HOW TO BUILD A YOGA WEBSITE IN 10 STEPS
1. Get your domain
The domain is the name under which your website will be found, for example happyyogamarketing.com is the domain of this website. Here you can check if your dream domain name is available.
If you are unsure what to use as a domain name, I strongly recommend some combination with your name. Your name is the one thing that will stay with you throughout your career, even if you change your business focus for example from yoga to nutrition or the other way around.
Try to get a domain for your country (for example .co.uk) or a .com. Other domains like .me or .yoga might looks creative and original, but many people will have problems remembering them.
You can buy your domain together with your hosting – see next step – or with another service like for example www.godaddy.com.
2. Choose your hosting provider
There are so many hosting providers, it’s overwhelming. Many blogs recommend Bluehost, but I actually heard terrible things about them and that’s why I don’t recommend them. I’ve been using 1&1 since I started my first website and never had any problems, but again, many people say they have terrible customer service too.
So I did some research and the hosting provider that seems to have consistently positive reviews is www.siteground.com. If you are just starting out, click here and choose the start-up package.
This will set you back 9.95$ a month (less when they run a promotion) and covers hosting and one domain, so you are all set. You don’t need a bigger package if you are just starting out, but be prepared to upgrade when your traffic is getting bigger.
After you have chosen your package, you can enter your wish domain and if it is available Siteground will get it for you as part of the package. If you already have a domain you can simply transfer it to Siteground.
Lastly enter your personal details and payment information, make sure to uncheck all the extras (you don’t need them) and click send. And that’s it, hosting + domain all set up, woohoo!
3. Install WordPress
After you paid for your hosting plan, your account is created and you can proceed to the customer area. Siteground offers you the WordPress Preinstall option, which makes it super easy.
On the next screen enter your WordPress Login details. For security reasons I recommend you choose a username that’s NOT your name or your website name and not admin! This is really, really important. Also choose a secure password with at least 8 characters, numbers and everything in there that can’t be hacked easily. Save these details, you’ll need them later.
Next you are asked to choose a web design template to be installed along with your WordPress. Just ignore this for now, we will get to the theme in the next step.
On the next screen you will see your details as well as your admin URL, it will look something like http://yourwebsitename.com/wp-login.php. This is your website admin URL, bookmark it and get your login details ready.
4. Choose a theme
Before we go on setting up your shiny new website in WordPress, you need to choose a theme. A theme provides all of the frontend styling of your WordPress site, like page layouts, fonts and colors. You can choose a free theme from the WordPress theme directory or a premium theme that you pay for.
Premium themes usually have a reliable code base and offer support if something goes wrong. You can find tons of great themes for example on www.themeforest.com or www.elegantthemes.com. I use the Avada theme from Themeforest for this blog as well as for www.happyyogatravels.com and I love it for it flexibility and customization options. It costs 60$ and that’s totally worth it for what you get. The flexibility it offers makes it a bit more difficult to setup though, there’s definitely a learning curve. When choosing a theme, look for something you really like so you don’t have to tweak it too much, especially for your first website!
After you have chosen your theme, download the theme files (you’ll get a .zip file) and go back to your WordPress admin website. On your website, go to Appearance > Themes and click the Add New button. Click Upload to upload your theme .zip file. After that upload is completed go to Appearance > Themes to Activate and activate your theme.
5. Create your content
When you have a first look at your website you probably realize that it looks nothing like the beautiful theme demo yet. That’s because you haven’t created any content yet!
Start by having a look at yoga websites you like and your theme demo. If this is your first WordPress website, I recommend to stay as close to the demo content as possible. Think about your navigation menu, your header image, intro copy, other content you want to promote, start to collect testimonials and have your social media links ready.
For a yoga teacher website I recommend these pages and modules:
- Homepage: big header image, intro copy explaining who you are and what you do, content boxes with more information on services, testimonials, latest blog posts.
- About: More information about yourself, your education as well as some nice yoga pictures.
- Classes: Information on your classes, where you are teaching and your schedule.
- Workshops/retreats: If you are offering these, a page showcasing your latest events.
- Blog: A blog where you write about what’s close to your yoga heart.
- Contact: Contact form as well as other options to get in touch with you. Don’t forget your location.
This is the heart of your website, so take your time to develop your content. Have someone else proofread your copy, get some great images done and have everything ready for the next step. Check out my blog post about the principles of great website design to learn more.
6. Set up your website
Now that you’ve installed your theme and created your content it’s time to set it up in WordPress! Add your logo, header image, intro copy, menu and widgets in your backend. How you do this depends very much on your chosen theme. Have a look in your theme documentation and play around and experiment until you are happy with the results.
Be warned though, this can be a frustrating and difficult task, it pays to be patient and really work through all the theme options and documentation. You’ll get there, I promise!
WordPress basics you need to know to set up your website:
Pages are what you use for static pages, like your About page or Contact page. Posts you use for blog posts. Blog posts you can organize in categories and tags and display chronologically. There is no limit on the number of posts or pages that can be created.
Widgets are little tools that allow you to add different functionalities and features to your sidebar or theme templates without writing any code. They can be found under Appearance » Widgets.
Menus define what your navigation looks like. You’ll set that up under Appearance » Menus. After you have created your first pages you can add them to your main navigation.
7. Install some useful plugins
Plugins are seriously the best thing about WordPress! A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to your WordPress website without you needing to add a single line of code. They can extend functionality or add new features to your websites, like backups, security functionalities, analytics, SEO tools, social media sharing and so much more. There are thousands available for free to download and you can also buy premium plugins from a wide range of developers and companies.
To install a new plugin, go to Plugins » Add New. The easiest way of installing a plugin is to use the plugin search, which will find all free plugins.
I recommend these plugins to start with:
Wordfence: Wordfence is an efficient website guard dog, it comes with a firewall, login security measures and auto scheduled scanning options.
UpdraftPlus: Having backups is essential and this plugin will take care of it for you. With UpdraftPlus you can save a copy of your website and all its contents on a number of different locations.
WordPress SEO: this plugin will help you optimize your website for Google and is absolutely crucial.
WP Super Cache: this plugin will help make your website faster.
Contact Form 7: a super simple way to add contact forms to your website.
8. Connect your website with Google Analytics
Knowing how your audience interacts with your website is essential for moving forward and Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to help you with that – and it’s free!
First you need to create a Google Analytics account. To do this, visit the Google Analytics Signup Page.
If you already have a Gmail account, you can use that to sign-in with. If you do not have a Gmail account, then you will have to create one. Signup for Google analytics with your Gmail account and choose to track a website. The information required on the page is quite self-explanatory. Enter your website’s URL, account name (it can be anything that you like), country, and your time zone.
After that you’ll get your tracking ID. Copy this tracking code because you will need to enter it in your WordPress site.
On your website either your theme will have an option to add the Analytics code or you can use a plugin like for example the Google Analytics plugin. Paste the Google Analytics code in the theme’s setting page and you are all set. Please note that it takes Google up to 24 hours to start providing you with your site statistics.
9. Set up a Mailchimp Account
I recommend to start collecting email addresses right away! Your email list is one of the most important tools of your yoga business.
If you are just starting I recommend Mailchimp as a newsletter tool, as it’s free for starters and easy to set up.
Visit the MailChimp website and click on the ‘Signup Free’ button. Fill in your email and create a username / password. Next you will have to setup an email list. On your MailChimp dashboard, click on ‘Create A List’ button. Fill the form with your information and save it. That’s all, you have successfully created your first email list.
Now you need to connect your email list to your WordPress website, so your visitors can subscribe to it. A great option to create beautiful sign-up forms is Mailmunch, and it comes with a free version. You need to install the plugin to your WordPress website and connect it with your Mailchimp account. After that you can configure your signup form and start collecting email addresses.
10. Connect your social media accounts
You’ll want to make sure to add your social media profiles to your website. One way is to add your social media profiles in your theme options, this normally allows you to integrate the tiny icons on top of your page or in the sidebar widget.
For sharing there are many great plugins you can use. A good free option is the AddToAny Share Button plugin. I use the premium version of Social Warfare, this neat little plugin allows me to place the social sharing options whereever I want on my website and customize the colour of the buttons.
To display your Instagram feed I recommend http://snapwidget.com. You set up the widget on the website and copy the code in a text widget that you add to your sidebar.
For Pinterest use the Pinterest widget builder on their website and again copy the code it generated in a text widget. You can play around with different sizes to find out what works best with your theme.
These are the basic steps to get you started. Building your own yoga website is really not as difficult as you might think. Yes, you’ll have to learn a bit about how WordPress works and creating your content and setting it up in WordPress will take some time and effort. But it can be a lot of fun too, I promise!