Website advice

Edited: November 1, 2020, 10:54 AM · I am working on putting out a website and would appreciate any suggestions for it. I have never done one before. I am doing it to give possible students info about my teaching mostly. Thanks in advance Bruce

This is it, so far:

https://www.violinmastery.org/

One specific question is my use of "violinmastery.org"

There already is a "violinmastery.com" Do you think I should change the url? Also, is the use of "org" appropriate?

Replies (46)

November 1, 2020, 10:51 AM · I had good results with godaddy.com, it cost about $200/yr, but you can build it yourself so you don't have to pay like $3000 for a developer.
November 1, 2020, 10:58 AM · If you already own the URL I'd say keep it. Using ".net" would have been my 2nd choice after ".org," but considering your "cred" You are fine.

I had a website from around 1990 until 2012 for a consultancy, first hosted at AOL.COM until they stopped hosting and later somewhere else. When I moved to a new and distant home and started doing more violin and cello lessons I just added that on as a sub-category within my original URL.

I did all the set up and input myself. I'm sure I no longer know how to do that.

November 1, 2020, 12:38 PM · “.org” is useful if you are an organisation. But really I don’t think it matters.

Your website looks decent, well done for putting it together!

The website I built for my orchestra last year was done on Weebly, which I really like. It’s user friendly, easy and creates professional looking websites.

Edited: November 1, 2020, 7:18 PM · It looks pretty good. You might want to move the "Gallery" page (currently under the Lessons tab) to the top level and call it "Links" or "Videos". I would also suggest making the text on the home page slightly smaller so that it all appears, without scrolling, when the page is first opened. On my computer, it all showed up fine in Firefox but in Chrome and Edge, I had to scroll to get to the box containing "Now accepting students... ." If you haven't already done so, it's a good idea to download as many browsers as possible (Chrome, Firefox, Safari if on Mac, Edge if on Windows) and look at your website on each of them to make sure it looks the way you want in each one. Hope this helps.

Just noticed that you have a second "Gallery" link under the More tab and it doesn't go to the page of videos. Probably should fix that or change its label if it's not going to lead to the videos.

Edited: November 1, 2020, 8:47 PM · Hi Bruce, you've asked for opinions so here they come! I hope you will recognize that I have nothing but respect and admiration for you and I would be delighted if your new venture were a smashing success.
(1) Personally I don't enjoy reading white text against a black background. I just find it harder to read. Maybe it's my age. For a splash screen it's fine but not for a text-heavy page.
(2) You should get an updated picture of yourself -- preferably smiling.
(3) Your contact page has your email address (Baylor). In that case you don't need the "submit" form. Nobody will submit the form if they can just email you. On your lessons page you have a different email address (gmail). I'd stick to one email address.
(4) The photo of your violin against the tan background and then encircled in a white circle looks weird. It's slightly tilted, I don't like the way that looks at all. (Your violin is coming up on a 400th birthday, which I think is absolutely incredible).
(5) Besides your obviously impeccable pedigree, training, and professional accomplishment, it's not clear from your site why a violinist would want to study with YOU specifically. Maybe it's obvious to anyone who plays the violin above a certain level, but is there a short list of specific things that you really think you can bring to the table in your teaching? What does the Delay/Galamian/Dounis school of violin playing really offer? If that could be put into several succinct bullet points, maybe that could be valuable.
(6) Your Lessons page gives the impression of exclusivity. I believe this is a good approach. It conveys the point that you're not doing this just to make money.
(7) You've got an incredibly beautiful antique instrument and then on your contact page you've got a stock image of a VSO. When you are having your own picture taken, bring your violin and ask the photographer to shoot a few pictures of it that you can slice up to decorate your pages.
(8) Congratulations on your teaching award at Baylor, I know how hard it is to win those (I have one of the "college level" ones at VT -- but the university level one is probably not in the cards). Are there any quotes or testimonials from your award dossier that would amplify what you are advertising here? Since you're recently retired it should still be in your personnel file in your department's main office.
(9) Somehow the combination of font sizes doesn't work for me -- with the huge title next to the tiny menu links.
(10) the "push button" on the front page is unnecessary but if you're going to use it, it should take you to "Lessons" not "Contact."
(11) I like the three nesting scrolls image. (I noticed, however, that they are all the same scroll -- identically distressed -- and the lighting direction is inconsistent).
(12) in addition to different browsers make sure that the text is readable and the links clickable on a phone.
November 1, 2020, 9:13 PM · Personally, I wouldn't use the .org designation. In most cases, it signifies a non-profit or non-commercial organization. Since you are charging for your services and not an organization, it doesn't make sense. People may expect you to be a charity. I would change to something like .net or do a combo like brucebergviolin

As someone with a vision impairment, the color scheme is very hard for me to see well. This is especially true on the Bio page.

I personally would not include all the info on how to apply on the Lessons page. I might include some of it, such as the age/type of students, possibly the rate (though some may disagree with that), and the part about the program you work with. But I would not include all of your audition requirements. I would suggest that you ask prospective students to contact you and then send them the list of requirements.

To be honest, the requirements seem a bit unreasonable and most students aren't going to be willing to go through the process, even if they are high level. I would suggest asking for a video and maybe a CV or bio or instead do a virtual meet and greet. I've never had a teacher ask for a written statement or a letter of recommendation before, outside of a program application for a summer program or school.

I second a bunch of Paul's points above on the small details. But you are well on your way -- with a little tweaking it will look great.

November 2, 2020, 4:10 AM · Bruce, you've got a great start but in addition to what others have said, I have the following things for you to think about. My web-site is nothing fancy, it's mostly text-based. However I frequently get either phone calls or e-mails which begin "I found your web-page and want to ask you about . . ." I also get cold-call e-mails from underemployed web-designers suggesting that my web-site stinks and is out-dated and in need of modernizing, which they will be happy to do for a fee. My reply to them is that my web-page is generating business for me while theirs obviously isn't generating enough income for them which is why they feel the need to try to get additional business by insulting my web-site. So whether my web-site is glorious or glamorous (it's neither!) is immaterial if it loads quickly on all devices and says what it needs to say and gets results.

Several additional considerations for your web-site:
1) In the list of browsers don't forget to include Opera. And look for others and then be sure to test your web-site in all of them. Every browser makes allowances for non-standard html code in different ways, so some things which seem to work in one browser may be broken in others.
2) don't forget the "keywords" sections of your web-pages -- it's great to have a beautiful web-site that does all you want it to do, but if it doesn't show up on people's web searches it's useless.
3) buy a book like "html for dummies" or another introductory book which explains the basic html codes. In order to fix things on your web-page you may need to dig deep into the code to be sure things are done properly.
4) consider changing your URL -- having one which is exactly the same as another one which has .com as the extension is likely to result in people not finding you. People are programmed to enter .com at the end, so once they hear about "violinmastery" they are likely to go to "violinmastery.com" instead of .org. I'd suggest using your name, something like "brucebergviolin.com"
5) get a separate e-mail that is only for your web-site, something like "brucebergviolin@gmail.com" and put lots of "contact me" links on your various pages.
6) I hate having menus disappear -- I just visited your web-site using the browser Opera and when I put the cursor on any of your menu choices the choice disappears, so I'm left to guess whether clicking at that point will get me to the page I think I want to go to. When I move the mouse over "lessons" that word disappears but the word "Gallery" appears beneath it. So it's not clear that I will go to the lessons page or will I go to the gallery page since that's the word which appears? And if I move my cursor to where the word "Gallery" is it disappears leaving me to click in an empty black section of the page. Why would I want to do that?
7) your home page should be extremely clear and easy to see on all browsers including phones and tablets -- the average time people spend on a web-page is only 15 seconds before they click away to some other web-site. That's how long you have to impress them to stay on your page and to explore further. And since that's the average, in reality many people click away in just a couple of seconds. So don't make them guess what they need to do to find out more. Fancy pictures only mean that you can put fancy pictures on your web-site -- they don't do anything for potential customers who might want lessons. Show pictures of your teaching space, show pictures of you teaching a lesson or performing.
8) the videos you link to are all 30 year old performances -- what do you sound like now?
9) I agree with Susan that you ought to reconsider listing all that information about how to apply for lessons - it is a bit much for a web-page. Mentioning that beginners need not apply is going to be very off-putting for a lot of people. Instead of saying "no beginners will be accepted" you might change that to "only students who have achieved an intermediate level or above will be accepted." Be inclusive, not exclusive. That way they might remember you when their student achieves the minimum level you will accept.
10) stating how old your violin is does nothing to recommend you as a teacher -- any wealthy person can buy a 400 year old violin, whether they can play or not. And any decent teacher could teach well on an inexpensive factory-built violin that was set up properly. Mentioning the age of your violin along with your exclusion of beginners indicates, to me at least, a snobbery that I might not want my advanced-level violin-playing child exposed to. With the large number of violin teachers I could choose from for my child (I'm speaking as joe-average -- I don't actually have a child who would be looking for lessons) what would make me want to choose you? What are positives you can offer? You list where you've taught -- can you list students you've taught who have gone on to great musical things? Placed any students in professional orchestras? Had any students win any competitions?
11) Advertising, which is what a web-site is, needs to do several things -- capture a person's attention immediately, say all that needs to be said quickly and clearly. You've set up your web-site as if the only people who will visit it are already predisposed to want to learn more about you. But in reality, if your web host provides decent statistics on visitors to your site, that lots of people might visit your site who are not looking for violin lessons with a master violinist. People will arrive at your site from many other locations online and very different web-searches. If they don't learn all the most important things about you from the home-page, they'll leave immediately. But if more is clear immediately, while they may not be looking for a violin teacher, some may have a niece, nephew, grand-child, friend or someone who might be the ideal student for you. Clicking on "Now Accepting Students" should take the visitor to your lessons page, and that should include a description of your lessons -- will you be in a dark man-cave in your basement? Will you be in a state-of-the-art teaching studio with good light that will make what you do easily seen by your students? Will you be surly and hard to please? Will you be pleasant and supportive? Do you have any comments from current/past students or parents of students about what a great teacher you are and how pleasant it is to work with you? Comments about how much the students progressed while studying with you?
11) Letter of recommendation? How will the student's current teacher know anything about you to recommend that their student take lessons with you? As a private music teacher I would never write a letter of recommendation for one of my students to study with another teacher unless I was certain that teacher would be a good fit for the student and would be able to offer more than I can offer.
12) on your bio page down at the bottom appear two white lines which seem as if they match (except the color) the red line which highlight your teaching and performing bio. But this text appears: "Tdouble clicking the image and clicking Change Image." which is underlying html commentary which should not be showing to the visitor to your web-page.

There's so much to consider in creating a web-site and most current web-hosting sites don't offer a lot of guidance.

Also remember that my suggestions are just that -- suggestions which you can take with a grain of salt (or several) if you wish or that you can investigate further if you wish.

Good luck with it -- I hope it gets you the number of students you wish!

November 2, 2020, 7:46 AM · I'm a director of a web development company and my day job is writing software for web applications: Wired In Commerce (in case anyone asks, I'm represented by the grumpy looking child on the left - at least my colleagues tell me that he looks the closest to me in demeanour).

You've had some detailed feedback and I'm not going to reiterate it, but one thing I would add is I don't think you have given thought to how your site looks on mobile devices - the pages don't adjust and your menu is unusable.

I know some of the advice has been to "buy a book on HTML" but in the same way that none of us would buy a book on woodwork and then try and re-plane our fingerboards, maybe, if you want your website to fulfil its primary purpose of selling your services, a small investment with a competent web professional might be worth your while?

And once you have a website, how are you going to use it to find customers/pupils? I know you may be thinking in terms of using it as a support tool for parents who find you by other means, but having a website unlocks the door to promotion avenues that are largely closed to you without.

I mention the mobile thing because traffic from mobile devices represents a very significant portion of visits across the internet, and making a site responsive (i.e. capable of rendering seamlessly on multiple devices) is largely beyond the scope of self-help HTML books.

Edited: November 2, 2020, 10:37 AM · Depending on your browser, click on top where it says View then click on View Source, or right-click on a page and select View Page Source. You're looking for Source code.

Looking at your sourcecode, there's no Doctype. The Meta tags (if they exist at all) are buried in proprietary scripting.

Without a standard doctype, your page might not render as intended in various browsers. For example, using Firefox v. 82.0.2 for Linux I don't see the images that Paul referred to above. I just see big black areas.

Meta tags like Title and Description are what search engines scan for. I don't see those tags.

The Title is the name on the bar at the top of the page. It shows up as the title of a google search result. It should contain good, descriptive keywords that people search for. In order to fit in a google result, it should be no longer than 75 characters.

Title is the single most important tool for search results. If you look at the top of your homepage, the Title simply says "Home | MySite". Instead, it should contain words that your potential clients use in search, something like "Violin Lessons for Advanced Students by Master Instructor Bruce Berg"

The Description meta tag should be a brief paragraph describing the content of each page. This is the description that shows up in a google result, under the Title. It should also use keywords that people search for.

I'm old school. I like my pages coded in basic HTML without a ton of scripting. Site builders like MySite use scripts to build your pages. Because scripts can be dangerous, a lot of people use add-ons that block scripting. If your site is built with scripts and your viewers have scripts blocked, it will be broken for those viewers.

Ideally, your pages should be coded according to web standard-compliant Doctypes that render well in every browser. Try to avoid fancy effects that break in various browsers. I'm not sure if can get that kind of clean, search engine optimized code using a website building tool like MySite. IMO, companies like MySite are for people wanting a homepage to show off their grandchildren or their roses, but not for business sites.

Compare your sourcecode with the code on the link below. This is a business I used to have. I retired years ago but keep the site up as a reference. I'm not trying advertise; just showing you some clean sourcecode for comparison. Ten years after closing, my pages still come up in the top search results for my particular niche, which is a highly competive one. This was before mobile devices became so prevalent. If I had to do it over again now, I would have to code for those:

www.tigerflag.com

I'm not trying to discourage you. It's just that it's easier to write a site with good SEO built in than to add search optimization later on a page with a lot of cruft and clutter in the code.

HTH!

November 2, 2020, 10:56 AM · Just to say that like Paul, I get black areas instead of pictures, using either Chrome or Edge.

I'm "on" Windows 10.

November 2, 2020, 11:14 AM · It might be easier to setup a WorePress (free) on your domain and customize to your taste, than build everything from ground up.

The current state of web development is fairly complicated if you want to support a broad range of devices and browsers (and screen readers for accessibility), have good SEO, and have some analytics. It's an unnecessary hassle to do everything manually.

November 2, 2020, 1:36 PM · That's why I recommended godaddy, because it works on all the browsers, doesn't need any HTML, and with the proper setup works on all mobile phones as well. Also can get you security setup, and advertises your website to google search included in the cost for business website.
November 2, 2020, 1:42 PM · My thinking about putting together your own "professional" website is that you have two choices. Hire someone who knows how to do it properly, in a way that will work across platforms, browsers, and devices -- or use one of those services that has a "build your own site" feature where you just choose a template and drop content into it because those are generally fairly idiot-proof. Weebly or WordPress come to mind, but GoDaddy has a service like that too (as Lyndon has mentioned). My understanding is that those "web-site-builder tool" applications are already pre-tested across browsers and mobiles. If you are writing your own HTML code to position content on the page -- then I think you're doomed from the get-go. It's quite a learning curve to get that right. If you go with a pro service, it's only going to be affordable if you buy one of their canned packages anyway -- something they've already designed for someone else and can tweak it (colors, proportions) in a few minutes to give it a veneer or originality.

There is another option for web-based advertising, and that's Facebook. Lots of people conduct their businesses with Facebook as their home base rather than an independently hosted website. The advantage of using Facebook is that nobody expects you to create a beautiful portal because that's not possible on Facebook -- you're mostly beholden to the existing page structure. On Facebook everyone expects a certain workaday simplicity. And come January, Facebook might actually become tolerable again.

November 2, 2020, 2:15 PM · Would recommend Godaddy or Wordpress over Facebook if for no other reason than accessibility. Only people with Facebook accounts can see most of Facebook's content. I'm in a minority, but I refuse to have a Facebook account. Consequently I'm locked out of there. Facebook has tried and largely succeeded in taking over the internet. Resist.
November 2, 2020, 2:19 PM · For me the thing that really made Godaddy worth the price is the 24/7 tech support, plus the have the security service so you have a secure site, and they offer to advertise your site to the google search engines, so your site gets picked up by google fast.
November 2, 2020, 2:31 PM · Hey, Thanks! I appreciate all the input! Keep it coming. I did what is there using Wix, and to reiterate I feel like I am on Book One (Lightly Row) in web creation. This gives me something to delve into since I am 72 and recently retired. How would I put this onto the site?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7DXcgIx3Ks
This is one of the best students I have had. Bruce
November 2, 2020, 3:36 PM · First off you get written permission to use that video of your student on your web-site. You'll need written permission from Baylor University plus most likely also from the conductor as well as your student. Second you look in the help dialogs that come with Wix about how to embed either a video or a link to a video.
November 2, 2020, 3:49 PM · "they offer to advertise your site to the google search engines, so your site gets picked up by google fast" - oldest snake oil salesman's trick in the book.
November 2, 2020, 3:56 PM · I realize that learning HTML code isn't for everybody and in that case I definitely recommend working with a professional web-designer who understands SEO (search-engine optimization) from the start and will use tools that guarantee success on any browser.

Even sites designed by the end-user using Wix or WordPress or GoDaddy or any of the other wysiwyg web-site design software can have problems.

At the very least, Bruce, you should do as much research as you can do online on what makes for a good web-site that will generate the kind of traffic you want vs. a fancy web-site that people click away from because they can't make sense of it.

Speed of loading for web-sites is something many of us take for granted in the U.S. There are still some people with very slow internet connections, or who are in a house where 4 or 5 people are all trying to use the same internet connection for school work, gaming, streaming video, work-from-home. So be wary of making a fancy graphics-filled web-site that might not load very well on a limited internet connection.

One thing I absolutely loved about your web-site, Bruce, is that you don't immediately have music playing! That is a huge no-no for many people who might be sneaking a peek at your web-site while at the office or in a library or a living room at home where everybody is doing their own on-line thing. Having music blasting the moment a page loads is one of the major guarantees that the person will immediately click away from your web-site.

November 2, 2020, 3:58 PM · One more thing Bruce -- you need to change the name of your home page. What shows up in the tab for your web-site in my Opera browser is "Home|Mysite" - that tells me nothing and if I have 10 tabs open and want to find yours again I won't know which tab it is. Change it to something like Bruce Berg Violin.
November 2, 2020, 4:10 PM · Tony Leatham, that's BS, my godaddy site got picked up fast by google with high visibility, a self made site has no ability to generate exposure to google.
November 2, 2020, 7:41 PM · It might be valuable to have someone else proofread the text on the website (the proofreader may need to print hard copies from the site). The proofreader should check basic grammar and mechanicals and ensure that the typography is consistent across the site, and that all links work correctly.

You also want to ensure all contact details are up to date, including "Contact" and Calendar listings.

November 2, 2020, 8:31 PM · The font is difficult to read. Experiment with different ones. This is a little too serif. I don't know if that makes sense or not. White on black is definitely on trend, but not in big text blocks like this.

The content is wonderful. I want to sign up for lessons with you right now!

Consider embedding a video of either you talking, teaching or playing.

November 3, 2020, 12:54 AM · Lyndon Taylor, rarely have I heard such abject nonsense so confidently uttered. GoDaddy don't have some voodoo magic with which to introduce a site to google, they do not give you some divine advantage over "self-made" sites.

They tell you that they do, you believe them and then you propagate this kind of outright lie, but the truth is much simpler. Read this and download the basic checklist, it tells you very clearly how you can submit a site to Google, and it takes a few seconds to do.

This is my business, this is how I put food on the table. I build sites for people and businesses and I like to think the company I helped found is very good at it - certainly, our "self-made" sites deliver millions of pounds of sales every year to their owners. So save your righteous crap for someone ignorant.

November 3, 2020, 2:09 AM · Yeah and you charge way way more than godaddy, so why should I believe you??
November 3, 2020, 2:22 AM · Lyndon, do foxtrot oscar
Edited: November 3, 2020, 10:44 AM · Lyndon, by that logic, why should anyone buy a nice antique violin for thousands of dollars when they can buy a 50 dollar one from ebay?
November 3, 2020, 10:54 AM · the OP seems to want to build his own website, I'm just telling him one of the best ways to do that, if you have thousands of dollars to finance a professionally built website, go for it, I didn't, and I'm just telling what worked for me
November 3, 2020, 3:07 PM · Wix is a good building tool but you don't seem to have really used it as effectively as possible. If you're not conversant with site design, Wix does have a service where you can work with someone at a modest rate to build a site tailored to your needs.

Given the simplicity of what you're doing, I think a Wordpress.com site will be easier.

I actually like the domain name. The .org extension is used by educators and it seems fine in this case.

However, I really want to reinforce what Susan said. You want students and an income. If you were doing this in person, you'd probably just offer a trial lesson and then after that, you and the student would decide whether you want to continue. If you were trying to economize, you could do a 15-minute meet-and-greet in which the prospective student just plays for a few minutes so you can get an idea of playing level.

November 3, 2020, 8:02 PM · At a basic level, a website is used as advertising. It tells potential clients about your services. It can also be used for other aspects, such as scheduling lessons, distributing music, video conferencing, teaching tools, etc. I will focus on advertising.

You asked about the name violinmastery.org. Ordinarily if a .com already exists with the same name, I would advise against the use of the .org. The .com owner could even try to litigate.

The name violinmastery is also shared by a famous book. This will make it more difficult for you to get good placement in search engines, as you will compete with the book.

I certainly would not say it is essential to get another domain name. However, I think it is advisable.

This brings me to the subject of search engine optimization. This has changed so much over the years. These days it is mostly about money, as opposed to links. Companies pay money and Google now has special spaces for them. I am certain there are also special places for ones that are not even identified as advertising. The long and short of it is that getting a good ranking can cost money, depending on how much your competitors are spending.

Continuing with the subject of advertising, many companies have moved their efforts to social media, Facebook, Twitter, to hawk their stuff. If you want more students, I would advise you to have an active social media presence in addition to having a website.

November 3, 2020, 9:21 PM · I agree with others that your .org domain name is fraught with problems you just don't need. "brucebergviolin.com" is unique to you. I can understand Kurt Sassmannshaus not wanting to use his name, but that's because nobody can spell it. I suggest pushing the "easy button" on this one.
Edited: November 5, 2020, 3:07 AM · I just saw Michael Berger's comment about companies paying money and Google having special spaces for them.

I work in the web industry and this is not how I see it at all.

There are two types of results when you type a term into google. Those at the top of the results pages are clearly marked "Ads" and these are genuinely paid-for adverts. The ones below it are the so-called organic results and these are what Google's algorithm has decided are the most relevant results for the given search term.

The ads work on a bidding process - so in essence, the advertisers willing to pay the most will appear the highest.

The exact mechanics of the google organic algorithm are a closely guarded secret so no-one outside of Google knows exactly how this works.

It's worth pointing out that if you click on a link in the organic results, no money changes hands, only if you click on links in the adverts.

Now, I'm not entirely sure whether Michael is referring to the ads or the organic results. Ads have been around a very long time (since 23rd October 2000 to be precise) so it's not exactly news, and I am 100% confident that there are no mechanisms whereby ANY company could pay money to Google to influence the organic results.

No doubt there will be a few conspiracists who don't believe this, but it makes no commercial sense for google to permit this, not when they have an advertising platform making them billions of dollars each quarter. I have never, ever heard a whisper inside the industry about this, and I've worked with some big brands who would know.

With regard to promoting yourselves as teachers, the best place I would recommend is Facebook. You can be active on Facebook, posting in local community forums, musicians forums etc. and you will generate some traffic.

You could also opt to pay a small amount of money for Facebook ads - FB's advertising platform is amazingly powerful. You can be very specific about who sees your adverts - you can target by gender, age, income, locality, interests, readership of magazines, membership of groups etc.

By using these tools you can optimise a small budget to show your adverts to only the people most likely to click on them, meaning you spend your money wisely.

November 5, 2020, 3:52 AM · What I understand companies like Godaddy do to increase visibility of your website is to repeatadly search for your website with bots?? to sort of trick google into thinking your site is popular. What I notice when I look at my godaddy websites hits, about 97% of the hits are not real customers. All I know is my website soon went straight to the top of the list when I search for violin shop -_______ in my local area.
Edited: November 5, 2020, 7:06 AM · Lyndon, there are lies, damned lies and consumer web hosting company lies - and the latter are the most invidious.

No one successfully tricks Google for long - the penalties for doing so are to be dropped out of the Google index meaning no one can find your site. GoDaddy would not take the risk. That said, of course, GoDaddy are not always too clever - read about their recent data breach here

One of my clients nearly lost thousands of pounds after this - his Amazon credentials were stolen and the hackers took over his Amazon hosting account, running up huge bills until we managed to persuade Amazon it was fraud.

With respect to your success on Google - how many violin shops are in your vicinity that have websites indexed by Google? If the answer is one (i.e. yours), then there is no competition for you and that's the sole reason you are number one. No magic tricks involved at all

November 5, 2020, 7:38 AM · its pretty damn obvious you view Godaddy as a competitor so we have to take all your denigration with a grain of salt!!
November 5, 2020, 8:26 AM · Lyndon, seriously, stop trolling. What I see here is one guy who has a credential in the web industry and one who has a credential in antique violins. I think I know whose responses I would prefer to trust on each of these topics.
Edited: November 5, 2020, 9:10 AM · I wouldn't post this just to be cheeky but you may want to check on this, Lyndon:
https://ibb.co/gzc114D
November 5, 2020, 10:52 AM · There's an entire industry focused on search-engine optimization (SEO), usually focused on helping businesses figure out how to get higher organic search-engine placement. Some SEO techniques are shady. Some legitimate tactics become shady when manipulated -- for instance, buying cross-links.

Google provides some SEO tips directly: LINK

Google's algorithms are under constant development. A massive team of engineers works on Search. Google periodically makes larger changes to try to defeat SEO techniques that it views as illegitimate.

When you look at your Godaddy hits, there's a goodly chance that there are a bunch of regular hits from whatever their website monitoring tool is. Crawling is not the same as operational monitoring.

Edited: November 5, 2020, 11:40 AM · Urban theres a new policy that I have to refresh my website every 90 days, hadn't noticed that, anyway here's my website www.taylorsfineviolins.com its working fine now and it is a secure site, I pay for the SSL certificate

Im using an older Godaddy format that they no longer offer, but since I went to all this trouble to make it, Im not trying to completely redo it in their new format which frankly isn't as good to me.

November 5, 2020, 4:27 PM · Sigh. Lyndon, GoDaddy are not a competitor of mine.

They are a huge consumer hosting company - they are in business to sell domain names, email accounts and hosting.

My company is a specialist e-commerce development company - we write software for e-commerce websites. We're also very small. We don't sell domain names or email accounts - and we don't sell hosting. We do *manage* hosting for people - so if we build an e-commerce site for someone and it takes one or two thousand orders a day, we will configure Amazon Web Services to provide a fault-tolerant, autoscaling and secure infrastructure so that the site has maximum uptime.

Where you're paying a couple of hundred a year for hosting, some of my clients spend thousands per month.

These are not services GoDaddy offer.

We do have some clients in common - like the guy who bought his domain name in good faith from them and used their email service. He bitterly regrets it now though after the data breach. You did read that article, didn't you? You did read it and ask yourself if you could be a victim too??

Look, I know you're stubborn - everyone who's spent any time on this forum knows that. But seriously, I'm not knocking GoDaddy for any other reason than that you believe them to be something I know they're not.

November 6, 2020, 7:24 AM · As I mentioned, search engine optimization has changed drastically over the years. First there were no ads. Then there were some ads. Now there are all kinds of special listings that can take up most of the page. Listings for videos (many of which are on YouTube which google owns) listings for books, products for sale, etc. For some searches, the organic listings are far down, and not enticing. Even the organic listings I am highly suspicious of. A secret formula huh. Yeah. No money changes hands, yup. None of the people at google are on the take, etc. Even putting aside the conspiratorial aspect. this is not the old web. It is about big business and money. I assume they factor such things as server response time, etc. It costs money to have edge servers with fast times. The big companies do. For a little guy it does not make sense.

Lastly, it is not really about how good google searches are. It has been reported that they pay apple billions to be the default search. If they are dominant because of their service they would not need to pay up. People really do not care, they just use what is in front of them. Hence google pays. In very much the same way, people pay to be at the top of the listings.

November 6, 2020, 10:01 AM · MichaelGoogle gained a march on the other search engines by handling far more sites than they did. As far as user-friendliness of the search engine is concerned, Google is comparatively inflexible - Ask (Ask Jeeves) is probably the best from that point of view.
As far as name for website is concerned, Bruce, you might like to register a personal website and just link one to the other. Some noddy personal website addresses are available free of charge and will do for that purpose.
November 6, 2020, 12:43 PM · My goodness! I didn't realize my question would stir up so much controversy. I am taking a good amount of advice to heart.

To clarify, my intent is not to advertise in order to get a large number of students, but to give those interested something to look at.

Some of my changes will be to simplify the "audition process", give a free lesson to serious prospective students, add lots of pictures in a gallery, to get rid of the VSO stock image which I agree is awful, reduce my lesson fee to $100 and offer personal scholarships to students in need, and to give links to interesting websites (like violinist.com!) Bruce

Edited: November 6, 2020, 2:01 PM · Your ideal students need to be able to find you when they search. Your site needs to show up in the first 5-10 results, because most people won't scroll and click to page 20 to find you. Search Engine Optimization should be designed into your site's source code from the beginning. It's too hard to add it to a badly coded site after the fact.

SEO is the unglamorous code behind the pretty pictures and graphics. SEO is in the words you use in your text that people see, but ALSO in the code that they don't see.

Backlinks from good sites like violinist.com and others of similar quality are essential. That is a very good idea and will help you a lot. Slowly get lots of relevant backlinks pointing to your site.

Articles and press releases that link to your site will help a lot. You can publish articles at sites like Ezinearticles.com and link back to your site.

Avoid fly-by-night "link farm" services that promise to get you millions of backlinks. They will get you banned.

Google likes to see sites grow gradually and organically. Get a Wordpress blog attached to your site and update frequently with announcements and news.

If you don't want to blog, then periodically add new pages with unique, interesting content. This will keep you fresh in search results.

The broader your site, the better. Instead of 3 pages with lots of material on each, have 10, 20, 30 short pages that each focus on a different topic. Add a new page every week or every month. Use the same navigation layout/template for each page.

Make your contact information easily visible on every page.

User-friendly fonts, colors and design. Substance over style. Stability is better than flashy effects.

Test with different browsers. There are sites where you can test your pages on different virtual browsers to make sure they work across the board.

HTH!

November 6, 2020, 5:48 PM · Michael wrote, "You asked about the name violinmastery.org. Ordinarily if a .com already exists with the same name, I would advise against the use of the .org. The .com owner could even try to litigate."

Actually, this is not true at all. The barriers to try to gain control over a domain name are quite high. Under the UDRP (the first resort before you try the courts) require that the complainant possess the trademark used in a domain name, and can prove that the domain holder has no legitimate rights or interest in that domain, and has registered the domain in bad faith. (There are other complications to this, but basically it comes down to "it's really hard and expensive to wrest a domain from someone". The ABA has a good intro to the subject: LINK)

So if Bruce wanted to build a brand around ViolinMastery.org, he could, especially if he could snag that social identities for it, even though two-fingered violinist Clayton Haslop owns the .com.

Lyndon is being ridiculous in his accusations above.

By the way, Wix has plenty of site templates that have responsive designs (i.e. automatically adapt for mobile, etc.) But I continue to think for Bruce's level of expertise, Wordpress.com is simple and easy, for $50/year.

November 7, 2020, 7:02 AM · Two-fingered? My goodness! https://youtu.be/ociwHSCzRQU

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