The launch of the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s new website has been inevitably cause for feverish excitement in the Cricket Yorkshire office.
There are very few things in life where I am more likely to be hawkishly opinionated than assessing, road testing and de-constructing the merits of an online resource.
Access to the information you want to do with cricket in the way you want it is the absolute gold standard as far as Cricket Yorkshire is concerned and making sure you, the reader, are happy comes before everything else.
So, if you’re interested in technology, journalism, web design, your daily digital journeys or grassroots cricket then the chances are that there’s something here for you.
So, first a bit of context to bring you all up to speed. As governing body, the Yorkshire Cricket Board, administer all grassroots cricket in the county.
Their old website was, they’ll hopefully forgive me for this, a bit of a tired dinosaur who needed not just a bit of TLC but a root and branch overhaul.
Typically, who uses a county board website? Here’s the thing. The breadth of audience is something else.
It’s anyone looking to find out about any involvement in non-professional cricket from clubs and leagues to umpires, coaches, Yorkshire age groups and schools as a broad overview.
As a business working on our own website for 2015, and continually looking at trends, how people navigate the information superhighway – in the YCB’s case, perhaps that’s the digital M62 – there was an opportunity for the YCB to upgrade their digital presence.
What are you typically looking for in a cricket website?
It should be quick to load, have a smart design, sensible navigation, responsive (changes size to work on any device) and delivers content that you want to read.
When weighing up the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s new platform, I was consulted as I’m sure many were, as to recommendations and Birstall-based PItchero was the obvious choice – which ultimately they went with.
The global network of sports websites encompasses many sports but continues to attract new clubs and leagues to its platform from cricket.
Up and running since 2007, Pitchero has become familiar within the amateur game with over 200 cricket clubs in Yorkshire alone using their online resources to manage websites including running membership and boosting online revenue.
In the realm of cricket, any club, league or organisation could design their own website or use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or the most popular choices in cricket, Pitchero and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Play-Cricket Network.
It’s been my long-held view that the Play Cricket network is lagging way behind and though work is on-going to improve functionality, you only have to compare www.ecb.co.uk to www.play-cricket.com to see the marked difference.
So, first of all the web address: www.yorkshirecricketboard.org.uk is redirecting to the new domain of: www.yorkshirecb.com, presumably for a period of time to let people get accustomed to the change.
* At this point, I should declare this isn’t a sponsored article and Pitchero aren’t a current commercial partner of Cricket Yorkshire so no perceived conflict of interest.
It comes from using all the various platforms available to grassroots cricket over several decades and being involved in writing online, web design and being interested in technology and content marketing trends.
What’s on the YCB website? You’ll likely be familiar with it if you’re a club or league and the structure is very much as it was – which is a good thing.
Change for change’s sake isn’t always helpful.
If you’ve got a loyal audience who return to your website, completely overhauling how you negotiate round won’t be universally met with approval.
The top-level navigation like News, Events, Club and League, Schools are as the old website.
News like Yapham Under 13’s winning the Boys’ CMJ Spirit of Cricket Award, chance to be involved in the audit of Womens and Girls cricket and an unbeaten season for Yorkshire U11s give an informed perspective of the myriad of activity within the county.
It’s all-year-round too so there’s indoor cricket now being showcased with fifty teams playing across leagues (that’s just in Leeds) and this is the time of year for coaches, umpires and scorers education through winter courses.
You only have to click round to realise that the YCB oversees a vast amount of cricket and consequently the job of assembling all that info in a cohesive website is no five-minute job.
Drop-down menus feel pretty clearly signposted depending on whether you want to play, coach, learn about schools cricket or say funding and grants.
Many may look at the new YCB website and not see a great difference as the content might appear broadly what they’re used to within a Pitchero wrapper – which they’re also used to.
To defend fellow writers and content managers, that would be something of a discredit to the team behind the scenes.
The content has been tirelessly knocked into shape for the website launch and access is generally via a few clicks to where you need to be.
Future developments on the YCB website when time allows will include links to Play Cricket results and stats, use of Pitchero’s online payments and transactions and score updates from leagues and representative cricket.
If you’re interested in the game of cricket in Yorkshire whether playing, watching, learning at an amateur level then I’d recommend you have a click round the new Yorkshire Cricket board website at www.yorkshirecb.com.
There’s a mountain of information on offer; it’s a very different site to this one at Cricket Yorkshire with our focus being on interviews, reviews and opinion; but the YCB offers a fantastic hub to learn, get involved in cricket and pluck what you need like a digital library shelf.
Over to you…happy surfing…