If you want to teach online, you can choose among several platforms, create your profile and start teaching. That’s exactly what I did when I registered at italki 5 years ago. It enabled me to quit my job and start living as a digital nomad – all without my own website.
You don’t need your own website when ….
- you only intend to teach for a limited period of time
- when you only want to teach for 1 – 2 hours a day to earn some extra cash
- you work for a company which pays you a regular salary
SOME ADVANTAGES OF HAVING YOUR OWN WEBSITE
- You can share your knowledge not only with your current students but with a lot of other people who are interested in learning the language you teach.
- You can develop your own material and promote it regardless of possible restrictions of the platform you usually use to offer your services.
- You’re more independent. What if the platform you use suddenly closes down? Or suffers a decline in popularity because another platform has better offers but you’re not yet present there.
- Students and prospective students will appreciate the opportunity to ask questions without having to use precious lesson time.
- Your own website makes you stand out from other teachers who just offer 1:1 tuition on a platform like italki. Make sure to enclose a link to it on your profile page. Interested students may not book lessons at once but by giving them the opportunity to follow you on your website (and on social media), they’re more likely to develop a relationship with you and spend money on your services later on.
TIPPS TO OVERCOME YOUR FEARS OF TECHNOLOGY
Many new online teachers feel overwhelmed when they think how many things they need to learn if they want to have their own website. Outsourcing may be an option but only possible if you have the money for it. If this is not the case and you need to do everything on your own, here some tips to get you started and lose your fears:
- Don’t compare yourself with people whose blogs have already been online for several years or who have an IT background. You won’t be able to catch up with them within a short period of time, so just don’t try it.
- Don’t wait with your launch until everything looks perfect. That way you will never get started. I have a huge to-do-list for this blog as far as design, use of plugins etc is concerned but producing regular content is my priority.
- Ask other people for help. As long as you don’t expect anyone to set up your whole site for free, people are usually willing to give a quick advice. However, do also ask Google. It’s inconsiderate to ask someone for help because you’re too lazy to run a quick search on Google.
- Don’t get lost in the plugin jungle. Plugins are small programs which help you with certain things on your blog. Unfortunately, there are thousands of them. If you installed and activated a plugin and then discover that it requires you to change CSS, just forget about it. You may want to learn CSS later on (it’s on my to-do-list) but in the beginning, it just slows you down.
- Focus on important plugins which just work once you’ve installed them, for example, Antispam Bee, Broken Link Checker, Contact Form 7, Cookie Notice, Duplicate Page, Pixabay Images, Redirection, WP Limit Login Attempts, WP Fastest Cache, Yoast SEO, WPBackitUp
FACEBOOK AS AN ALTERNATIVE
Last year, I started a blog for German learners. After a couple of weeks, I discovered that I hated it. I love teaching, I love this direct interaction with people from all over the world. However, I found it absolutely boring to write blog articles about the German language and culture and always felt that I was just repeating what dozens of others had already written before me.
A blog needs to reflect its author’s personality. This one hopefully does, my German blog didn’t. I always had to force myself to sit down and ended up writing some generic articles. So I eventually decided to forget about the blog.
However, I kept my Facebook Page which had already more than 1,000 likes back then. I was thinking of deleting it but now I’m glad I didn’t do it. At the moment, I’m reviving it to use it for the group lessons we’re going to offer with Language Learning Club.
So how can you offer and sell your services and digital products making use of your Facebook Page?
Here are three examples of how you can use your Facebook page to sell your services and digital products.
1. Display your services
This is what my friend Luciana does on her FB page for Portuguese learners. She added a services tab which shows the lessons she’s offering and displays them on top of her page.
2. Redirect your visitors to another website
I added a custom tab and redirect visitors to my italki teacher profile. It took me a while to figure out how to do this as there are a lot of complicated instructions. However, this video finally helped.
3. Sell digital products directly from your Facebook Page
I couldn’t find a language-related example but have a look at the FB page of this health and wellness advisor. She used Facebook’s shop app and you can buy her e-books directly on Facebook.
I’m really no expert for Facebook Pages, Facebook Ads, Social Media Marketing etc and even if I were it would exceed the possibilities of this blog article to explain in detail how to implement everything. I just wanted to show you that Facebook is nowadays so powerful that it can do lots of things for you which you’d normally need your own website for.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to use Facebook for your business, I recommend these two udemy courses:
- The Complete Facebook Sales Funnel Blueprint
- Facebook Page Masterclass: Use it to grow your business
I bought both courses when they were on sale for US$10 each. So when you see a much higher price now and don’t want or can’t so much money at the moment, just wait a little. Udemy regularly has such sales.
A LAST ADVICE
If you aim to have a professional blog, don’t use blogspot.com or wordpress.com or something similar. It’s tempting because it’s free but if you want to sell your own products, run online courses, establish a member area or whatever later on, you need your own domain and webspace. My web hoster is the German company all-inkl.de and I pay about € 8 a month for a package which includes five free domains. I’m sure there are similar options in your country, so that should be your first investment. If you want to work with a free theme in the beginning, that’s just fine but don’t save those few bucks for your own domain and web space.
Are you an online language teacher? Do you have your website? Leave a link in the comments as I’m curious and would like to visit it.