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If you’re going to offer tutoring online, do you need to have a website? My answer is yes.
If your clients are looking for online services, they are likely to look…well, online. Some tutors have success advertising their services through a Facebook page or on online directories only, but I think it’s extremely important to have a “place of your own” on the internet, so you can present yourself the way you want your clients to see you.
There are many different routes to a website of your own, everything from setting up a simple one with a few clicks and a few dollars to paying a developer to build a WordPress site that does lots of fancy things. I’ll lay out some options.
Ways to get your website up
Hire a web designer
This is the hands-off, most expensive, route. You can find a web designer on a freelance marketplace and hire them to build your site.
Pros: You don’t have to figure it out. You can get a professional website built and focus on other areas of your business.
Cons: You get what you pay for. Like with any professional service, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you run the risk of hiring the wrong person or getting an outcome that is not what you hoped.
Costs: A quick look at Upwork says this costs between $38 and $100 per hour. Fiverr.com prices web design by the project, and people are offering their services for between $100 and $1000+. Other associated costs will be web hosting, a domain name, and probably ongoing maintenance services if someone else builds the site and you don’t know quite how it works.
Build a WordPress site
This is what I have done, twice. I find it fascinating and I have (mostly) enjoyed the process. But the sites aren’t perfect and need some ongoing care and feeding, which can be irritating. There were definitely moments that made me want to tear my hair out. But I’m taking the long view, and now my first tutoring website, is pretty much just like I want it, and my only costs are hosting and an annual charge for my domain name.
Pros: Total creative control. You can click around, try things out, and WordPress is an incredibly flexible platform that can do almost anything you dream of, with the help of tons of free or paid plug-ins. Membership site? Embedded calendar? Contact form? Blog? All possibilities!
Cons: Oh man, it takes a LOT of time. My husband originally hosted my website because he had a hosting account, so he did the first couple of setup steps for me, including making sure I had scheduled backups so if I screwed anything up, we could restore it. I had a little bit of help from him, but I also spent hours and hours after the kids went to bed, on Youtube and Google, watching and reading tutorials and swearing.
Costs: My self-hosted WordPress sites cost about $120 the first year and about $300 this year, including hosting, a domain name, and a security certificate. I have my hosting with Siteground, which is a service I highly recommend. The hosting the first year was less expensive because they had a special promotional rate the first year. There are less expensive hosting services, so you may be able to lower your expenses a bit more. I also now have two websites on the account, which increased this year’s cost.
Need some help figuring this all out? My course, The Online Tutor Business Blueprint, launches August 17th. Find out more here.
Create a free or inexpensive website with a service designed to meet small-business needs
These include Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, and Google Sites. Costs range from free (with ads) or free (after you pay for your domain name), to about $10-20 a month for a website geared toward small business from any of the major providers. Wix seems to get the best reviews for ease of setup and use among the options I checked out.
Honorable mention goes to Google Sites. For just the cost of a domain name, I was able to set up a basic website in minutes and have it ready to type in my content. There were very few decisions to make and some simple templates – like you’d find in Google Slides – that simplify the process of getting something up, fast.
Pros: Simple, inexpensive, user-friendly for people who aren’t adventurous or skilled with technology.
Cons: Templates and options can be limiting if you decide you want additional features down the road. It may not look exactly like you want.
Cost: $12 per year up to $20 or more a month, depending on the service and the bells and whistles you choose. Paying a little more tends to get you features that make your website look more professional and more customized, while inexpensive options can look basic and a little amateur.
So what’s the best option?
Ultimately, your website is your “front door” on the internet. It will often be the first impression potential clients have of you and your business. If customers walked by your office door, you would want them to see a clean, welcoming, place that shows what you offer. And just like with a physical office, you can achieve that by spending money and/or time to get the look you want. For most online tutors I think the best way to build a website is to use a service like Wix or Squarespace. These services come with a monthly fee, but they will also be there, looking good, quickly, so new clients can find you.
Do you have a website for your tutoring business? Will you start one as you move to online tutoring? If not, what’s stopping you?