Window shopping is a fun hobby for many people. Walking down a street, browsing new designs and seeing what each store has to offer is a great way to understand a business. However, in today’s climate, websites are essentially the new storefront and the first point of contact for an increasing number of businesses.
Bethany Lyons and John Murray, the co-founders of Lyons Den Power Yoga, with two locations in New York City, explained a website can be a studio’s biggest asset. But before it starts working for you, owners need to evaluate what the goal is for the site. Once the goal is in place, evaluating the various designers’ interpretations of the brand to determine what is best for the studio is vital.
“We wanted a bold look — we want people to come and feel they are coming to a professional place,” said Murray. “We had a very clear vision of what we wanted and communicated it to the designers bidding for the job. Things we looked for in evaluations were how they incorporated our initial feedback, did they take time to learn about us, did they take time to visit us, what ways did they take to present new ideas, how flexible did they seem in terms of being open to feedback. Those were our looking points.”
The designer chosen to create the website then came and took a class at the studio. Nothing special was done, no red carpet was laid out for him — the co-founders just wanted him to experience it from the consumer perspective to create the website.
The pair decided to then go with the preferred platform choice of their designer and engineer. However, with this choice what they got in back-end infrastructure and design elements they gave up in their ability to modify the site by themselves. When Lyons Den wants something new up on their site, or something taken down, a list must be sent to the engineers in order to execute them.
“This really forces you to be essential in the changes you make and the content you want to upload,” said Murray. “It’s much less the kid in the candy store where you want everything — every decision needs to be well thought out and planned.”
The most thought out and planned decision the duo made in terms of the website has been with branding and consistency. Since the website is an extension of the physical studio, they wanted it to have the same look and feel, as if you were in the studio itself.
“All fonts and all colors are all consistent,” said Lyons. “When we launched the website we launched a whole retail line with fonts that matched the website. It creates a sense of continuity and consistency where everyone is on the same page. My social media memes match what’s on the website, which match our retail, which match what’s at the front desk on a poster. People appreciate attention to details. Transformation happens in the details.”
Lyons explained the best way to understand the importance of consistency is to check out your favorite sites, brands or influencers to see what common themes they share.
“What accounts do you love and why?” asked Lyons. “It’s usually because it’s very edited, concise, clean and consistent. Having some sort of reasoning of why you like something will show you the importance of consistency.”
Once you understand how you want your site to be laid out and what content you want posted, don’t be afraid to go live with it.
“A lot of people get caught up on not launching their site,” said Lyons. “They are stuck in the process of making decisions and at some point you need to hit ‘Go Live.’ Show up at 100 percent online and give your students your all.”