The Cost of a Website for Your Yoga Business
I am frequently approached about creating a website: the steps involved, the research, and time, and most importantly, the cost. So, I thought I would write a summary of the typical process and cost of building a website here, with the precaution that this varies widely, depending on where you live, what kind of website you want, and who you hire.
A Few Good Names
The first thing to do is to register for a domain name, using any one of the registrant out there, including register.com, Godaddy, or Yahoo. The cost for registering a .com domain name hovers around $10. It is easy to think, “10 dollars a year? Sign me up!” but hold your horses. Before you register a domain name, you must first find out if 1) it’s already taken, and 2) it’s been trademarked. In either case, you’re out of luck, and you’ll have to find another name.
There are occasions when a domain name you want is already taken, ie. registered, but is not a “real” site. In some circles, this is called a “parked” site. The telltale sign that a site is parked is it has a bunch of link advertisements, and in most cases there should be an option for you to contact the owner to buy the domain.
If you are really really, and I mean, *really* emotionally attached to a domain name that’s already taken, it’s possible to purchase it, but be prepared to pay loads of money. The process of how this is done is another post unto itself, but I will say that if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s not a bad idea to get help from a professional.
Naming Domain Names
What domain name should you go for? In short, the shorter is better. However, it should also be easy to pronounce and spell. When you think of a name, literally, write it out as you would in a URL. Don’t make the unfortunate mistakes that Experts Exchange or Pen Island did. expertsexchange.com or penisland.com may bring some web traffic and giggles, but as a yoga teacher or studio, you may not want to be known as *that* yoga studio or teacher. Okay, one more, Speed of Art sounds great in name brainstorming, but speedofart.com makes you wonder what kind of business this company is in.
As yoga teachers, there seems to be some unknown pressure or trend to come up with a name for ourselves and the yoga that we teach. And so, we come up with all sorts of names that we feel representative of us. We add “yoga” to our favorite plant, favorite yoga pose, or Sanskrit word, from where born “Red Rose Yoga”, “Arjuna Yoga”, “Hanumanasana Yoga”, etc. Names are creative expressions and they inspire us to go beyond our current concept of ourselves, so that’s all fine and good.
However, in addition to those creative names, consider also the fact that as a yoga teacher, the goal for your website is to establish yourself on the web. So, if someone is looking for Jane Smith yoga teacher, they might type “Jane Smith yoga teacher” in Google, or directly type janesmithyoga.com in their browser. If you were Jane Smith, and decided that you call your yoga Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Yoga, and your web site is ekapadarajakapotasanayoga.com, well, it would be much harder for your students and prospective students to find you.
There is much, much more on the topic of names, but I hope you’re starting to see how you might spend more than $10 per month on a website, because you might have to register a few domain names, including any potential misspells. And, if your budget allows it, it’s not a bad idea to grab the popular extensions of .org, .net, and so on.
Finding a Host
After you register your domain name, the next step is to find a hosting service. Think of this as where your website will live. It is like buying anything from the store, after you pay for it, you need to take it off the shelf and find a home for it elsewhere. Hosting service can run anywhere from $5.95/month at the bare bone, which brings you to $71.40 per year without taxes and other fees.
Hosting services depend on all sorts of factors, including bandwidth, support, and software available to you. Some popular hosting companies include Hostmonster and Dreamhost.
So, let’s say you go with one domain at $10 a year, and $71.40, we now have $81.40 running on our tab.
The Cost of Designing and Developing a Website
Consider that designing a website involves graphic design and web development. You need to design the layout of the site, the logo, the look and feel, and then develop, meaning writing code that actually makes the design come to life. In a web design company, this usually includes two people with two skill sets. If you work with someone like me, you can get your graphic design and development done by one person, but this comes with pros and cons. It might take longer, for one, and when someone has a broad set of skills, they are making tradeoffs for not going deep into one area of specialization. For example, I can create very functional web sites, but I don’t do very fancy database development.
Let’s say you’re an independent yoga teacher, and you would like a simple website with 7 pages. Web design companies have several structures of payment. They can charge you $350 for the home page and then $75 for each extra page, as this company does. That’s $800 at the minimum with no fancy custom graphic or logo, not even stock photos. Now we’re at $881.40 to start with.
Another cost structure some companies have is price per hour. A small website may take somewhere between 40-60 hours, up to 100 or even 150 hours, depending on how many meetings you have with them, how many times you want something fixed, etc. At a company I worked at, we charged $125/hour for a website, which included not only labor but also overhead such as rent, insurance, and equipment.
Let’s say you work with someone (not naming names, but she might be writing this blog ;)) who charges a reasonable $50/hour and the project takes a conservative 20 hours, you’re now looking at $1000, for a total of $1081.40.
Brochure Site vs. Dynamic Site
In certain circles, an informational website is called a “brochure site”. But aren’t all websites informational? Indeed they are, but some sites also have functionalities such as a Contact form, a Newsletter, shopping cart, a Flash video, etc. So, the prices we’re looking at so far are for brochure sites. You’ll notice that anything extra is another item to be rung up, as shown with this company we were looking at.
A website, in reality, is never really “done”. There are always updates, especially for a yoga teacher: changes in your schedule, rates, workshops, announcements, etc. Maintenance fee is another cost that is often overlooked. Some companies can charge a monthly fee of up to $1000 a year to keep your site up-to-date. So, if you know HTML coding, it will be useful since you can do this yourself.
Let’s say someone charges $30/month to update your website, we’re looking at $360/year. That brings the cost up to a minimum of $1250, give or take a couple dollars.
Other Ways to Get a Website
Of course, you can create a blog from WordPress or Blogspot for free. I won’t discuss the pros and cons of going this route here, since this post assumes that you want your own website, but yes, I’m aware there are many options out there. I would say, however, that nothing is truly “free”, even if you use a free blogging service.
As a small business owner, and I consider all yoga teachers small business owners in some capacity, you will need some customized work, perhaps a design for a newsletter to send out to your students, perhaps coaching on how to analyze how many people are coming to your site, and what kind of information they seek. This is a whole other part of a website cost: traffic analyzing, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, which can cost anywhere from $300-$1000 per month, and so on.
For more information about how much a company might charge for a website, Webpage FX has a breakdown on what a typical company might charge.
I hope you find this information useful, and if you have any thoughts or questions, please leave a comment, or send me an email at nikki @ nikkiyoga.com.