012?
12. Providence: Right there on the basketball website you can download wallpaper for your computer.