Whether you’re just now thinking of creating a website or have had one for a while, these are the critical components you want to have for your online presence.
Elements Necessary for your Online Presence
While there are lots of things you CAN do online whether it’s on your website or anyone online, you don’t have to do it all. When we boil it down to the basics, here are the elements that will help you the most when you’re creating an online presence:
A place for people to learn more about you
A place for your students to see your schedule
A place for your students to pay to attend your offerings
A way to communicate with your students
A way to understand the statistics of who is interacting with you online
“The real differentiating factor for teaching is the teacher-student relationship. If you can really optimize that, you can create meaning and purposeful engagement.” - Alex Haley
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #45). Use the player below to listen to this conversation with Offering Tree co-founder, Alex Haley.
Your Business Website Is A Place for People to Learn More About You
This is your website. Your website is your “home base” online where you control the content and you can share messages with your students.
Your website can be a host for the rest of the elements or they can be separate systems. Regardless, having a website is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to an online presence. But I know it can be overwhelming. The key is to find a system that works for you where you’re comfortable because your website is a living thing that you will need to be actively engaged with for the life of your business. It’s not something you can set and forget.
Show Your Offerings On Your Business Website
This is your schedule. Ha! Whether it’s a bulleted list that you update every single week or you have something that’s more interactive, the key is that you’re showing your schedule online.
The goal for your schedule is to share this information with your students or potential students so they will attend a class. Which brings us to the next critical piece...
Give People A Place To Register (and Pay!) For Your Offerings Online
This is your payment gateway. There are many options for taking payment and the best option for you is to have as few as possible. The more payment options you have, the more confusing your accounting will be, so keep it simple and use as few as possible. The other thing to consider with payment options is ease of use for your student.
“The easier it is to make a quick payment, the more yes’s you will get from students. Think about how easy Amazon makes it to pay and how quickly you can decide and have it being sent your way. We like convenience and ease.” - Amanda McKinney
Communicate with Your Students Through Your Website
This is email marketing. Whether you’re sending regular emails (which I hope you are) or simply emailing your students before or after class, communicating with your students is critical. There are many different email systems out there but what matters is what you’re most comfortable with and fits in your budget.
“Find a system that has the basic features of being able to communicate without you having to put in a lot of effort. So you are not getting bogged down in the weeds because the technology will never replace the connection. You really just want to focus on effectively conveying your message and allow you to connect in a meaningful way with your students.” - Alex Haley
Your Website Is A Way to Understand Who is Interacting with You Online
This is analytics. You can use Google Analytics on any website for tracking but there is also tracking built into website platforms as well. No matter what system you’re using, by looking at the analytics/statistics you can learn about who is visiting your website and how they’re engaging with your content.
This is one place where you can easily get overwhelmed. Please hear me when I say this:
“Don’t focus on all the analytics you have access to. Pick one or just a few and focus on making improvements on just those stats. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed and then do nothing.” - Amanda McKinney
Your Next Step
Either create or evaluate your online presence. Stay focused on the basics and don't get caught up in all the shiny objects you COULD have online. Focus on what your students need and make sure to make the experience easy for them.
Until next time give yourself permission to focus on the basics and grace along the way. Talk to you soon!
“It really matters particularly right now that more teachers are online because for the foreseeable future, the news cycle is going to be dominated by fear, anxiety, and a sense of scarcity. So the more yoga teachers that are online provide an alternative narrative that can actually show that connection is possible, supporting others and letting people know that we still have the ground under our feet. Those kinds of messages are so critical right now.” - Alex Haley
After years in the marketing industry, I’ve seen lots of research on websites and what to include but when I was thinking about creating an episode on this topic I reached out to my friends at Offering Tree to ask them this question:
What elements did you decide where the basics, the non-negotiables for yoga teachers?
Because they built a platform that’s focused on simplicity and ease for yoga teachers. So I thought who better to share what they found in all their research - which was 100’s of yoga teachers by the way!
I’m joined by co-founder Alex Haley in this episode to talk about the absolute basics you need in your online presence.
About Offering Tree
“We like to take teachers from feeling overwhelmed to confident in 10 minutes. We want them to be confident about their online presence and online teaching.” - Alex Haley
Instead of having several systems that are connected, Offering Tree has integrated several systems together so that it’s all in one place. They have stayed true to the mission of keeping things simple and easy for you as a yoga teacher.
If you’re looking for a place to create a website for your yoga business or if you’re struggling with scheduling or payment, check out Offering Tree and see if it’s right for you.
“Tech less and teach more” - Alex Haley
And even if Offering Tree isn’t best for you, they still provide many free resources on their website to help you online because they are a public-benefit company. How awesome is that?!
Alex Haley is a meditation teacher who leads residential retreats across the US, a former co-manager of a donation-based yoga studio, and one of the founders of the benefit corporation OfferingTree, which is an all-in-one platform for managing the online teaching and digital presence of wellness professionals.
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