Learn the 10 key characteristics of a coaching website that helps you grow your business instead of just collecting cyber dust (and emptying your wallet).
Trait #1 – It Serves a Purpose
For many new coaches, they want a website to show that they are truly in business, to indicate that they are truly professional.
They want it to fill a line on their business card, essentially. And that’s “ok”. It’ll save you the stress of having to say, “It’s still under construction” as you talk to people.
But as soon as you start trying to market your services, as soon as you get the word out more, as you start sending people to it, as you start to share it online, you’ll quickly find out that your overnight, creative, wixiblyspace website isn’t gonna cut it.
This is because almost all newbie websites lack any real content, end up a visual hodgepodge, are technically limited, and (most importantly) have no useful underlying sales strategy.
Rather than creating one “because everyone has one” it would be better to get clear about its purpose. Get clear about WHY you need a website so that as you promote your services, you can say, “Yes! It’s clearly delivering tangible value.”
Here are a few purposes (that are measurable) for your website that have real merit:
- Generates new client leads
- Gets traffic from search engines
- Grows your email list
- Increases social followers
- Brings in new referral partners
- Increases course, program, book sales
- Gets more speaking gigs
A coaching website that works is one with a clear purpose which you can confirm in some measurable way.
Trait #2 – It’s Focused on the Visitor
While YOU may want a website that makes YOUR business look good, the irony is that your website must be appealing to THE VISITOR.
It’s the visitor, the ideal client, the person making the buying decision who truly needs to be impressed.
It must be focused on and valuable to THEM.
How do you do this?
- Share content that interests the visitors, like articles that teach or inspire, instead of trying to explain the inner workings of coaching
- Organize content in a way that makes simple sense and answers basic questions they might have instead of putting random stuff everywhere
- Make the steps you want a visitor to take very clear and lead them to a vital action step like contacting you, joining your network, or getting on your email list
Remember, your website ain’t all about YOU. It’s gotta be focused on the VISITOR.
Trait #3 – It Builds Your Credibility
Coaching is a one-on-one, personal service. It carries a high price tag because you’re paying for a professional’s time. Think about the hourly rate of a lawyer.
Coaching is not a commodity like buying sneakers, a book, or a banana where you’ll pretty much buy what’s there or price-shop just a little.
As such, when people consider hiring a coach, they gravitate to one who:
- is well known
- is highly trusted
- is very helpful
There’s a handy word for this person, expert.
If you’ve read much of my stuff, you’ll know that I’m big on positioning yourself as a highly credible, professional, talented expert when it comes to your website.
And that’s to attract the kinds of clients who are accustomed to paying the high fees for that skilled, one-on-one help.
Some ways to exhibit that high-end image on your website:
- Write articles, share videos, or create tools that serve your clients
- Present well-written success stories, case studies, or testimonials
- Deliver handy content to your email list, blog, or social platform
- Show works you’ve created like books or courses
- Highlight leadership roles you hold or held
If you think about the people you’ve hired for one-on-one help, can you recall how you made that decision? What about their presentation (website, conversation, materials) impressed you the most?
Trait #4 – It’s Visually Engaging
Many coaches want their websites to be visually appealing.
As such, they often do this by collecting pretty images and sticking them into their websites without consideration. For example, you’ll often see a sliding carousel of images on many websites.
I don’t recommend doing that because it just hogs space, doesn’t add to your message, and slows down your website.
Instead, when it comes to visuals, I recommend you:
- think about your ideal client and the overall message you want to express (vibrant life? serious business? healthy body?)
- choose colors, images, and textures that invoke the feeling you want to give off
- make sure your visuals and images support the text that they are next to, like a diagram showing your 3-step process as you explain your approach to working with clients
And I recommend you do not:
- use too many colors, fonts, styles or sizes for your text and headings because it makes reading difficult
- put images or visuals on a page that do not relate DIRECTLY to the content
- don’t overdo visuals in an attempt to make things pretty
When the graphics, pictures, and words are delivered in a smooth, natural way, people will spend plenty of time on your website to learn about what you do.
Get a simple website blueprint so you can create compelling content that attracts ideal clients and generate leads in The Coaching Website Guide.
Trait #5 – It Sells
A great coaching website should lead visitors to think, I’ve gotta hire this coach! – and then make it easy for them to get in touch.
For newer coaches, here some great things to include on your website to help you sell coaching:
- Content that highlights the unique value you bring because being different is memorable and attractive.
- Details about your process and how it brings success because if you’ve got a method then, well, you probably know what you’re doing 😉
- Stories of help you’ve provided to others because the proof is in the pudding.
Ideally, when you get on the phone with new potential clients, they are quite heavily pre-sold from your website.
I created a blueprint for website content to help you accomplish this. It’s called The Coaching Website Guide.
Trait #6 – It’s Incredibly Easy to Read
I’ve been doing website reviews for many years, and one of the biggest goof-ups is writing that’s hard to read.
It’s easy to see what works when it comes to readability. Just look at Google, LinkedIn, or any of your favorite blogger’s websites.
You’ll see they …
- have dark text on a white background
- use font sizes that are easy to view without squinting
- use headings and sub-headings and not much more
- avoid using too many fonts, colors, and sizes for text
- do not bold or capitalize everything (I hate that!)
Just remember – if people struggle to read your content, you lose.
Trait #7 – It’s Easy to Update
Oddly, I still run into a few instances where a coach has a website built and is paying quite a bit for a professional designer to make simple text edits. This shouldn’t happen.
In the amount of time that it takes you to compose an email with changes for your website copy, you would be able to simply do it yourself.
I love WordPress because with a few minutes of training, you’ll be able to quickly get in and access website copy.
Some things you’ll want to be able to quickly tweak on your website:
- add / remove a page
- change text
- insert images
- update your menu
- email your list
- publish an article (blog)
- manage comments on your blog
- update email messages
- edit testimonials
A coaching site that works will save you time (less back and forth) and money when it comes to updating the small stuff.
Trait #8 – It’s Got an Underlying Strategy to Help You Get New Clients
I know we all hate the word “sales”.
Having to “sell someone” on anything is a big turn off.
But in so many years of helping coachings with their websites and then onto filling their practices with clients, I’ve come to see this dirty word “selling” in a different way – a better, more genuine, positive way.
Selling is really about working for your client, creating a lot of value for them, and serving them in a big way WHILE you also look out for your income needs and respect your time. It’s about forming a good, productive relationship with clients.
It’s about honesty, trust, respect and mutual gain with clients.
And it’s about taking ownership of the effort involved to find the fit and lead you two to be happily “working together”.
If you can see it from that angle, I think it’ll do a lot.
When it comes to your website, you’ve gotta have an underlying strategy or process for finding and signing up new clients – a process to get you two “working together” nicely.
Your website will play a part to get your name out there – where potential clients learn about you, leading them to contact you – wanting to work with you.
Different coaches will do things differently. Ideally so since they oughta leverage their talents and resources to grow their businesses.
Just make sure you think about your website in context with that underlying client-acquisition process.
Speaking of strategy, here’s one way to get clients from the web.
Trait #9 – It Looks Great on Mobile Devices
In September 2019, 34% of the visitors to CoachingSitesThatWork.com were coming from a mobile device.
On closer inspection, you can see most of the mobile users were from iPhones and iPads.
Needless to say, I own an iPhone and iPad and those are my first places to test website designs.
If your website has been around a while, you might want to double-check it on your phone.
Trait #10 – Doesn’t Suck Up Your Time
Whether you hire someone to build it, you do-it-yourself, or just maintain it yourself, you absolutely CANNOT let your website drain your time.
I see this often.
Coaches start out wanting to create the coaching business of their dreams. And so, with a family and full-time job, they allow some spare time to start working on their websites. Half a year goes by and they end up becoming a worse-than-novice web designer instead.
You cannot allow too much time to disappear on your website because you have other important things to do like:
- Getting marketing (visibility, traffic) strategies in place
- Having phone calls with prospects to convert them
- All sorts of administrative tasks
- And let’s not forget, making time to actually coach people!
It’s very easy to go down the website-creation rabbit hole because there are so many bells and whistles to play with and playing with them is fun.
Also, tech hiccups can throw you for a loop, not only wasting time but giving you greys.
Did I mention copy? That needs to be written too – and written well!
So, you’ve got to keep the big picture in mind – marketing and finding clients and realize that your website is just a part of that.
So get it up, get it going, just what you need, hand it off to someone to manage, and avoid the time-wasting.