Do you need a website for your language teaching business?
Honestly? Maybe not.
It might sound kinda crazy coming from a copywriter who writes websites for a living, but not every language teacher needs one.
In fact, starting a website when you’re not ready or don’t know what you want to achieve from it might end up being a total waste of time, energy and money. Because a lot of work goes into strategising, writing, designing and building a website — work you don’t want to redo a few months down the line.
Trust me. Even though I knew better when I started my business, I still made that mistake. Three iterations later, and I’m still not 100% happy with the design or the copy (writing for yourself is hard, okay!?).
It doesn’t have to be like this for you, though.
Here are 7 questions to help you decide whether you *actually* need a website for your language teaching business.
1. Do you know who you’re targeting?
It’s simple: if you don’t know exactly WHO you’re writing your web copy for, it won’t perform as well as it could.
Your audience is the key to everything you do, and every word you write should work to catch and keep their attention.
If you don’t yet know them inside out and upside down, then building a website could be a mistake you’ll later regret.
But if you do already know your ideal students and you’ve been running your teaching business for a while? Then take this as sign one that you’re ready for a website.
2. Do you know your offers inside out?
Who you’re targeting is just one piece of the puzzle. You also need to know exactly what you’re offering them.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Offers evolve over time, so I’m not suggesting you wait until 10 years down the line when you’re certain nothing else will change. That would be silly.
That said, I do recommend you build, run and test the performance of your offers before you commit to a project as big as building a website. That’s because if you don’t know for sure that your audience needs your services, you’ll find it hard to figure out if it’s the copy or the offer that isn’t performing later on.
As a general, totally unofficial rule, I’d suggest launching and running your first offer at least two times before going ahead and building a website. In the meantime, you could start an email list to test the response to different courses without investing tons of time and money into it.
3. What do you want to achieve with your website?
Websites aren’t just a cosy digital home for your language teaching brand. They’re a powerful marketing tool that you can use to attract new students into your world, no dancing or miming required.
So, if you’re going to create a website for your teaching business, I suggest you consider why you’re doing it: to centralise everything, to grow your audience or to convert new leads around the clock while you’re on teaching, planning, or taking a break?
While centralising everything is a valid aim, you still want your website to convert. And making sure it does takes time, patience and research.
If it’s more like a box you feel you need to tick to legitimise your language teaching business, you don’t. You absolutely can build trust, create connections and make sales without a website. It’s more likely to perform well if you have a clear, strategic goal in mind.
4. Is your audience searching for services like yours?
While you absolutely can use your website as an information hub to direct people to from social media, if you’re going to invest time and money into it, why not try and make sure it shows up on Google?
Search Engine Optimization is a whole thing that we’ll cover another time. But the short story is that you can absolutely learn the basics and increase your chances of ranking for relevant search terms.
However, before investing time and energy into choosing the right keywords and writing your copy in a way that naturally includes them, I strongly recommend doing some research to figure out if your ideal students are even using search engines to look for a solution like yours. You can do that by checking a keyword tool like this.
If you find they ARE searching for what you offer, and you create keyword-rich content around that, you can increase your chances of attracting new ideal students into your world for absolutely nothing.
If you’re targeting students in China, for example, you may find a website isn’t worth your time. That’s because they search for solutions on domestic platforms or Chinese search engines like Baidu. If that applies to you, consider investing your energy into building an audience on a platform you know your audience uses.
5. How much time can you dedicate to the project?
Assuming you want to tackle the project alone, you’ll need to make sure you set aside enough time to do it well. By that I mean enough time to:
- Conduct keyword, competitor and audience research
- Plan the copy for all the pages of your site
- Choose a website building platform
- Build and design the website
- Write, edit and publish the copy
And that’s just the essentials. You may also want to spend some time setting up Google Analytics to track your website performance, optimising the copy based on the results you see, and maybe even starting a blog to get more eyes on your website while it gains strength.
It’s hard to say exactly how much time this will take, but to give you a loose idea, I spend 4-6 weeks doing all the copy-related tasks. A designer would then spend a further month or more building it.
Long story short, make sure you set aside at least 3 months to do a good job. Overnight website miracles are never a good idea.
6. How many sales pages and landing pages do you have?
If the answer is somewhere along the lines of ‘more than I can count’, then it could well be the right time to invest in a website.
While you don’t NEED a website to create a sales or landing page (there are plenty of tools that help you build standalone pages), it might make financial sense to do so when you’ve got a few and you want to house them all together.
This also makes it easier to create new ones free of charge. Because once you’ve got a website, you can have an unlimited number of pages for no extra cost. It also keeps things nice and tidy, which for organisation freaks like me is a benefit in itself!
7. Are you willing and able to invest in the project?
And no, I’m not just talking about outsourcing the writing and design. Building a website costs money, regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone else.
As a minimum, you’ll need to pay for the domain registration and hosting and a website design platform (like Wix or WordPress). These usually cost around $200, but that number could increase depending on the platform you choose and the cost of your chosen domain.
It might not be loads, but it’s still a sizable investment, especially when you’re in the early stages of building your language teaching business. That’s why I only suggest building a website when you can confidently answer the questions above.
So, do you need a website for your language teaching business?
I hope this has helped you figure out if it’s the right time for you to take the leap. If you’ve reached the end and still aren’t sure, drop me a message and ask. I’m here to help!
And if you have decided it’s time to build or refresh a site you’ve had up for years, but you can’t face the thought of doing it alone? I have space for 3 website copy projects for the rest of 2023, I’d love to take it off your hands.
Full disclosure: my website package price is going up on 1st January, 2024. So if you’re interested in snagging possibly the BEST deal around, then read what’s included here and drop me a message to enquire here.