It’s finally finished – my studio has a website!
One of my biggest goals and projects for this summer was to develop my studio website. I am proud to say I designed and did all the work myself on WordPress.
I have a lot I want to share with you today about my site including why I waited until 5 years into my business to do it.
This post is NOT a tutorial on what your site needs because, good grief, there are already plenty of wonderful posts out there for piano teachers on what elements are needed for a good studio site. I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel!
What I am going to give you are the best resources I’ve found and used for inspiration to guide me through the planning and design of the site.
First of all, let’s take a peek!
Points to notice on the home page:
- The first thing you see is a happy student. This photo tells you more than the fact that they’re happy. It also tells you #1 they’re playing on a quality instrument, #2 lessons are fun. The home slider rotates with this image as well as a couple others that feature various “selling points” of my studio, including a keyboard lab, and a recital photo which shows the size (a.k.a. demand) of the studio.
- Right away you can see how to connect online with the studio including social media, phone number, email, and location.
- The home page is not about me, but about helping seekers #1 know they’re in the right place, #2 know if this is right for them (including helpful articles in the widget area), #3 testimonials on the overall professionalism of the studio, and #4 a taste of what the studio is like in a year-end video.
One of the things I’m most excited about is that the sidebar on every page features helpful articles that relate to the specific topic of the page.
I also organized my registration/schedule requests online for the first time for current students as I will be out of town for two weeks leading up to the start of fall lessons. Daniel Patterson’s tips were handy in setting up Google Forms.
Check out How to Survive Back-to-School Scheduling.
I was going to just email the link to families but I decided to embed the form directly onto my website in order to drive them directly to my site. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee they would even check it out.
Why I Waited
Everyone tells you when you first open a studio, “you must have a studio website!” I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but when I opened my studio in 2011 it wasn’t my priority and here’s why:
- Everything is about Facebook. I had an active Facebook page, and I felt that was enough. When people Google me, the first thing that pops up is my Facebook page. Everyone who told me they found me online said they Googled me and found my Facebook page or they simply saw or heard about me on Facebook.
- As a new business, it was really important for me to get prospective students in the studio to talk face-to-face. My personality, I feel, is one of my selling tools, and I wanted people to experience the whole package.
- I’m the kind of person who can’t do things half-way. I wanted to wait to build a website until I could do it right – the way I wanted to do it. I wasn’t willing to fork out money to have someone do it for me at that point, nor did I feel it necessary. Five years ago, I had no clue how to build a website. Three years ago, my state MTA lost our website person. There was no one else to step up and as one of the youngest on the board who knew “a little more” than everyone else, I felt the urge to take it on. Thus, I was thrown into the world or WordPress. I felt much more capable going into my own site development after this experience.
- Until I built my business, I didn’t have much to put up in the way of photos or testimonies. Now, my testimonies are golden! They are strategically placed throughout the site in areas they support.
For years, I have been saving articles online to help me when I was ready to build my site. The best way to do this (and lots of other things but more on that in another post!) was to use Evernote.
You can clip articles off the web, pdf’s, bookmark websites, snip images or screen shots and save to Evernote. I tagged all relevant items with “studio website.” When I go to Evernote, as you see below, everything shows up under that tag.
Below are all the articles and resources I saved over the last few years. They will be excellent resources as they were for me, in helping you build a studio site. In anything we do, I think thorough research and preparation is key. These are all useful, even if you’re looking to simply improve your site. Don’t just read these articles either, look at as many other teacher sites as you can and write down what you see and what sticks out to you.
I should make a point to note that although I used WordPress, it would not be my recommendation for most teachers. It requires quite a learning curve. Consider Weebly or Wix, both excellent and easy to use drag-and-drop website builders.
In no particular order:
Understanding Website Technology for Music Teachers (10-minute video) by Andrew Inkavet
Free Studio Website Builder: Weeby.com by Joy Morin
How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less by Michael Hyatt
Selling Yourself–The Art of a Winning ‘About Page’ with Melissa Cassera and Amy Porterfield
Should I Post My Tuition Price on my Website? by Wendy Stevens
What Are The Top 5 Mistakes Of Music Teacher Websites? by Andrew Ingkavet
Piano Parents Need to Know These 5 Questions by Teach Piano Today
The Testimonial Technique: Simple Ways to Grow Your Studio by Daniel Patterson. *Check this our for how to use a Thumbtack testimonial feed directly on your site.
Tweak Your Piano Studio’s Marketing By Articulating Your “Unfair Advantage” by Doug Hanvey at Portland Piano Lab
Why Every Piano Teacher Should Create a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) for Their Studio by Doug Hanvey at Portland Piano Lab
Studio Trailer Video by Joy Morin
I am totally inspired by the idea of not just a year-end studio trailer video, but a studio video with clips of your teaching and engaging directly with students. This one is longer than I would do at 10 minutes, but Kylie S. Grayston Piano Studio Video is excellent.
I’m really excited to hear your feedback about the site including any tips or anything I missed! Leave a link to YOUR site in the comments – I love looking at other teacher’s sites!