Whether you are a new yoga teacher or have been teaching for a while but never got around to creating your own website, this guide is for you.
Having a yoga website can increase your number of students, allow you to build deeper relationships with them and help you secure new jobs and collaboration opportunities. It helped me secure an amazing position teaching yoga at a resort in the Philippines. My website showed my potential employers that I was serious about my profession and helped me stand out. I might not have been the most experienced teacher applying, but I got the job!
The good news is, creating a website doesn’t have to be crazy complicated or costly. Even when you’re feeling tech-shabby, you can get it done! But how do you get started? Fret not, my friend, this guide will help you:
#1 Get clear on what you like and don’t like
We’ve all seen websites where nothing is consistent. Every page has a different font, color, different photograph styles etc. This doesn’t look very professional and that’s where a simple style guide can come in super helpful.
A style guide is where you write out the “personality” of your brand, including the colors and fonts you use, the tone you speak in, and the overall feel you want to convey. Without a style guide, it’s easy for your brand to become a little “all over the place”, like a hodgepodge of things you like, but that don’t necessarily fit together.
This doesn’t have to be a big production. It can be enough to get some ideas about what kind of websites you like and what you don’t like. Collect some colors you like, your logo and images and create a mood board to see how it all works together.
If you want to take it one step further, create a simple style guide document like this example:
#2 What’s going to be on your website?
Before deciding on hiring designers and technology, think about what you want to do with your website. Do you just need some simple information like an about page, your bio and a contact form? Do you want to add a blog (you should – click here to read why)? Do you want to sell products online? Do you want to integrate tools like MindBody or your calendar? Do you offer retreats and workshops?
Make a list of everything you want to include on your website and organize it into categories. Your main categories will make up your main navigation menu.
Don’t overload your navigation menu with categories and sub-categories though. I recommend having no more than 6 to 8 main categories. Not everything needs to be part of the navigation menu. Your goal is to make it easy it is for people to take action and move around your website.
It’s worth asking friends if they think your website structure makes sense. Sometimes we are just too close to what we do and we can profit from some outside perspective. What makes sense for you might be completely incomprehensible for someone else.
Here’s an example of a yoga website structure:
#3 Prepare your content
Start collecting images you want to use and writing your copy, for example for your about page and welcome message.
Choosing the right images for your website plays a big role in representing you and your brand. If you don’t have high quality professional photos on hand, consider purchasing stock photos to lift the look of your website (but use them sparingly).
Here are some guidelines when it comes to writing your copy:
People on the web tend to want information quickly, so it’s important to communicate clearly and make your information easy to read and digest. It’s a fact that online we read differently than let’s say a book. You have to adapt to that.
Use headlines that say exactly what to expect, use sub headlines and bullet points or small paragraphs. Dividing your content with sub headlines and paragraphs makes it easier for your reader to scan your content.
Avoid jargon, the passive tense and needless repetition. Never forget for whom you’re writing. Write the way that you naturally speak, even if it’s not technically “grammatically correct.” You can break all the rules here if you want. Be you.
#4 Decide on your web platform
If you’re thinking of building your own yoga website, you’ll have to first decide which tool you’re going to use to set it up. This guide will show you all the advantages and disadvantages of Wix vs Squarespace vs WordPress and what’s the best tool for your yoga website.
I recommend WordPress because it’s free, popular (you’ll be able to find a developer to help you in no time if needed) and gives you total control and flexibility. There’s nothing you can’t do on a WordPress website. Even when you just need some simple pages right now, you’ll set yourself up to grow in the future.
Also consider costs. With WordPress, you’ll need to pay for your domain, hosting and eventually a premium theme. Hosting will cost you from $4 a month, your domain around $15 yearly, a premium theme around $60.
When you choose a platform like Squarespace, you’ll pay a monthly or yearly fee that includes everything. It may sound like a great deal but the costs will add up. When you want to sell products and have more options like popups, you’ll need the business account where you pay $216 a year. You’ll also have to pay a transaction fee on all your sales and when you want a second website, for example for your teacher trainings, you’ll have to pay separately. Finally consider that they could increase their prices any time.
Yes, it’s convenient and easier to set up, but in the long run? It’s like building your house on rented lands.
# 5 Decide on your domain name
The best solution for many yoga teachers is simply using your name for your domain. It’s the one thing that will stay with you throughout your career, even if you do change your business focus at a later time.
If your name’s already been taken or is impossible to spell, you could try some combinations, for example “Janedoesyoga”.
Try to get a top-level domain, such as a .com, .co.uk. Other domains like .me or .yoga might look creative and original, but many people will have problems remembering them.
Check if the domain you want is actually available with www.domaincheck.com. It will also check corresponding social media handles and if they are free as well, you have a winner! It’s always best to be as consistent as possible across all channels to make it easy for your followers to find you.
Finally do a quick Google search if your preferred name is already in use or even has been trademarked. You can search for trademark databases in your country on Google, normally you should be able to access this kind of information online.
#6 DIY or hire a designer and/or developer?
This is a big decision. Do you want to create your website yourself or do you want to hire someone to do it for you?
If you’ve followed the steps so far you know what content you want to display, how your website should look like and what platform you want to use. This will help make it easier to prepare a detailed brief and get a cost estimate.
When you decide to outsource, get really clear on everything that needs to be covered. How many pages? What platform? What functionalities and features do you need? Will you get more than one design to choose from?
Wondering how much you should pay for a website? Prices range widely, you can pay as little as $500 and as much as $10.000 (and more) for a website and in my experience, you get what you pay for. If you get a really cheap price, be aware that your developer might not always be available or doesn’t have a lot of experience. Always check out their portfolio and maybe even get in touch with some former clients and ask them about their experience.