Let me set the scene:
You’ve finished your teacher training. You might not be teaching full time, but you have one or two regular classes, your name on some sub lists, and you’ve started having to tackle the question, “Do you have a website?”
Why Build a Yoga Teacher Website?
Whether it’s to include on your resume (or to distribute your resume online), to flesh out your philosophy, to house your sequences, or to promote your fledgling classes, you’ll start to see the necessity for a website pretty early on.
But when does it make sense for you?
Probably right now. Really.
At this point, it makes sense for pretty much everyone to have a website — simply because we live so much of our lives online.
The real question is "how much" website you need.
There are myriad options when it comes to bringing your impending Internet sensation to life, with price tags ranging from zero (sort of, more on that in a moment) to the tens of thousands.
You might not need to have a full online store, courses, webinars, and a blog that changes the landscape of yoga as we know it, but you’ll probably want a few key pages, a chunk of solid content that speaks to who you are and what you do, and photos — and all of it needs to be able to be viewed on everything, from laptops to tablets to phones.
Think About Your Return On Investment
If you set out thinking about your website as an expense, it's likely to become just that — an expense.
Instead, the first thing you want to think about when you’re weighing your options is your Return On Investment (that's ROI in business speak).
You need to consider not what your website costs, but what it stands to provide you in increased opportunities or additional income.
If you are looking to transition into teaching full-time in the near future or are looking to move into teaching privates or classes remotely, it might make sense for you to make a bigger investment.
For a lot of teachers, however, there is a nebulous state in between needing all the bells and whistles, and needing a solid few pages that lay out who you are and what you offer, without costing you all the revenue you’re likely to make in a year.
This is where the fallacy of the "free" website usually comes in.
The "Free" Website Myth
A "free" website... you know, something with the website platform’s big logo smacked across the bottom, limited functionality, and not a lot of pizazz. And that's fine — we don’t all need the pizazz.
But those sites are often quickly outgrown, which can make your time investment a high cost, even if the monetary cost is low.
Once you’ve looked at what kind of initial investment makes sense for you, look into the options that fit in that price range. And remember: focus on what you're getting out of your website and why that's important to your career.
Finding the right solution can be daunting (we can help with that, by the way), so at this stage, the big things to think about are sustainability and growth.
You are going to pay for any website you end up with, one way or another — financially, in trade, or with your own valuable time.
While the "free" or less expensive website may not require you to dig deep into your pockets, it may mean many late nights trying to scrub out template text and figuring out how to master the elusive full-bleed banner.
Your time is a valuable resource — think of what you charge for private sessions, or what your best class base pay is, and think about the hours spent on building your site. It may not rack up credit card debt, but if you’re spending all your free time slaving away, you may actually be costing yourself more money in lost income opportunities than you're hoping to save.
Do You Spend More Money, Or More Time?
As you start reviewing your options, take into consideration which resources you have the most of.
Maybe you have time on your hands and are tech savvy, or just game to give it a shot. In that case, go for the potentially more time-consuming, hands-on, less financially expensive option of doing it all yourself.
If you are working full time, trying to juggle a few classes on top of that, and, say, balancing a family, social, or school life, then it might be worth it to pony up the cash and have someone else handle the whole site build for you. Remember, your time has value.
Establishing which resource you have more of will help you narrow down your options. It all depends on how much you want it, when you want it up, and how much you can commit to it.
For most people, some balance of the extremes will make sense — doing some yourself and some with the help of professionals. (That hybrid approach is how we work with most of our yoga teacher clients, by the way.)
Don't Forget the Website Maintenance
You also want to take maintenance into consideration.
Some platforms require you to spend time on regular upgrades to keep your site secure and functional —for instance, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal all require regular technical upkeep.
If you don’t have space on your schedule for regular maintenance, investigate which platforms come with the most support and how often your options require updates. Some keep all of the maintenance on their plate so you don’t have to worry. We particularly recommend Squarespace for an all-in-one platform that handles upgrades and maintenance, and provides 24/7 support all together. (As a side note, preregistration is open for our detailed step-by-step guide for yoga teachers to build their own website on Squarespace.)
The Transitional Site
Maybe, as you look through the options, you start thinking about slapping up something simple: a landing page with a schedule, maybe a couple of asana shots, and a link to your social media.
That simple site can be a crutch to hold you over until you have the means to invest in something more substantial.
Many people do it — occupying a little rented space somewhere on the Internet until they’re able to buy a roomier, comfier place for their online presence to live.
But there is a third option: a more seamless one that I’d suggest researching a bit as you start browsing for an online home.
Instead of thinking about a transitional site — something perhaps a little more slapdash or seemingly economical — think about a site that you can build out in pieces.
Your goal should be a site that can grow over time from a simple landing page to a multi-page online brochure with full-bleed images, novellas worth of content, and full booking functionality.
Basically, think about creating a website that you can add to, to avoid wasting time on something haphazard now. That'll save you from having to go back later and re-do all the work that you put into it, simply because you need something simple but unachievable on your initial site, like buttons for purchasing a workshop with you.
It’s a lot to take in, so just break it out into pieces.
Do you want to leverage your time, or your credit card? Do you want to build something easy to maintain on your own, or are you okay with something maybe a little bulkier that may require professional maintenance? Are you looking to start small, or are you going to bite the bullet and start out with a more substantial online presence?
Remember, think about all of your resources, the long- and short-term advantages of all of your options and the potential steps for expansion in the future. And if you need a little guidance — we’re always here to help!
We’ve given you a lot to think about. It can be hard to sort through all of your options; if you find that you need more personal guidance, we can absolutely help!
If you’ve decided to take the more DIY route and be smart about it — we have a course for that!
Either way, you've got resources available, so don't get stuck — figure out your first step, and go take it!
Have the time to tackle it on your own? Let us walk you through it!