Your studio website: It's probably not the first thing on your mind, right? You're probably spread thin enough managing the artistic component of studio ownership. But your website is often the first thing potential students (and their parents) see when making a decision about where to enroll—and you want that first impression to be a good one. The good news is that optimizing your website isn't as complicated as you might imagine: We've narrowed it down to 5 ways you can fine-tune your web presence to make it effective, accessible and competitive.



Keep your content clear and concise.

Give a short description of your studio, and note what sets it apart with bullet points, suggests Frank Sahlein, CEO of 3rd Level Consulting. “People won't read three paragraphs," he says. “They'll read two or three sentences and four bullet points." Good content will lead to better search results, too.

Include the right keywords.

Keywords are words or phrases that your target customers are likely to type into search engines when looking for a site. These should appear in your site's body text and in each page's title tag (what shows up at the top of a browser and at the top of an individual tab within a browser). Online marketing professional Alison Krejny separates keywords into two categories: industry (dance studio) generic and locality-specific. “You want to include big bang words like 'dance studio' and 'local dance studio' on your website, because that's what people are going to search," she explains. Adding your city name and zip code will let internet users know that your studio is in their area. Aim to include a couple of keywords per webpage.

Fill out your contact page completely.

Be as specific and clear as you can: Include your e-mail address, hours of operation, studio address (pull in a Google map for viewers to see street intersections) and phone number. Format your phone number with an area code, dashes and no spaces (example: 555-555-8899) so that those viewing your studio website on their mobile devices can click directly on the number to place a call. Sahlein advises including a photo, too, of you, the owner, or your office manager.

Include video or a slideshow of images.

According to Sahlein, videos are better and should be no longer than a minute and a half; a slideshow should include no more than 10 rotating pictures. Ideally, a video promoting your studio would show clips from a dance class, with quotes from a student, a parent and an instructor. Your search engine optimization, or SEO, will increase: “Now, Google and Yahoo will crawl through your videos and listen to what words you use," says Sahlein. “Words are highly rated." Krejny suggests creating a YouTube channel as an easy way to embed any videos you create directly into your website.

Don't forget directory listings.

Populate your business profile in local directories like Google Places for Business, Bing Local, Yelp and Yellow Pages. For continuity, Krejny advises establishing at least your NAP—name, address and phone number—on each listing profile. Images of your storefront and studios are a good addition, too. Krejny also suggests checking out getlisted.org, where you can enter your studio's web address and find out what directories you're already listed in, where you can still claim new listings and where you can improve current listings.

While these fixes are quick and easy to implement, don't think that your work stops there. "Optimizing your website isn't a one-time thing," warns Krejny. "A lot of people set it and forget about it. It really should be something you manipulate every couple of weeks—adding a few new images, updating the content, anything to keep it fresh and engaging."

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