Building a website for the World Cup

Building a website for the World Cup

This article is a guide to help any webmaster if they want to capitalise on the biggest sporting event in the world, the World Cup.

Published 7th May 2014

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be more than a major sporting event, with the 2010 World Cup final drawing 700 million viewers alone. If you know anything about the betting habits of football fans, then you’ll know that most bet with their heart, and not with their head. The World Cup is personally one of my favourite sporting events to watch, despite Canada not having a team good enough to win the tournament. If you are a fan of football (yes, the game you play with your foot and a ball, not hand egg) and you want to make some money from this tournament as an affiliate, then this guide is for you.

The main areas you will want to focus on are:

  1. Technical set-up
  2. Go mobile
  3. Geo-targeting
  4. Content marketing
  5. Social media
  6. SEO
  7. Selecting a sportsbook affiliate program

Is it too late to start a site?
It is never too late to start a website. There may be some sites that have a big head start or established betting sites that have dedicated content and sections for the World Cup, but there is enough traffic to go around. For example, beteuro2012.org launched only a month before Euro 2012 and did quite well for a brand new site.

1. Technical Set-up

Domain selection:
For a domain, you probably want something that explains what the site is. Although there is a lot of discussion about the negatives of using an exact match domain (EMD), if you are creating a site for the short-term then you will want your visitors to understand what the site is.

CMS:
I’m a big fan of WordPress, and it is used by many top affiliates including e-sportbets.org and the aforementioned beteuro2012.org. If you can’t decide on a domain or content management system and you want to spend as little as possible, then try Blogspot.com which is owned by Google and has a reputation for giving traffic and rankings without having to make as much of an effort as you would with a WordPress site. Don’t forget to make sure your CMS and template is mobile friendly using responsive design.

Starting a website without a budget:
If you want to launch a website without any investment at all other than your own time, you have many resources available. Google isn’t the only player in the game, but let’s face it; it is biased and is the biggest search engine around. You can launch a website, set up all your social media accounts and connect it all through a single Gmail account.

Here are your tools:

  1. Gmail: Set up your email with Gmail and run everything through this. Be sure to keep this email highly secure as it has control over everything.
  2. Blogspot.com: Once you have Gmail, you can do everything else and set up a blog in a few minutes, getting your own blog URL and start writing posts and pages immediately.
  3. Google Plus: This is like Facebook, but you want to get yourself set up as an author; so, when you set up Blogspot, it will probably try to force Google Plus on you, so just go with it.
  4. Feedburner: Just add this as a widget on your blog so you can collect emails of your users, it is easy to do and every time you make a blog post, your subscribers will get an email and your widget.
  5. YouTube: You might not need YouTube but it is a great tool to generate traffic.
  6. Social media: Just join all of them and add them as widgets on your blog.
  7. Affiliate programs: Join a few affiliate programs to get some banners and links set up on your site so you can make some money from your traffic. Be sure to pay close attention to our section on how to select the right affiliate program.

Tip: If you are buying a domain and planning to do hosting, be aware of your target audience. If you have a ‘.ca’ domain to target Canadians, then ideally you would want your hosting done in Canada whereas sites like GoDaddy are typically hosted in the United States. Also, be sure to check that your host would allow online gaming content as some like HostGator say they don’t.

2. Go mobile
Sportsbetting sites are getting more mobile traffic and with so much mobile traffic, you really need to make sure your site is ready. The best way to get a site mobile ready is through responsive design. There are plenty of WordPress templates that feature responsive design. You can’t ignore the data and ask any sportsbetting-related website what their mobile traffic is like.

beteuro2012.org

The site isn’t even optimised for mobile, although with a simple template it is fairly readable. 21 percent mobile traffic, 6.5 percent tablet.

F1-bettings.com

  • 26 percent iOS.
  • 17 percent Android.
  • 2 percent other mobile OS.
  • For the month of March 2013, the stats were 26 percent iOS and ten percent Android.

Almost 50 percent of the traffic to F1- bettings is mobile traffic. Checking with a few other sites for the same time period shows that they have less mobile traffic, which could be a result of not having a mobile formatted website. Regardless, when your site isn’t mobile ready, the bounce rate increases for that mobile traffic and that means less conversions.

When it comes to gambling, mobile phones are great for betting on sports, casino and maybe lottery. If you have targeted traffic already hitting your site then you’ll want to convert as much of that as possible and if you are not mobile ready, you might lose this traffic to someone else.

There are plenty of WordPress themes that are free and have responsive design. Just go to wordpress.org/themes and in the search box type ‘responsive’ and you’ll get more than enough themes that are mobile ready.

3. Geo-targeting
If you are working with sportsbooks then you will definitely want to do geo-targeting unless your audience uses a specific language such as Italian; perhaps then you can get away with not geo-targeting your ads, banners and links.

If your site is in English then it makes sense that you will get US, UK and rest of world traffic and some sportsbooks don’t take players from all countries with some examples like Canada, Australia and the United States to name a few. The same applies for a language such as Spanish; so many countries use variations of the language, but not all sportsbooks are available to players in Spain, for example. Portuguese?

Again, you have Portugal and Brazil for traffic possibilities and you might want to focus on sportsbooks that are stronger in certain countries. Another example is Sky Bet, which is very strong in the UK but only take players from the UK and in Ireland, so your rest of world traffic would be wasted if you sent them to Sky Bet. So, in this case, geo-targeting would make the most out of your traffic.

When you implement geo-targeting you are preventing your site from sending traffic to betting sites where players won’t be able to sign up. Here’s a tip from Dealer Dan on geotargeting. “Geo-target a US bookie who you can get a landing page and some sort of free bet or promo offer with, and a big UK bookie who has special deals and promos such as bet365 and Paddy Power. Come World Cup time, these guys are like Amazon for conversion/retention”.

A geo-targeting plugin that works with WordPress is from Epikmedia.com. Use bonus code gaffg to get $10 off (I seriously don’t get any commission from this).

4. Content marketing
Your content needs to attract the right user, and sell. You don’t want to get into the mistake of spending too much time talking about the match without talking about the betting aspects of it. So, what type of page and topics can help you attract the right users and convert?

Good

  • Sportsbook reviews
  • Match betting tips/odds
  • Betting guides

Bad

  • Match previews
  • World Cup news
  • Team profiles

If your content isn’t focused enough then you could end up attracting a lot of traffic, but traffic that doesn’t convert as well. A common mistake is writing match previews and hoping that the users that found your page through a search engine would be kind enough to click on your banner. Sure, there may be other strategies to try to pull a sale from this type of traffic, but it is essentially swimming against the tide and your time is probably better spent doing something else. There will be a lot of people watching the games but not all will be interested in betting; however, the ones that are interested will be your easiest conversions.

You can write content about the schedules, team profiles, and player profiles but this is the type of content you might have a harder time converting and you should at least ensure you have your core content covered, especially the content that is going to help you attract the right converting traffic.

World Cup news might be interesting to read but try to understand what will convert better: World Cup news or World Cup tips? Someone searching for World Cup odds, tips or betting is going to be the type of traffic you will want to get.

My tip: Remember that around the world, online gambling is still growing and there are a lot of people out there that are still learning how it works. Guides and instructional videos are always a great way to attract these new players and to win their loyalty and trust.

Also, sportsbook reviews are just as important, so make sure your review suits the needs of your audience. Another tip from Dealer Dan: “Lots and lots of content. Even if you don’t rank for the primary keywords, you can still get long-tail. Look at every possible bet and write an article on it. Think about other things people will be looking up, and cover it. For example, even something as simple as ‘What time is the England game on?’; you can target that key phrase. In addition, use a mailing list. Hook them up for the future: my BetEuro2012 site has a couple of thousand mailing list users I can hit come World Cup.”

Niche and USP
To follow up with content marketing, you need to define your niche, and what makes your site special; as in its unique selling point (USP)? Is your site about tips, a betting guide to the World Cup or focused on a team like England? What about a focus on mobile betting, or maybe focus on other countries and markets?

One aspect of betting that always attracts the right type of crowd is providing tips to your users. If you can provide tips for your users then you have a means to attract and convert users. If you aren’t experienced at providing this as a service then maybe you want to search for a partner that knows sportsbetting inside out to help with content and providing analysis of the games. Tip from Dealer Dan: “Odds comparison between the sportsbooks works wonders.”

Betting trends and knowing your customers
In the world of sportsbetting, it helps to understand the trends of the sport and habits of your users, and when it comes to an event like the World Cup, there is a lot to absorb. Remember that most punters bet with their heart and not with their head, so that probably represents the majority of the gamblers out there. This means you will see a lot of people either betting for their favourite team, favourite player or will just be betting on the favourite to win regardless of what return is available for them. Players will naturally respond to betting offers as well, as this is what sportsbooks will offer to get users to not only sign up, but make a deposit.

The other aspect with betting customers is that they like to make money, so this is where – if you have a decent tipster service available – you can get some followers; and within this section of traffic, players will follow a tipster but often deviate from the recommended bet as sometimes it involves betting against your own team to make a profit.

So what are the trends and favourites going into the World Cup?
1. Lionel Messi plays great for Barcelona but his form doesn’t often translate for Argentina. Current odds are at 4/1 to win the tournament.
2. England is great at inventing sports, but it stops there. English fans will bet loyally on their team but they don’t seem to win much in the tough games. Current odds are 33/1 to win the tournament.
3. Brazil are the host team and have won the most titles, so they are 3/1 favourites to win the tournament; probably not a great bet.
4. Spain won the last three major tournaments, expect a lot of people to just bet on the winning team, odds of 7/1.

What else can players bet on?

  • Top goalscorer
  • Group qualification
  • To reach finals
  • Group winner
  • Every match

The amount of betting options players will have will be immense and relaying this information to your users can help make the conversion process a lot easier. You can pick exact scores of matches, who will score and it really never ends.

5. Social media
Social media intimidates a lot of people including experienced webmasters, and most of them are still not using social media to its full potential. Most are using it like a spam tool and still don’t understand the purpose of it. So let me summarise the important takeaway points of social media and how you need to wrap your head around it.

  1. Capture your audience: Think of social media follow buttons, such as ‘email subscribe’ buttons. We know email marketing is important because if people sign up to your site in any way, it means they are interested and it gives you a chance to get them to come back to your site; these days, it is easy for users to forget who you are when your competition is fighting for their attention. What you want to accomplish with your social media buttons is to get people to follow you. It is easier for someone to just click a ‘like’ or ‘follow’ button than it is to put in a name and email address. If anything, these social media sites like Facebook are, in some aspects, becoming another alternative to email marketing. If you get traffi c to your site, you want to make sure you have a chance to get them to come back to it in any way possible, and social media will be that tool.
  2. Search and traffic: Social media sites have their own search engines and algorithms, and people do use them. On top of this, some social media profi les and content can also appear high in Google search itself. So, if you do it right, you can attract some real people with social media.
  3. Make quality posts: This goes for your website content and that which you post on any social media. If your content has an interesting article then people don’t mind ‘liking’ the article or better yet, sharing it. If your content isn’t up to scratch, then it won’t get shared; same for your posts. If you spend more time posting links than something worthy of a comment or discussion then expect no interaction with your users.

A few tips on each social media profile: 

Facebook: Choose a compelling title for your Facebook fan page. If your title is just a brand name that doesn’t get a lot of searches then people might have a hard time fi nding you there. Twitter: If you post any links, use the tool to shorten them. Try to make your posts worthy of starting a discussion and also understand what hashtags (#) are for and what using ‘@’ does as well in your tweets. If this doesn’t make sense, find a beginners guide to Twitter so you do it right. Lots of people will be talking about the tournament on Twitter.

YouTube: Some might not call this social media, but it is. If you make any videos, you’ll be far ahead of the game. If you want a lot of traffic and discussions then you can produce videos on topics ranging from ‘bet365 review’ all the way down to posts like ‘Why England won’t win the World Cup 2014’ if you want to get a lot of traffic and heat up the discussion.

Google Plus: This is still a quiet place to be, but it could heat up and is a tool that could generate some traffic to you.

Video tips: If you are going to make YouTube videos, be sure to put a link in your video description and add some original text to your videos, this will help the video get more search traffic in Google and in YouTube searches.

6. SEO
SEO can be another intimidating topic but I will aim to keep it short and simple. If you follow the other guidelines I’ve listed in this article then the SEO work shouldn’t be too complicated. So let me summarise SEO just like I did for social media:

  1. Quality content: The more content you have, especially quality content, the easier it will be for you to rank in search engines for various keywords. Producing quality content takes more effort than just writing generic, boring reviews. You can easily find out who your competition are and you can see what content they write about. If you have something of value to offer then this is your USP, which in turn becomes your content. Remember that content can be in many forms whether as text or better yet, as a video.
  2. Quantity content: Don’t get me wrong, quality first over quantity, but we have to remember the basic principles. Quality content takes hard work, and writing and producing more articles also takes work. This is where most webmasters stop because most people don’t like to work unless they see an instant return. If you have a website that has a single page then you can’t realistically expect to do well at all. When you look at websites that tend to rank well, you will find that not only do they have quality content, but they have lots of it. Let’s put it into perspective: there are 48 games in the group stage alone, there are 32 teams in the tournament, there are probably over 50 sportsbooks you could review. If you did an article on those games, teams and sportsbooks and spent one hour producing an article, that equates to 120 articles alone. Fewer pages = less search traffic.
  3. Links: Links are probably the most controversial aspect of SEO right now, and everyone has an opinion of what a good link and a bad link is. Without going into too much detail or offering advice on what to do or what not to do, you will need some links to get more search traffic. There are plenty of companies out there that will not only sell you links but promise number one rankings; you will most likely want to avoid the too-good-to-be-true offers. There are lots of ways of getting links without having to pay for it and your focus on links should also be on sites that could represent traffic. Link building can be a whole other topic, but if you want advice on link building you can ask me directly.

7. Selecting a sportsbook affiliate program
If you are new to the gaming industry, you will need to do some research and know you are selecting the right sportsbook. Not all sportsbooks are created equally, so you want a sportsbook that treats your players well and one that also earns you money in the process.

Sportsbook criteria

  • AffiliateGuardDog.com: Check Affiliate Guard Dog (AGD) first and see if the program has their terms and conditions reviewed. Many affiliate programs have.
  • Terms and conditions: Read the terms and conditions of the affiliate program. Most of this is summarised at AGD but you want to pay attention to a few important details, such as whether they have a minimum player quota or performance clause? Do they pay out commissions if your players try their casino? Many players like to play at the casino and this is a big commission opportunity. Some sportsbooks such as Paddy Power don’t pay commission if your players venture off to the casino. Remember that when the tournament is over, your players could play something else, so be sure you are getting the most out of your sportsbook.
  • Find recommendations: Terms and conditions are not good enough. Find other webmasters who are happy with an affi liate program who are happy with their commissions. There are some sportsbooks that have great branding but a horrible reputation when it comes to tracking.
  • CPA vs revenue share: For programs that have quotas, you may want to work on CPA or you may be unsure about the program’s stability in the future, especially when it comes to upholding an agreement. Some programs have closed their affiliate programs or retroactively changed the terms and conditions, so when this happens it makes CPA look more appealing.
  • Target audience: Do they match your target audience? Not all sportsbooks accept players from all countries so you want to see if they accept players from your country or language.

Tips: Find other popular or top ranking websites that promote sportsbooks and see which bookies they like to work with. You could try asking them which programs they recommend and why, or just post in the AGD forums asking for recommendations.

Important note: Many affiliate programs don’t have terms and conditions suitable for new affiliates that include things like quotas and performance clauses. For sporting events which are usually time based and seasonal, these types of clauses are not good for you so understand this before sending traffic to a brand that might not give you the best ROI.

Conclusion: the game is 90 minutes and Germany wins. If you love football then making a site for betting on sports should not only be easy, but fun. Producing the content shouldn’t feel like work and if you set things up correctly then you can make some very good money from it too, and you will have an excuse to watch every game of the tournament and feel productive about it.

The content should write itself, and all the major online sportsbooks will be making offers and promotions to help get more betting activity, which is more converting content for you to work with. It is never too late to start a website especially for the World Cup. If you have questions or need some help you can get affiliate coaching from myself from Gaffg.com or from Dealer Dan from AffiliateBible.com.

My pick: Germany
While most players are tripping over Brazil, Argentina or Spain, I think this tournament will belong to the Germans as they have been strong in 2010 and 2012 tournaments where their previously young stars are now very experienced and hungrier than ever. Their midfield is just as strong as Spain’s and their strikers and defenders look better. They are probably the most complete team in the tournament and although they are considered a bit of a favourite, the pressure won’t be as high on them as the other three teams, especially the host nation.

Two underdog teams I think you will hear a lot of in the tournament are Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cristiano Ronaldo can carry his team on his back and could rack of a lot of goals in the tournament. Argentina are proof that you still need good coaching and that all-star players are not good enough on their own to win; just look at what David Moyes has done with Manchester United.Look out for Ghana and Uruguay in the tournament as well.

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