Before getting into specifics, there are a couple of considerations when creating yoga studio website design. Most yoga studio website design looks as though they were built in the 90’s and then abandoned. There are very few really good-looking, updated sites out there. This is actually beneficial for those looking to improve their site, because it is easy to stand out in any market.
In addition, many yoga studio website designs are focused around their guru or the spiritual side of yoga, even though yoga has become very mainstream as a great form of physical and mental conditioning. This can turn many otherwise potential students away. Most people start yoga for the obvious physical benefits. So focus on the benefits that yoga offers a regular Joe. These benefits include flexibility, strength, clarity of mind, and calm (otherwise known as stress reduction.) Just get them in the door, already. If they stay past the invocation to Patanjali, there’s a chance they may open up to yoga as a spiritual practice down the road.
When designing for a yoga studio, bear in mind that most yoga studio owners are not especially tech-savvy. They need coaxing to make changes on their site because they are fundamentally afraid of their blowing up their computer. The site must be very simple to use and change. Don’t add too much hand-coding on pages. Build on WordPress.
Small local yoga studios are not huge money-makers. You will need to keep the costs down. Most studios need a lot of parking, so that usually means a high-rent district. Teachers are paid little; most income goes towards rent. Be conservative in your pricing and very specific about the features you will or will not include.
And last, the best yoga studio website design is mobile-friendly. The age and gender of most searchers (according to Google) are between 25-45, and oddly enough the majority are male, even though classes are filled with women. So the male searchers may be looking for pictures of women doing yoga, something slightly fascinating to them. The age group, however, is very mobile, using tablets and phones to access the internet. The site must ‘shrink to fit’ their devices or they will simply move on. Use Genesis as the responsive framework.
How to build a great yoga studio website design? Specific features that are necessary for a good yoga studio website design include:
- A class schedule -usually the most heavily visited page on the site
- A calendar or list of upcoming events and/or workshops
- Education and Resources – articles about the style of yoga taught/yoga tips/A page for newbies
- A good page about the teacher(s) with interesting bios
- A shopping cart for registration or workshop payments
- Fees and rates page
- Email/newsletter signup form
- Great images and a slider loading on the viewed page only
- Relevant call-to-action on a page by page basis
Yoga Class Schedule and Calendar
I like the Ajax Event Calendar plugin by Eran Miller because it is so easy for the site owner to use. This plugin creates mini calendars for the sidebar, large calendars for classes and/or events (monthly/weekly), as well as providing shortcodes for lists of classes or events using calendar categories. It is amazingly responsive, as well. This plugin is no longer being supported by Eran; however there is plenty of online documentation on wordpress.org. TIP: Add event banners to the top of the class schedule page.
Yoga Website Shopping Cart
Some studios will run open classes on an on-going basis, some run sessions that need pre-registration. This is an important aspect of the shopping cart design. A yoga studio that runs sessions will need to download their registration data for its class info, so include that feature. I like Jigoshop, with the Orders & Clients CSV Export extension. [UPDATE: 10/2014: Easy Digital Downloads is a smaller and simpler cart.)
Email/Newsletter Signup Form
Mailchimp.com offers a free email sending service up to 2,000 names/12,000 emails a month. There is a WordPress Mailchimp plugin that automatically adds email signups to the list. Mailchimp is pretty easy to use to send emails, once a basic template has been created; studios need to keep in touch with their list to inform them of workshops or upcoming registration periods.
Images and Homepage Slider
Site speed is an issue with yoga studios. Large images of beautiful people doing yoga are important, but also slow down the page load time. For a homepage slider/rotator, I like either Royal Slider or Nivo. Both load the slider images only on the page with the shortcode. If you use NextGen, get the NextGEN Gallery Optimizer Premium which does the same thing (per page loads.)
Yoga Education and Resources
For students, downloads of sequences for home practice are very helpful. But the one thing that impacts a yoga site’s SEO immensely is the use of Posts. Every time a post is published, a ‘ping’ is sent to the search engines to come re-index the site. This is not true for pages. Use the WordPress blog post format to add new content to the site. And make sure that, at minimum, the Settings>Writing page includes http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ in the ‘Update Services’ box.
Best Yoga Studio Website Design
Bad Yoga Studio Website Design
This site is a bit chaotic and messy. Too much going on visually confuses the visitor. Where to click first to get good information?
Good Clean Yoga Studio Website Design
Simple, clean, easy to navigate, clear on the homepage what this site is about. For some further yoga studio website design inspiration, check out this post.