A Superhero Website in 5 Steps
Do you have a studio website?
If so, picture your homepage.
How does it make you feel?
Are you proud of how it represents your studio? Is it helping you reach your goals? Does it consistently bring you new students?
Is your website your studio superhero?
Just a few years ago, your website was probably a fancy online business card. It let parents know that your studio existed in their town.
Website technology has come a long way since then. Now your website can easily be your most powerful tool for studio growth - and even has the potential to help you manage your studio.
If your website is not actively helping you reach your studio goals for the year, it’s time to invest some effort in improving it. If that sounds a little overwhelming, don’t worry; we’re about to break it down into 5 simple, achievable steps.
Grab a cup of coffee, silence your phone, and get ready to amp up the power of your website.
5 Steps to a Superhero Website:
Step 1: Make Parents Feel At Home
Think back to how your website felt when you pictured it a minute ago.
Is it clean and clear? Is it warm and inviting? Does it feel cluttered and impersonal?
How does your website make parents feel?
Are they greeted by lengthy blocks of text that they don’t have time to read? Do they see an impersonal image of piano keys?
Good news: it’s easy to update your homepage and keep a parent engaged in what you have to say.
→ First, start with a large photo of students who are having a great time playing music in your studio. Put it front and center on your homepage.
→ Second, choose one or two colors that compliment your photos and use those colors in small amounts throughout your homepage and the rest of your website.
Bonus tip: Don’t be afraid of white space; it creates a clean, restful feeling.
→ Third, come up with a few words that capture your studio’s unique quality. Highlight your studio name and those words near the top of your homepage. They should be the first thing a parent reads on your website, and it’s good to separate them from the rest of your written content.
You can see these three tips in action on the website of this California music studio:
After your first big photo and studio introduction, write a short paragraph or two about what a child’s experience will be in your studio.
A combination of simple, engaging language and high-energy photos will help parents picture their child having a great time in your studio.
Step 2: Show Parents Where to Go
When a parent without music lesson experience arrives at your website, they don’t know what information they need.
Imagine how they might feel to see a navigation bar across the top of your website that reads:
Home // About // Events // Programs // Why Music // Private Lessons // Preschool Piano
Parents will have no idea where to go, which will almost certainly cause them to leave in favor of of a less-confusing studio option.
Don’t lose your parent audience! To make sure that parents know exactly where to go, start with your end goal.
Do you ultimately want them to fill out a contact form?
To enroll right there on your website?
To join your studio email list?
Once you decide on the destination, think about how to give parents key information while helping them to quickly reach that end goal.
Here is an example of a clear path:
—> After giving parents a warm welcome on your homepage, you will want to lead them to a description of the lessons or classes that you offer (“Lessons” or “Programs” make this option clear). Parents can click on this page to learn about what you offer for their child’s age group.
—> Now the parent probably has some questions (“Do I need a piano before starting lessons?”). An FAQ page is a great next stop to share answers to their questions.
—> The parent now understands how lessons work in your studio and what they need to get started. They’re probably wondering about the teacher behind the lessons. After all, you are the adult who will be interacting with their child on a weekly basis. Begin establishing trust right away with a “Teacher” bio page.
—> Finally, the destination. Label your contact or enrollment page clearly and make it easy to find.
At this point you have a navigation bar that might look like the navigation on my studio website:
That’s a very clear path. Parents will easily be able to learn about your studio in just a few steps.
Note: if you have a large studio or a number of programs, consider using a drop-down menu to organize your pages (like Roseville Piano Studio’s navigation, above). Use the same steps to keep it clean and logical.
Bonus tip: If you have a logo in your navigation bar, you can link it to your homepage instead of listing “Home” as a separate page in your navigation.
Clean, clear navigation achieved!
Step 3: Choose Simple, Engaging Words
Don’t let parents get lost in paragraphs that give lengthy descriptions; engage their imagination with each sentence you write. Keep your language centered on their child’s experience rather than on your studio or philosophy.
While parents may not yet be invested in your studio, they are deeply invested in their child’s experiences and growth as a person.
Here’s another example from Roseville Piano Studio:
If you want to keep parents invested in what you have to say, use your words to paint a picture of their child’s musical experience and personal growth in your studio.
Bonus tip: Keep your paragraphs short; two to four sentences is optimal. If you find that your paragraphs run longer, look for natural places to break them into shorter blocks.
Step 4: Make it Easy to Contact You
Parents are very busy, and they face constant distractions.
While reading about your studio, they may have a cranky toddler at their elbow and a third-grader whining about homework.
Make it quick and easy for that parent to contact you before they leave their computer.
The best way to do this is to place at least one contact button on each page. Have the buttons say something clear like, “Get Started,” “Request Info,” or “Get a Free Trial Lesson.”
Here’s another California studio who has made it super easy for parents to get started:
It’s so easy to reach out to this studio!
You’ll want to link each button to your contact page (or your enrollment form) and check to be certain they lead to the right place.
Step 5: Become Your Own SEO Expert
Have you heard the term “SEO?” It stands for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO matters to your studio. It’s how search engines like Google match your website with parents who are looking for music lessons.
While the topic of SEO is huge and can be quite complicated, the good news is that it’s easy for you to do a few simple things to build strong SEO into your website.
Here are two of the most important things you can do:
1. Use your location
Include your location when you’re writing your website content.
For example: “Twinkle Fingers is a popular program with Kansas City families. Click the button to be placed on the waitlist for classes.”
Or: “Here’s what Denver families have to say about Community Piano Studio.”
Next, use your location in the back end of your website.
There are two places you can do this:
Meta tags: This is where you use a few words to describe the content of each page on your website.
Here’s what the meta tag looks like for my group piano page:
To add a meta tag in Squarespace (where we build our websites), go to your Pages menu and click on the gear icon next to a page name. A box will pop up on the right side of your screen with the page title, URL slug, and the meta tag field.
If you’re using Wordpress, you can watch this brief video on adding meta tags.
The meta description: This is where you use a sentence or two to describe your website, and is what people will see under your website name.
Here’s what the meta description looks like for my studio:
You can find the meta description box under the SEO page or tab in your main website menu. This is super easy to find if you’re using Squarespace; choose “Settings” from the main menu, then choose “SEO.” If you’re using Wordpress, this article will help you locate it.
2. Place Keywords Carefully
What words would parents in your area use to search for the type of service you offer?
“Piano lessons in Des Moines?”
“Music class in my area?”
As an experiment, I typed “Chapel Hill piano lessons” into Google and then scrolled to the bottom of page 1. Here’s what I saw:
Google is telling me that these are phrases related to my search. These are called “keywords,” or important search words.
By including keywords in the content on your website, you can let search engines know that your website is relevant to what parents are looking for.
Technically, you could use as many of those keywords as possible in your content and write something like:
“Our Chapel Hill music studio offers piano lessons, voice lessons, singing lessons, music lessons, and acting classes plus we are a school of rock located in Chapel Hill, NC less than 5 miles from UNC. We are a school of musical arts and offer music lessons and acting classes close to UNC in Chapel Hill.”
See how I used nearly every possible keyword, some multiple times?
It’s called keyword stuffing, and while it seems like you might win the SEO game by including every possible keyword, you will turn parents away immediately with content like this.
Also, search engines are now able to recognize keyword stuffing and will penalize websites who use it.
Instead, look for ways to naturally incorporate important keywords into your content:
“Give your child the gift of confidence and self-expression through piano lessons. Your child will gain a wide range of musical skill while learning to listen, think independently, and find their creative voice.
Our studio offers annual performance opportunities for students in venues from local coffee shops to UNC’s performing arts hall. Students quickly build confidence through this range of performance opportunities as they experience the joy of sharing their music with others.
Join our community of Chapel Hill families who are experiencing the joy of music in their lives.”
How many keywords can you find in those paragraphs? Is it valuable, relevant information?
Do a quick search for lessons in your area. What keywords do you see at the bottom of the page that will improve your content, engage parents, and strengthen your SEO?
Welcome to your tuned-up, powerful website.
Congratulations! Your website looks so much better. When you arrive at your homepage, how do you feel now? How do you think parents will feel?
Remember to share your shiny, updated website with your studio families and on social media. This is a great way to let people see your updated online image.
It’s also helpful for your SEO, since search engines will see the increase in traffic on your website as a sign that it’s a relevant website to show to people. Bonus points!