Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Social Media at the AYSO EXPOs

It's almost January, which means it's nearly AYSO EXPO season!

If you haven't heard the news, AYSO Section Meetings have been revamped and revitalized; hence the new name. And this year, I'm happy to report that a social media course will be at every single EXPO location!

Also, for the more seasoned social media people out there, I've been working on an advanced social media course that I will personally be teaching at select locations (as of now, it's Section 6 and the big EXPO in Las Vegas) so if you've taken my webinar before, this advanced course would be the perfect next step for you.

Learn more about AYSO EXPO and register for yours here.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lock it up: The best ways to secure your Wordpress site.

 WordPress, I can't think of a website CMS I like better, it's ease of use and incredible sophistication make it the best place to go for amateurs and professionals alike when it comes to building and maintaining a website. Now i've used a lot of different software and languages over the years in building more than a few websites (cold fusion anyone? Hello Tom are you out there?)

If you get the reference, you rock.
Granted there are times when a starting from ground up on a build is obviously the best choice for your needs, but what most people don't realize is a lot of those reasons have to do with security.
When you have a one size fits all kind of application like WordPress security is going to be a issue. Fortunately Wordpress has a amazing market of free to download plug ins that can not only add some incredible features and SEO options to your site, but it is also the place where you can go to get all your security needs squared away.

In my humble opinion when it comes to security, there is no better plug in than "Better WP Security" it is by far the most robust and secure, that I have used. Best of all; like most WordPress plug-in's, it's completely free. Remember if you do download this plug in make sure to keep it updated otherwise you will throw that security right out the window. Click the the link below to connect to the WordPress Marketplace to download "Better WP Security" Happy coding!

Click Here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Do You Have a 5-Star Region?

Facebook is rolling out another fun new feature for its business pages: ratings! Much like the popular ratings-driven site Yelp, Facebook ratings allows visitors to rate your company with a star rating, from 1 to 5 (see example below).

How do you activate this feature? Simply put in your Region’s address information under Page Info and check the provided box, and that will allow visitors to your Facebook page to rate you. Users can also leave comments with their ratings and “check-in” to your Region, which is a way of sharing with their friends that they were on your fields, participating in an game/event.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WebRTC and the bleeding edge.

Have any of you heard of WebRTC technology? anyone, anyone, (the sound of crickets ensues...) Of course you haven't basically no one has this stuff is the bleeding edge of web development, but fortunately for you dear reader I love the bleeding edge, I have a house there year round.

I see nothing wrong with this...

WebRTC is a technology that is currently being looked at by the W3C (the grand high poobah's of web standards) into becoming a standard with the goal of providing a web-based set of tools that any device can use to share audio, video and data in real time. It’s still very much in the early development stages, but WebRTC has the future potential to replace technologies like Skype, Flash and many hardcoded native apps with web-based alternatives that work on any device.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Updated: Social Media Webinar Includes New Features

Next week, I'll be hosting the webinar "Social Media 101: Using Facebook and Twitter to Increase Registration." If you haven't already taken this webinar, it's a great way to become more familiar with these social media and learn how they can help your Region succeed.

If you have already taken this webinar, now is a great time to re-take it! With all the recent changes to Facebook and Twitter, the webinar is revamped with a lot of new info and best practices (not to mention exclusive details on all of the new Facebook features).

It's happening Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 6:00 p.m., PT. Join me! Sign up here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Web development language, and how to understand the technospeak of the Internet.

Whilst swimming these wide waters we call the internet, we come across various codewords, secret-speak, jargon if you will, that can make it feel like you stumbled into the halls of some clandestine coven of need-to-know code speakers, as opposed to a message board devoted to the glory of puppies. More relevantly; if you are building a website, or if you are having someone build you a website, the people developing or using your site will start speaking to you using these words and terms assuming a familiarity you just may not have. 

When he said azimuth, I thought we were talking about a demon.

Fear not intrepid reader of blogs for we have your salvation, what follows is a glossary of the most common web developer and user lingo. So for anyone who ever wondered what the heck a CAPTCHA™ is and why it matters, or what is CSS and why you should never use it in your email blasts, this handy guide shall steer you in the right direction so you will be able to effectively communicate and understand when building or using your and others websites.

Web Design Glossary

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

White Space in Design (and why it matters.)

White space is the blank space, the empty space, between your content. Many people think this empty space is just a opportunity waiting to be exploited, eagerly awaiting the chance to cram as much content as possible into what’s left.

This is not a land to be conquered.

If that is your thought process STOP, back away from the keyboard slowly. White space or "negative space" is actually a tool in the fundamentals of both print and web design and is as easily as important as the content it surrounds.  It’s the space we leave between all of your elements to give a layout elegance and clean form.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Updated eAYSO Call Center Hours

In case you have any eAYSO issues - as of Sept. 3, 2013, the eAYSO Call Center has returned to normal operating hours after six months of extended weekend coverage.

The eAYSO Call Center is now open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., PT. To reach the Call Center, call 1-866-588-2976 or

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Wild Wild Wonderful World of Tablets!

With more and more people using tablets as their primary window into the internet , it’s critical you understand how your site appears across those platforms, as your sites long-term success rides on this truth.  Responsive design can help your site maintain its look across the various platforms it will be seen on, which will give the end user a cohesive experience. 

This is critical because how users think of your site and how they interact with your content is largely defined by their experience. You can have the best content in the world, but if your end user cant see it or use it, none of that will matter, your sites visitors will dry up, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. That can further impact how they share you  on social networks and whether they recommend you to others.

Today, many sites sense if the visitor is on a mobile device or tablet will redirect to the mobile version of the site.  The trouble with this is, many of those sites sacrifice some content for a simpler interface.  This can kill your credibility with your audience. On the technical side, it can lead to duplicate URL issues over time, so you want to make sure you account for this when it comes time to redesign your site. So remember keep those sites simple and elegant, the sites purpose before everything else is to deliver your content effectively. Don't be afraid to jump into the world of tablet and mobile optomized web building, its the future and we are all on for the ride.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Does Your Region Website Have a New URL?

It happened. As previously announced, if your Region used Clubspaces for your Region website, it was important that you converted the site before Sept. 3. As of Tuesday, all Clubspaces websites have gone "dark."

If your Region now has a new website, remember to change your website address (URL) in eAYSO. Your Region's website URL and other details are directly linked with AYSO's National Region Locator

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Web Safe Fonts

Whenever building a site especially your first site its very tempting to head over to your favorite font library and just go nuts. This is a exercise in futility though as almost 99% of those font cant display on the world wide web. Fear not intrepid young developer here is a list of the current fonts (many of them actually aesthetically pleasing) that are completely web safe.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Save for web and Devices!

This is probably one of the most useful functions built into Adobe Photoshop for web developers. One of the biggest issues we will run into when creating content for our websites or mobile devices, is that the assets we create or cultivate are just to big! with this handy function found in the file tab you can keep the quality of the image high but the load times low by dropping the size dramatically. Remember don't just save, save for web and devices.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Facebook Updates User Guidelines

Facebook announced today they’ve updated their user guidelines and will no longer require that Facebook promotions be administered through third-party applications.

What does this mean? If you want to have a contest on your Facebook page, you don’t have to pay a Facebook-app company to create and administer it for you. Which is a huge time and money saver.

This means you can upload a photo to your Region’s Facebook page and ask people to leave comments, like or share to enter to win a prize. Many of you may have not known functions like this were illegal. They were! And if Facebook would’ve come across posts like this in the past, your page would have been in danger of getting deleted.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Building a Lean, Mean, Quick, Web Machine!

Building a website can be a time consuming process. If you use the wrong kind of assets in building your site, it will become a exercise in patience and anger management. Here is a few simple tips to keep that site light on its feet, easy to build, troubleshoot, and maintain.

Small pages = Fast pages

The art of building a site that loads quickly and is quick to transition is a tricky one. no matter a persons connection speed there is always content to download. How frustrating is it when you go to a page you want to view only to have to wait sometimes, what seems like forever, for content to load. We have all been there. (modem era anyone?) Do your viewers a favor, keep those pages small no more than a couple hundred kb. (yes you can still have images and content and keep it that small)

Monday, August 19, 2013

AYSO's Julie Foudy Day

Julie Foudy – AYSO alum, Olympic Gold Medalist and former U.S. Women's National team member – has produced a new ESPN Nine for IX film: "The 99ers." This film covers the U.S. Women's National team's journey during their World Cup victory in 1999 and uses "home movies" filmed by the players themselves. "The 99ers" will air Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 5 p.m., PT.

To celebrate, Julie will be joining AYSO on Tuesday for Julie Foudy Day!

Tomorrow at noon PT, AYSO alum and Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy will be taking over the AYSO Twitter account!

Don't miss it! Visit to check out Julie's answers and to ask her some questions yourself. Use the hashtag ‪#‎AskJulieFoudy‬ to get your questions heard. This is going to be fun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Codecademy and Learning how to build websites.

In the last couple of years a wealth of web building software has arrived on the market that allows even the most technically challenged to build a pretty sophisticated website. Software like WordPress is even used by professionals to achieve pretty remarkable and sophisticated websites, sometimes though, a person will want more control they will want to start to lean how to actually code.

Years ago, short of going back to school this was a option that was not realistic to the average novice. These days however the game has changed. is a internet learning tool that will guide you step by step through the process of learning how to code almost every major web based language currently in use. I myself have used it to enhance and build upon the skills I already have.  The lessons are easy to follow, dynamic, and well constructed. Best of all they are free!

If you are a up-and-coming web developer and are looking to expand your skills so you can lean how to build your own sites from scratch I recommend this tool wholeheartedly.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Embed Your Facebook Posts

Facebook has debuted another fun new feature: post embedding. Embedded Facebook posts will allow you to take a post from your Region's Facebook page (or AYSO's National Facebook page) and embed it on a website, blog and more.

Once the post is embedded, users will be able to view the post anywhere you embed it, and engage with it by sharing, liking or leaving a comment. The above is a preview of what an embedded Facebook post looks like.

Embedding your Facebook posts on other websites is a great way to get your community engaged with your Region and drive valuable traffic to your Facebook page. Here's why:

Friday, August 2, 2013

WordPress for Websites & the 7 plugins you will need.

WordPress has become a increasingly popular method to create a website due to its ease of use, fantastic and helpful developer community, and the sheer number of high-quality free modules and plug-ins that can add fantastic features and security to your website. Here is list of the seven I recommend everyone start with.  

Akismet Spam Protection
Akismet is a spam filter plugin for comments. It is automatically installed with WordPress, so you simply need to go to your WP-Admin Dashboard and click on Plugins, find Akismet in the list and click Activate. A message will appear asking for your API key, simply click the link and create a account and then copy and paste the key back into your Dashboard.
Quick Cache
When a page is accessed on your site, WordPress performs some database lookups and executes a bunch of code. Ordinarily this isn’t a problem, however if you happen to have a lot of traffic all at once, this can slow your site right down. Quick Cache is a plugin that caches your pages periodically to dramatically reduce the load on the WordPress server. You can find the plugin at
Once installed, click on Plugins in the Dashboard and click Activate. You then need to click on Options in the dashboard menu and find WP-Cache in the menu. This leads you to a page where you can enable the caching. Don’t enable just yet, because it’s best to do this after you install your theme and have everything working, otherwise you can sometimes have trouble testing changes.
Note that to get WP-Cache working you may need to create some directories for it to write to. The plugin will give you details of what to do.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Clubspaces Customers: Don't Forget Pending Dark Date!

Don't forget! If your Region uses Clubspaces, you will need to convert your Region website to a new vendor before Sept. 3. As of Sept. 3, all Clubspaces websites will go dark and all information, such as pictures, calendars, and documents, will no longer be available., the owner of Clubspaces is converting its website platforms to eTeamz. For a coupon code for free year of eTeamz, please contact Shea McLaughlin.

Click here for other website options, or for help converting your website.

Friday, July 19, 2013

How Searchable is Your Facebook Page?

I hope that you promote your Facebook page to all of your Region’s families and volunteers during registration events and the like. But if someone is out there on Facebook searching for your Region page, is it easy to find?

For example, if a user goes into the search bar, and types in “Region 32…” Region 32, Region 320, Region 3204 should all automatically populate in the drop-down predicted results. Or, if a user searches for their local AYSO by city and/or state, that should also automatically bring up results.

Here’s how to ensure that your Facebook page is searchable:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catch common usability problems before user testing.

There is a saying I always liked: "Don't try to say again what has already been said better," With that on my mind, I present to you the following link. This a excellent checklist/tool in your web development arsenal that allows you to catch common usability problems before user testing. Enjoy, and happy coding.

Click Me!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

CSS Button Generator

Building a website can be a time consuming and stressful task. one of the hardest aspects of design for many people is assets. Something as simple as a button can be a hassle when you don't know where to get the assets to design and eventually code your own. This being the internet some industrious individual has come along and given us a simple CSS Button Generator.

CSS Button Generator will create beautiful  simple CSS buttons for you to use on your web pages without the need for any images. These time saving tricks and tools can turn what was once an arduous task into a painless procedure. remember; work hard, but work smart.

Happy coding.

Friday, July 5, 2013

How Does Your Facebook Cover Image Look?

Since Facebook completely re-designed its profiles into timelines, the Facebook cover image has the focal point of every FB Business Page.

The cover image is the large rectangular image (the smaller inset square image is the profile photo).

In my time looking at Region Facebook pages, I’ve seen everything from really great cover images to blurry or blank images. Here are a few ways to make sure your Region’s Facebook page has a great cover image.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Do's and Dont's of HTML Email Blasts.

Hey everyone, after a week off we are back with more helpful hints.

With the proliferation of email-blast software and websites all over the internet, its becoming increasingly popular for people to turn to these avenues in order to drive sign ups, direct to seasonal events, and really reach out and impress where a regular email would fall short.

One of the best aspects of these sites is their ability to let you craft a beautiful email-blast whether you have skills in HTML or not. Many people though can sometimes be a little to ambitious when diving into the HTML editors as they tend to carry their skill sets in designing websites into crafting their email blasts and they can be frustrated when the results do not match their efforts

Email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail, etc., can render your emails in different ways. What looks one way in Yahoo or Outlook 2003 may appear very different in Gmail or Entourage.
The root of this problem is the variance among email clients in the level of support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).

There is no real standard for what an email client should support and how it should go about supporting it. Every email client takes its own approach to rendering HTML and CSS – which is why an email that looks fine in one email client can look different in another.

So how can you or your designer ensure an email design remains consistent and looks great across all these different email clients? Here's a helpful list of "Do's and Dont's" on email blasts and HTML.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New: Facebook Hashtags!

Twitter hashtags are one of the major reasons the social media platform has experienced so much success. If you've been reading this blog regularly, you may have seen my post on how Twitter hashtags work.

In a nutshell,hashtags are Twitter’s way of making their user-generated content searchable and conversational. If you want your tweet to be discovered by others tweeting about similar things, all you have to do is add a hashtag.

Well, Facebook felt a little left out of the hashtag fun and has recently announced that they have added hashtag capability!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Beginnings!

Hello AYSO Webmasters!

My name is Mike and I am the new Manager of Digital Media and Graphic Design at the AYSO National Office. On behalf of all of AYSO We are happy and saddened to announce that Jen will be moving on from AYSO and starting a brand new project that we hope and wish will lead her to happiness and many years of prosperity.

Starting today I have the honor of being your new guide to all things web and design related, and I want you to know that I take this role very seriously, as I could never replace Jen but only succeed her. I hope in the coming weeks, months, and years we get to know each other better as I fall into my position and learn the best way to help guide and assist all of you. A little about myself;

I graduated from The Art Institute of California Los Angeles with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic and Web Design.  For the last 10 years I have worked in various design and development roles for a multitude of companies and organizations in all sorts of industries including: entertainment, advertising, Olympic sports, and technology.

It's my aim to impart the skills I've learned and leveraged over the years so they can be a invaluable wealth of information for you and all of AYSO. I hope you enjoy this blog and the content presented. I look forward to to this new journey that we are about to take together. 


Friday, June 14, 2013

Make the Most of Registration Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are a great way to get information out to your membership. As as webmaster, these duties may cross over onto your task list. We have some tools available to help make it easier to send out registration emails.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Choosing the Best Layout for Your Website

You have your domain name and your hosting, but now it's time to get your actual site up and running. Which layout do you choose? There's hundreds if not thousands of layouts to choose from. Does it matter which one you choose? Of course it does.

There are one column, two column, three column websites, and bunches of variations of particular layouts. The simpler your site is, the easier it will be for your consumers to use it. Don't put too much information on the homepage. Homepage space should belong to the absolute most important information on your website.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Clubspaces Announces "Dark Date"

As we’ve previously announced, the team is planning to retire the Clubspaces websites. By giving you this information as early as possible, it was our hope that you would start seeking out new provider options as soon as possible.

Telling by your response, and the amount of questions and suggestion we’ve received, you all have been hard at work looking for a provider that will suit your needs. If you ever need more information or a second opinion, feel free to contact AYSO’s Production and Design Department!

This post is to let you know that the official “dark date” for all Clubspaces accounts is:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Does Your Region Have the Right Type of Facebook Page?

I spend a lot of time talking to RCs and Webmasters regarding social media best practices – especially about Facebook.

I get a lot of questions: How often should I post? What if someone posts something bad on my page? How can I keep up with a Region website AND a Facebook page?

But, before answering any of that, I always ask the person: What type of Facebook page do you have? Because if you don’t have the right type of page, you can be stopped before you even start.

All AYSO Regions, Areas and Sections should have a Facebook Business Page. If your Region has a personal profile, Group Page or Community Page, you do not have the correct type of Page.

Here’s why:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Custom Domain Names – They Look Great and are Easy to Remember!

It’s difficult for people to remember a long name or long site address with a bunch of weird words or formatting. Phone numbers are only seven characters because it is proven that seven characters are the maximum a human can remember at one time.

Knowing this, it’s a good idea to get your website a domain name (and a short one at that!) that people can easily remember. The long Clubspaces domain names are difficult to remember, let alone type into the browser! Here’s how to get yourself a nice short domain name and hook it up to your website.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Favicons are Fun!

Have you ever noticed the cool little icon in the browser bar when you visit a website? Those are called favicons and they show up when browsing a website or adding the site as a bookmark in your browser. They give a website a more legitimate and secure feeling, as well as adding a small branding element to the website.

Any website can have a favicon and they're pretty simple to create. You don't even need editing software to create one! There are bunches of websites out there that will generate the file for you. All you need to do is upload an image.

Favicons are images that are created with an .ico file extension. You place this file in the root of your website, add some small code and it will show up in the browser.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Comparing Web Hosting Options

We realize that choosing a web host can be a difficult decision to make. They all seem like they offer the same products for the same price. We've decided to break down our featured hosting providers so you can get a direct comparison on the features they offer.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Important Information about Online Safety

The safety of our children is a priority for all of us. AYSO takes online security and data privacy very seriously—both in terms of physical data and digital information. AYSO has a long-standing privacy policy and a policy on social media, designed to protect against the improper use of private information.

Parents may have seen a recent news article regarding the potential vulnerability of sports team sites (such as the AYSO Shutterfly Team Sites) to hackers.

It serves as a reminder to be vigilant and avoid inputting personal information through unsecured Wi-Fi networks to potentially unsecured websites. Under the right circumstances, a hacker with sophisticated expertise could inappropriately access a team website when a registered user accesses the page from a public, unsecured Wi-Fi network (for example, in a coffee shop or an airport).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

eTeamz…an Easy Solution

eTeamz is partnered with Active, so it’s an easy solution for transferring your website. Active will do the site migration for you, so all you have to do is continue maintaining your site the way it is.

eTeamz is a sports website platform that is similar to Clubspaces. They have 75+ site design templates to choose from. All you need to do is drop in your logo. Their editor is simple and easy to use – no more difficult than using Microsoft Word. They offer a scheduler and a soccer statistics tracker module that lets you enter scores for Region games over multiple seasons. There is an integrated email communication module so that Regions can send out communications to parents, coaches, referees or whomever you need to get information to. The calendar feature lets you create a detailed game calendar with dates, times and locations so that parents can keep on top of their child’s schedule. They also have a product called MessageCast which allows the Region to send out text messages to anyone on the recipient list (Similar to Rained Out used at the National Games last year).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is Your Region Website Info Up to Date?

As a Webmaster, you put a lot of work into your Region website. From making sure that all the information is up to date to figuring out the best keywords to use to improve SEO, it’s a big job.

Make sure that people can find the website! We’ve recently re-done the Region Locator page, and the National Office has started a push for parents to visit the Region Locator and use the tool. Once a parent plugs his/her zip code into the tool and sets the distance preference, all of the Regions in the area pop up.

In the results, along with the Region contact person and a phone number, the Region website link pops up. Make sure your website URL is up to date in eAYSO, or parents searching for your website and registration details, won’t be able to find you.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why Choose the Active Youth Network For Hosting

The Active Youth Network offers website and ad hosting for youth sports organizations. The thing that’s emphasized most with their product is their integrated advertising.

Their advertising is completely handled by the company. They choose family-friendly companies to advertise on their websites. By accepting their free website, you agree to have their advertising on your pages. Regions can receive a share (70 percent) of the revenue from these advertisements, which is a great revenue generator for your Region.

They also offer a “QuickAds” solution where your Region can sell ads to local advertisers. These ads can be managed through the Active Youth Network website. By getting local ads, Regions can earn an extra 70 percent commission on top of the 70 percent received from Active Youth Network.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Schedule Your Tweets Ahead of Time

Twitter is fun – but I realize that not everyone has time to sit at their computers or fiddle with phones to send out tweets periodically throughout the day.

If you handle your Region’s Twitter feed and find yourself forgetting or not having time to tweet, here’s a simple solution: schedule your tweets ahead of time! Buffer is a free and easy-to-use app that will save and send your tweets whenever you want.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Blue Sombrero Has to Offer

Blue Sombrero is a web platform that is specially designed for sporting groups. They are owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods, so they already have a foothold in the sports industry.

Their websites come with a content management system (CMS) that allows you to choose a layout and easily edit the content for that layout. They have a wide variety of themes to choose from, which makes each page consistent across the board. All of their templates are designed to work on all browsers, so you don’t need to worry about cross-browser functionality. Their free-flowing design adapts to screen sizes so it works well on mobile platforms also.

If you decide you want something more customized than what they offer, you can ask for a custom design (for a price, of course) and still utilize their site functionality.

Their websites offer some modules that could be useful to a Region, including scheduling and reporting. To utilize the scheduling module, all you need to do is upload your schedule from an excel file. With a few steps, your schedule is available on your website. As for reporting, they have a bunch of stock reports available for whatever kind of data you need, including player stats!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No More Clubspaces. Now What?

We understand that many of your Region websites are on the Clubspaces platform, and now that is going away. What to do? We have suggestions of alternate FREE website options for our Regions to switch to. We’ve had some questions come up already, so I wanted to address some of them here in the blog (since they’re common and I’m sure others of you are having the same issues).

Setting Up a New Website
There are a few site platforms that have been suggested.

eTeamz is one option and possibly the easiest. It is free (with a coupon code – email for the coupon) and they will migrate the site for you directly from Clubspaces, so there is little work involved on your end.

Blue Sombrero is another that has been suggested. It is also free and has some of the scheduling modules that were available on Clubspaces. With this site, you will have to migrate your own content. This can be as simple as copy and paste from the old site to the new site. Region 68 in Camarillo, Calif., has been working with Blue Sombrero to migrate their website and they are impressed with their services.

Active Youth Network is another youth sports site provider. This one offers advertising support but is another one where you will have to migrate your content. This provider is free as well.

Google Sites has been recommended as a site provider also. This platform is free and can be set up with a Google account. Sites can be set to private or public, depending on which settings you choose. For a simple layout, this can be an easy choice to move to. You will have to migrate your content to this platform, but again, it’s as easy as copy and paste.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Does Your Region Use Clubspaces?

Websites are an important means of distributing information these days. It's almost expected that everyone and everything will have a website that is easily accessible with all of the pertinent information available at the click of a mouse.

AYSO recognizes this need and has a few solutions that make it so ANY Region can have their own website and maintain it themselves!

We regret that the team has needed to retire the Clubspaces products but it is to enhance and upgrade what they offer. If your Region currently uses a Clubspaces website product, We want to help in every way we can to make your transition a smooth one.

Here's how to transition Your Clubspaces website

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It’s Registration Season. What Should Be On Your Website?

Lots of Regions are in the thick of registration right now. Parents will be out there looking for places to sign their kids up for soccer. How do you make sure they sign up with your Region?
  1. Make sure your homepage is up to date. Make sure that vital information such a registration times, dates and places are visible or somewhere that they can easily be located. These dates are the first thing parents are looking for when they go to your Region website right now.
  2. Put together an FAQ for Registration. Parents will have questions about registration – what ages can you register your child at? How many registrations are left? I missed a registration, how can I still register? These are all questions that are common during registration, and if you have an FAQ page next to the registration information that contains these types of questions, you will eliminate the need for parents to physically call or email the Region. Don’t know which questions to put on the FAQ page? Ask the Regional Commissioner or the Registrar for your Region (or whoever fields those calls/emails).

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Advertise Your Facebook Posts

If your Region has a modest Facebook following, it may not make the most sense to invest a lot of time and money in a comprehensive Facebook advertising plan. But, if you have an upcoming registration event, tournament or fundraising opportunity that you'd like to promote, Facebook's single-post advertising could work wonders.

After posting a photo, video or status update on Facebook, you'll see a button at the bottom of the post that says "Get More Reach" as pictured above. Click on this and you'll see how you can promote just this post on Facebook, either just to your fans or to your fans and their friends.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shorten Your Page Content with Pop-Overs!

Content-heavy web pages can get really long, really fast. There are some ways you can embed small web pages into your website (or hints/tips for pieces of content) with jQuery.

Pop-over windows are an easy way for people to quickly get more information about anything on your webpage, without them leaving the page. We use them on to show video content, or give a little extra information on a “Learn More” link. These pop-over windows are called a lightbox, and there are many different versions of code out there to use. AYSO’s National Office uses the lightbox called Fancybox. It works with images (for an image gallery), inline text, iFrames, Flash files, Google Maps and YouTube. It has been tested on every browser too, so you know it works. You can view demos of Fancybox and download the code here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How's Your Region's Homepage Doing?

How's your Region's homepage doing? I suggest using Google Analytics to check out your homepage's activity. This will help you figure out what's getting the attention of your visitors, and what's getting overlooked.

The screenshot above (click to make bigger) is an example of's anayltics. You'll see that every link has a percentage; this is the percentage of total homepage clicks that the link has received. If you hover over the percentage, it'll give you more information such as the exact number of clicks and the URL it's listed under.

We all know that the homepage is one of the most important pages of your site - it's the visitor's first impression and may determine whether or not they choose to learn more about your Region. Study your analytics and make some changes.

Here's a few examples of what may need to be changed:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Best Free Software for Webmasters

Designing and maintaining websites can be expensive with all of the software required – photo editing software, graphics software and HTML editors. Below are a few programs you can download for free that will help you get your website up and running. (If it isn’t already!)

CoffeeCup HTML Editor (PC)
This is a nice HTML editor that color codes your code for you, making it easier to see what you’re doing. It also includes a “design” editor, making it easier for non-programmers to edit a webpage.

Smultron HTML Editor (Mac)
The software has syntax highlighting features which include over 90 different languages. You can also create new documents stored in your iCloud account to retrieve from any computer. This is easy to grab right off the Mac App Store and it’s great for developers.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is Your Region on YouTube?

YouTube announced today that it has reached 1 billion unique monthly users. In other words, YouTube is still a big deal! If your Region isn’t currently on YouTube, it might be something to think about.

Here’s what YouTube said in their blog post:

What does 1 billion people tuning into YouTube look like?
•    Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube.
•    Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly ten Super Bowl audiences.
•    If YouTube were a country, we’d be the third-largest in the world, after China and India.
•    Psy and Madonna would have to repeat their Madison Square Garden performance in front of a packed house 200,000 more times. That’s a lot of Gangnam Style!

Don’t let the idea of needing to create videos scare you away! YouTube can be simple if that’s the way you choose to utilize it. If your Region decides to join YouTube, here are things you could feature in your account:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Learn SEO From the Professionals

Case studies are always a good way to get an insiders look into how something comes to fruition. They let you see how things are done in the real world, by the big wigs.

With this case study, the designer/programmer of the landing page for ConvertKit takes you on a step-by-step copywriting venture to show how he has taken on the world of metrics (also known as search engine optimization). This case study includes lots of advice and feedback on conversion rate optimization and copywriting, to help you make the most out of your website.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What Social Media Can Do for Your Region's Sponsors

Once you build a sizable and engaged social media audience (for a typical-sized Region, I would say this is about 300 Facebook and/or Twitter followers), your online presence can be a useful asset to your Region’s local sponsors.

Whether you’re trying to please your current sponsors, or looking to bag a few new ones, here are a few ways to use social media to promote your Region’s sponsors (or potential sponsors).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Stuck and Need Help? Google is Your Friend.

We all get stuck when it comes to creating webpages, whether it’s related to programming, or something isn’t working quite right. That’s when you turn to Google. There is an abundant supply of resources online just waiting for you to find them.

The W3C has an extensive website with resources on every programming language out there (web-based anyway). Whether you need help understanding HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP or ASP, their website can help you out. They break down every element of the code, tell you what it does and gives you examples of how to use it. Some of the pages even have a section where you can test it for yourself in real time. It’s a great resource if you’re just learning or don’t understand a certain component of any type of code.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Advanced Twitter Searching

People on Twitter are always talking – about their weekend plans, their favorite teams, even what they ate for dinner. If you’re ever curious as to what the “Twitter-verse” is saying about AYSO, there are ways to find out.

The first step is going to the “#Discover” section and typing in AYSO in the search box. These will give you the top results of people using #AYSO in their tweets. After a quick browse, click “All” too see all of the unfiltered, unranked responses.

Note: If you’ve promoted a custom hashtag in your Region, i.e., #AYSORegion22, try using that as your search term instead.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Using Fonts on the Web

It’s fun to go through all of the fonts on your computer and use them on your Region website. However, keep in mind thatnot everyone will have your fun font on their computer. So, it’s a good idea to use fonts that the majority of people will have and can view. You should also have a back-up font declared so that everyone can see your Region website the way it was meant to be seen..

Declaring Your Fonts

You can declare your fonts in CSS. Follow the format below:
font-family: Geneva, Arial, sans-serif;

You can add as many fonts to your declaration as you like. The first font is what will be displayed. Each font listed after that will be the fallback if the first font doesn’t work. So, say the user doesn’t have Geneva on their computer. It will try to display the page in Arial. If they don’t have Arial either, it will use the basic sans-serif font on the computer’s system.

Common Web Fonts

Choosing a font can be difficult because users work on different types of computers. Macs and Linux have different fonts than regular PCs, so even if your font is a "normal" font on a Mac, it might not be visible for a user on a PC. Here is a list of fonts that render on all computer formats:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Increase Facebook Engagement with Images

The Webmaster Info Spot has been on a roll lately with informative posts on using/editing photos. To cap off the unofficial series, I wanted to share this good-to-know tidbit of Facebook advice:

Posts with images will receive higher engagement than posts without. did some research, and they discovered that “images have been the No.1 driver of engagement on a page since timeline launched.” That means that images beat out links, videos and text-only status updates for the top spot. And this means that images catch the eye of your Facebook fans more than anything else.

“Posts including a photo album or a picture can generate two times more engagement than other post types,” reports

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Video Formats… What Works and What Doesn’t

Videos make a great addition to your Region website and can make it more entertaining and educational (and possibly educational) for your visitors. The National Office has a YouTube channel with videos available for Regions to put on their websites.

YouTube videos are easy to embed on your website. All you need to do is go to the video and click on the embed link. Copy the code and paste it where you want it on your website.

If you would like to use your own videos that are not on YouTube, you might want to follow some of these guidelines:

File Format – There are some common file formats that work universally for the most part. MOV (or Quicktime) files work in any browser and on any iPhone or iPad. FLV is a good format for the web, as it loads quickly and tends to have smaller file sizes. It, however, does not work on iPhone and iPad, so if your audience includes users on these devices, I would opt for another format. MP4 is another QuickTime format that works on all devices and browsers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

SUPER Simple Photo Editing

For the more experienced Webmaster, you probably have a photo editing tool/software that you know and love. For those on the more inexperienced side, like myself, (I try to stick to writing, editing and social media), we need a simple, easy-to-use photo editor that can get the basic things done quickly.

If I ever need to quickly edit a photo for a Facebook post, inclusion in an e-newsletter, etc., I usually hop on