If you’re guilty of any of these coaching website mistakes, do your self-esteem a favor and chalk them up as “learning opportunities.”
From building over 100 websites for coaches, advising on thousands more, and running my own little design biz, this post lists the biggest website mistakes that I see.
(When I say mistakes, I mean these hiccups hurt your site’s ability to engage visitors and get them excited about working with you)
For those of you at the starting line of your website-creation marathon, pay close attention so you don’t exhaust yourself or cross the finish line with a mess.
If you enjoy this article, please hit LIKE and let me know what you think in the comments. I love hearing from coaches around the world. Be sure to include your website address for a little boost in your search rankings.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 coaching website mistakes in 2021 …
Coaching Website Mistake #1: Losing Them at Hello
In his book, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, author and usability expert Steve Krug gives us three vital questions that must be answered when arriving at your website:
- What is this?
- Why should I be here?
- Where do I begin?
If visitors can’t answer these within seconds of landing on the homepage, then they’ll bounce — a term for leave immediately. Just think about how many times you’ve landed on a website that was confusing or irrelevant.
To “Have ’em at hello”, make sure visitors can figure out what your website is about, why they should be there, and how to start engaging with it. This will lead them deeper into your content to find out how talented a coach you are.
Website Mistake #2: Trying to Explain “How Coaching Works”
Although you are a coach, you are not exactly in the business of “selling coaching.” You are really in the business of “attaining results” because results are what clients will buy.
It’s more helpful to think about what you do from the eyes of the client.
Coaching is pricey. To make that investment, clients won’t hire anyone with training. Instead, they will choose a coach who will be perceived as “worth it.”
And that means the coach can be a big help to you and your situation/needs/goals.
So, no matter how well you explain the logistics (goal setting, calls, accountability, other competencies) such details won’t get clients fired up about working with you.
Just think about any coach or service professional you’ve hired. Did you hire them because they had training?
I’d suspect no. But, instead, it was due to:
- you wanting a big a big change, better future, or a problem solved
- that coach showed you how he/she/ze/it/they could be of tremendous
Am I correct?
The key point is that your website’s job is to help potential clients see and feel that YOU will be a catalyst for success. Going on and on about the “hows” of coaching isn’t as powerful.
I wrote a lot about this in The Coaching Website Guide.
Website Mistake #3: Big, Overly-Designed Logos
You could probably get away without one at all. I’ve seen many marketers push the envelope with websites that have no logos at all. And I’m sure I bought an ebook or program from some of them.
A logo is a good move for a few reasons:
- it helps people know they’ve arrived at the right place
- by clicking it, you can quickly get back to the homepage
- people will recognize your brand and feel at home
- you look like a serious professional with a clean, tastefully done logo
From my work, I’ve found that a logo is not good for:
- communicating some complex idea
- showcasing your artistic ability – or investment
I cringe when I see coaches go nuts about:
- Filling the entire viewing area with an elaborate work of art that has a deep hidden message for eternal happiness.
Here’s a video I did on logos for coaching websites, Keys to a Great Logo for Your Coaching Website.
Remember, your website is meant to get visitors to see you as a great coach, build up their hopes and dreams, and get them to reach out to you for support. Your logo is a small visual to support that experience. Do not make it the center of attention – especially at the top of the homepage.
Coaching Website Mistake #4: Confusing Menus
Menus on websites are meant to help visitors find content quickly.
If your menu is too big with too many items, too many words, and leaks over multiple lines (terrible), then it becomes more of a hindrance than a help.
When people struggle or resist using your website, their frustration level rises, and they leave. Patience is nearly non-existent on the Web. Don’t frustrate people, especially with your menu (which people are hoping to fall back to when they do get lost).
In my book, I talk about the magic number being five.
And definitely, DO NOT add something to your menu that leads to a page that says “coming soon.” That isn’t nice. It just means you “hope to do something” but never will.
Only add content you have ready to go.
I go into a lot more about menus, intuitive labeling, and ideal pages to have on your website in The Coaching Website Guide – don’t build your website without it!
Website Mistake #5: No Call-to-Action
As a coach, you are looked upon to lead your clients to a better situation. And so, your website needs to behave similarly by inviting visitors to take action steps.
If it’s not clear what you want visitors to do, your image as a catalyst to success is weakened. Not good for securing new clients.
For most coaching websites, the action will be to contact you for an initial call. Make sure that the invitation is easy-to-do and exciting for the visitor.
Kenn tip: If you’re growing an email list as well, it’s a good move to make the sign-up very exciting and prominent. Once on your list, you can always follow up with them to offer a free consultation offer. Thus, make the list sign-up as the most prominent call-to-action.
Website Mistake #6: It’s Slower Than Molasses
Waiting for a website to load is worse than watching paint dry. At least with paint, you can get high on the fumes. Hehe, just kidding.
But slow-loading websites are bad. More than 3 seconds is just too long.
I’ve been using GTMetrix more lately to test speeds. It’s a popular tool among web developers because it’ll help you resolve the tech aspects of slow pages.
If you’re a non-techie, then you’ll probably go cross-eyed there. You’re better off with any basic speed test tool like Pingdom’s free website speed tool.
Just try it on your laptop or phone anywhere and everywhere you go. If it’s consistently slow, that’s a bad sign.
When testing your website for speed, be sure to try a few different pages to get a sense of how fast it is. Pages often vary in speed due to content and functionality.
If it’s loading slow, there are many reasons for this, and it’s time to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat – or, instead, contact your designer, techie, or hosting company to start investigating.
Three common reasons for slow pages are:
- Big images that have not been compressed/optimized for the Web
- Shared hosting from mediocre host companies
- Going overboard with plugins, add-ons to your website, especially on WordPress
Waiting for your pages to open up is pretty much a deal-breaker for visitors. Make sure your site is super fast.
(Hey, just a reminder to hit LIKE and post a comment below WITH YOUR WEBSITE LINK to get that little boost in your website’s search rankings on Google!)
Coaching Website Mistake #7: It’s a Mobile Hot Mess
Today, designers aren’t just making one website. They are building three:
- one for desktops
- one for tablets
- and one for mobile phones
And soon, a fourth will be watches. Then a fifth, under your eyelids. ;P
Yep, life is busy for today’s web designer trying to keep up with info-hungry visitors.
Nah, it’s not that bad. The reason we love technology is because of how beautifully it mutates to serve man. It’s quite amazing.
So, to see how well you’re doing on mobiles, hop on over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Here’s how CoachingSitesThatWork.com’s is looking …
Pretty good in my book – a good headline is showing, my charming smile glistens, and the logo and menu are obviously positioned.
Whew, I was a little nervous there 😉
Also, if you want a massive heap of my best tips for your website, have a look at The Coaching Website Guide. Some folks call it their “website bible,” but I only aspire to such grace.
Website Mistake #8: Worrying About Search Engines Too Much
Don’t get me wrong. I love a massive feast on keywords, optimized content, and quality inbound links. And when people find you via search, they are highly qualified leads because they are actively seeking help – and that’s brilliant for sales.
SEO can be fantabulous.
“Can be” is the operative phrase.
My quick definition, search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of getting your pages to the top of search engines – well, let’s admit it, we mean Google. It’s an art because you’re dealing with copy, marketing, trust-building, story-telling, and humans. It’s a science because there are stats, algorithms, research, and all kinds of tools available.
For so many new coaches, it’s difficult to get online with the basics so they can start marketing and fill their practices up with one-on-one clients. The learning curve is steep and SEO is not the fastest path.
It might be ideal for some coaches, but for many, I’ve found it’s better to leverage the coach’s existing skills, knowledge, contacts, networks, and resources.
Before you worry about SEO, go after the low-hanging fruit first.
This will vary by coach, but two ideas come to mind that I’ve helped many coaches take advantage of:
Idea 1. Nearly all the coaches (and just about any service provider) find their first clients from family, friends, existing networks and contact. That’s a good place to get your website, articles and name out in front of.
Idea 2. If you look closely at your last 10 clients, you can probably find a pattern or clues as to who would be ideal for you to focus on. Call this your niche or your focus. Go find some places where those people hang out and raise your hand.
That being said, there is a quick-and-easy-to-do batch of SEO basics I recommend you do that I explain in The Coaching Website Guide.
Here are two smart tasks to do:
1. Make sure that your website is excellent for the user.
This mostly means making the content easy to access. Google wants your website to be great for people, which means making it fast, easy to use, simple to navigate, mobile-ready, and easy to read.
2. Getting relevant keywords into your website.
Google uses the keywords that searchers enter in order to find relevant pages.
Thus, you’ll want to get well-chosen words into your website such as the locality you operate from (city, state, town, neighborhood), the type of coaching you do (career coaching, business coaching), and your name.
Here are my seven secret keyword sources for coaches that I’ve used to drive traffic and generate leads. I suppose they aren’t much of a secret anymore, huh? ;P
I say not to worry too much about keywords because they often aren’t the most beneficial way for a coach to get visible.
It would be smarter to brainstorm and plan out your path to getting clients, including visibility strategies, credibility builders, sales steps, and the phone call process.
Before worrying about search engines, make sure that your website is filled with engaging content, has an intuitive architecture, and is visually appealing. For what good is a website if visitors don’t engage with it?
For more SEO fun and excitement, here are four tips and my rule of thumb to get high search engine rankings.
Website Mistake #9: No Committed Project Manager to Get The Job Done
Whether you hire a designer or do it yourself, SOMEONE needs to be responsible for the completion of the website.
We call this special someone a project manager.
Without one hard-ass, deadline-focused, whip-cracking PM, your website project will go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
The crux of the problem is that coaches are typically not familiar with the design process and are likely to assume the designer will take the lead.
But most freelancing designers (fiverr.com, guru.com, upwork.com) behave like employees and will wait on you to move things forward. You have to keep on top of them.
I know this because I’ve hired many of them.
Also, I do not recommend you ask a friend or family member to do it. Working for free means your website gets low priority – and in today’s overly-busy world, that means it just won’t get done.
My favorite way to get a handle on this is to set a deadline and get clear on your website sitemap. See 12 Tricks to Build a Website Fast.
I recommend that YOU take ownership of the completion of your website and declare yourself as the project manager. That is unless you work with me as your website designer, in which case you’ll get the whip-cracking ;).
Coaching Website Mistake #10: Spending Too Much Time on Your Website
It’s easy to spend days creating and perfecting your website. There are always new bells-n-whistles you could add, interesting topics you could write about, and tweaks you could make.
Once your website is good enough (something viable), it’s a good idea to put your time towards these two:
- Visibility, marketing, and traffic-building. You must get in front of potential clients.
- A follow-up process for how you will handle new clients when they show up.
Don’t get overly consumed by your website.
There you have it – the top 10 coaching website mistakes for 2021.
Bear these 10 coaching website mistakes in mind to avoid making a messy website that turns off potential clients.
While you’re here, start improving your website’s search rankings on Google by posting a comment below and adding your website address (in geekspeak it’s a backlink as I talk about in my post, Best SEO Tips for Coaches). It’s a small boost, but one you can do in seconds.