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#1287465 - 10/15/09 10:50 AM Web design and hosting question
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
I am organizing a studio web page. I know there are many web hosting and design sites on the internet. Is there one you would recommend or any you suggest I stay away from? Better yet, is there a web hosting site designed specifically for Piano Studios?
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1287484 - 10/15/09 11:13 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Mrs.A]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
My husband is a designer and programmer and he did my website. I've actually got a new design that just needs to be programmed in, but it works very well. Here are some pointers on what to look for and what to avoid:

Generally, if you want something custom, you will pay more for it. A custom website, well-done, can cost $1000 or more, assuming there's no e-commerce capabilities. You are basically paying for the custom design.

There are web templates out there that you can purchase for a few hundred dollars that are pre-designed. You pick the design up like best from what is available. However, you still have to find someone to program it for you (to make links work, etc.).

There are web hosting companies that will also do design & programming work for you as long as you sign up for hosting. Again, you will be limited with how many pages, functionality and the look of your site, but it is very economical.

Lastly, avoid hiring someone's friend's son who works out of their basement -- basically anyone who is not a professional. Generally people who go this route end up with something that doesn't work the way they intended, and don't get their website in a timely manner. My husband has so many people who come to him after having paid money and wasted a lot of time with someone who never delivered.

The ongoing costs for maintaining a website in addition to hosting are any website changes you wish to make and domain name registration. If you go with a cheaper option (non-custom) website, chances are there will be no capability for you to do updates. You will have to pay extra to have someone do this. Also, you usually have to pay to keep your domain each year or two years. There are cheaper and more expensive domain name registration companies out there, so shop around.

When you choose a domain name, first search to see if it's available on a site like this: http://instantdomainsearch.com/. Also consider the ease of relating this domain name to others on the phone by leaving out hyphens, underscores, etc.

Hope this helps!
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1287494 - 10/15/09 11:23 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
On hosting I have used two different companies: hostfolio and bluehost. Hostfolio has always been reliable for the past 4 years and my website is hosted there (www.nikolas-sideris.com). I've had a downtime of less than 2 hours in total and their response time is great! Bluehost feels less 'personal' and downtime has been slightly more, but it offers a huge amount of features, that are hard to find at such low prices anywhere. In general with around 100$ per year you should be set for hosting.

For design, you should decide towards html or flash and then HIRE the right person, pay for it and feel secure that they will do the job right. Morodiene is perfectly right: These things (and any professional job) cannot be done from the basement of a house, or from the bedroom.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1287530 - 10/15/09 12:21 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Nikolas]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13818
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've recently started using Wordpress. It's basically used for blogging, but can be adapted for a variety of uses and designs.

My blog is hosted by Godaddy and uses Wordpress:

www.pianoped.com

Wendy Stevens has a wonderful website, also done with Wordpress:

www.composecreate.com

Wordpress also offers hosting:

http://wordpress.com/

For music teachers, there's also Music Teachers Helper:

www.musicteachershelper.com

I use it for billing, scheduling, and recordkeeping, but they also offer studio webpages as part of their package. There's a free trial (that remains free if you only want to register a few students), or there are a variety of subscription options.

While website designs can cheap and easy (using something like iWeb or Wordpress), I would strongly suggest that you NOT opt for cheap or free hosting. Cheap/free hosting can be unreliable and litter your site with advertising.

Something else you may find useful is to find a bunch of sites you like and check the credits. Many designers will add a link to their services at the bottom of the sites they design. (Like at the bottom of Morodiene's site.)
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1287588 - 10/15/09 01:34 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Kreisler]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I'd recommend trying the "Music Teacher Helper" first because of what it already allows you to do instantaneously - just fill in the blanks to your satisfation and because of the cost which is always an important factor.

As Kreisler said, you can use the site at no cost and experience what it can do for you.

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#1287593 - 10/15/09 01:48 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Betty Patnude]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Jason,

Congratulations on an excellent accomplishment: The Piano Pedagogy Page!

I'll be a reader for sure!

Thanks so much!

Betty

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#1287594 - 10/15/09 01:48 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Betty Patnude]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
As always, thanks again.

I put together a website for my son’s club baseball team and found many hosting sights that made scheduling, emailing players and recording statistics easy. I knew there must something available for piano teaching.

I tried the Music Teacher Helper sight and was able to access the main page but the additional links are not working. I will try it again later.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


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#1287603 - 10/15/09 02:03 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Mrs.A]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
My website, by the way, was done in Wordpress so I could do updates myself. It is quite easy to use for static sites.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1287609 - 10/15/09 02:11 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4981
Loc: boston north
What do you mean by static sites, please, Morodiene?
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1287615 - 10/15/09 02:14 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: lilylady]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Oh, sorry! A static site is one that just has information to give, links you can click on to read more information. A dynamics site is one that can change, like an e-commerce site, or one that has various automatic updates (like a customer review portion, or current events or quotes that rotate depending on the day, etc.).
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1287643 - 10/15/09 03:01 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
On the MTH site, I think you will have to register - you don't need to enter student names and such - but you will be able to view all the things teachers can see.

Hope that gains you access.

They also have a newsletter you can sign up for (monthly) that has articles posted by teachers and updates to the system.

Brandon Pierce is the developer and it's a very helpful site especially for those with larger studios and many people to communicate with. I know it's at least two years since I joined.

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#1287689 - 10/15/09 04:09 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Betty Patnude]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
What is the site to be for? If it's just for making annoucements (recitals, stuff of general interest to you existing students), and the users will primarily be people who you already know, then it's possible that one of the many free blog sites will what you need. Some of them offer high degrees of customization and are easy to use because they're designed for non-experts. The problems with this approach are the limited ability to index stuff (most are just chronological order of posting), and that they don't usually show up in web searches, so they're not very good for attracting new business. But free is free, and this approach works OK for simple announcements.

The technological aspects of building are web site are relatively straightforward, and I imagine that most people could learn to do it in a few days, especially with guidance. But there are some subtleties around web browser compatibility, among other things, which take quite a lot of experience to get on top of. Without that experience it's easy to develop a site that looks great on your own computer, and horrible everywhere else.

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#1287748 - 10/15/09 05:40 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: kevinb]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
When my own department doesn't have the developer time to put toward building our own customized webpages, we have purchased pre-made formats templates from WooThemes. They have several pre-made customized "ready to plug in your information" themes, each that has functionality already built into it.

Like this one for businesses:
WooThemes "Over Easy"

Or, if you plan to use social networking software (Facebook, Twitter) to engage your students in the studio, there's this one, which comes with those sites "pre-loaded" into the theme:
Therapy

Note - these do not include web hosting...this is just for the 'artistic' and 'functionality" design of the website itself. If one of these meets your need there is no reason at all to pay someone $$$$ to custom-build it from the ground up; in fact a lot of those places probably use templates like this anyway.

Looks like these thems templates run $70 with a buy-one-get-one free offer at the moment.

I have no interest in them I just happen to know that people that are in the business of putting educational content out on the internet consider their products good enough to use, cause I work for them smile
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1287863 - 10/15/09 09:21 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Mrs.A]
Huy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/06
Posts: 22
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Hi everyone,

I am new here (in terms of posting), been lurking around for a while. (Love the forum by the way!). I am a piano teacher from Sydney, Australia.

Recently, I decided to make a website for my studio, first I tried one of them website site builder sites (I wasn't that happy with the result, it looked professional, but wasn't piano/music related), then I stumbled along one of the already made template sites.

I chose a design that I really liked, and just change the contents of the original design. You can choose a html, flash, easy flash, gallery type designs. I chose a easy flash type design. It took me about 4 days to edit/write the contents of my studio.

It is quite easy if you know basic html codes (to add links, make text bold, underline etc). I just googled basic html codes, and learnt from there.

Overall it cost me under $200 AUD to create a website that I really like - looks professional and music related!

$90 Template
$90 Website hosting (for one year), domain registration (two years)


Huy


Edited by elhpianist (10/15/09 09:22 PM)
_________________________
Piano Teacher
Sydney, Australia

website: www.lepianoacademy.com.au

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#1287882 - 10/15/09 09:49 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Huy]
DoReMi Katie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Illinois
I recently tried the Music Teachers Helper free website. It's very limiting in the types of links and amount of pictures you are allowed to post. But perhaps there would be more options if I were to pay monthly... Also it's been about 5 weeks and neither yahoo or google bring up my website when I search for keywords. I have to type in the entire address. But then, I'm not the most tech-savy person and may completely be missing something. Ideally I'd like to hire someone (professional) to just do the whole thing for me.
_________________________
Full-time, independent piano instructor; church musician
MTNA, ISMTA, working towards NCTM!

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#1287925 - 10/15/09 10:57 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: DoReMi Katie]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
I use tripod.com for my own website, as well as our local MTAC website.

The cost is $8.95 per month and it includes the domain name.

You pick a template and just 'plug in' the info you want. It's easy and looks nice too. There are also options to customize your site.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1287930 - 10/15/09 11:06 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: DoReMi Katie]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155
Thank you everyone. I looked at Music Teacher Helper and I like the way it emails statements to students. I am still considering if I want the web sight as a marketing tool to perspective students or a source of information for current students. Thank you for all the ideas.
_________________________
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.


Top
#1288124 - 10/16/09 10:14 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Mrs.A]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
Here's a website company specializing in studio websites...looks interesting:

http://www.musicteaching.com/
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1288130 - 10/16/09 10:21 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Yay! My new design is done. Feel free to check it out. smile
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1288137 - 10/16/09 10:29 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: michiganteacher]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Jessica, that looks really good. I have a website which uses template in a similar way. It's quite good but it has a silly name and it won't show up on a google search. At the moment it doesn't matter much because I only use it for information for current students but if I wanted to use it to attract new business I would have to do something else.

Does anyone know of downsides to this way of doing it?
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1288142 - 10/16/09 10:40 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Chris H.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
Jessica, that looks really good. I have a website which uses template in a similar way. It's quite good but it has a silly name and it won't show up on a google search. At the moment it doesn't matter much because I only use it for information for current students but if I wanted to use it to attract new business I would have to do something else.

Does anyone know of downsides to this way of doing it?


The only thing if you have to go with whatever templates are available. If you already have a logo or design for your business cards to brochures, there is no way to have it all match. This can be confusing for prospective students if they see two different looks. However, this may not be a big deal to someone who isn't using their website as a marketing tool, or if they do not have a design already for other marketing materials. You may also be limited as to how customized it can be. For example, if you wanted to add music downloads of your own recordings, a way to pay for lessons online, or other things that may not already be a part of what they offer, you will be stuck with that.

However, it is a more economical approach for most teachers, and if you're looking to just get a professional looking website with information only, then that is a good alternative.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1288159 - 10/16/09 11:05 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
I designed my own from scratch and host it at ixwebhosting, very good, reliable and cheap.

I am more likely too find Google of line than my own website.
_________________________
Joe Whitehead ------ Texas Trax

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#1289811 - 10/19/09 11:54 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Studio Joe]
Larry B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 377
Loc: Boston
Regarding being found in Google... There's an art and science to "search engine optimization" (SEO) that can change your rankings quite dramatically. The techniques are generally simple, but boil down to this:
-- Choose the search words or phrases for which you want to be found. Choose carefully. "piano lessons" is too broad and you'll have millions of competitors for that phrase, but "classical piano lessons Seattle" might be a more targeted combination of words for which you can achieve a high ranking.
-- Use those words and phrases often in your page: in the title, in the text of links within your site, in the content of the page

The other factor that can improve your ranking is having lots of other topic-related sites link to yours.

There's tons of free info on this topic at HighRankings.com. I'm not affiliated with them at all, just find it a very useful resource.

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#1289831 - 10/19/09 12:35 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Larry B]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
Even with my inexpensive template-style website I am always one of the top 3 sites that come up in a Google search for 'piano lessons' or 'piano teachers' and the name of my town.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1289863 - 10/19/09 01:30 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I'm the top one to come up in my town on Google, but that is from getlessonnow.com that I turn up, and not my website. I have done no SEO for my site at this time. Since I'm not really in the need of more students, however, I'm not planning on doing anything like that. It's a great idea for someone who wants to expand their studio, however. Otherwise, my website is for my current students, and they know how to find me smile.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1290070 - 10/19/09 07:15 PM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Morodiene]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
If anyone wants to build their waiting list or add to their present studio schedule, put an ad on Craigs list using piano lessons and your towns name or your zip code to get their attention.

Lead them to visiting your web site where you can provide fees, schedule openings, a profile (bio) of yourself and have a student information sheet for them to email you or an registration/enrollment form.

Most of the information can be gleaned from your web site and if they have gotten past your policy and fees and vital information, then I think you have a valid inquiree being made.

Web sites can be your best foot forward and there are many that I enjoy visiting because they are so well done. I am still working on what I want mine to contain. I'm getting really enthusiatic about what it can contain and do for the communication process between the potential client and the teacher.

The kind of website services that help you manage your studio business are valuable too.

It's like we've come out of the "Dark Ages"!

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#1290281 - 10/20/09 01:03 AM Re: Web design and hosting question [Re: Betty Patnude]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
This is one I administrate: http://www.isstip.org
The design I got free from the internet (it's nice to credit the designer) putting in the Flash took me a weekend. With web sites it's got to look professional or your business will just come across as amateur. This costs £35 a year to host and never goes down. I tried some free hosters first, they're infamous for downtimes.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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