This is part 1 of a series of 3 posts, all about your website for your tennis club or your tennis coaching business. Here is what I’ll cover:
- Part 1 – my story about websites.
- Part 2 – what makes a good website.
- Part 3 – how you go about designing, creating and maintaining your website.
I can’t remember exactly when this was – maybe 10 years ago – I didn’t have a website at all. I didn’t know anything about websites and my club had a pretty poor website, which I was able to use a little bit.
I knew I really needed a website but I really didn’t know how to go about it. My dad ran his own business and was using a web design company who I was about to try using as well. Thankfully I didn’t use this company because they charged my dad many thousands of pounds to create an awful website which looked terrible and didn’t work. I later helped my dad to deal with this awful company and to get a decent website made.
Around the same time, I happened to watch a video on Youtube called “How to Build a Blog in Less than 4 Minutes and Write Your First Blog Post”. It is from Pat Flynn of www.smartpassiveincome.com, who is brilliant by the way and I recommend you check him out. Here is that video:
So I just followed this video and, as promised, within a few minutes, I had bought a domain name (surreytennis.com), and had a basic website up and running, all with ZERO previous knowledge in this area.
This was all based on using something called ‘WordPress’, which is known as a ‘Content Management System’ or CMS. But in plain English, WordPress is a user-friendly but extremely flexible and versatile system for building websites – much more so now than when the above video was made.
I have a tendency to get a bit obsessed with things and this became the case with WordPress. I learned all I could about WordPress and developed www.surreytennis.com into a pretty decent website, at almost no cost.
I had also stumbled onto something quite clever, but almost by accident. I remember vaguely reading somewhere that if your domain name featured the name of your area, it would help your website to feature higher on search engines. So, without really knowing what I was doing, I bought surreytennis.com for less than £10 per year. Surrey is the county in England where I coach. And it really worked – combined with a few other tricks that I picked up, the website really did start featuring at the top of the search engines and generating a lot of traffic. It became a fantastic marketing resource for my coaching business.
I’ve had an interest in WordPress ever since, including this website and building a few websites for others. But also, WordPress has continued to develop and has become virtually unlimited as far as what you can do with it, but with very little technical knowledge needed.
When I joined my current club, Sutton Tennis & Squash Club, the club already had a great website maintained by a member, Steve, who runs a professional web design company, Villages Web Design. With my knowledge of WordPress and Steve’s help, I was able to edit / add / design / maintain the content of the website, while Steve was there to help with the really technical stuff.
This is a great combination and when we get to part 3, it is the kind of thing that I’ll recommend you do – have some help from a professional, but also the ability to work on the website yourself. The most common situation that I see is coaches / clubs / business owners using either a member with technical skills or a web design company, but having to approach that person or company every time something needs editing or adding. It’s very difficult to keep the site up to date and can be costly to use this method.
Recently, Steve introduced me to a new WordPress ‘page-builder’ called Elementor, which I’ve learned to use and have re-built this website (the one you’re reading now) and my club website. I LOVE this new page builder – it’s an example of how WordPress keeps getting better, more flexible, more versatile and easier to use.
So that is an abbreviated version of my story when it comes to websites. I don’t recommend that you spend as much time as me learning WordPress – that’s probably not great business and I’m sure business teachers would recommend outsourcing this kind of work more than I have done. But learning things the long way round has put me in a good position to recommend the easiest ways for others.
But more about that in part 2 and 3………………………