plug into the web
In this day and age it seems like everyone is in a rush and we in the healing professions often encourage people to slow down. But there is one place in which it might be wise to meet the modern, accelerated world and use it to assist in growing a yoga business as well as developing a professional appearance. That meeting place is the use of the Internet, and creating a vital user-friendly Web site can become a marketing tool as well as a calling card for people to learn and share with each other.
Most people these days find the resources they need by searching on the Web. Research has shown that most people under the age of 40 use the Internet to look up service oriented businesses, including the search for alternative wellness practitioners. Awareness of this trend allows those in the wellness community to us the Web as an adjunct to their current identity.
For many people, visiting a Web site is the same receiving a business card. It is the calling card of the modern world, which can be designed as an interactive brochure allowing potential clients to understand your services better and also gain an emotional connection to the style in which you present yourself. A strongly designed Web site can create a professional image that raises the legitimacy of your business and the services you offer.
Lets look at some of the basics that will influence people’s reactions to your Web site.
Have a purpose. One of the first things to be aware of in the creation of your site is that everything that goes into your Web site must have a purpose. It is wonderful to design a beautiful site but it must be focused on clarifying the image and message that you want to convey to your site visitors. Color, pictures, fonts, content and links all send out a message to the consumer about who you are and each must be chosen carefully. A visitor to your site should not only take away overt information, but also a visceral sense of who you are as a person and if you would be a match for them. This concept is especially true for sole proprietors in the wellness community.
Create clear goals of the client base you are trying to reach and what it is that you are offering to them. Keep these goals clear in your mind by writing them out and reviewing them. What are the top three things that you want someone to take away from their visit to your site? Each time you sit down to work on your site, review these goals and make all content hold to these objectives.
As you work with these goals, remember that a simple message is easier to convey and will be better understood than a more complicated one. Simple, clear information will be understood and read by more people than a long, convoluted overload of information. Due to the speed of the click, you have very little time to connect with a potential client and most people will move on to the next site within the first twentieth of a second. A study by researchers in Canada has shown that the snap decisions Internet users make about the quality of a Web page have a lasting impact on their opinions. Be aware that as people glance through the site they are scanning for clues that they are in the right place.
Communicate actively. Another concept to be aware of in the creation of your Web site is that a Web site should be an active communication between the site visitor and the content of the site. It is often said in the design world that “content is king.” It is the content that puts your potential client at ease and invites them in to learn more about you and the services you offer. If you were speaking to a client in person how would you convey the major points of what you do? Now take those points, prioritize them, and create a concise, easy-to-read message about you.
So with those concepts in mind you may be wondering “How do I create a Web site, get online and not break the bank”?
Here are few suggestions as to some ways to create a quality site at low cost.
Find your host. One of the easiest ways to create a basic site is to find the Web hosting company you want to carry your domain name and use their site builder tools. Almost all of them have one these days and they are incredibly user friendly. In many cases it is just a matter of drag and drop to fill in pre-designed templates. There is a lot of versatility in these programs and you can still make your Web site unique.
Choose your designer carefully. Another way to keep the costs down is to search on craigslist.org. Many designers new to the business are looking to build their portfolios and will often do high quality work for an affordable rate. Make sure to look through their portfolio to see if their design sensibility agrees with your vision, as well as negotiate the price at the beginning making both parties clear about the costs involved.
Thinking outside the box to find a high quality Web designer is to use the old-fashioned method of barter. Many people in the wellness fields have very sought after barter commodities and you can use your time and skills in exchange for a Web expert’s design abilities. Once again, be sure of the terms before you commit and keep track of the time you exchange so that both parties feel that it is an equitable arrangement.
Know that a Web site can be a vital tool in the creation of your professional image, as well as be an asset in the building of your practice.