If you really want to grow your teaching business, then you should really get a website.
Unless you are a really established teacher with a full timetable who relies on word of mouth and referrals, then you simply need a professional looking site to promote your business.
Here are a several things to think about…
1) Decide whether you want a site which keeps your playing career separate, or connect everything togetherThis first point is crucial and you shouldn't rush this decision. If you have a busy performing schedule, then you might prefer a separate "teaching" website.
Let me explain.
If a booking agent looking for a musician to go on tour for 3 months comes across your site and sees you are a performer with an active teaching timetable, then he might be put off and think you're unavailable. He'll then move on to the next name on his list.
Can you imagine someone booking a musician to go on tour with The Rolling Stones would ask someone who clearly teaches in schools and has an active teaching studio?
It might not be a problem, especially if you are big name in your industry, but you never know.
2) Decide whether to create a site yourself or hire a professional web designerBoth have their advantages. Doing it yourself can be fun, but I strongly recommend having some knowledge of CSS and HTML as you will likely need it at some point.
You will probably get better results using a professional web designer, but if you do it yourself it's a great learning experience, and you can find some excellent themes to create a stylish looking site.
Some websites allow you to create a site for free, and although they can look ok, in my opinion they will never look as professional as a proper ".com."
You'll often need to have their logo on your site, link back to their site, and you'll also have to have their name in your domain name, i.e. www.johnsmith.THEIRSITE.com.
In my opinion, it looks a little spammy, but that might just be me! :)
3) Get domain name and hosting.- Domain name
Once you've decided on having one overall site (or two, keeping your performing and teaching experience separate) then you'll need to create a domain name.
Ideally, you should go for a .com, as this looks the most professional, but if you are based in the UK or Australia, then .co.uk or .com.au is fine.
However, with so many websites on the internet, finding a unique .com domain name can be tricky.
Here are some tips for coming up with a name…
a) You can use hyphens in the URL e.g. www.john-smith.com
b) Add the word music or music lessons after your name e.g. www.johnsmithmusic.com or www.johnsmithmusiclessons.com
c) If you're still stuck then http://www.namemesh.com/ features some great suggestions for domain names
Once you have your domain name, then you need a hosting account to put your site on the web.
You should always keep your domain name and hosting with separate companies. If you have an issue with your host (some can be unreliable) and your domain name is registered with them, then it can create complications if you want to move to a different host.
You purchase domain names for a set period of time, usually 1 or 2 years and moving to a new registrar before you renew can be a tricky process.
Assuming you keep them separate, once your host is up and running, you need to tell your domain to point to your host’s nameservers (it can take up to 24-48 hours for this to go through)
4) Web Design MethodOnce the hosting and domain are set up correctly, then you need to choose what platform you’ll use to create your site. If you know CSS and HTML, you can use software like Dreamweaver.
You could also use platforms like Joomla, Yola or WordPress where you can create a site without using HTML or CSS (although I recommend you should have some basic knowledge).
5) Creating the siteTime to get to work!
Start thinking about the structure of your site, particularly how many pages you would like and whether they should all be in the navigation menu. Here are some suggestions...
Home Page – essential and the most important page which should welcome your visitors
About Page(Bio Page) – Talk about your experience as a musician, your education and teaching experience
Teaching – You could talk about your teaching philosophy. Do you teach classical, or popular music? Or both? How are your lessons structured? Do you want to list your prices or not?
Testimonials – An essential page. You can expand on this once you start teaching more students, but see if you can get at least 1 or 2 quotes from musicians mentioning how great you are!
Audio / Video – If you like, you can add YouTube videos and/or audio recordings of your playing
Contact – Post your name, address, phone number and e-mail address (by the way, in your hosting account, you can easily set up a business e-mail address and forward it to your personal e-mail address. What looks more professional firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ?
Put up a contact form as well, as some people are more comfortable filling in a quick form, rather than picking up the phone.
6) Test your siteOnce all your content is uploaded, including your music, video, images and text, then you should check if everything's working ok.
a) Are the links all working? Go through each page, click every link and see if everything works as it should.
b) Does it display in all browsers? Check your site on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, iPad and on cell phones
7) Get your site indexed by the search enginesYour site is up and running, but now you need people to find it.
This can take a while, but if you follow these tips, it can happen a lot faster...
a) Link to it from Social media profiles. Set up a Facebook page, Twitter and Google+ accounts and link to your site
b) Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and submit a sitemap. With your Google+ account created, look at adding your site to Google Webmaster tools. You could also add a sitemap, which can make your site index faster.
About the Author:Martyn Croston is a jazz pianist and piano teacher. Discover some essential advice on how to build a successful music teaching business on his website.