For those interested in pursuing yoga as career, you might be curious on how to set yourself up as a business. Wondering if you need to start a yoga website or blog. Like your 200-hour training, you realize there are a lot of options out there.
In this blog, I cover the most basic questions:
- What are the next steps?
- How do I decide on a name?
- Do I need a website?
When you’ve finished part one, be sure to check out part two: How to Set Up Website Hosting.
what are the next steps
I’ve been a business owner since 2001, and in the early stages, it was equally easy and hard. Easy, because there weren’t a lot of choices. Hard, because those limited choices often came with a steep learning curve and high prices.
Fast forward and I still find running a business to be equal parts easy and hard.
There are so many options that make owning and running a yoga business easier and more economical. But sometimes the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming.
I’ve gotten stuck in analysis-paralysis plenty of times because I couldn’t keep up. Or I’d make a decision then a shiny object would appear and I’d have to check it out first before I committed.
There have been so many times I wish someone would have taken me by the hand and told me: do this first. Then this. Finally this. At least as I was getting started.
So guess what? That’s exactly what I’m doing.
I’m sharing what has worked for me. If it works for you too, YAY. If it doesn’t, I totally understand. Like teaching yoga, we each have to find our own voice and style.
the difference between A blog and website
If you’ve done any preliminary researching you may have come across the term blog or blogging in relation to websites. Technically a blog IS a website, and it’s hard to have a blog without a website, but you can have a website without a blog.
A website can contain basic information like who you are, what and where you teach. A “blog website” contains the basic information PLUS the ability to post articles and/or changing content (called blog posts).
Purple Lotus Yoga is considered a “blog website” because I post regular ::snort:: okay, semi-regular, articles for visitors. Blog posts can be categorized making it easier for clients to find out more about a particular subject. You do NOT have to be a professional writer to post blog articles.
Perhaps starting out, you only want basic information and may at some point add a blog later. No problem. Most platforms (including the ones I’ll talk about) come with a blog option.
Let’s table the website lesson for just a few minutes because we have a few other points to cover first.
decide on a name
Do you use your name? Or do you come up with a separate business name? Talk about the two most frequently asked questions when it comes a creating a new small business.
And I wish I had a simple answer.
If all you are ever going to do is yoga then a business name with yoga in it might be the way you want to go.
But if you see yourself expanding and offering other services (massage, clothing, speaking, writing, etc.) then using your name for your business might be the better option.
👉 Whichever route you take is perfectly legit. Don’t let overthinking keep you from moving forward. Pick one and and go.
8 tips for selecting your website name
1. For your name-name, make sure it’s available (see #5 below). If it’s hard to pronounce, spell, or remember you might consider a biz name.
2. If you’re thinking about a business name, keep it short, relevant, professional, and research that it’s not being used in a different way by another business.
3. When checking website availability go for the .com version. It’s the standard for businesses, even if you’re using a name-name.
4. If you plan to use social media, do a quick check to see if the name you’re thinking about is available on the platforms you plan to use.
5. A Google search of your name options will save you time and headaches. Trust me. You can also use NameCheckr to search for websites and social media profiles.
6. When you find a name-name or business-name available don’t purchase it yet. You’re going to do that when you set up hosting.
7. You don’t need any kind of license to secure a domain name or start a website. But if you want to get a business checking account, you’ll need at least a DBA (Doing Business As) from your local county office.
8. I recommend consulting a professional when choosing a DBA, LLC, etc. to make sure you’re covered for tax purposes. Even if you’re only every a one-person show, you’re still a business
do you need a website
Maybe not as soon as you graduate a YTT, but there will come a time when you want to have a website to send potential clients too. And if you have a website, it makes it easier for potential clients to find you.
Approximately 50% of my in-person training participants come from a Google search. And two-thirds of visitors can from Pinterest. Without a website, I wouldn’t make those connections.
If you’re starting out, spend more time teaching, gaining experience, and earning an income. You can work on your website in tandem.
what kind of website
I feel like I’ve done it all when it comes to websites.
In the early days, when websites could only be designed by coding professionals, I had one of those. And the only way I could afford it was a friend’s husband who was learning and asked if he could design mine for practice.
The two biggest cons of this option: it was costly and any change I wanted to make had to go through the designer.
The next version was to have a designer put it all together, but then have a user-friendly back end where I could go in and make tiny changes as necessary. Much more conducive to my control-freakish ways.
A couple of years later, options came available where non-designers could create their own websites and that’s the bandwagon I jumped on.
The first of these I tried was Weebly, a drag and drop platform. They have a free version which I used while I was getting the hang of it. After a while I upgraded to the pro version (reasonably priced with great features I found myself using more and more).
Another similar option to Weebly is Squarespace. I have never personally used Squarespace, but I’ve heard many positive reviews for it. Pure Synergy uses Squarespace for her website and loves it.
The con for Squarespace is it has a monthly fee ($12-18/month) associated with it, but tons of features you can use “out of the box” with minimal learning curve. With Weebly and Squarespace you don’t have to worry about hosting.
What is WordPress?
- WordPress is an open source software used by a third of the web, and the option I’ve used for the last decade.
- It provides the underlying structure, and a theme helps make the content appear pretty and organized. You need both to start a website.
- Biggest pro is that it’s free and comes with many free themes. You can also find reasonably priced themes (which I use for Purple Lotus Yoga).
- A website using WordPress is self-hosted, which means you have to secure a domain name and get it hosted on a separate server site.
- Other than the yearly hosting free, you have a lot of other costs associated with running a WordPress website.
- Biggest con is that there’s a learning curve. Not only do you have to learn how WordPress works, but you’ll have to learn the ins and outs of the theme you choose.
Now that you have your name-name or business-name selected (but NOT purchased), you’re ready to set up your website.
If you choose Weebly or Squarespace, you only have to sign up and they’ll walk you through getting starting designing what your website will look like. If you decide on WordPress, you’ll need to set up hosting.
I’ve only ever used two hosting sites. The first one was alright, but I had occasional issues with my site being down.
SiteGround was recommended and I switched. I’ve never had any issues. They have great speed, they’re secure, and their support is top-notch. The only “con” to SiteGround is they’re based in the UK so sometimes I get lost in the currency exchange.
When you decide to self-host, this will be your largest expense. The more years you choose, the longer you’ll be able to keep your initial discount. Unlike other hosting providers, even if you only sign up for one year at SiteGround, you still receive the same discount, but the savings can add up if you’re able to purchase multiple years of hosting.
I understand if you’re starting out, it may be feasible for you to select only one year to begin. It’s what I did. Plus I wanted to make sure it was something I’d still be doing in a year.
If you already have a domain and different hosting, SiteGround will move your site for you for free. No hassle. That’s what I did for Purple Lotus Yoga.