Terry Finch, In an article entitled “Creating a Successful Website for a Dance Studio” advises dance studio owners about different features their site should have. He states that the studio’s website should introduce potential clients to the business’s primary personalities, including the owner and their staff. He goes on to state that the website can be used to communicate with members, whether that simply means listing contact info and office hours, having a parents-only area, or a newsletter.
Here are some other features that may be helpful on a dance studio’s website;
-A photo gallery where parents can upload and share pictures from the latest recital or an impromptu visit to rehearsal. If you use a commercial site for the uploading, you can sometimes make money when parents order prints of the pictures.
- links to the school’s FaceBook page. The FaceBook developers apps make it easy to integrate Facebook’s user profiles and create discussion boards that parents can easily use without leaving FaceBook. The event calendar can be used to help remind parents of other events, special practices, emergency school closures, upcoming fundraiser, tuition due dates and uniform fittings, things like that. Later, you can use FaceBook to advertise your school to other parents in the community.
- Video greetings or mini lessons. Keep a video camera in the corner of your studio so teachers can create small videos to share on you tube. This will increase your web presence and allow more people to follow your site. Embed the videos into your site, so people can “follow you.” (No students’ faces in the videos- this raises security questions)
- Online payment center where parents can log in and pay with credit card. Often this results in direct bank transfers, easy-to-access account records and reduces the amount of cash in your establishment or in transit.
- Press releases. Whenever one of your students is in a school play, a local commercial, wins an award, or anything else notable (and public) link over to the school website or post a note of congratulations. Also- publish your parent appreciation lunch, your dance troupe’s visit to Orlando, your 10th anniversary and your contribution to the children’s hospital.
- Webcam (again, not so close as to get children’s faces)
- Place where students can purchase Tshirts with your school’s logo. If you upload your graphics to Cafe Press or Zazzle, your site’s visitors can order your Tshirt, tote bag, duffel bag, backpack, mouse pad, poster, or whatever else you can imagine. You get a small commission for the sale, but each customer becomes a walking advertisement.
Here are some of Yakima’s Dance Studio websites.
Notice that when you google “Yakima dance studio” the one that comes up first is Melody Lane Performing Arts Academy. This means that their site has the best search engine optimization (SEO) for that keyword. Basically, you want to be sure that the words a potential customer would use are the words you’ll want to include in your website.
The second google listing (and this changes as more sites use the phrase) is for Party Pop. That entire website is garbage. All it does is list minimal, incomplete, often outdated information about certain types of businesses in an area. This site makes money when your dance studio’s website sucks, just because it comes up higher in the search. Dance schools in Yakima need to increase their SEO to get party Pop lower in the ranks. By all means, do not PAY to advertise on Party Pop when you could be optimizing your own website to rank higher for keywords.
Kent School of Dance ranks 5th for the same Google Search. As long as you’re on the first page, you’re fine. Broadway Bound of Selah is also on the first page (but don’t click it- the auto-play music is annoying. In general, that’s considered bad netiquette, unless your website is for a band, or published on MySpace. Studio West is the last to show up on the 1st page SERP (Search Engine Results Page) I’m going to laugh if this very article ends up on the first page, just because the “competition” isn’t using this technique.
If we change our search term to “dance schools in Yakima” the results are a little different, we see the addition of a lot more SPAM (useless “listings” websites, like topix and magic yellow pages)
Google’s map search comes up first on both, though, which is a good thing. BUT- every now and then, spammers will CHANGE the link on the map to go to their own website. The only way around that is to click “claim your business” on the google map. This gives you the only access to changing things like the hours, the website, the address, etc.
So far, CoMotion, 11th Ave Ballet School, Dance with Sara and Dance with Mary might as well not even HAVE websites because not only are they invisible in a google search (many people don’t look past the first page of results) but their Google map listing leads nowhere.
If you’re with any of these schools, consider purchasing your domain and hosting right here at Yakima Websites.com and check out our previous article about Web Developers and Designers in Yakima.