The single easiest and most cost-effective thing you can do to promote your tutoring business is to get yourself a website set up. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of companies that can assist you in this effort, and you can pay pretty much anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, but it is preferable to do it all yourself – from the point of view of cost obviously, but also as you’re going to want to update it frequently to keep your audience engaged.
Setting up a website can be complicated, and the steps required are laid out in this article. If setting it all up yourself seems too daunting, skip to the ‘Easy Options’ section further down.
You will need a something address for people to type in when they’re looking for you. The.com variants are the most popular, and the geographical options come in second. The geographical domains like.co.UK are helpful in some respects since although you could be global in reach, anybody wanting to secure your services will be grateful for an indication of where in the world you are. You really cannot access the Internet today without stumbling over companies that will register a domain for you left and right. Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully and remember price does not always indicate value – specifically, some of the companies offering free domain registrations only do so to tie you into a contract of some sort.
Once you have secured a domain name, you need a place to park it. This is known as hosting, and will typically be expressed in terms of disk space and bandwidth. Should you be in the market for these things, compare available offerings and choose one that fits your budget – none will be very expensive. DreamHost and Black Chili both offer popular packages for all budgets.
Make sure the company you choose offers good performance – search engines now penalise slow performing sites, and visitors will likely click ‘back’ if your site doesn’t load in a couple of seconds. Black Chili have been independently tested by LoadImpact, and results show typical sites load 6 times faster on their platform.
Email will be included in this setup, so once you have asked a company to host your domain for you, someone wishing to send an email to you will be able to, though a bit more work is needed for a functional website.
This section is where the real work is, and there is more than sufficient material on website design to create books on this subject alone. From the point of view of a tutor who needs a website, there are several shortcuts available that will make the creation of a website quicker, easier and cheaper.
Not so long ago, if you wanted to build a website you would need to master several flavours of code, HMTL being the one you have most likely already heard of. Now, if you wanted to embrace our philosophy and learn to do everything yourself in pursuit of being a rounded professional, you could be looking at several months of reading, experimenting, and in all likelihood eventually building a website that you’re not happy with anyway. You could, of course, be using that time more profitably and interestingly on tuition. Fortunately for us all, there are loads of options available to you that will make it possible to design your website without learning any code at all!
The Easy Options
Content Management Systems, known henceforth as CMS, have completely revolutionised the business of building a website. Moving the enterprise from professional design outfits to become achievable to anyone with a few hours to spare. That’s not to say you wouldn’t get a better result from a design studio, which you very likely would… but you would also have to pay for that privilege. A CMS driven website could be up and running in around an hour.
At the time of writing, WordPress powers around 50% of the sites you see on the internet, and it has several advantages:
It is free
It is easy to install
It is easy to customise, with FREE templates available
It is easy to update, very much like a word-processing software package
It is responsive – so will display well on mobile devices and tablets
It has plugins for any function you want
You will have noticed how often we mentioned it being easy because it really is easy. Once you have found an Internet hosting company, it is all but certain they will provide you with the means to install WordPress with a click of a button. You will be asked for basic configuration details including usernames and passwords. Please write them down somewhere, because 1) you’re going to need them and 2) it would be a real shame to be locked out of your own website!
Once you have installed WordPress you will need a template. There are several built into the installer, most of which are inoffensive and ready to go. There are also template sites accessible via your favourite search engine that can provide you with templates tailored to your needs for minimal cost. For a little more they will install them for you as well, though the process is far from difficult. Pretty much all you need in either event is a logo and some content. That logo could be anything right now: perhaps a photo you have taken, a royalty-free image from the internet or something custom. There are many freelancer sites where you will be able to find someone to put together a simple logo for you for the price of a cup of coffee.
Armed with some hosting, some WordPress, and a template, we’re on to content. The basics will be:
A ‘Bio’ section, about you.
Details of tuition services: levels and specialisms.
This content will help your tutor website appear in search engine results, making it more likely that people searching for a tutor will find you, but for now, note that the more often you update your site the better from a search point of view. Up to date website content shows the world you are actively working in tuition, giving the impression of someone who is engaged and passionate about their work.
One of the coolest recent innovations in the website space in recent years has been the rise of the on-screen web builder. Armed with little more than an account with a suitable hosting company and the software you use to browse the Internet, you can create your own website in a few clicks. Companies like Wix and Black Chili provide their own variants of this system, and you’ll find a ‘how to’ video guide here, taking you through the whole process from start to finish. Using a web builder system, a full website can be created in as little as 15 minutes!
Though WordPress and Web Builders have made the creation of a top-quality website a realistic proposition for you, me and anyone else with basic computer skills, there is an even easier option – redirection. With a handful of clicks, you could save all the website creation stuff full stop and get on with teaching.
From within your hosting service, your domain name can be configured to redirect to another site, so you could simply set it up to do that. Once redirection is enabled, anybody clicking on http://www.yourwebsite.com could be directed to social media or your pages on one of the specialist Internet tuition platforms – like Tutorially! Once you’ve signed up, http://www.tutorially.co.uk/yourpage could display all your information to the world. This provides a very quick and easy means to display something informative and easily navigated to your audience, and in the case of Tutorially your tuition specialisms and availability will be shown, and the ability for students to book directly over the Internet is provided – a very attractive option!