Hey guys – I wanted to start putting together some articles on tools and ideas to help you better run your leagues. The biggest part of running a league is communication and it can be difficult to decide the best ways for your leagues to stay in contact with each other. In the Madden community, there are several types of ways guys choose to run and manage their leagues:
1 – Template Everything Leagues – I’m not knocking this approach because not everyone has the time and ability to put together their own website and have it actually work. These kinds of leagues are ones where the commissioners generally join a site like daddyleagues.com for example because it pretty much does it for you. (Very well I mught add, which is why so many leagues use it). A site like daddyleagues pulls together all the necessities for you – chat, forums and also does cool stuff like bring together all the stuff in the game to the league’s hub. This is where daddyleagues really gets it right. I’ve argues for a long time that the development team at Madden shouldn’t waste a moment of time on allowing guys to upgrade their players online when it’s available in the game because, who leaves the game to go online to do something they can do right there? What I mean is – leagues function best when there is a hub that owners can go to that houses everything in one place. Daddyleagues’ ability to pull the stats, standings, etc together and integrate chat and forum stuff too make it a great place to call home for your league. If you’re a commish that is looking for an easy setup with a lot of options, check them out.
2 – Half and Half – These leagues are ones that might use a site like daddyleagues for some of their stuff, but not everything. The only down side to daddyleagues is that, generally speaking, once you’ve seen one of their leagues, you’ve pretty much seen them all. Now – that’s not a bad thing necessarily – a lot can be said about consistency. A Big Mac at McDonalds is the same no matter where you order it. That said, some leagues are more image conscientious and choose to brand themselves with their own website, logo, forum, chat and other things. That’s where user friendly sites like wix.com (my personal favorite) and weebly come in. They do a good job of letting the newb programmer jump in and start creating a league site that can rival any on it’s looks because of how flexible they are. Wix.com for example has a drag and drop designer that allows you to place elements into your site anywhere you want. The key to this is that you can drop an HTML box into your site that is basically a placeholder for anything you want to add. Java and jquery scripts, rss feeds, images, galleries, video clips, embedded chat windows – it’s all right there. I’ll be talking more about some of these types of embeddable features in subsequent articles but there are so many options out there to choose from that, even if you do decide to use daddyleagues or something else to be a hub for your league, you can go with some free and pretty sweet other things to dress up the image so it’s not all leaguedaddy(y). A great site to check out that makes excelent use of programming skills and daddyleagues integration is http://www.maddeneliteevolution.com/
3 – Home Grown – If you want a great example of a league that flat out gets it done right and is a 100% home grown product, check out MOF http://mofleagues.com/. This league is one of my favorites because they don’t use CFM, they are old school in every sense. If you browse through the site (not including the league central portion) you can’t help but be amazed by the work that was put in to make that site legit. I’m a big fan of leagues like MOF that are labors of love to make the site look and function the best it can to best serve its members. So – which kind of commissioner are you? Maybe you have a team of people to help you and know a lot about web programming. Maybe not! In the next few articles I’ll be covering some great resources you can use to make running your leagues easier on you, look cooler to your members, attract new members and just be awesome. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to this stuff and although I’m not a full blown programmer, I get a little geeky about finding cool, FREE stuff to use to make your league awesome. Here’s some of what to be on the lookout for: – Forums – Chat Clients – Website Design – Rss Feeds – Twitter – Scripts – Image Editors – Radio Shows – Free Resources – The Magic of Google Docs – And anything else I can think of to help you guys!