Please tell us something about yourself and your company?
I’m a 27 year old British expat. Over the last few years I’ve spent time living in Prague and Madrid and set up two businesses, Learn English Prague and Learn English Madrid. Essentially we help match people up with English teachers in their city so they can take private lessons. Potential students have more choice on who they learn with and teachers can wave goodbye to the days of sticking up flyers in coffee shops and posting on expat forums hoping to find new students.
When did you get an idea to launch your own business website and how important is it for you be online?
When I first arrived in Prague I had a few friends that were English teachers. They enjoyed the work but all complained of the struggle of constantly having to find new students. I’d worked in online marketing and sales before and thought I could probably build an online platform that would make it easier for them.. It was a success and when I moved to Madrid I set it up there as well.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I had no money when I first setup the business so I had to build the website myself. Visually the first version was a bit of a mess, but it did the job and the business grew. During the summer last year, when there was a natural lull in people looking for teachers, I taught myself how to design and build a modern website. The new version was a great success, new student enquiries shot up 300% within a few weeks.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your website?
I decided against a cool sounding name and instead went for a simple name that explains what we do. It’s had SEO advantages.
WordPress because it’s simple to use, the learning curve isn’t too bad and there is a whole world of plugins that allow you to build some quite powerful functionality into a website without needing to do any coding.
How important is your blog section and how much time do you spend blogging?
I’ve put more effort into blogging over the last 6 months. I’ve focused on writing long, detailed explained articles that cover different aspects of learning English in Prague and Madrid respectively (about language schools, where to take exams, language meetups etc). Not only has it been great for SEO, but the articles get shared actively on social media and drive more traffic to our websites.
How do you promote your website? Do you use social media channels to attract more clients?
80% of our student enquiries come from organic Google search traffic. From the start I invested a lot of time in link building authoritative blogs and websites which has paid off. Most of the rest of business comes from either word of mouth referrals or from Facebook groups where people are asking about English teachers and people are recommending our website to them.
Would you encourage other people to make websites for their own businesses?
Absolutely. If you harbour any sort of ambition to work and travel, earning money online gives you this opportunity. It’s not difficult to learn the skills you need and there are lots of tools that can ease you into it quickly. The next decision is whether you are going to create a product /service to make money or rely on blogging.
Photos ©: Andrew Davison