When you first embark on your adventures in teaching yoga, it can be overwhelming and somewhat daunting to think about all the things you need to have as an entrepreneur. It becomes even more daunting after you have some experience and you realize that you want to take it to the next level and make it your full-time career. One of the first and most important things to have is an online presence. If you are looking to stand out from the rest, take your business to the next level and create a professional image…then you absolutely must have a website. Before you build your website, you should plan your attack and choose wisely. It will save you alot of time and frustration in the end. If you already have a website, there are always things that you can and will continue to do, to improve it. Think of the website as more of a living thing than a product.
Do It Yourself or Hire Out?
To have a website, your budget will dictate whether you will hire a designer, or build one yourself (DIY). Hiring someone to do your website can cost anywhere from $250 to thousands of dollars. Doing it yourself can be a low as $8 per month, up to over $50 per month. You will however, need to spend some time creating the content and the design of your site. Many DIY websites have beautiful, simple, and clean templates to choose from. Most offer color customization options that allow you to create a unique look. Look at this person’s review of the top 10 DIY website builders. I can say that I have personal experience with Squarespace (love it) and I personally know others who use Wix (they love it). I think this is a personal choice based on which interface seems more user friendly to you and what price range makes sense for your budget. Keep in mind that once you build the website, if you want to change platforms, it will take a lot of work so it’s best to research up front and try them out for free if you can before you commit. Sometimes the extra $4 per month is worth it if the interface seems easier for you.
Choosing a Domain Name
One of the most important things you will decide is the domain name. When choosing a domain name, we recommend for yoga instructors and solo-preneurs to use their name + yoga. This advice is still industry standard for yoga professionals. If you have a business name already established, then use the business name. For individuals, we recommend using your own name for several reasons. First and most importantly, people remember the teacher by their name, not some esoteric sanskrit word. I know, I know…it seems like a cool idea to have some unique sanskrit word that means something profound, but we’re talking about marketing and making yourself searchable on Google to regular people that want to take your class, workshop, or program. Secondly, when you meet people and introduce yourself, they are more likely to remember your first name and search that with the word ‘yoga’ when they try to find you online. Thirdly, if you move, sell, or re-brand your business, you won’t have to change the name of your website…just a few key terms and your SEO keywords. Finally, you can always have two (or more) domain names and point them both to the same site.
Keep the concept of ‘brand coherence’ in mind when you choose the color scheme of your website. You will use these same colors on your business cards, logo (if you have one), and every single marketing product you create in the future. In other words, make sure it’s a color you like and represents you as an individual, but make sure there aren’t too many that you can’t create a cohesive look on your overall image. As a general rule, use 3-5 colors and no more than 3 different fonts on your website and every piece of marketing material you use.
The Basic Web Site Structure for Yoga Teachers
If this is not your first website, you should take this time to review the text of your website and see if it is as concise as possible. If this is your first website, set your initial launch goal of creating just 5 pages before you publish. Make sure you cover the who, what, when, and where. Your most important 5 pages of the website are: Home/Welcome page, Offerings/Programs/Services page, Schedule page, About/Your Business, and a Contact page. If you offer more than one type of service or program (highly likely) you would nest these different offerings under the heading of Offerings (or services, products, etc.)
1) Your Home or Welcome page should set the tone and give your audience a concise picture of you or your business. This page is your landing page and will direct your audience in the direction they need to go. It should describe you or your business, capture their attention with a compelling image or video, and easily point them where they want to go. Boom. That’s it. There are no hard and fast rules on the perfect home page, but if you stay within the parameters of what is compelling, concise, and easy to navigate you will have a great start. Think of the Home or Welcome page like your front door. It says alot about you, it’s the first impression. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just straightforward and accurately representing you and your business.
2) Your About page is about you or your business. It could be your biography with a professionally done headshot, or it could be a story about the people the run the business (with a photo), or a more complete description of the business entity and offerings. No real rules here either, except to use professional photos for bios and use third person language even though you will probably write it yourself.
3) Your Offerings page or tab is where you put all of the classes, programs, services, products, and trainings that you are currently ….um, offering. Many times yoga teachers and holistic health practitioners have a multitude of services that they are qualified to offer. If you stopped offering one of your services, say 2 years ago, you should list it as one of your modalities or credentials, but skip it in the offerings section.
4) The Schedule page is just that. Your weekly and annual teaching schedule. It should include your weekly class schedule plus your open hours for private booking. If you have a regular weekly classes, it’s nice to have it displayed in a calendar style or grid type of image. Although Sunday is technically the first day of the week, I recommend starting with Monday because most people think of it as the start of the week. For your workshop or special event list, depending on how many you have booked, it’s probably best to nest this under the schedule header. So people would click on Schedule, and from there choose Class/Bookings or Workshops/Trainings …or whatever it makes sense to call them for you. In other words, under the heading of Schedule, have a choice for your weekly schedule and your annual event schedule. If you take appointments by booking, or have a reservation system in place for your classes, you should also include a button or widget that incorporates your scheduling service.
5) The Contact page should include your phone number and physical location if you have one. We recommend not posting an email address right in the text of the page, but instead have an email submission form to fill out to contact you. This will keep your address hidden from web crawlers and spammers. If you have a physical location, it adds a nice touch to use a picture of your front door or the building. This adds a bit of recognition for when people come to your place of business. We also recommend include links to your social media on this page as well. Make the posts visible, if you keep up with your regular posts. If you don’t use social media regularly, just a button to your social media is enough.
6) It’s great to have a page dedicated to your policies. This way you can inform people in advance of your no-show policy, your studio attire policy, and your payment policies…etc. It saves you from having a repetitive awkward conversation with every new client or student.
7) Having a Blog page is really something to aspire to. If you don’t have time or desire to have a blog page, then dont bother. If you are excited to write about things that pertain to your business or niche, then you should most certainly have a blog page. Blogs help to boost your search rankings and add value to those just visiting your page. It’s also an opportunity to share your personality and allow clients and students to get to know you.
And finally, before you publish your website…be sure to have a friend or two look it over closely to find any errors.
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