By the end of this guide, you’ll have the technical leg-work of setting up your coaching website, on WordPress (the self-hosted kind which I’ll talk about later on), done.
You’ll be in a position to start developing content, adding your theme, and growing your website. More specifically:
- you’ll have your WordPress website set up
- you’ll have your domain name and hosting set up on your own branded domain name
- you’ll become aware of key things to consider and the implications
- you’ll get my best recommendations for how to go
- you’ll be able to start creating content, and publishing to the world
- you’ll get some advice and ideas of where to go next
Get a coffee and give yourself an hour or two to work through this.
Before we begin …
Just a few notes before we get our hands dirty …
It’s a good move to be clear on these before setting up your website:
1. Your business goals.
Do you want new clients? To simply build a following? To give 10 talks locally? What income? Whatever your first major goal, say 2,3 or 6 months out, get clear about it because you’ll want your website to support that. The clearer you can get, the better you’ll be able to make decisions about your website.
For many, it’ll be getting new paying clients, enough to earn a good income while working 1-on-1 with clients. That’s a great place to get to as your first goal, in say 3-6 months, depending on how much time you have to get things going.
2. Who it is you want to serve.
You can call this your market, your avatar, your niche or my favorite phrase, a persona.
Include with your specifics about your ideal client, the challenge you’re helping them overcome whether that’s specific, vague or what not. People will reach out to coaches and spend money if they think believe you can help them. And that means overcoming challenges and building dreams.
If it’s not very clear who you work with or you have “multiple niches” so to speak, then your content will be a bit more general. You can certainly succeed without a niche. I’ve seen it. But I’ve found being specific brings many advantages.
It’s is an in-depth manual I wrote for coaches because so many of them build websites that never bring a single client. It’s a guide for structuring your website to attract great clients and generate leads. While it’s not necessary now, it’ll help in the bigger picture of getting clients.
Technical steps will change over time.
So I will explain how things are done and give you some specific steps or links to follow – BUT those may change slightly over time. So do post your questions below or notify me if something got confusing or broken. Again, I’ll aim to create this guide to serve you without having to point to every last specific click.
Why WordPress for your coaching website?
There are many technologies out there for getting a website up online. And to stay on top of them all would be a full-time job and I bet there are other gurus out there who do just that.
My schtick is keeping focused on creating websites for coaches that attract clients (bring qualified traffic, build instant credibility, generate hot leads) and so I’m more concerned about speed of getting online, effectiveness of content, selling, converting visitors to leads, so you can get to 10 ongoing paying clients fast.
And I’m a techie/designer/teacher/adventurer at heart. And so, to realize those goals, I only need to know what I know.
So, with that background, I recommend highly WordPress for your coaching website.
Why use WordPress for coaching websites:
- Create Content – you can quickly and easily publish content
- Speed of Content – you can get your content around the web fast with WordPress – socially, search engines, email and more
- Great Design – the themes and the authors who make them get better, slicker, smarter, fast
- Solid technology – also the code and the developer who support WordPress are geniuses
Again, remember, my aim is creating website that bring you clients, and so that comes down to getting content in front of your dream clients, impressing them with your words, and then directing them to get in touch with you for coaching. And if you do a good job of it, those leads will be eager to work with you.
What a self-hosted WordPress setup means …
A self-hosted setup of WordPress simply means we will install WordPress on your own hosting account (also referred to as web server) as opposed to creating a free account (with ads, limited in other ways as well) over at WordPress.com.
This gives you a lot of control over your website which is great for branding, flexibility and functionality.
If you want to geek out on detail, then learn more about it here self-hosted WordPress. Otherwise, keep speed, and continue on.
A self-hosted WordPress setup can be set up super fast – 30 minutes.
(The many of the links below use my affiliate links for services that I love, that I use with clients and students. Thanks for clicking them.)
Ready to dive into the deep waters of the Web? It’s a ton of fun. And if you get stuck or have questions, just post down below in the comments.
Step 1. Find the Perfect Domain Name for Your Coaching Website
If you don’t have a domain name yet, you’ll need to brainstorm a good one, check if it’s available and register it at a domain registrar like GoDaddy or since you’re planning to build right away, I suggest you get both your domain name and hosting over at BlueHost.
There are three ways to choose a domain names that I’ve found best:
Approach One – Use your name for your domain name.
This approach will brand you, which makes many things easier – especially if your niche/market isn’t clear and you want to let it unfold (very common).
Approach Two – Use the word coach or coaching in your domain name.
This approach tells what you do and they love that.
Approach Three – Use your market’s desires in your domain name.
I love this approach because it aligns your website and business to your market’s needs and wishes – that’s incredibly attention-grabbing.
You could also mix and match these ideas.
You could mix your name, the word coaching and desires of your market into your domain name to find something powerful, special and unique.
Take time to brainstorm to find an awesome domain name. Do this …
While available domain names are becoming rarer, and cool names are becoming more expensive, I know that with a little word smithing, you can find a winner.
Go get a big coffee, sit by a window with a long distance view (opens the mind) and start making lists of the traits, situations, challenges, worries, desires of your ideal kind of client.
Some questions to help get those mental cogs a spinning:
- In the last 5-10 of clients you’ve had, who were the best?
- What common challenges do they face?
- What do they wish for?
- What do they want in the bigger picture of life/health/work?
- What do they fear?
See if you can fill a page with ideas, using small print.
And then use GoDaddy.com (or BlueHost.com if you plan on getting hosting there, which I recommend) to see if your name is available.
Consider 3, 4 or even 5 word long domain names. They are awesome.
Longer domain names are great because they are more likely to be available and they give you more words for creating a powerful message.
What to do with keywords
In short, for most, I wouldn’t worry about them.
If, however, you can quickly figure out which keywords are ideal for you and it doesn’t make your domain name excessively long, ugly, or confusing, then go for it.
I would NOT rely on keywords to make or break my business.
You can certainly reach your goals without them, which for many coaches is simply to build credibility, look professional, and attract an ongoing 5-10 paying clients.
And the fuss, the results, and the work involved in worrying about keywords is probably not your cup of tea. You can find better, funner, easier ways to succeed.
Here’s a handy article to further hone in on a winner …
Decide and then do it.
Remember, you can think forever, brainstorm forever and plan forever.
But nothing happens (outside of your head) until you fire the trigger, get the name, get your site up and share it with the world.
So, once you’ve got your winner, refill that coffee mug because next we will register your domain name and get hosting.
Step 2: Buy your domain name and hosting
Here are 3 situations you may be in and what to do about them to secure your domain name and hosting. They are …
Situation 1. You bought hosting but have NOT registered your domain name …
In this case, if possible, register (buy) your domain name with your current hosting provider.
It’s great and easier to have both your domain name and hosting service by the same company.
If they don’t offer domain name registration (rare situations), then go ahead and register it at GoDaddy.com and avoid all their offers while you complete your order.
Situation 2. You bought your domain name and need to get hosting …
I love having my domain names and hosting at the same place. The support and simplicity is well worth it.
So, if your domain name registration company also offers hosting, consider hosting with them.
Choose a low-cost, simple plan that permits you to install WordPress.
You may see advice to “get the right host” and it can be overwhelming to research. Much of that advice is for bigger websites with bigger needs like e-commerce websites or websites with a ton of traffic.
Your coaching website won’t be very complex, so the simplest of hosting from a reputable provider will do the trick.
If, in the future, as your business grows, hosting issues arise like slow speeds or too many outages, you can revisit this matter.
Situation 3. You don’t have both your domain name and hosting …
In this case, simply get both at BlueHost (I recommend) or if you have another recommended provider like GoDaddy or other, surely use them.
Having both in one place is ideal to keep things simple and avoid tech headaches.
If you do go the BlueHost approach and get both your name and hosting there, then you’re in luck big time because you get a super handy video to follow below.
Step 3: Install WordPress on BlueHost (or your provider)
If you buy your domain name and get hosting at BlueHost, here’s a handy video.
If you were in situation 3 above and chose BlueHost then watch this video that walks you through setting up all the tech stuff.
Be sure to click to full screen and I apologize for the annoying clicking sound that got in there.
If you are NOT using BlueHost, then …
Since each host company needs to update and enhance their technology, the best way to install WordPress is to follow their most current instructions.
Hunt down that info.
Do not hesitate to call them if you struggle to find it or get stuck following it. Don’t waste your time.
Here are some of the popular hosting providers and their WordPress Setup documents.
BueHost – Again, remember you can use the video above to go from start to finish to buy your domain name, hosting and install WordPress. GO up to the video. But if you want their instructions for more detail, go here.
GoDaddy – You already bought your hosting and domain name at GoDaddy. Now follow this: Install WordPress. If your domain name is registered elsewhere, then I recommend you call GoDaddy and ask them to help you. The support phone number is right at the top of their website. The support is good.
HostGator – I wish they would update their website to something more modern. Here’s their How to Install WordPress instructions.
DreamHost – Their WordPress Installation instructions.
At this point, you can go complete the installation, and then come back for the WordPress videos below.
Step 4: Log into your freshly installed WordPress website.
To log into your website, once the installation is done, you simply go to the website’s address and add “/wp-admin” to the end.
Step 5: Have a play inside.
Here are two videos from the course, Client-Attracting Websites, to get you familiar with WordPress.
Video 1 of 2: A quick overview of what’s inside WordPress
Video 2 of 2: More play around inside WordPress.
In this video, we will install a theme, edit some content, and mess around with the menu.
Step 6. Post your new website address below!
You should do it because you’ll get search engine brownie points – meaning your website will get a small boost when related to the term “coaching”, thus helping it get found when people search on terms like “life coach” “business coach” or “career coach”.
And I’ll know that another coach is up online and out there growing their business.
Where to next, Kenn?
If you gotten this far, then a big congratulations on taking action. Sweet!
You’ve now gotten your domain name registered, your hosting account setup, and WordPress going.
You’re now ready to take over the world!
Here are a handful of things you can focus on next …
1. Plan for great content
In particular, here are 6 Big Questions Every Coach’s Website Should Answer. Be sure your website content answers those.
I suggest you begin by creating a sitemap (an outline) of the pages, purposes, content, and calls-to-action you want in your website.
Be sure to think about how the various elements of your website will strategically turn visitors into new client leads.
One model for a client-attracting website, the expert website, I discuss in The Coaching Site Guide. That guide has been incredibly handy for many coaches. Have a look at it.
2. Find a great theme design
A great theme has a modern design which means it’s visually appealing, well supported, and mobile.
I love the Divi theme by Elegant Themes for it’s ease of use and ability to quickly setup stunning pages.
You can also read more about the Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Websites for more ideas.
3. Be daring and choose a launch date
While you have WordPress freshly installed, your website is definitely not ready for the world because you need to add visuals, content, and functionality.
Getting the work done is a big challenge for many. Many coaches fail to launch due to procrastination, shiny-object syndrome, and writer’s block.
The move to make is to choose a gutsy launch date. Use the launch time estimator to help.
4. Create a welcome video
Pull together a short and simple way to introduce yourself to potential clients in a 1 to 2 minute video.
This exercise is a great way to get comfortable with verbalizing what you do.
Here are some articles to help you figure out what to say:
- Create a Short Message that Instanly Grabs Attention
- How to Get More Leads with Your Core Message
- A video about your core message
5. Write some killer articles
A super way to get your name out there (I do it, gurus do it, and I’m sure you’ve seen it before) is to write a great articles or blogs.
Having a kick-butt article that people love boosts your credibility and drives traffic to your website.
To write awesome articles that people want to rip open and read, use Santa’s MV technique.