The current Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race has highlighted a lot of issues that need to be fixed if the sport of yacht racing is ever going to grow. For a start, there is the name – there are at least two Round Britain and Island races in 2010, the one that started on Sunday, and another that starts in August.
It would have been less confusing if organisers had paid a little attention to the one media that has become the default for those trying to learn more about an event – the web. On Monday morning, when we tried to learn more about the race, which features sailors like Alex Bennet on FujiFilm and Katie Miller on BluQube, we did what anyone would have done and ‘Googled’ it. When that failed, we asked our 1000 or so Twitter followers if any of them knew where we could find the website for the event.
The results that came back were unbelievable. Elaine Bunting, wrote in her blog:
This may pass the Royal Western Yacht Club by, but there has been a barrage of criticism this week about the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race website on Twitter, on our ybw forums and more recently on Scuttlebutt.
This is a great race and a very wide audience is mad keen to follow it, but it’s 2010 and we’re expecting to be able to do it online. The RWYC’s event website is woeful: like something from a different age.
There is no excuse in 2010 for not paying attention to your website. Even the most time and cash poor yacht clubs can use modern tools to create smart, clean, useful websites that maximise the value of the event for competitors, sponsors and fans alike. One of the world’s most popular sailing sites, Valencia Sailing is hosted on a free blogging tool provided by Google.
Even if you are an amateur organisation staffed by volunteers, there are options that allow you to communicate with your largest possible audience via the web, and if you are still not convinced, here is a challenge. If you think you don’t have the time or the money to create a decent website, we will build one for you. There is a catch though. In return, we will acquire the digital rights to your event and we will keep 100% of the revenue generated from the website. That should help anyone prioritise the web properly.
You can do it yourself. This morning, the Shetland Round the Island Race unveiled a new website. We don’t know if it has been in the planning for a while and was not delivered in time for the race start or whether it is a response to the criticism online. The new site is a vast improvement and shows just how easy it is. . . in fact we are going to show you how to get a site like the new rbandi.com site.
How to build a Sailing Event website in 5 hours for less than £100.
- Buy a domain. Cost £7.00. Providers include GoDaddy and 123reg
- Get some hosting from a provider that allows you to install software easily (See next step). Cost £80.00 per year.
- Install a Content management system like WordPress or Joomla with one mouse click. Cost FREE.
- Choose a look and feel. The new Round Britain and Ireland Race website uses this one. Cost FREE.
- Choose some tools like a Gallery and a Contact Form. The rbandi.com site uses NextGen Gallery and Contact Form 7. Cost FREE.
- Sign Up to some Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. Cost FREE
- That’s it….
If your budget is a little bit more than £100 (buy a few less biscuits and bacon rolls), then you could get someone to do it for you – the investment will deliver a return in days.