Megan Watson, a violinist and violin teacher in Utah, has agreed to share her story of publicizing her music skills trough the internet. She was more than happy to answer our questions and is willing to help First Site Guide’s readers realize how important is to have a strong online presence these days. We believe that Megan, who has 25 years of experience with the Suzuki method and has 15 years of teaching experience, certainly knows that best teachers continually learn, grow, and expand their teaching tools and resources by willingly sharing their ideas trough internet.
How are you involved with music?
I perform solo violin and in ensembles, and I teach private violin lessons. I play piano occasionally in church settings.
What inspired you to get online presence and why?
I moved to a new state and had no students, so I put up a website to see if I could get my studio started. I have received several new students through my website. In fact, the majority of my students right now came from google searches that led to my website.
How long did it take to have your first website running and were there any major costs involved?
I designed my first website myself, so there wasn’t a cost for that, but I paid to buy the domain and for the hosting services. It took only a few hours over the course of a couple days to write content and add pictures, then rewrite it as I thought of better wording. Overall, it wasn’t too bad!
Did you make it yourself or you had someone help you?
I did my first website mostly myself, but my husband helped me a bit since he had already made a website for himself and could answer questions for me.
How did you choose the name for your first website and in your opinion, is it important to pay attention to a domain name?
My domain name is my personal name, so it was easy to choose. I find it’s important to choose a domain name that is easy to remember and spell; otherwise, people won’t be able to find you. Also, using keywords in your domain name helps get more hits from search engines. The domain name you choose also has an impact on peoples’ perception of you and your business, so it’s important to have a professional domain to give the impression that you are the best at what you do.
What software do you use for running your website…CMS – Content Management System?
My blog (musiclessonpirate.blogspot.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I don’t spend too much time blogging. Maybe 2 hours a month. I usually blog about things that I am doing anyway for my studio, so I just take a little extra time to type it up and share it.
How do you promote your blog posts and your website?
I promote my blog posts through Pinterest and Facebook. I get the most hits on my blog through Pinterest, more than through Google or any other source.
Who is your intended audience?
My audience for my blog is mostly fellow violin teachers, but some things apply to all music teachers. My audience for my studio website is potential clients, whether for performing or teaching. There is also a log in for students and parents so they can view their account and lessons schedule.
Is there a way to monetize your website?
I think the answer most people think of first is advertising, but I would make sure not to do too many ads, because that gets annoying to readers. You can also try becoming an affiliate with websites such as Amazon, so if you write a review of a book or something, you can link to it and Amazon pays commission for purchases using that link.
Do you feel your online presence has helped you in any way?
It has certainly helped me to grow my teaching studio. I have received many students from my studio website, and I feel that also having a blog has increased traffic to my studio site. Having an online presence has helped my professional image a lot. I have had numerous potential students comment on my website and how much they liked it, and that’s why they chose to contact me.
Suggestion for music teachers who are not sure if they need a website on their own?
I would say that having a website is not something to be intimidated by. It can be quite easy and inexpensive to get a simple website up and going. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s also an important thing that should not be overlooked. Having a strong online presence is very important these days when everyone gets information from the internet. Even if you receive a large number of student referrals from another source, having an online presence can boost your professional image, helping people feel confident in choosing you. It’s easy to do, so just do it! You’ll be glad you did.
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