My buddy John Williamson, who knows a thing or two about teaching and about running a school, had the following sage advice (which he left in the comments section of the post about zits and tonsilloliths):
From my perspective...
You need photos of happy, smiling successful students...and lots of them. Not so many words- keep it simple. Not much about yourself unless academically. Brief bios of students you have tutored and how well they have done + photos. Kill the background and replace it with "an image of success" or a montage of exam logos.
Basically, take what you've done and cull 70-90%.
People are going to pay you if they can visualise their little sprog in the same position as the images and bios on the site - they really don't care about who you are. :)
I think these are all valid points, and John has had years of experience running his school in Dunedin, New Zealand. I'm shit when it comes to marketing, so I agree that a makeover may be in order, especially if the tutoring website seems as narcissistic as this blog is.
To respond to a few of John's points:
1. I'd love to slap up pictures of happy, successful students who have benefited from my tutelage... but the problem is that I don't have any yet, unless you count the kids at YB where I currently work. I'm certainly not going to display "found" pics of other kids; that might be a lawsuit waiting to happen. While I completely agree that pictures of students need to be on the site, I need to build a student base first.
2. I, too, wondered whether the background looked too serious for its own good. It may feel more like a Chinese tombstone-- it's actually the Heart Sutra-- than an attempt at cheerful advertising. (In truth, I wasn't going for cheerful: I was going for a serious, cultured vibe. Still, it's true that the background should be more directly relevant to who I am and what I'm doing.)
3. Rest assured that a montage/banner is in the works-- something to replace the current banner, which is nothing more than text.
4. I'll definitely cut down my bio. However, unlike John and his school, I basically am the institution, here: an "About Me" section strikes me as only polite.
5. Hey, John-- are you sure you're in a position to give marketing advice after having made this corny-ass video?? (I'm just busting your balls, man.)
Anyway, although there are differences between marketing a school and marketing a single person, I do plan to take this sage advice into consideration as I continue to tweak the tutoring blog. Expect changes over the next few weeks.