Music Teaching Website: Build and Launch Guide
When building an online business, one of the essential tools to have in your marketing presence is your music teaching website.
Whether you teach Skype lessons or sell education products, a website is essential to promote your business in today’s world.
While it used to be expensive to launch a website, and still can be if you have a firm design and code it for you, most sites can be launched for under 60 USD.
As well, you don’t need to know anything about coding to launch your music teaching website.
With the advent of WordPress and similar platforms, running a website is mostly point and click, without the need to even see the code to run a successful website.
Though it may be cheaper and easier to launch a website now than in the past, there’s still a learning curve for music teachers that have little to no experience with websites.
From brainstorming to launch, everything you need to understand the process and avoid pitfalls is included in this article.
Having a website is one of the best things you’ll ever do for you business, so don’t wait until to begin getting it off the ground.
The best time to start an essential business project such as launching a website is today, and the second best time is yesterday.
Enjoy this article, and if you have any questions regarding the content please feel free to post it in the comments section below.
Teach Music Online Starter Kit
If you’re unsure if you want to start an online music teaching business, check out my free teach music online starter kit.
In this free PDF, you’ll learn everything you need to know about teaching online, and how to pursue those options from day 1.
Sign up below to get your starter kit directly to your inbox, and begin your journey to teaching music online today.
Table of Contents (Click to Skip Down)
- Buying a Domain Name
- Setting Up With a Host Company
- WordPress Download and Installation
- Choosing and Installing a Theme
- WordPress Option Settings
- WordPress Plugins
- Essential Pages on Your Site
- Publishing Your First Post
- Newsletter Sign Up Integration
- Promoting Your Website
Buying a Domain Name
The first thing you’ll want to do when building a website is buy your domain name.
A domain name is the web address people use to find your site, such as teachmusiconline.com.
Even if you’re unsure about when you’ll build your website, or if you even want to build a website in future, owning your domain name is essential.
This is especially true if it’s your name, such as my other website mattwarnockguitar.com.
For obvious reasons, you’ll want to own your name; it is your name after all.
As well if it’s your potential business name, you’ll want to make sure it’s available when it comes time to launch your website.
There’s nothing more frustrating than coming up with a great website name, then finding out it’s taken.
So, start by brainstorming names for your site, then go to a website such as Go Daddy, and search for those domain names.
Go Daddy will tell you if the site is available and how much it costs to purchase that website name.
Websites are paid for by the year, and most are very cheap to purchase, especially if it’s got your name in it, as that will often be more unique than a business name.
For example, I’ve never paid more than $10 per year for a domain name for any of my sites.
If you’re a one-person show, like I am, then having your name in your domain is good for branding.
As well, it’s effective for branding and search to have your instrument or other descriptor in the domain name, especially if your name is popular.
Johnsmith.com will probably be taken, but it’s also not very descriptive.
Johnsmithmusic.com, or johnsmithbass.com, are more specific, and tell both Google and your readers what your site is about.
If you’re planning to run a more general site, such as one that posts lessons and sells eBooks from multiple authors, you still want to be descriptive in your title.
But, here you have more flexibility to be creative with your domain name.
After you’ve decided on a few options, run them by friends, family, students, etc., to get a reaction.
From there you can have a well-rounded opinion on which domain name is best for your online music teaching website.
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you can purchase that name from Go Daddy directly, or any other domain or server hosting company.
If you know what server company you want to use, such as Media Temple or Bluehost, it’s probably easier to just buy your name from the same company.
This means all your website information and bills are in the same place.
Also, buying a .com name is the most general domain for any online business.
If you’re building a site that only teaches or sells eBooks online, then .com is the way to go, as it’s not geographically specific.
But, if you have a local aspect to your site, such as also offering in-person lesson, then a country code such as .co.uk for the UK, could work as well.
Even then, a .com site would be best as you’re looking to recruit students and customers from around the world.
It’s up to you which one you choose, but .com is the way to go if you aren’t location specific, or if you’re unsure which is best.
Often times, businesses like Go Daddy will sell you your site for $10 per year, then offer .co.uk, or .co, or .biz, or other names for a few bucks more.
You can buy these even if you don’t use them, just to own domain names that are related to your main domain.
Setting Up With a Host Company
After you’ve purchased your domain name, you’ll need to find a server host company that will store and run your website.
When looking for a company, you’ll only need a shared server in the beginning of your online music teaching business.
Host companies such as Bluehost and Host Gator offer shared servers for as little as $4 per month, which is all you’ll need in the beginning.
When you purchase a host plan such as this, you’re renting a small space in a server to store your website and allow people to access it online.
Though I say small, there’s enough storage for any decent sized music-teaching site to use such a plan.
As well, until you get over 2000, or sometimes more, visitors per day, a shared hosting plan will be able to handle your daily traffic needs.
If you haven’t purchased your domain name yet, you can do this at the same time as you sign up for a host company.
This way your domain name and server are held in one place by the same company.
If you already own your domain name, you can simply tell your host company when you sign up so they attach your account and server space to that name.
WordPress Download and Installation
With your domain and host company settled, you’re ready to begin launching your site.
Though you can use a number of options for running a website, by far the most popular and reliable is WordPress.
WordPress is a free program that you install onto your server, allowing you to project your website to the online community.
It’s easy to use, often point and click, and through WordPress you can post articles, audio, video, sales pages, and more.
There are other options out there, but if this is your first website, or you have little to no experience with websites, WordPress is the best option.
If you choose to run WordPress, you go to the WordPress.org website, make sure it’s .org as WordPress.com is not what you’re looking for right now.
Then, download the latest version of WordPress, which comes as a .zip file.
From there, you can login to your host company account and install WordPress to get your site up and running.
Because WordPress is so popular, there’s often a big “WordPress” button in your control panel that you press and it guides you through the installation process.
If you don’t see that button, or get stuck, just chat with your host company help desk and they can guide your through the process, which usually takes about 5 minutes.
Once you’ve got WordPress installed, you’ll set up a login and password, and your site is now live on the Internet.
Now, don’t worry about your site being live and it not being ready for the public quite yet.
Nobody will see your website at this point unless you tell them about it.
This’ll allow you to work on designing your website without worrying about people seeing your work in progress, but you get to see changes you make live on the site.
When you set up WordPress, you’ll need to login to the “backend” of your website to post articles and make changes to your site.
This area can be found at yoursitename.com/wp-admin, then entering your login and password information.
Once you do that, you’ll be in the backend of WordPress, where you’re in control of how your site looks to the world.
Choosing and Installing a Theme
The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to launching a website is to choose a theme for your site.
The theme is the design and layout that people see when they visit your website.
WordPress is the platform that runs your site, but it’s basically a blank slate, and so you need a theme to create a good-looking site for your readers.
WordPress does come with five or six pre-installed themes that you can run if you want, but they are pretty plain and not that customizable.
Because of this, it’s best to choose a different theme to run on your site.
Again, you can go to the WordPress website and find thousands of free themes to use on your site, but because they’re free they tend to be overused on the Internet.
While saving money is a good thing, having a website that looks like thousands of others out there isn’t the best idea for branding.
So, the better option is to purchase a theme from a website such as themeforest.net.
On themeforest.net, you can search for website themes based on the type of site you want, the style you want, and design options you want on your own website.
While they do cost money, these themes rarely run over $40-50 for a slick looking and fully functional theme, which is a reasonable price to pay for a website design.
When looking for a theme, make sure it offers the look, options, customization, and other items that you want for your site.
For example, f you want to have a photo gallery on your site, make sure it offers that option.
Most themes will be customizable to some degree, so what you see in the example is just a starting point.
As well, you’ll be able to see a “live preview” of each theme and the various options it offers for customization before you buy.
Once you’re ready to buy your theme, you simply purchase it, download the zip file, then upload that zip file to your WordPress back end in the themes section under the appearance menu option.
When the theme is uploaded, you can then activate the theme and voila, your theme is now visible on your domain name.
After you’ve checked out how your new site looks, take some time to go through the theme options to play around with tweaking the site design to fit your needs.
WordPress Option Settings
While most themes will come with enough customization to meet your design needs, there are some options to explore in WordPress itself.
These options are adjusted in the “settings” menu on the left side of your WordPress backend, and won’t take more than a few minutes to adjust to your liking.
In this section, you’ll explore the various options available for you to customize in WordPress, and some advice on how best to set these options for your site.
In this section, you’ll be able to set your website title, what you want your website to be called, as well as your tagline, which is the motto so to speak of your site.
For example, you can see in the image below the general settings for my teaching site, with my name and tagline included.
Think carefully about your tagline and site name to make sure it properly reflects your website’s mission statement.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just to the point, descriptive of what you do, and provides your readers with a one-sentence outline of your website.
As well, you’ll be able to set your preferred email address, time zone, date format, and default language on this page.
The last option that you’ll need to adjust is the Membership and New User Default Role settings.
If you’re planning on having a forum on your site, then you’ll need to allow membership signups for your site.
When doing so, you’d set the default user role to “subscriber.”
If you don’t have plans to host a forum, which will be the majority of websites, just unclick that box as you can see in the image above to turn that option off.
There isn’t a lot to adjust in the writing settings, but you’ll want to make sure to uncheck the first two boxes in the options.
While emoticons are fun on social media, depending on your tastes, they can be frustrating when they show up in your articles and you didn’t mean to include them.
So, I would suggest unclicking the two top boxes that you see in the image below.
Also, you’ll want to set a default post category, I’ve set mine to front page, but you can use any popular category on your site.
This can be changed with the click of a button when you get to a new post page in WordPress anyway, so it’s not that big a deal.
Again, there are only a few options on this page, and they’re pretty easy to set up.
Depending on your site, you can choose to display your homepage as a static page, like I have in the image below, or as a list of your latest articles.
If you set it as a static page, you’ll have to design that page and then link it in the options here.
If you’re new to WordPress and publishing online, going with your latest posts is the best option.
Then, as you become more experienced with the platform, you can design a static homepage to use on your website.
If you do go the latest posts way, choosing about 10 or so blog pages to show is a good number, as well as choosing the summary option near the bottom.
This will show a snippet preview of your article on the homepage, then the rest will show when people click through to that article.
If you choose full text, the full length of every article will show up on your homepage, which isn’t great from a design perspective.
This page allows you to set options for comments on your site, if you decide to allow comments on your pages and posts.
If you do decide to allow comments on your posts, then make sure you check at least the box in the fourth section that says “comment must be manually approved.”
You can see that in the image here.
That option ensures that no comments reach your page without being approved by you first, preventing spam and other related comments from hitting your site.
The rest of the options are personal preferences, and you can see what I’ve chosen to do in the image above.
Though I used to allow comments on my posts, I’ve stopped doing that, as it was mostly spam or people asking unrelated questions to that article.
Instead, I’ve made my questions contact form prevalent on my site, and I allow people to ask questions that way.
It might mean a bit more work from my end, but it keeps the site looking cleaner and discourages spammers from hitting my site.
You should try allowing comments for the first while on your site, see how it goes, then make a decision from there to continue or discontinue them from there.
There are just a few options on this page, the most important to check is the bottom box about organizing your uploads into month and year folders.
This helps to organize your images and audio files into easy to find folders on your server.
As well, you can set default sizes for images that you post on your site if you prefer.
The default settings are fine for these, and when you upload a photo you’ll always have the option to post as “full size” as well.
Full size would be either 620 or 720 pixels wide, depending on the width of your theme, so that is the best option.
More on images and how to adjust them for your site below.
There is really only one option you want to include from this page, and that’s using the custom structure for your permalinks.
Permalinks are how the URL of your site is presented in your web browser, and how you present it can help with search rankings as well as design aesthetics.
As you can see, I’ve used the /%postname% option in the custom structure.
When doing so, your URL’s will show up as your site name then the post title.
You can adjust your URL and post title in the post or pages section of WordPress when publishing a new article.
Now that you’ve got your theme all set up, and your WordPress options are up and running, you can install a few essential plugins for your website.
Plugins are like apps for WordPress, they provide certain functions that your theme or WP won’t do on their own.
These functions include backing up your data, blocking spammers, making your site run faster, and other important items.
As well, plugins can perform tasks such as running a gig calendar on your site if that didn’t come included with your theme.
In this section, I’ve listed and explained the plugins that I’ve found to be essential for any music teaching website.
After you’ve looked these over, and installed them if you see fit, you can look at auxiliary plugins to customize your site further.
Just remember, the more plugins you have running, the slower your site may be, and the greater the chance for one of them crashing your site if they malfunction.
A good rule of thumb is to get a theme that already does as much of what you want on your site as it can, then just use a few plugins to do the rest.
This’ll keep your website fast and lower the risk that a plugin update or malfunction will cause a website crash down the road.
To install these, or any plugin, go to your plugin menu option in WordPress, then click “add new” and then search for any plugin you want to install, clicking install to add them to your site from there.
The first and most important plugin to install is Akismet, which helps prevent spam from being posted in the comments section of your posts.
Once you install this plugin, you’ll have to activate it by gaining a key code to insert into your plugin in WordPress.
You can choose to pay for this code in the form of a donation, or you can get it for free, it’s up to you.
Because this is an important tool, donating a few dollars is a nice way to say thanks for the plugin, but it’s not necessary.
Once the plugin is activated, spam comments will be directed to the spam folder in your site, and you can just empty it from there.
As well, if you see a spam comment on your site that gets through, report it as spam so that it is marked for next time if that spammer comes back to your site.
Another important plugin is a backup plugin, which saves all of the info on your site and allows you to download it for safekeeping.
There’s no worse feeling than seeing your website crash, which is rare, or hacked and losing all your info without a backup.
Having a backup plugin, and setting it to backup once per week or so, will prevent this from happening.
If your site goes down for any reason and you lose your information, you can have the site back up very quickly if you already have a backup of the previous site.
I use a paid plugin called Backup Buddy, but you can choose any free plugin as long as it creates a backup of your site and allows you to download it to your computer.
Contact Form 7
This is a simple plugin that designs and allows you to quickly post a contact page on your website.
As your readers and customers will want to contact you, you’ll want to have a contact page on your site, but you won’t want to display your email address.
This plugin allows people to fill out a form that is emailed directly to you, without you having to post your email in public.
Once you’ve activate your contact plugin and set up the options page, you can create a contact page on your site, paste the code they give you into that site, and you’re done.
From there, you can drag that contact page into any of your menus, such as the top menu, in the menu section of WordPress.
This’ll keep your contact page front and center on your site, allowing people to contact you quickly and easily about lessons, questions, or purchases.
W3 Total Cache
A cache plugin helps your site to run faster by minifying certain bits of code, and serving static pages rather than dynamic pages to your readers.
While this may not make a lot of sense right now, all you need to understand is that this plugin makes your website load faster for readers, which can help raise your Google search results and keep your readers happy on your site.
There are a number of options for this plugin to explore, so if you haven’t used a cache plugin before I suggest reading this educational tutorial.
Not everyone will need a cache plugin, but if you’re writing lessons, posting longer articles, or including audio and images with your lessons, it’s a must have.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Depending on the theme you chose for your site, you may or may not have a built-in plugin to display related posts on your site.
If you don’t have that plugin built-in to your theme the YARP plugin is an essential tool to display related posts to your readers.
With this plugin, which is free, you can play a box in the side or bottom bar of your website that displays other pages that are related to the one your reader is on.
This helps keep people on your website longer, and is an effective way to showcase your other articles.
I would consider this plugin essential for sites that contain a lot of lessons, or any lesson based website.
If you’re running a store style website, you might want to look into an Amazon style plugin that displays similar store items to your customers.
Also, make sure this plugin is visible on your site, as putting it at the bottom of a very long article won’t get a lot of views.
Keep this plugin front and center, the upper sidebar on lessons is a good placement, as it will entice your readers to explore your site further rather than read and run.
The final, and one of the most essential, plugins that you should install is the Yoast SEO plugin.
This plugin helps you design your search title and description, what people see in a Google search for each article, as well as assign keywords for your pages/posts.
This is important as it helps Google quickly figure out what any page on your site is about, and then ranking those pages appropriately for search results.
As well, Yoast will build a sitemap for you, which is what you’ll need to submit to Google’s Search Console in order to make it easy for them to crawl your site.
While this plugin works great and is the industry standard, it’s also free, they do update once in awhile with so-so results.
So, when dealing with Yoast, or any plugin, and you notice the plugin has an update, read some reviews first before you update.
Often times a plugin like this will try an update, realize there’s a problem, then fix it with a quick second update after that.
It’s better to wait to see if there’s a problem and just do the second update, the fixed one, rather than have to wait for a fix if you download the problem update quickly.
There are some options in the Yoast SEO plugin that you can explore, and their Yoast User Manual is a great read if you’re new to the plugin, or to SEO in general.
Music Teaching Website: Essential Pages
After getting your domain, server, and theme setup, as well as digging through your WP options, it’s time to publish your site’s main pages.
These pages are usually the most important areas of your website, including your about page, contact page, sales pages, and newsletter sign up page.
Because these pages get a lot of your traffic, it’s important to take the time to publish clear and effective info on these pages.
As well, because they’ll be some of the most trafficked pages on your site, it’s best to work on them right from the beginning.
Even if you write them first, you’ll find yourself coming back to them over time, adjusting these pages as you and your site grow.
Let’s take a look at the essential pages for your website, what to include on these pages, and how to present them to your readers.
The first page you’ll want to include on your website is your about page, which is a mixture of your bio and site mission statement.
There should be a section where you talk about your background in music and teaching, as well as your training and education.
You should also explain the purpose for your website, and how it helps readers reach their musical goals.
You can be personal on this page, funny, engaging, and even a bit quirky.
Let your personality shine, as this is the page that lets readers into who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
Listing your accomplishments in a CV style format is fine for job applications, but on your website people will want to read the story of you.
Have fun with this page, but also keep it professional, as you don’t want to seem too quirky that it turns off readers looking for an experienced teacher.
Also, feel free to update this page as you grow in your career, adding new accomplishments, new products launched, etc.
Your career doesn’t end when you launch your website, and so your about page shouldn’t end the day you first publish it either.
Lastly, make sure this page is easy to find on your website, in a top bar menu for example, as people will want to read about you as they explore your site.
And, if you’re unsure about how to write an about page, go read the about pages of your favorite online personalities and websites.
These can be musicians, on non-musicians, as long as they’re accomplished in their fields, you can draw inspiration from their about page for yours.
As was mentioned in the previous section, having a contact page using the Contact Form 7 plugin is essential for any website.
This page, which just needs to be the contact form provided by the plugin, allows readers, potential students, customers, and other to contact you quickly if needed.
Because people will want to get a hold of you to ask questions, or even for business opportunities, making sure your contact page is front and center is essential.
Including it in the upper menu, or on the sidebar or bottom bar of your site, are easy to find places for your contact form.
Lastly, make sure the contact form is set to use an email that you check regularly.
You might not want to use your personal email, to keep that separate from your business contacts, but it should be an email you look at once a day or more.
This will prevent you from losing readers or potential students if they contact you through an email address that you rarely, if ever, check.
Newsletter Sign Up Page
Though you may have sign up forms on your side and bottom bar, it’s always a good idea to include a newsletter page on your site.
Here, you can present more details about what people will receive when they sign up to your newsletter, as well as present social proof from current subscribers.
Most people who visit this page will already be at least somewhat interested in subscribing, so you don’t have to present much information on the page.
Bullet points or short sentences, or even images, should be enough to get your point across for those looking for more information on your newsletter.
These points could include:
- Your free offer such as an eBook for subscribing
- Frequency of emails after sign up
- Other bonuses that subscribers receive such as coupons for lessons
- How to unsubscribe if necessary
As well, you can include social proof such as quotes from subscribers about the quality of your newsletters, or the amount of subscribers if it’s substantial.
Besides using this page to present information to people already on your website, a newsletter sign up page will show up in Google searches.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to present the information in a way that readers will find helpful, just as much as those finding your page through a search engine.
Lastly, make sure to include your sign up form right at the top, and possibly at the bottom if it’s a long page, or your post.
You want to give people the opportunity to sign up quickly if they want, as well as make it clear where the sign up form is.
The top of the page is the best and easiest way to kill those two birds with one stone.
Skype Lessons Page
If you offer online video lessons, through Skype, or other platforms, you’ll want to have a page showcasing that offering.
Though you already have an about page, some people might go directly to your Skype page before seeing it.
Making sure to have background on you, your musical career, and teaching background, can be helpful on your lessons page.
As well, there are certain items that you’ll want to include so that people have as much information as possible before contacting you about lessons.
These items include:
- Days and times that you teach
- Prices for half hour and hour lessons
- Frequency of lessons
- Technology needed for lessons
- Platforms you teach on, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.
- Refund and cancellation policy
- Payment options such as PayPal or bank transfer
As well, you’ll want to provide a few references in the form of quotes from current students, offline or online, for people to read.
These quotes help potential students understand what others have experienced when taking lessons with you.
Having a few quotes or short paragraphs from students talking about their lessons will you can go a long way in establishing trust with potential students.
Lastly, make sure it is very easy for potential students to contact you via your email, a link to click, or a contact form.
You can lose potential customers simply because you’ve got a great lessons page, but they can’t figure out how to contact you.
Make that easy to use and prominent on the page in order to avoid any frustration or lost opportunities with potential students.
eBook and Apps Sales Page
Last but not least, you’ll want to include a page that sells your products.
There are a few ways to approach your sales pages depending on how many products you offer.
If you have only one product, for example an eBook, then all you need is one page for that particular eBook.
But, if over time you add a second eBook, you might consider one page for each book, as well as a “store” page that lists the books for sale on your site.
As well, if you branch off into apps or software, you might have one page for each product, as well as a main store page that lists all your products.
Or, if you have two eBooks and three apps, for example, you could also have an eBooks store page and an apps store page.
When deciding on how to present your products on your website, consider things from the perspective of your readers and customers.
Make things as easy to find and purchase as you can, and your customers will appreciate it.
Now, as far as what to include on your product pages, there are a few technical items that customers will want to know about.
For eBooks these include:
- Type of file, PDF, epub, etc.
- Length of eBook, how many pages
- Other files such as Mp3 or video files
- Delivery method, email or instant download
- Is there a physical copy that could be purchased as well
- Price in US dollars or other common currency
- Your refund policy or guarantee if you have one
- Sample section or chapter to explore
For apps these would include:
- Is it available for tablet, phones, or desktop
- What operating systems can use it, iOS, Windows, or Android
- Are there in-app purchases
If you include these items on your sales page, in any way you wish such as listing them or in paragraph form, your customers will be informed when purchasing.
For the rest of the material on your sales page, you should focus on how your products will benefit your customer.
Rather than spend time explaining how great the product is, explain how it’ll help your customers become better musicians.
A standard way to approach a sales page, is to present one or more common problems, then show how your product will solve these problems for your customers.
Then, at the end of the page, provide “social proof” that your product works.
Social proof could be the number of books sold, it could be reviews by peers or famous musicians who’ve read the book, or it could be customer reviews.
People feel comfortable purchasing products that others have purchased and found helpful, and social proof is your way to convey that on your sales page.
With any of this material, there are a number of ways to present it on your page.
So, in closing, the best way to approach any product page is to go research what others have done on their sites, music teachers and non-music teachers alike.
Then, use what you think works as inspiration for your pages.
Publishing Your First Post
Now that you’ve got your website up and running and your essential pages are published, you’re ready to write your first article.
While some people will use their first post as a “hello world” post, it’s probably best to launch with your best stuff right off the bat.
When choosing a topic to write about in your first website article, think of a topic that defines you as a teacher.
It should be something that stands out, that makes you different from other music teachers, and that will draw people into your online teaching world.
Think of it as putting your best foot forward and making the biggest impression you can make with your first article.
If you can do that, then it’ll be much easier to keep people coming back to your site.
If you are considering writing an article about bass guitar arpeggios, don’t just skim the surface; write the most in-depth article on that topic possible.
When approaching any article, aim for an article that is so good, so detailed, and so helpful, that people who find it will come back time and again to use it.
Theres’ no need to have another resource on that topic on the Internet, you need to have the go to resource for that topic on your website.
It may seem like a big hill to climb, especially for a first article, but with planning, editing, time, and attention to detail, you can reach big even from the start.
As the Internet grows over time, short 200-300 word articles are becoming less popular, especially in the education world.
Readers don’t want to sift through search engines to find bits and pieces of what they’re looking for anymore.
Instead, if they search for bass guitar arpeggios, they want to find one place that has all their answers and all the info they could ever want on that subject.
When you write an article, put yourself in that person’s shoes.
If you do, everything you write will be your best work, and will be great advertising of your one-on-one teaching offerings and products that you have for sale.
After you’ve got your topic and planned out your first article, you’re ready to take it to your site.
The material in this section will help you get over the initial hurdles music teachers face when writing lessons online.
Writing Your Post Text
You have a few options when it comes to writing the text for your article, with the two most popular being in a word processor or directly in WordPress.
When you write in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages, you can then copy and paste that text into WordPress when you’re done.
This is better if you want to work online, or, like me, you grew up with word processors and so they’re easier to use and more natural than WordPress.
When using a word processor, it’s best to just put the text down first.
Then, when you paste it into WordPress, add links, bold, headings, and other formatting items from there.
Sometimes you can format in a word processor and it’ll be fine when you paste it into WordPress, but other times the formatting doesn’t translate well.
To make it easier, and avoid frustration, it’s usually best to just format in WordPress.
If you do decide to write directly into WordPress, just make sure to do backups once a week or so of your website.
You should be doing this anyway, but if you lose your drafts after putting in a lot of time on them, it’ll be hard to find the motivation to start from scratch.
As well, sometimes typing into WordPress will be a bit slow, depending on your theme and what plugins you have activated.
So, if you find that the text takes a second to enter after you type, then you might want to use a word processor instead.
After getting your text into WordPress, using either method, you might want to do a bit of work with the html under the “text” button in WordPress.
This’ll allow you to make specific adjustments to your article, do design work, or insert tables and other items that require a bit of HTML coding.
Even if you’re like me, and had no training in HTML, it can be a fairly painless and straightforward process.
If you find that you can’t figure out how to do something, and want to try using html to do it, sites like the W3 HTML School have easy to follow tutorials and code to copy for every occasion and problem.
You don’t have to learn any HTML to use WordPress or run a website these days.
But, it’s a bit like learning to play guitar.
No, you don’t need to read music to learn, you don’t even need to know TAB.
But, if you can read music learning guitar becomes easier and opens new doors of exploration.
It’s the same with learning HTML and launching a website.
Choosing a Title for Your Post
The most important aspect of any article you write for your website is the title.
Yes your article has to have high-quality information in it.
But, if you don’t have an effective title, people won’t click to see that valuable information, and your hard work will go to waste.
Many successful online writers will spend close to, or as much, time on the title as the entire article.
Titles will go through editing, testing, and rewriting, just like text in an article will.
So, when you write your article, you might want to start with the title first, the most important aspect, and work down from there.
Or, you can finish your text to see if you find inspiration after writing the article for a killer title.
When it comes to titles, you’ll want to be honest about what’s in the article.
Overpromising and under delivering is a great way to get people to never come back to your site.
As well, it should pique their interest as to what’s in the article and how it will benefit them as a reader.
Over time, just as with writing articles, you’ll become better at writing effective titles for your lessons.
Spend time each day working on your title.
It’s a great way to prepare yourself for the article launch, and at the same time it’s an easy way to become a better writer without having to commit to working on a full article all the time.
If you’re new to titles, check out Jon Morrow’s articles on how to write effective blog titles.
Jon is the best in the business and has forgotten more about writing engaging titles than most people will ever learn.
Adding Links To Your Text
When writing articles for online publication, including links within your text to both other articles on your site, and to articles on other sites, is essential for two reasons.
The first reason is that it helps Google figure out what your article is about.
If you link to a related article on your site, or on another site, that ranks high for the keyword, or related keyword, you’re aiming for, this tells Google what your article is about.
Google thinks, “If this new article links to articles A and B, then it must be similar to articles A and B.”
Now, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that, but that’s how it works in its simplest form.
So, linking to related articles helps search engines figure out what your newest articles are all about, and then ranks them in search appropriately.
Secondly, linking to related posts on your site helps readers learn more about certain topics that you don’t have time to explore in depth in this lesson.
Think of inlinks to your site as footnotes, they provide further info for the reader to explore on a topic if they choose to do so.
This could mean writing a lesson on piano technique practice schedules, and at some point you mention piano scales.
That’s a big topic to add into this lesson, so linking the words “piano scales” to a lesson on your site that covers that topic is the best way to provide that information to your readers if they choose to explore it further.
In order to link to another page on your site, or another website, you highlight the text you want to link to in WordPress, then click on the “chain link” button in the options.
From there, insert the link address and you’re all set.
You can choose to have the link open in a new window at this point, which is preferred so they don’t leave your site if the link is to another website.
As far as the text you link to is concerned, it can be one or several words, or a description up to a sentence long that you link to.
For example, when linking to the piano scales article mentioned above, you could sprinkle links throughout your site to that page with words like:
- Piano scales
- Scales for piano beginners
- Essential piano scales
- Must know piano techniques
- Best way to learn piano scales
As you can see, these all describe piano scales, but they use different descriptors for that topic.
In doing so, you’ll help readers find what they’re looking for, as well as provide a larger amount of information for Google to rank your piano scales lesson.
Every link to a page on your site helps tell Google what that page is about, so the more links to that page from different, though related, text helps get more search results for that page on Google.
Lastly, don’t pepper your article with links for the sake of adding links, it makes it hard to read and doesn’t look great on the page.
Choose your links carefully, make sure they’re related to the text you’re linking to and the article topic you’re writing about, and mix inlinks and outlinks together.
Doing so will make for a better reading experience, and help Google figure out what your article is about and rank it accordingly in search results.
Categories and Tags
You’ll also need to choose a category and one or more tags for any article you publish on your site.
Think of these items as ways to organize the content on your site for readers, and to a lesser extent search engines.
Before you begin publishing posts, it’s a good idea to choose a handful of categories that you want to focus on in your writing.
These categories should be related to your overall subject matter, and be like chapters in a book about your website.
So, if your site is about jazz guitar, your categories could be:
- Jazz Guitar Chords
- Jazz Guitar Scales
- Jazz Guitar Arpeggios
- Jazz Guitar Licks
- Jazz Guitar Songs
As you can see, these are the main subtopics of jazz guitar that you’d want to cover in your lessons, and categories help organize those for you, your readers, and Google.
For tags, think of these as more specific to the article you’re writing.
They’re one or more words that help describe in detail the subject matter of the article you’re posting, but aren’t the keyword you’ll choose later on directly.
For example, if you wrote an article titled Beginner Violin Bow Techniques, you could use the tags:
- Violin Bowing
- Beginner Violin Techniques
- Legato Bowing Techniques
- Staccato Bowing Techniques
- Mary Had a Little Lamb Violin
As you can see, these are descriptions related to material covered in the lesson, assuming that you talk about these sub-topics in your article.
Tags used to be more important for Google to help rank your articles, but they’re less so these days.
But, as long as WordPress has the option to include them, it’s best to put a few tags into your posts just in case.
Choosing a Keyword
As recommended earlier, you’ll have installed an SEO plugin, such as Yoast, by this point, and now you’re ready to use it.
The first part that you’ll use for each post you write is choosing a keyword for that post, which can also be a few words, not necessarily just one.
Keywords are what Google and other search engines use to help people find your articles when performing Internet searches.
Now, Google is very smart, and even if your keyword is only one word long, your article can rank for other keywords that are important as well.
But, telling Google the keyword that you want to rank for helps target that keyword in searches, and hopefully helps your article rank for that keyword over time.
When choosing a keyword, make sure it is relevant to your article topic, and that it’s included in the title, text, alt text of images, and a sub-title in your article.
You don’t have to overdo it, but if you choose the keyword “jazz guitar chords” and your lesson doesn’t include that text anywhere, Google won’t rank it.
As well, be careful and do research when choosing a keyword, if you choose something like “guitar chords,” chances are that’s a highly competitive keyword.
Competition is good, but it’s hard to get on the front page of Google right away for a highly competitive keyword such as that.
Instead, you could be a bit more specific, such as using the keyword, “5th Position Guitar Chords” as your keywords.
It is still aiming to show up in guitar chords searches, but it’s more specific for the article and for people looking for that particular set of guitar chords.
If you want to learn more about keywords, Google searches, and how to rank your articles in searches, check out Brian Dean’s amazing Backlinko website.
Writing an SEO Description
As well as choosing your keyword for the article, you’ll need to write an SEO description in the Yoast, or similar, SEO plugin.
This is the text that Google will show under the title of your post in search results, and so it’s important to include the keyword and give a proper description here.
Be clear and to the point, as you don’t have a lot of room to write your description, and people will want to get a full preview of the lesson in a sentence or less.
Also, make sure to use your keyword once in the description, and use a few related keywords to help Google rank your post.
To find related keywords, do a Google search for the keyword you’re trying to rank for.
Then, scroll to the bottom of the results and look at the “searches related” that Google provides you for further results.
These are closely related search terms, and using a few of them can help your article get a better ranking for your keyword in Google search results.
Now, you want to use keywords and related keywords, but make sure you’re writing the description, just like an article, for a human to read.
If it has keywords but doesn’t make sense, Google won’t rank it very high.
Always remember, write for humans first, and Google second for the best search rankings with your articles.
Inserting Images Into WordPress
After you’ve written your post, depending on the type of article it is, you might want to add images to help demonstrate musical or technical instructions.
To do so, you take your image and format it ahead of time so that it perfectly fits your site.
The quickest image to load when doing musical examples is a .gif file, as it’s small in size but looks clear on the page.
As well, the easiest way to size your images is to make them either 720 or 620 wide, as those are the two most common widths for website posts.
The only way to find out which size your theme is, is to insert an image at 720 and see if it first or if it’s too wide, adjusting from there if necessary.
Both MAC and PC’s come with programs that allow you to resize images at the click of a button, so you can use those no problem to alter your images.
Depending on your computer and operating system, you might need to do a quick Google search if you can’t easily find your image-editing program.
As well, some operating systems will have built in image convertors, allowing you to turn a .jpeg into a .gif for example, while others won’t.
Again, if you can’t find an easy way to do this, there are free programs and apps you can download to easily convert images for any operating system.
Now that you’ve got your images converted and sized, you’re ready to insert them into your article.
To do so, place your cursor on the spot in the article where you want WordPress to post the image.
Click, “upload media,” and then choose the image you want to use from your computer.
After the image is uploaded, make sure to write a description in the “alt text” box, as this is what Google uses to rank your image in search results.
From there, just click insert image and you’re all set.
Once you get the hang of this, it can seem tough at first, adding images into your articles will become as natural as using text.
Inserting Audio Into WordPress
As well as including images, audio is an essential tool when demonstrating musical examples to music students online.
After you’ve recorded the examples, it’s best to try and compress them into Mp3 files if possible.
This’ll make your page and site load faster, and not take up too much space on your server if you end up using a lot of audio files over time.
From there, you’ll put your curser on the spot where you want the audio in the lesson in WordPress and click “add media.”
Upload the audio file, and then on the left-hand side options, you can choose to embed audio file or link to media file.
Each theme will function a bit differently here, so try both to see how they look on your page.
Make sure to play the audio for both options on different browsers to ensure they function across the board, as well as on phone and tablets.
Once you find the right audio playing option for you, you can use that same method on your site for every audio file going forward.
Lastly, you might want to put a bit of text before the audio files such as, “Audio Example 1.”
This not only tells people which audio file is playing, but if the audio isn’t playing for some reason, readers will notice and tell you so that you can fix the issue.
Inserting Video Into WordPress
Adding video to your lessons is something music teachers find essential in order to get their point across clearly and quickly.
Though you could upload video directly to your server, that takes up a lot of space and isn’t necessary in this day and age.
The best way to insert video into your articles is to upload it first to YouTube, and then embed it into your articles from there.
When doing, you use the following steps:
- Upload the video to your YouTube channel
- Click “share” below your video
- Click “embed” in the share options
- Copy the embed code
- Return to your article and click “text” at the top to view the code
- Paste the embed code in at the appropriate spot
- Adjust the size of the video as necessary, 720×540 is standard
That’s it, just a bit of copy and paste and the video will be able to be played directly from your article.
As well as making this convenient for readers, and yourself, it also allows your video to be searched on YouTube, generating more traffic for your site.
Newsletter Sign Up Integration
Though it’s last in our list of things to do when you design your new music teaching website, integration your email list signup is the most important.
Over time, you’ll come to realize how effective an email list can be when you want to reach people online.
A typical social network post will reach 2-5% of your followers.
But, an email list will reach all of them, and with open rates normally over 30% for a solid list, this can mean steady traffic for your site.
Before you read about where to put your email sign up forms on your site, know that people want quality in return for their email.
When people sign up for your email newsletter it’s a contract, they give you permission to contact them, and you provide them with something of value.
This means that you can give away a free eBook, to email subscribers, or something of similar value to your readers.
As well, it also means not spamming people every day with emails, or constantly sending promotional material to your email list.
Instead, it means sending out links to new articles when they’re ready, and once in awhile, when appropriate, selling your products or services.
When you do send out a sales email, make sure to give your email list a discount on that item, providing them with extra value for being a newsletter subscriber.
As far as integration is concerned, you can use any or all of the following methods depending on your site and your readership.
Try them out; see which ones work best, and stick with those, retesting and adjusting over time when needed.
Image Links to Sign Up Page
If you have some graphic design experience, or are interesting in learning, you can design a quick image that promotes your email newsletter page on your site.
This image could say “Free eBook” or “Stay in Touch,” or other text to that effect.
Then, when people click on the image, they’re sent to your email newsletter signup page where they can then sign up from there.
While this can be effective, it also adds one step between people who are interested in your newsletter or offer and signing up for your list.
Because of this, images should be a part of how you promote your list on your site, but they shouldn’t be the only way, as it’s not as effective as a direct sign up.
Sign Up Form in Sidebar and Bottom Bar
When you signup for an email newsletter service such as Mailchimp or Aweber, you’ll be given some html code that you can use to integrate a signup form on your website.
You can paste this code in the sidebar or bottom bar widgets of your site, allowing people to easily enter their email and name without leaving the page they’re on.
This can be highly effective, as people don’t have to leave an article to sign up.
As well, people who read all the way to the bottom of an article are obviously interested in what you do.
Giving them a chance to sign up for your newsletter when they’re interested can give you a high rate of return as opposed to only having the signup on your sidebar.
Wherever you decide to post it, you should have at least one place on any page where people can easily sign up for your email list without leaving that page.
Sign Up Form in Text
The final and most effective way, is to place the html code for your signup form directly in the text of an article on your website.
You can see this approach in action at the top of this article.
By doing so, you are offering your newsletter sign up to people who are interested in what you do, and they don’t have to look around the page to find it.
By placing the signup form directly in front of your readers, in a non-pushy way, you can increase your signups and engage with active readers of your site.
If you decide to integrate your signup form in this way, only do so once, or maybe twice if it’s a long article, per post on your site.
If you have three signups in a 1000 word article, it’ll look spammy.
But, if you have two signups in a 10000 word article, that makes sense as people won’t see it too often, but are reminded of it as they read down the article.
Try different placement for your signup form as well, with placements at the top, middle, and bottom being the most popular to choose from.
After you’ve tried placing the form in different locations, go with what works best for you and your site.
The whole key to building your list is to provide value and build trust with your readers.
Promoting Your Music Teaching Website
The final piece of the puzzle when launching a website is getting the word out so that people will come and visit it, share it with their friends, and bookmark it.
While paid advertising, such as Google ads or Facebook ads, is an option for some, in the beginning most music teachers have a small or no budget for marketing.
If you do have a budget to market your site, then taking out ads on these platforms can be very helpful in generating traffic.
But, if you can’t yet afford to pay for advertising, or just don’t want to pay for ads, not to worry, you can generate buzz for your site without having to pay for it.
Each of the promotional tools below can be applied to any music teaching website, but there may be some that work better than others depending on your field.
So, read through each section, do some research into your field, and come up with the promotional strategy that works best for you and your music teaching website.
The first, and most obvious, place to promote your website is on your social networks.
Even before you launch a site, you can set up and begin running your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google +, Instagram, and YouTube channels.
By posting your thoughts, links to other teachers’ articles, links to news that’s relevant to your field, etc., you can begin to build a relationship with your readers.
Then, when it comes time to launch your website, you’ve already got people who know who you are and like what you do as a music teacher.
These people will be essential in helping to spread the word on your new site by liking, commenting on, and sharing your announcement posts.
Because these early readers will often be long-term fans of your work, make sure to thank them every time they share a post or comment on a post on your networks.
As well, if anyone asks a question on your social networking sites, make sure that you answer it with a detailed response.
It’ll take a bit of time to respond to these comments and questions, but the relationships you develop out of them will be well worth it.
Reaching out and being a person on social networks is tough to do.
But, with the right approach, you’ll not only make personal connections on these sites, you’ll grow a following that is happy to spread the word about what you do.
This is also the reason why many new websites succeed early after launching, or fail to get off the ground.
Lastly, don’t forget to update your social networks by adding your new website to the bio and/or about sections of those pages.
Every social network has a section where you can list your webpage, so make sure you’re taking advantage of that as it is often the first place people will look when trying to find your website url.
Another great way to promote your new music teaching website is to send out an email blast.
Though it may be small to begin with, email is the most direct way to reach people with your latest news, articles, and performance announcements.
While your email list will be built once your site is launched, you can use your social networks to grow your list pre-launch.
You can do this by posting links to your signup page, which your email service provides you when you open and account.
You could also use various apps on Facebook that run an email sign up page on your homepage.
However you decide to do it, promoting your email list is the best thing you can do to help grow your website, and business, down the road.
You can also use your current email contacts to grow your list, but you need to do it in a welcoming fashion to avoid any sour feelings or getting marked as spam.
Rather than taking people from your personal email account and adding them to your business email list, invite them to join.
Send out emails to friends, peers, students, and others that you think would enjoy hearing about your new online business, and invite them to join your email list.
By doing so, you’re going to grow your email list pre-launch, as well as get people excited about what you’re doing online.
Lastly, you never know what opportunities will arise when people find out that you’re moving into online music-teaching.
Just telling people what you’re doing, what’s coming up, and inviting them to join your email list, might open doors that pay huge dividends down the road.
So, even before you’ve got your site start building your email list.
Then, when the time comes, send out an email announcing your site launch.
You could even tie it in with a contest for an online music lesson with you, or a giveaway of your music-teaching product if you’ve already got one ready.
Lastly, don’t forget to include your new website address in your email signature.
Doing so will allow you to promote your site, in a soft-sell way, every time you send out an email.
A lot of people forget to do this, but it’s an easy way to always keep your website front and center when dealing with friends, colleagues, students, and readers.
Another great resource for telling potential readers about your new site are forums.
Online music forums, or other related forums, can be an effective way to announce to music students online that you’ve got a new website.
The best way to do this is to already be an active participant in these forums.
Forums are often tight-knit communities of people, and so jumping in, posting about your new site, and leaving, wouldn’t really go over that well with members.
Instead, you can go about interacting in forums in two ways.
The first way is to simply be an active member, posting regularly before you have a site, then when your site is launched you tell people in a post on the forum.
The second way is to join a forum after your site is launched, include your address in your signature on the forum, and become a contributing member from there.
Either way can be effective in developing relationships with music students and other teachers online, but you have to contribute to reap these benefits.
If you don’t have time, or don’t want to contribute, it’s best not to use forums to promote your site.
Getting labeled as spam or over promotional can do more damage to your site and business than not posting in forums ever will.
So be cautious with forums, but also don’t be afraid to use them to promote your site if you’re already a contributor to one or more online forums.
Reaching Out For Links
The final way that you can promote your new music teaching website is to reach out to websites and other teachers that might be able to link to your new site.
If you have friends in the business, then an email to them about your new site and a quick note asking for them to post about your site is fine.
You can also email prominent websites, bloggers, and social media personalities in your field to tell them about your new website.
But, don’t overdo it, be friendly, and make sure the bulk of your email is about catching up and telling them about your new site.
Asking for a link or a push out on social networks shouldn’t be the main reason for emailing people as it can be a turnoff for some, especially those that get these emails all the time.
If you’re looking for a push on social media, the best way to get one is to do one yourself.
As you grow your social networks, make sure to post links to other teacher’s sites, or to articles written by teachers in your field, tagging them in each post.
Doing so will show them that you’re interested in what they do, and that you’re supportive of your musical community.
Promoting others will make it more likely that they’ll return the favor when you have someone of interest to share on the web.
If you’re constantly asking for links but never give any in return, don’t be surprised if your requests go ignored.
But, if you’re an active promoter in your field, others will return the favor for you, which can lead to quick growth when you site first hits the online world.