To celebrate the release of our awesome new fansite kit, we thought we’d put together a few tips on how to get started on making your own Football Manager fansite. If you’ve yet to grab the fansite kits themselves, here’s a list of their contents:
Football Manager Fansite Kits
Finding A Host Or Some Personal Space
First things first, you’ll need to decide if you are going to build your own site and get it hosted or use one of the popular blogging sites. Building your own site may require some technical know-how and will mean you’ll need to purchase some webspace (see hosting tips below). On the plus side you’ll have almost total freedom in your design and content.
An alternative is to use one of the free blogging platforms such as Blogspot or Blogger. Blog sites like this very site have become an enormously popular method of getting seen and heard on the web. They are easy to customise, even if you’re not technically minded, and there are loads of great free templates to download. Other personal page services include Wordpress, which have space to blog, share photos, pictures, your movie files and links. This option is great if you’re looking to get your site off the ground and your content seen as soon as possible. In the long term though, you may want to look at a more ambitious design and to get your own webspace, which involves some more hands on design work and coughing up for some hosting.
There are many companies offering hosting services out there. These companies will host your html files, images and movies and provide tools to help you update your site regularly. Many will also offer domain name registration – the registration of your chosen URL address. Simply do a websearch for “cheap domain hosting” and you will find 100,000’s of services from as little as $1 month and url registration from around $5 a year.
The URL of your site (the www. bit) will need to be registered first; this is the address people use to find your site. One thing to keep in mind here is copyright, don’t use someone else’s IP (intellectual property) in the URL otherwise you may be forced to close or rename your site once it’s launched and built a community. As mentioned, most of the sites that offer hosting include registration services, but if you do register a domain name with your hosting service you’d be wise to check who owns the URL should you want to change hosting providers and take you URL elsewhere.
Designing your site
So you’ve decided on a host or set up your fansite, now it’s time to consider design and this means making a few more decisions. Websites are constructed using HTML (hyper text mark up language) and more recently XHTML, both of which, with the right book(s) and resources, are easy to learn. Just visit your Internet retailer of choice and have a look at the basic html tuition books there are loads of great ones out there. The web itself is also a massive resource in this area – there are so many good tutorials it’s hard to recommend just one but http://webmonkey.com/ has plenty of cool guides, but again a simple websearch “web tutorials” will do the trick.
Pure HTML programming requires little software other than a simple text editor such as Notepad. However, if you don’t want to get your head in the books and start from scratch, you can opt to use a wysiwyg editor (what you see is what you get) to build your site. These editors make website building far easier since you can place elements on your pages using visual tools and wizards. However they won’t necessarily improve your knowledge of the code behind your site. Again, it’s a question of how quickly you want your site up and running and how much time you have to invest in learning all that’s involved.
When it comes to choosing an editor - Dreamweaver is an obvious choice here, and you can get a 30-day trail at http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver/. There are alternatives of course - as mentioned earlier, some sites offer tools and templates free with hosting services - www.homestead.com/ is just one example of the many great sites out there that do so.
The rest is up to you now but there’s an awful lot of help around. If you have friends who have made their own site to talk to them about what options they went for. Also if you are a member of any forums, a quick post asking for advice will normally do the trick. The web itself is certainly your best tutorial and guide. You can get a lot of ideas for website design by just browsing other people’s sites. You can even get plugins for your browser such as the web developer plugin for Firefox (https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/60/) that allow you to examine the code, images and scripts behind websites in detail.
Hopefully our fansite kit and this blog has inspired you and helped you take the first few steps. After the holiday we’ll post a second blog to give you some help with regards to promoting your site and setting up your own forums.
News feeds allow you to see when websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and video in one place, as soon as it’s published, without having to visit the websites you have taken the feed from.
Feeds are also known as RSS. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people plump for 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages, designed to be read by computers rather than people.
Sports Interactive have set up feeds from the website and the forums for you to use. If you’re using blogging software such as Blogger, Blogspot or Wordpress then it’s really easy to use them by adding the appropriate widget. You can find out more information on this on their relevant website.
If you’re creating your own website from scratch, then it’s a little more difficult. You have to do something called ‘parsing’. This website is a good place to start.
Webmonkey.com - More great html and web tutorials and tools.
W3Schools.com – Online web tutorials.
Webdeveloper.com - Community for web developers.
Homestead.com - A good start for WYSIWYG hosting.
Blogger.com - A popular blogging service.
Blogspot.com - Another blogging service worth a look.
WordPress - Yet another blog style service network.
Dreamweaver - A popular WYSIWYG editor that offers a 30-day trial.