In our last post Which website platform should you use for your yoga business?, we talked about the importance of having a website for your yoga business, and explored some of the different platforms that are available.
In this post we take a closer look at the architecture of your site and share our best practice tips, whether you’re restructuring an existing site or starting from scratch.
Does website structure really matter?
Absolutely! Think of your website as the landscape your visitors are navigating and the structure is therefore the map. People can easily get lost in a badly-designed or complicated website and therefore having a simple, easy-to-navigate and logical structure is key.
Also, in this age of constant distraction our online behaviour is changing; we expect things to be easier and faster and we don’t want or have the time to think too much – we want to go straight to what we’re looking for. In a busy and fast-moving world, we expect instant answers.
Your website needs to be clear, simple and foolproof. You’re taking your visitors on a journey. This journey needs signposts, so make it crystal clear on each page what you want them to do and where you want them to go next.
To do this, every page must have a clear call to action, e.g. Buy Now, Download the PDF, Contact Us, Book a Class, etc. To make these calls to action stand out, it’s best practice to use a well-designed button. These are the primary calls to action, but your pages might need secondary calls to action too. You can use design elements to help differentiate these.
A step-by-step guide to structuring your website
Structuring your website should be like planning a yoga class: you’re taking your students on a beautifully executed journey and all the elements should flow seamlessly. Here are our top seven steps to a successful website, whether you’re starting afresh, or restructuring an existing site.
1. Use Google Analytics
If you’re restructuring an existing site, this is an essential step. Review your site over different time periods and look at the following: what is the top content? Is there a page or blog that people keep coming back to? Are people using navigation in the order it’s laid out? How long is the average visit? What is the overall bounce rate?
This will give you a pretty accurate picture of how people behave on your website and what you need to do to improve things.
2. Back away from the screen
As a yogi you know the importance of movement! So, during this process it’s really helpful to take a step back from your computer and use other ways of looking at your site structure. A whiteboard or big piece of paper stuck on a wall is a really good way to ‘see’ your design. Take up as much space as you need; use the whole wall if you can. Sticky notes are great for this, as you can move them around easily.
This ‘hands on’ approach might seem old school, but will stretch your brain as well as your body!
3. Know your audience
What kind of students or clients do you want to attract? Do you know what your ideal student wants from you? Try to keep them in mind at all times.
Create profiles of your most likely students and keep these at the heart of your site design or restructure. Keep in mind these questions: What does this person need or want from us? Can they quickly and easily find what they’re looking for?
4. Get feedback
This is really important – when you’ve spent so long being passionate about your yoga business, it can be hard to view it objectively. So, ask for feedback and advice.
It’s good to go through this process with someone who is doing something similar if you can, but even more importantly, use someone outside of the yoga world as a sounding board. At Wildheart we have a few trusted customers and friends (mostly other industry professionals) who we regularly reach out to and ask for feedback.
5. Work in stages
Remember in our last post we talked about goal setting? Start by mapping out where you are now, then where you see your yoga business in 6 months’ and 12 months’ time. Be realistic about each step and what actions you need to take. Any further than this and you’re in the realm of fantasy, so back it up!
6. Use your phone
A modern smartphone or good camera can be really helpful to document the stages of your website design or restructure, especially if you’re using the old school methods of a whiteboard or pen and paper. Make sure you’ve got enough memory on your phone or camera.
7. Sleep on it
Don’t think it all has to happen at once. Give each new idea and change time to sink in. Come back after a good night’s sleep and look at the structure again, refreshed. Resist the urge to run in and start changing stuff around willy nilly without properly thinking it through!
What’s the best structure for a yoga website?
Whether you run a yoga studio or you’re an independent yoga teacher, we have a tried and tested structure to follow. Of course, this will depend on precisely what you offer, e.g. you might want pages for therapies (if you offer these), testimonials, gallery, terms and conditions, and links. You might want to split your events into workshops, retreats and intensives. You might want a dedicated beginners page. Every business is unique, but the core structure is always the same.
We always recommend a Start Here page, which acts as a signpost page to segment your audience. This segmentation could be into beginners and more advanced practitioners; or those looking for yoga and those looking for complementary therapies. A link to Start Here should appear ‘above the fold’ (so you see it immediately) on the Home page.
We also recommend using a footer menu, as this allows you to prioritise your pages and keep your main navigation clear and simple – we recommend no more than 6 items in the main navigation. Remember the journey you’re taking your site visitors on; don’t make it too complicated or they’ll get ‘lost’.
Calls to action
Keep your calls to action (CTAs) consistent, so that people can see them at a glance, e.g. one colour/style for primary CTAs, another for secondary. If you look at your web page with half closed eyes, the CTA buttons should clearly stand out. Keep the text simple, concise and actionable, e.g. Book a class, Buy a pass, Sign up for a course.
The best way to keep your primary CTAs clear and consistent is to follow your main navigation. So, Home should link to Start Here; Start Here should link to the next page in your main navigation, e.g. Classes; Classes should link to the next page, e.g. Workshops; and so on.
Once you’ve added all your CTAs, don’t forget to test the links on the front-end to make sure they go to the right place.
Here are some examples of websites we’ve built that follow a logical navigation and feature clear calls to action on every page:
How we can help
At Wildheart we’ve helped countless yoga businesses improve on or build their website structure from scratch. We know the yoga industry, we know your audience and we know what works.
Whether your website is in need of a restructure, or you’re starting from scratch, we have a package for you. Check out our Yoga businesses page to find out more.