Piano Teachers : Creating Your Own Website

At this point in my career, I’ve created and maintained 4 different websites:  this one (kathyrabago.com), my studio website (velocitymusicacademy.com), my online lesson website (pianoprogram.com), and the website I share with The Music Mentor Group (themusicmentorgroup.com).  Let me explain how I got into all of this….

Did you know that a requirement for a doctorate in music is proficiency in Italian, French, or German?  It’s a bit of an outdated rule, if you ask me.  The presumption is that you will need to be able to do research in one of these languages.  When I was working on my DMA, I wanted to write my dissertation about the creation of an online database for pedagogical piano literature.  For me, at that point in my life, spending class hours in foreign language classes was a bit pointless.  Now, of course I’m not saying that foreign language skills are unnecessary!  I already had a minor in German, so additional language study wasn’t high on my list with the limited amount of hours in a day.  So I petitioned my department head to let me sub my language classes for computer language classes.  My petition was accepted, and I began taking design classes from an amazing professor at UT who really sparked my interest in learning about website design.

Now, that was way back in 2003…..ancient times in internet history.  Website design was much more cumbersome at that time!  But that knowledge put a bug in me and made me want to learn more.  When I first started my home studio after graduating with my DMA, I read several tutorial on WordPress, which intrigued me with its unlimited, powerful options in web design.  So I created my studio website in WordPress.  The website you see here has been up since around 2005.  I’ve tweaked it and redesigned it over the years, but it has always been powered by WordPress.  Later down the road, when I opened my commercial studio, I once again used WordPress to create the website for Velocity Music Academy.

As a studio owner, or piano teacher, why would you want to create your own website?  Can’t you just hire out a designer to do it?  Sure you can.  But I was broke when I started my studio!  I wanted to save as much money as possible, and doing my own website was one way to cut expenses.  Also, I enjoy the freedom of being able to update my website anytime from anywhere.  If I want to change my tuition or add a class, or add information about summer lessons, I don’t have to contact my web designer and pay him/her to do it for me.  I just do it myself at my convenience.  Sure, it’s more trouble than hiring a designer, but it definitely saves you money and gives you total control over your own website.

So are you ready to get started and create your own website?  I’ll walk you through some steps to get it up and running.  This will be a basic website.  Now, it may not be as fancy or pretty as you want it to be.  That will take some time and a learning curve.  But you can definitely get your website up with some information on it with around 1-2 hours of work.  The beauty of creating it with WordPress is that once you have the basic structure down, you will have unlimited options in designing it for the future.  Let’s get started!

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you decide to sign up through my link, then I will be given a small compensation of your purchase.  I hope you do use my link to sign up for these services in return for me sharing this information with you!  You will not be charged any more for your purchase, and these are services that I trust and currently use.  In fact, some of the prices are cheaper when you sign up with my affiliate link.  

Step 1:  Chose your domain name (URL).  You want this to be something that is available and of course easy to remember and spell.  For example, for my personal studio I use my name (kathyrabago.com) and for my commercial studio, I also use my business name (velocitymusicacademy.com).  I guess I’m not very creative in my name choice!  🙂  When you are thinking of names to pick, make sure that the name is not already taken by someone else.

Step 2:  Decide where to host your website.  There are many companies out there that can host your website.  Basically, this is where your website’s data lives.  I use Bluehost.  Why?  The company is reliable, the prices are cheap, and the customer service is awesome.  I’ve had some finger-bitting situations where I thought I lost all my data, and the chat customer support folks at Bluehost saved me every time.

For steps 3 – the end, I’m going to walk you through these in a video tutorial.  The written tutorial with screenshots is below.  Enjoy!



Step 3:  Navigate to Bluehost using this link.  (Thank you!)  Click on the “Get Started Now” button.  (This is a big lime green button).  Select the Basic Plan.

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Step 4:  In the “New Domain” box, enter the URL that you chose in Step 1.  If your name is already taken (bummer) go back and try again with a different URL.

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Step 5:  Enter in your information.  Under Package Information, the best deal is for you to choose the 36 month package.  Yes, you pay for it all upfront, but it is cheaper in the long run.

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Step 6:  You’ll be asked if you want some other add-ons.  You don’t need those right now, so just decline these.

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Step 7:  Yay!  Your hosting is now set up.  Click on the link to create your password.  Make sure your remember your password!

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Step 8:  Log on to your account.

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Step 9:  A nice welcome box will pop up.  You can click the X in the corner since I’m helping you.  🙂

Step 10:  Time to install WordPress.  Remember, WordPress is what you will use to design your website.  Bluehost is just your host.  Scroll to the bottom of your page and click “Install WordPress.”

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Step 11:  Click the Green “Get Started” button.

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Step 12:  Select a Domain for installation.  You probably just want to use your main site.

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Step 13:  Under Site Name or Title, please name your site.  This could be, for example, “Piano Lessons with Kathy”  Choose an Admin Username and an Admin Password.  You can keep the ones they gave you, or choose your own.  These will be your wordpress passwords.  Remember them!!  Check off “Automatically create a new database for this installation” and “I have read the terms and conditions….”  Click “Install.”

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Step 14:  Wait patiently for the check mark at the top of the screen to turn green.

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Step 15:  Check your email.  You will have an email from Mojo Marketplace.  Keep this email!  You will need these links everytime you update your website.

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Step 16:  From the email you just received, click on the Admin URL.  Enter in your username and password.  To retrieve your password, follow the password link from the email and click on the bottom right “View”.

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Step 17:  Time to start designing your webpage!  Login to your wordpress page using your username and password from step 16.  You can always get to your log in screen by typing the name of your website and then /wp-admin.  You will now see your dashboard.  This is where you edit all of your webpages.  Remember, your website will be very basic right now.  You can spend time later adding on a fancy template (called a “Theme” in WordPress).

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You did it!  Once again, this is just a basic, basic webpage.  To make it look nice, you’ll need to install a theme.  Most theme installations have videos and tutorials to help you do that.  If there’s enough interest, I can work on a tutorial for buying and setting up a theme.  Have fun!