1) Why should I opt for a custom dance studio website?
Want a template website? You probably shouldn't hire us, because we don't do that. We’re much happier creating one-of-a-kind websites for our one-of-a-kind customers.
With a custom web design, your website is created just for your dance studio. Your website will be completely different from anyone else’s and, especially if you're in a competitive area, can really make your studio stand above the rest. Your dance studio is unique and awesome. Shouldn't your dance studio's website be?
2) Why choose StudioOfDance.com?
There are a lot of web design companies out there. What distinguishes StudioOfDance.com from its competition? There are many answers to this question! Here is a short list, to start:
3) What will be the turnaround
time on my site?
Studio websites are normally ready to launch 3 to 4 weeks from the start date, assuming your page materials are available when we're ready to add and format them. If we are experiencing a particularly heavy number of web design requests, we operate off of a waiting list. This occasionally happens during our busiest time of year, which is late summer. When we are operating off a waiting list, websites will be completed in the order full content is received.
Once ready to launch, studio websites that have a new domain name can 'go live' in about 1 business day. If you are using an existing domain name, the time to have your new website go live varies depending on your current domain registrar (3 days at the very most, but normally under an hour). You'll need to have access to your domain name account (the user name and password), in order to switch to us for hosting. We can do this step for you if you're comfortable with that. Once that's done and the change has resolved, your new dance studio website will be 'live'!
4) What if I have an existing
website, but would just like to update its look?
In this instance, we would create a completely fresh website - a website redesign - for your dance studio. You can keep your existing website address (assuming you have the login info for your domain name account), and we can leave your current site up until the new one is ready.
We love doing website redesigns. Actually, 'redesign' is not the correct word, since a brand new website is created for your studio. The prices are the same as for someone wanting a first website. Since you already have a website, though, there may be particular features you'd like and/or challenges to contend with. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your particular situation and to obtain a quote.
5) Where are you located?
We're located in gorgeous, drizzly Portland, Oregon and our chief web designer works out of Atlanta, Georgia. Our customers, however, reside in 38 US states (and counting), plus Canada.
7) How much will it cost?
The cost for a standard website design is $1500. Half of this amount is due with signup, and the other half at the launch of your studio's site. Alternatively, you can pay your standard design fee over six months when you sign up for an automatic payment plan with a credit card or PayPal.
The standard website design is fine for many, but you may wish to add a special feature such as online registration or a password protected page. A list of website design add-ons (with examples and costs) can be found at this link. Any add-ons you choose will be invoiced on the day your site is launched.
8) Is there a payment plan
available so that I don't have to pay the design fee all at once?
Yes. We do have a payment plan option in which you may spread your design payments out over as many as six months (when you sign up with a credit card or PayPal to make regular payments).
9) Do I need to have a PayPal account?
No, you do not. You can instead pay through Authorize(dot)net, which is a secure method for making credit card payments online. We make both options available to you on our payment pages and invoices.
10) Are there any other costs
aside from design?
Yes. All websites require hosting to be able to be viewed on the internet, which we provide as part of our Simple2Edit service. And in order to keep your website content fresh, you will need a content management system, also included with Simple2Edit. Alternatively, we can do your content updates for you with our "Up to 3 Changes per Month" service.
Information on our hosting and maintenance options, including costs, can be found on our Hosting/Maintenance Services page. There is also a one-time domain name set-up charge of $40.00, which includes the cost of your domain name for 2 years. If you already own your domain name, this charge does not apply.
11) How much does it cost
to update my website?
Simple2Edit is our in-house content management system, which allows studio owners to make basic text and photo changes to their websites once launched, as well as upload .pdf files and embed YouTube videos. You do need to have hosting with us if you'd like to use this service, because it was built specifically for our hosting platform, but the good news is that the hosting is included in the $47 monthly fee.
Alternatively, you can choose a service where we do your site's updating for you. For example, monthly maintenance updates are included in the '3 Per Month' Maintenance/Web Hosting Service, which is $87 a month. With this plan, you may submit up to 3 pages per month. (We consider a page change to be as many changes as you'd like on 1 page on a given day.)
Information on all of our hosting and maintenance options, including costs, can be found on our Hosting & Maintenance Services page.
12) How much of MY time will it take for the site
to be built and uploaded?
Since nobody knows your dance studio better than you do, developing a valuable website for your business will require some of your time. Probable tasks will include the writing of text and gathering of graphics, plus working with us to achieve the look and feel of your website you desire. Using our website planning worksheet will help you through the process, and you'll find we're pretty awesome to work with (if we do say so ourselves).
13) I am not very tech savvy and do not know all the web and software terminology. How do I express what I need?
There is no need to "speak geek." Our team has helped loads of dance studios with their websites, and we encourage you to express your ideas any way you know how. Figuring out your desires and how to provide you with what you need is our job. Happily, since we come from dance backgrounds ourselves, we speak both dance and tech. We explain everything clearly in ways that are easy to understand and take pride in supporting you in every phase of the process.
14) What do I need to provide
to have a website created for me?
Materials to provide include your studio logo (if you have one), the text for your webpages, and relevant photos/graphics. Depending on your page topic choices, you may also wish to provide your schedule of classes and tuition information. If using Studio Director or Jackrabbit Dance, you'll need your customer number so that we may incorporate your online scheduling and registration. Lastly, if you already own a domain name (website address), you'll need the login information for your domain name account.
15) In what style should
I write the content for my website? How much information can I fit on
one web page?
One of the best ways to separate your dance studio from your competition, build authority, and attract (& retain) new dancers is to have plenty of high quality content on your website. And a big bonus: Regularly creating worthwhile content on your website can help your dance studio rank higher in search results.
For best readability, though, keep your paragraphs and line lengths short. This keeps content punchy and easy to digest. To ensure that the site is user-friendly, super long web pages or text areas should be kept to a minimum.
Besides providing pertinent content for dance parents and/or students, keep search engines in mind. Include the keywords that people are likely to use as search terms when hunting for a dance studio in your area. For example, you may like the term 'dance instruction', but if a majority of those searching for nearby studios use the term 'dance classes' instead, it would be better to favor that within your page content.
16) Can I make content revisions throughout the web design process?
Please supply your website content in its final form. While we understand if you need a text change or two prior to launch, moderate to major content revisions may incur an additional charge at our standard hourly rate. If you do need revisions to your content prior to launch, please supply them in a clearly understood bullet point list via email. Phone conversations are not useful for revisions, because information and ideas can be easily lost, whereas emails are a great record and help us make sure to stay on point.
17) Can you write my website content for me?
Yes, we do offer content development, for $75 per hour. Writing and content creation, especially with an eye towards SEO, is time consuming work, so bear in mind that content development costs can greatly increase the cost of the actual web design. One solution if you need help in this area is to choose the couple/few pages you most need help with, for example, your homepage and About the Studio page, and have us write copy for only those.
18) What if I don't have
a studio logo?
We'll be glad to create a basic text logo, free of charge, for use on your website. If you instead need a new professional logo for your dance studio (for letterhead, posters or postcards, etc.), we have an excellent graphic designer on our team, and reasonable rates.
19) How do I get my content
You can send in your text by simply typing it into an email or by attaching it to an email in a Word, .pdf, .txt, or .rtf file. If text on your current website is up to date, you can point us to those pages, and we'll grab the text to format onto your new webpages.
Regarding images, you may use your own graphics/photos, or choose photos from one of the online image companies that we recommend (these companies do charge a one-time fee per photo). When sending your own image/photos, you can email them to us or send us a Dropbox.com link.
There are many ways for you to submit text and graphics to us; one is sure to fit your style. As always, we’ll be glad to help you and give suggestions.
20) How can I convey my ideas
to the designer?
The filling out of your website planning worksheet will help us understand your studio and aesthetic desires. You can detail further feelings and ideas by email or in a phone conversation with your website designer. Although it can be helpful to have an initial phone conversation, email does work best for most communications. This allows us to keep track of your needs and desires and make sure we're dotting our 'i's and crossing our 't's during the design process.
If you know some sites that you like, you can list the website addresses in your website planning worksheet. Feel free to take a look through our portfolio for examples of dance, performing arts, and gymnastics websites, or pick a city, state, or region and do an internet search. What specifically do you like about these sites? This will give us an idea of what you are aiming for. Of course, we will never copy anyone's design (including our own), but this helps give us a sense of the direction to go in.
21) How do I make a decision
on the design?
We'll create and upload a preliminary design, or 'rough draft', of your new homepage and/or subpage, based on our communications and your website planning worksheet. Once you've looked it over, you'll give us feedback and let us know of any changes you desire. This will help us to set out the general structure of the design and decide on color schemes, etc. Once you decide what you like and don't like, we can then work on your design to arrive at the final 'look' for your site.
22) What if I don't like the preliminary design?
If we've 'missed the boat' on the preliminary design, we're happy to go back to the drawing board. First, we'll set up a phone appointment or communicate via email in order to gain a better understanding of your aesthetic desires for your website. Once we feel we have a good feel for what you're wanting, we'll create for you a second preliminary design.
23) What if I change my mind
on the design?
We always expect there to be a few changes to the overall design, and we will work with you to make sure that the final design is what you want. However, once the look of the site has been agreed upon and we are at a later stage in the design, any major reworking of the existing design will result in additional charges, if substantial extra work is required. We will of course inform you of this at the time, before we do the work, and will only go ahead when we have your go ahead.
Please visit our Design Process page if you'd like more detailed information on the process.
24) How will I know how many
hits my website receives and where they are from? Will I be able to
monitor my site traffic?
As a new customer, we'll set you up with your own free Statcounter account. This will allow you to monitor your site's pageloads, first-time and returning visitors, and real-time website statistics. You will also be able to see how often your site is accessed, collect demographic information about your visitors, and even track what keywords people are using to find your site on search engines.
If you prefer Google Analytics, that's perfectly fine. You'll need to create a Google account, grab the Analytics coding, and send it to us, after which we'll set it into your website. Or if you're comfortable with our using your Google user name and password, we can obtain the coding for you.
We do basic SEO (search engine optimization) as a matter of course for all new websites. Among other things, we create unique title tags for each web page, using appropriate keywords that reflect the content of the page. Meta keywords/description, alt tags, and proper naming conventions are also used to help search engines index your webpages.
Want more information about SEO for dance studio websites? Our blog, Dance Studio Breakthrough, and our studio marketing newsletter provide tips and suggestions on creating content that search engines will love.
Will you submit my site to search engines?
No, because search engine submission isn’t necessary. Search engines such as Google have publicly noted that they rarely use submitted URLs. Instead, search engines crawl and index pages by following links. A single inbound link from any already-indexed page will identify your website to an engine, after which it will index all pages linked within your site.
If you're an established studio, you likely already have inbound links, but since we add your studio and link to our Portfolio page, we've got you covered regardless. Though we cannot guarantee placement or ranking on any search engine, StudioOfDance.com designs your website with search engines in mind.
Web Hosting & Site Maintenance:
27) What is web hosting?
You can think of web hosting as renting real estate on the internet. After designing your website, your site is placed on a computer called a server, which is connected to the Internet. When your visitors type in your website address, they will be directed to your space on the server. Without website hosting, your site cannot be seen by the public.
The Simple2Edit monthly fee covers the hosting of your studio's site, use of a content management system so that you can make your own website changes, your studio's mobile website, and more. Further details on what is included can be found here.
For those who want us to do their website changes:
Up to three monthly maintenance changes are included in our 'Up to 3 Changes per Month' Hosting & Maintenance service. A maintenance change involves an addition and/or deletion to the main content area of a webpage on a given day. For example, you may have us add a teacher bio to your Faculty page, or embed a couple of YouTube videos to your Summer Programs page.
You may wish to swap out a photo, graphic, or other information, such as a .pdf of your class schedule. There is no limit to the amount of text to be deleted or added on a page, if materials are received by email. More information about this option can be found at the bottom of this webpage. If you have any questions or specific instances you'd like to run by us, please send us an email.
29) Can I add my own text and photos to my dance studio's site?
Our ‘Simple2Edit’ service is a content management system that allows you to make your own website changes once the site has been launched. With Simple2Edit, you will have access to an administrative panel from which you can make basic changes to your website. You do need to have hosting with us if you would like this service, as it was built specifically for use on our hosting platform, but the monthly cost does include your hosting.
Learn more about what you can and can't do with the Simple2Edit service.
30) How important is it to
keep the information on my website up to date?
It is vital to keep information current on your website. People will return again and again to view your site if you keep the content fresh and up to date. Also, it's excellent for your SEO.
31) What do I need to do
about the domain name for my company?
A domain name is the unique name that identifies an Internet site, for example: www.dancemagazine.com or www.capeziodance.com. We can arrange this for you when handling your website set-up. The domain name setup charge is $40.00, and includes the cost of your domain name for two years.
It's best if your domain name is closely related to the registered name of your business. We'd be glad to check domain name availability for you.
32) Do I have to use your company for hosting and maintenance, if I have a site designed by you?
You can have us design a website for you without using our hosting/maintenance service, but in that instance there is a $1,100.00 surcharge. The charge covers the difficulty of navigating unfamiliar hosting environments, which can be frustrating and time consuming. Also, our business model is to develop long term relationships with studio owners and to be a part of their ongoing team. Taking care of all aspects of website design and maintenance is the way in which we do that.
33) I already have a website. Can I transfer to your service and keep my domain name?
Yes, in almost every case. If you know the user name and password to your domain name company, we can transfer your hosting to us while using the same domain name (website address) for your new site.
34) I use Studio Director, Jackrabbit Dance, or another studio software to manage my customers and classes. Can you coordinate them with my website?
We regularly work with Jackrabbit, Studio Director, Dance Studio Pro, Dance Studio Manager, CompuDance, Class Juggler, and Akada customers, and are more than happy to coordinate them with your website for your studio's class schedule and/or online registration. Up to 2 hours of work on this is included with the standard website design, and that more than suffices for almost all website customers. If you want an elaborate configuration of your schedule (for example, if you'd like it broken down into multiple sections, and also by studio location, age, and time), then after the first two hours there will be a per hour charge. Again, for most studio owners, the included 2 hours is more than enough. Let us know of any questions you may have regarding this!
35) Can I have a link to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube page on our website?
Absolutely! We can put icons for any social media on your website's homepage (or on all pages), and link them to your accounts. There is no charge for this.
A Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter Feed is also available, at an additional charge, so that people can see recent additions to your social media in real time.
36) Can my new dance studio website be seen by the public before it is launched?
No. The new website is developed on a temporary server while your old website (if you have an existing site) remains up. The only way someone could see your new site is if you give them the temporary URL for your new pages.
37) Who owns the website?
StudioOfDance.com retains copyright ownership of all original website design or parts contained therein, whether preliminary or final. Upon receipt of full payment, you are granted license to use the final website design and provided graphics (logo, business cards, etc.) for your studio. You of course own copyright to your own website content (text and photos submitted by you), as well as your domain name.
38) What about any artwork?
Any original artwork which StudioOfDance.com has created for the website can used - only by the owner of the website - anywhere without written permission from StudioOfDance.com. Rights to photos, graphics, and computer programs provided but not owned by StudioOfDance.com are specifically not transferred to the client, and remain the property of their respective owners.
39) I would like more pages
and graphics than the Standard Package allows, and possibly also a member's only section
on my website. How much do these extras cost?
Please take a look at our add-ons page for more information about the costs associated with items that are not a part of the standard design package.
have a website that I like and don't need/want a site redesign. I just
need someone to maintain my website, making changes when I need them.
Do you do that?
We sometimes provide maintenance-only services for dance studio websites. Whether or not we do depends on a variety of factors, including the type of code used to build your website. Our options for maintenance are '3 Changes a Month', '5 Changes a Month', and 'Pay As You Need It' plans, with or without website hosting. Please note, though, that the Simple2Edit service is not available for websites designed by someone other than us. Feel free to contact us for more details and to discuss your particular needs.
41) What if I have
other questions that have not been answered in this F.A.Q.?
We'd love to answer your questions, hear your particular concerns and challenges, and help you figure out if we're a good fit for each other. All ways of contacting us can be found on our Contact Us page.
42) What's the first
step to getting the ball rolling on my new studio website?
Please fill out the handy online form on our Let's Get Started page. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Once you're ready to proceed, we'll send you a website planning worksheet by email. Using this tool can help you achieve a clearer picture of the website you desire, and will ensure that the process runs smoothly. We'll also send your design agreement, plus instructions on making your initial design payment. Once those three items are received, we'll begin creating your studio website!