Wouldn’t you love to just be able to send potential students to a website to review your policy instead of having to send it to them via postal mail? I know this has saved me all kinds of time and extra costs associated with having to mail out studio information to everyone who calls. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to get your own studio website – and it’s a lot easier than you think!
First, let me fill you in on some of the terminology you should know:
URL: Uniform Resource Locator – this is what you type into address bar to get to a specific site.
Domain Name: This is how you purchase your own URL. You are buying the exclusive right to a specific address. These are relatively inexpensive – usually under $15/year, but you can often get one included for free in a hosting (see below) package.
Web Server: A central computer where all your website files are stored so that they can be accessed by Internet users around the world.
Hosting: You could think of this as “renting.” You are renting space on someone’s server to store all your website files. (Of the three hosting companies I’ve used for different sites, so far my favorite is Bluehost. Their prices are competitive – $6.95/mo – and the capabilities you get are quite extensive.)
There is all kinds of additional information you can learn once you delve more into the web design world, but that should be enough to get you started. Now, for the good stuff!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this site! It looks absolutely wonderful. Designed especially for music teachers, you can set up your own studio website from a pre-designed template. They even have a way to include a blog on your site! The price is super – $79.95 for a year. The same amount you’d end up paying just for a hosting package.
If you are serious about learning web design, Dreamweaver is the best software out there (of course I am a little biased since that’s what I use – but I sure love it!). I’m currently a couple versions behind – I’m using version 4.0, but it still works for me. Be sure to get the academic version which is the same as the full version, but is sold at a reduced price to educators.
Dreamweaver is a more complex software program, so I opted to take a class to learn how to use it. However, I didn’t want to take a whole semester-long class in order to learn the ropes. So, I was able to track down ExecuTrain on-line. Thankfully there was a local ExecuTrain office for me to check into. Since they primarily cater to large corporations with their classes, I was able to get a reduced rate as a small business owner. I cannot say enough good things about the classes I have taken from them. In two days, I learned enough about Dreamweaver to build my studio website. The instructors were all very knowledgeable, excellent at teaching and very personable. Plus, they offer on-going support once you’ve taken a class and you can audit the same class for free anytime it’s held in the future. I highly recommend them to those wanting to learn a lot in a short amount of time!
I know there are a number of other website package deals available on the Internet, but these are the two best options that I’ve seen. (I’m going to check out one other specific option and post on that in the future once I see how well it works.) A website says a lot about a business to the public and it is so important for us music teachers to project a professional image. Lots of people will see your site, so I encourage you to take the time to make sure that it looks professional!