This is part 3 of a series of 3 posts, all about your website for your tennis club or your tennis coaching business. In part 1 I wrote about my story with websites, and part 2 was my thoughts about what makes a good and bad website, the things to look for in your website.
This final part is about how to do it. Do you:
- Pay a web designer?
- Try to do it all yourself?
- A combination of those first 2?
- Or outsource it to a service like PeoplePerHour?
(Spoiler – I’ll be suggesting #3)
The Basics - domain name, hosting & the website itself
Even if you have a web designer do everything for you, it’s still useful to know these basics so that you can make your own decisions.
For this website it is tenniscoachblog.com, for my tennis club it is stscsport.co.uk. Think of this like a sign post, which can send people wherever you choose. Domain names are very cheap, like $10 per year, unless you happen to want one that is already owned or highly in demand, in which case they can cost £1000s.
There are a few schools of thought about domain names – my opinion is to make it as close to your actual company name as possible and to go for .com. So if you are called XYZ Tennis, try to buy xyztennis.com. If it’s not available, you might try your country’s ‘TLD’ (that is the bit at the end, e.g. .com .co.uk .biz etc.) – so in my case that would be xyztennis.co.uk. I wouldn’t start using other TLDs like .info .biz etc. or even the new ones like .tennis or .club. If it’s still not available, you could try some slight variations of your company name, like xyz-tennis.com (you can have a hyphen in there).
It does take a bit of creative thinking to come up with your domain name. Our domain name is stscsport.co.uk – if I could go back, I’d choose something different as this one is quite hard to remember and I always need to spell it out for people. But suttontennisandsquashclub.com would be too long. So this is an example of where we’d need to be creative. Would we look for suttonsport.com or something like that? The domain name won’t match the club name either way. It’s not relevant now, we’d never change it as our site does great on the search engines, but a good one to think about in the beginning.
When you own a domain name, you can also use email addresses with that domain name, e.g. if you own xyztennis.com, you can have email addresses like email@example.com etc. This looks professional.
Using your location in your domain name
In Part 1, I mentioned my story about this. I bought surreytennis.com, even though that wasn’t my business name. This was really successful and helped my business to show up at the top of the search engines. But I don’t think I’d do it again as I think it’s better to have a consistent brand where domain name and company name are the same. Actually, I started a new company called Surrey Tennis Coaching to fit with my domain name as it was so useful.
If you do happen to check out surreytennis.com, you’ll find a horrible broken website. The company finished many years ago now but I haven’t got round to taking the website down. It’s on the to-do list! I did build our current club website from scratch. Check it out HERE
Where to buy your domain name
I use www.namecheap.com – but I think one site is as good as the rest if you are doing nothing more than buying a domain name. But if you are going to buy hosting, which we’ll talk about next, you can just buy the domain name along with the hosting.
So we said that your domain name is like a sign post – and it will send people to your website. But where actually is the website? It is stored on a server with your host. So you need to have hosting, then you’ll build your website there and have the domain name point towards it.
Often, web designers / companies offer hosting as part of their service to you. But if you decide to do it yourself, I recommend……………
Once you’ve got your domain name and hosting, you could create the actual website using one of a number of tools, but I highly recommend WordPress. Then there is a setting which directs your domain name to where you website is located with your host – so when somebody types in your domain name, they see your website.
So those are the basics - but how to do it?
In a sentence, here is what I recommend…………
Let’s explore that in a bit more detail…………
I originally learned to do all this myself. I bought hosting, bought domain names, installed WordPress, learned to use WordPress and built my own websites. But, to be honest, that is not smart business. You probably want to be spending your time on your tennis business, not learning web development.
It really is worth spending maybe $1000 to get set up properly. This is money you’ll never have to spend again if you do things properly and use the right person, and it will serve your business forever. I can help you with this, but here is what to look for from a web designer:
- Provide hosting.
- Buy your domain name for you, or if you have an existing domain name, they can transfer it to them or simply link it to your new website.
- Install and design a website. Make sure it is WordPress, because this is the easiest and most flexible system for you to learn how to use.
- Offer a package of support in the form of a low cost monthly or annual fee – for this they ensure your site is backed up, secure and that they can help if your site is hacked, goes down or any other big technical problem.
The DIY route will be cheaper, but is it really worth it for the time that it will take you to learn everything and also the risk of things going wrong?
But the editing of your website can, and I’d say should, be done by you or someone in your business – so even though I’m suggesting that a professional sets up and supports your website, we don’t want a situation where you need to go to your web designer for every edit or update to the site. This is how websites end up out of date.
WordPress (which this website and my current club website is built with) is very easy to learn – or at least the basics are. Either your web designer can offer you some help or you can find countless tutorials on YouTube showing you how to do anything you need to do with WordPress. You can even outsource little website tasks to a site like Fiverr
What if you already have a website / domain name / hosting?
If you’re not happy with it, you can always get a new website built with all the same pages and then replace the current one. This is easy for a professional web designer to do. Your existing website stays where it is until the new one is ready, then the new one simply replaces the old one.
To sum it up........
I guess you could call this a combination approach – use a professional to set it up and provide backup, but then really use the website yourself – update it, add to it, edit it, improve it. This gives you a great freedom. You can relax knowing that your website is safe and any major technical problems will be dealt with, but you can also keep the website up to date, looking great, full of the right content and bringing you business!
Would you like my help?
I hope this series of posts has helped you to either get ideas about how to improve your existing website, or given you some guidance about replacing or creating a new website.
If you go with my suggestion, you’ll be looking for a web design company. Like any kind of service, a recommendation from a friend who has already used them is a safe bet – there are definitely good and bad out there.
If you’d like me to help you, I do offer this service, wherever you are in the world. I work with Villages Web Design, who I know and trust as being excellent in looking after the technical side – and I build & design the website myself. This website that you’re looking at and my current club website are examples so that you can judge if it’s kind of quality that you want. There are web designers out there who make prettier websites, but one thing I know how to do is create a website for a tennis business.