In an earlier article I wrote about the absolute necessity of having a website for your Martial Arts club. Now I want to talk about how to create that website, how it should look and what information and content you need to put on there.
Where to Start
The prospect of creating a website can feel daunting to a beginner; after all you are a martial artist and not necessarily an IT expert. However with a bit of thought and creativity you could have a great website out there promoting your club 24/7 and you may even have fun building it.
Methods for creating websites
The easiest option for getting your website out there would be to pay a web design company to produce the site for you. There are thousands and thousands of companies out there that offer this service. Prices and quality will vary so compare a number of companies before making your choice. You can expect to pay anything between £100 to £1000’s for a website. By doing this you could end up with a very professional looking website and won’t require so much work from you. However there is the added cost for this convenience and remember that you may have to pay more every time you want to update the site, which could be quite frequently.
If you have a bit of coding/web design experience you could try and create yourself a website from scratch. It is not too difficult to teach yourself basic html skills and you can always follow online tutorials or buy some books to help with this. There will be a learning curve and you can’t expect your efforts to look as good as a professional web designer at first but if you have the time and inclination to learn then this could be a good way to create your site and it puts you in complete control of how and when you update the site. Common languages to create websites are listed below, note that lots of websites use a combination of languages to take advantage of different features;
- HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
- Java Script
- JSP – Java Server Pages
- PHP Hypertext Preprocessor
Other than coding, another way to build a website from scratch is to purchase a WYSIWYG editor (What you see is what you get) such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Xara Web Designer. I use the latter for my clubs websites and I am pleased with how easy it is to use while giving great looking results.
Dreamweaver on the other hand is slightly more expensive but is feature rich and is used widely by web designers to create great websites. These editors allow you to drag and drop content and lay the website out using drop down menus and simple interfaces that act like word processors or desk top publishing packages. Most people should find these fairly intuitive to use.
Another option is to use an online website builder site such as Wix or WordPress. These are easy to use and offer templates that can be customised to fit your needs. I have used both for creating my websites and in fact this site is built using a simple theme in WordPress.
Once you have decided on how you are going to build your martial arts club website you need to start thinking about some more technical details. You need to select a domain name for your site. This is the name of your site and will be what visitors will type in and see in search engine results when searching for you. Try to make it easy to remember, easy to spell and not too long so that you can be easily found. It should contain your club name if possible e.g. www.CoventryShotokan.com. See my article on picking a name for more details discussing this. You also need to think about your domain extension, see some examples below:
I would recommend trying to get the .com and .co.uk versions of the domain at the very least but you may want to get the other extensions too to prevent others from registering the same domain with a different extension that would contain information that you cannot control. There are lots of places where you can buy domain names. I use GoDaddy.com to buy mine but there are many places that offer this service for various different deals. Shop around to find the best deal for you.
Once you have built your site you need to make it accessible via the World Wide Web. The way to do this is to add you website files to a web hosting service. The hosting service provides space on a server that allows internet connectivity and can store web pages, images, videos etc. Again there are many, many different hosting companies that offer varying amounts of storage, reliability, connectivity etc., shop around and compare to find the best one for your martial arts club. My websites are hosted on GoDaddy.com and I find these reliable for a decent price. I found it convenient to have my domain registration and hosting with the same company but this is not necessary.
When setting up your hosting for your martial arts club website you should be able to take an extra option of a customised email address. GoDaddy.com definitely offer this and this then allows you to set up an email address related to your domain name which gives you a professional look. I have an email address like email@example.com which I put on all of my posters, business cards and website which looks far better than Joe.Bloggs@hotmail.com in my opinion.
Hopefully this gives some basic information on how to start building your Martial Arts club website. In the next article I will discuss what kind of content you need to include on your website.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net