wordpress for coach websites

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Websites


It’s REALLY tough if you’re a new coach and you’re thrown in the wonderful world of WordPress and you want to find a great theme for your website. There are so many options which boast so many features – it can take hours to days to find your way.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

When it comes to themes for your website (themes are ready-made designs for WordPress) you may be wondering, which is best, which is cheapest, which do you recommend? Which works best for coaches?

All are great questions and sadly, there’s no one best answer simply because there are too many variables involved. They can all work to some degree or other.

In this article, I will share with you my experience, thoughts, and suggestions to help you find your way through the theme forest.

There are loads of themes out there, and I, an expert website designer, have seen quite a few. But you may be surprised, that I do NOT spend 24/7 tinkering with all of the toys out there. There’s more technology out there than I could possibly know in a lifetime – plus, in a year’s time, things will evolve and change.  I can’t say which is, hands down, the best. But I can give you some guidance.

One quick warning as you venture to find the perfect coaching WordPress theme: Graphics. Graphics can suck up your time, big time! And new coaches go for the eye candy. But after hours upon hours of searching and doubly more hours trying to tweak a theme (themes are fun to learn and play with), you’ll likely find yourself settling for a far less than perfect visual design. Beware not to get too hung up on visuals.

My biggest suggestion is to focus more of your efforts on the strategy (how will your website convince visitors you’re a great coach and contact you), the content (is it easy to understand, motivating and presents you as an expert?), and getting out there (getting traffic). I wrote lots about this in The Coaching Website Guide.

Let me share with you the top themes I’ve seen and my experiences with them.

Elegant Themes

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

I’ve used them often with clients and students and their very popular Divi theme is what I use today.

Their other themes are beautiful. Their proprietary builder is quite slick and works well for creating pages that look good once you spend some time learning how to use it (not too much time, but there is a ramp-up period). 

They also have neat modules that make handling basic content (text, images) very easy and let you do advanced things very quickly like adding forms, video and even a countdown thingie.

Elegant Themes is inexpensive but does require an annual membership fee. You do get access to all of their themes for that fee.

Quick Tip: SimplePress is one of their themes that I’ve used. If you try it out, get rid of the sliding images on the home and get some juicy client-focused content up high on the page.

Support seemed to be ok the few times I used it.

Rachel Hill’s website was built using the Divi theme.

Yes, Elegant Themes is absolutely worth a look.

The Coaching Site Guide

Take a great looking theme and make it a client-attracting machine with content, structure, and calls-to-action from The Coaching Website Guide.

StudioPress (Genesis Framework)

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

Lots of gurus promote this theme. And while they are a little more costly, nearing 100 bucks, their designs are nice and strong and people tout the search engine marketing tools within.

The minus, way back, I’ve been inside their themes a few times and found myself, as I do with all themes, spending too much time figuring out the environment. I don’t like big ramp up learning curves. Simple is always better (just like how Google beat Yahoo).

It’s been a while, and probably worth another look as I run across them in from time to time in various coaching circles.

I’d recommend Studio Press and the Genesis Framework if one of their themes grabs you if you have a developer who is already familiar with them or has some sort of support or training on hand.

DIYTHemes (Thesis)

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

Back in the day when they first came out, I poked around. They tout good SEO abilities, and they may have a few nice tools and features, but in my SEO experience, it’s more about your strategy than any individual theme.

I’ve felt their buzz quiet over the years. I haven’t spent much time with them in the last five or so. I couldn’t say more about them, except they are still out there, plugging away.

A quick look at their sales page tells me they’ve gone into more visual appeal in their designs. Every coach wants a great looking website without spending loads. I do like their web 2.0 style (a move to simplicity) of their sales page. If you have used them, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

I’ve used them for a few years and all I can say is, what a mess. And by that, I mean too complicated on the inside. Too confusing with their “double names” … which is it? PageLines? or PlatformPro? I got so confused. They need to ditch “PlatformPro” or name it something that sounds more like a theme than a theme company.

The themes look nice, clean, minimal. They do boast a “drag and drop” framework, but last time I toyed with that, about three years ago, I don’t recall it making life any more amazing. I left them for WooThemes.

It’s been over 7 years since I’ve poked around their stuff and I see that they’ve made some updates since then.


Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

They are definitely famous for BackupBuddy, a nice piece of software for automated backups.

One time, several years ago I used a theme by iThemes. It was complicated. Also, their website is complicated due to their promoting their sister sites which you’re probably not interested in. I abhor complicated!

Their theme names are confusing to me as well. Some of their themes seem more like platforms or parent themes rather than full-on workable themes by themselves. Already it’s getting too confusing. I dislike confusion.

They may have some good themes, but I resist exploring.

Theme Forest

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

I haven’t used them but I did peek into their themes a while back. I took a fresh look at their home page and they’ve got pricing “starting at $1”.

They are providing something of a market place for theme authors and buyers (you). Web designers can go there sell their themes (nice). You can rate them (cool). But when it comes back to my likes in a theme provider (save time and good for client-attraction), you’ll probably struggle here.

You’ll struggle because there are so many themes and are authored by various people.

One time I bought a theme for an ebook, only to find it was broken and the theme creator was inaccessible. That sucked.

Headway Themes

headway themes
I’ve run across a handful of websites from good coaches who have used this nicely. I’ve messed around with their stuff a long time ago and I recall it being a positive experience. I do wish their homepage didn’t feel cheeky – but I don’t discount fun/cheeky because good talent often comes with a fun sense of humor.

They do center their marketing message around drag-n-drop for business owners, designers, freelancers, and hobbyists.

What I like

  • They don’t sell multiple themes just their site building structure. It’s simple.
  • They have a ginormous page of example sites, many for coaches, on their customer’s page. Totally worth a look.

I can’t say more about them, and they are worth another look. If you try them out or are currently using them, please post below. I’d love to hear what your experience has been.

In Summary

So yes, I know that’s quite a bit to take in. The main thing I’d suggest you pay attention to is your time. Choose a theme provider that will save you time. Which means …

  • Find a theme that’s easy-to-work-with.
  • Ensure there’s good, responsive support around.
  • Try not to fuss with the design too much, just choose one that looks good, and focus on copy and strategy.
  • Aim for themes that are simplistic and not too flashy, else things get confusing and messy fast.
  • Again, a reminder to spend your time mostly on content, strategy and how that will play into your marketing.

Surely, have fun with it. Enjoy the creative process. But beware that themes and technology can suck up a lot of time – often stealing the dreams of many.

Oh, and if you don’t have a solid plan for pages, content, and strategy, then …

You’ll want to check out these articles.

And grab a copy of The Coaching Website Guide to turn your theme into a client-attraction machine.

I’d love to hear from you. Post below.

Have you gone cross-eyed? What themes have you tried? Are you looking to try? What have you found to work and not work? What advice would you share from your experience? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.

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  1. Most free themes pretty much suck 😉
    I have seen a few goodies, but they are the rare bird.
    You could give them a try and see how you go – but I’d be worried about lack of support.
    Love to see what you find out. Post your new site here when it’s up and we’ll have a look.
    Be sure to think about your content/sitemap as well, often doing so before you build helps.

      1. Hey Scott … thanks for mentioning them.

        I’ve dabbled with their stuff a the founder’s efforts to “next level” things. Real nice.

        I’ve found it some work and a bit clunky a few years back to get going, so I resisted. Also the pricing was very high.

        Technology is funky because on one hand you can do well with a few basic tools (big hammer vs small hammer do the job well for making a tree house) but some times you’ll run into a nail gun and it’s a new level.

        In the end, the things I think matter are good copy, lightweight theme, good experience, good marketing principles at work, and some muscle to get work done.

        The exact tech matters less than the strategy behind the business / approach.

        I haven’t dived deep into thrive themes in a while. I’d rather focus on approaches / techniques / content / conversion. (Yes, they boast a lot about conversion in their stuff).

        You? Where are you at? Considerations and needs? What is most vital to you in your efforts/goals now? Super curious.

  2. My web host (Green Geeks) offers a number of free Word Press themes. Do you think any of the free themes are worth considering for a coaching website?

  3. Kenn! thanks for the help you provide. Great value.

    What are your thoughts on the Enfold template from Theme Forest?

    My new site must accommodate:
    private logins
    downloading area

    1. Last time I was in Theme Forest, I got lost in the woods. And I bought unsupported, clunky themes. Trouble.

      Your new site … seems like a tall order. Are you aiming for 1-1 clients and have only a few right now? 😉

      There’s what you need and then there’s A LOT OF what you don’t need. 😉

  4. Hi Kenn,

    Thanks for all this great information. What do you think about Nexusthemes? They have job specific themes that cost $75. I am creating my career coaching website and I have gotten stuck on which theme to choose. Do you think its worth what you pay for? Thanks! Clair

    1. Hi Clair. I’ve seen it but didn’t mess around with it.

      One tech trap that will kill a business is endless research and/or overanalysis. I know a few good themes that I’ve used, tried and I’ve seen quite a few.

      Divi is pretty good for simplicity, modenrness.

      Also like the Canvas theme by Woothemes. Flexible, and clean and light for search engines, and great for having a designer work with you. I posted some design files that you can get with the guide I sell on the guide page.

      Just make sure your theme will do what you want with 80% confidence, and give it a go. Don’t spend forever researching or playing around.

  5. Hey Chris.

    Thanks for popping in and sharing your thoughts.

    I know themes are great when presented and often tough to tweak even alittle. Things get messy fast.

    I like the idea of “marrying a theme” and not “trying to change it”.

    Oh, thanks for the link issue too … so much to watchout for, so little time. 😉

    One thing I’d say, is if you’re really seeking 1-1 clients, to get say 10 regulars, paying, think about what you truly need to realize that in terms of website functionality. I don’t think you need much more than great content, email list, and good strategy session offer.

  6. Hi Kenn,

    What I find the most frustrating when shopping for a theme, is you find one that really looks great, you buy and install, and what you get, never even looks close to the representation of what spurred you to buy in the first place.

    When you start going through the motions to add the features and try and set it up like they did, you never get close to the way it was shown at the time of sale.

    I think web editors would be very smart if they added a “complete” version that was already set up exactly like they have it represented minus just the photos, videos, etc. They could actually charge a premium and I know there have to be more people out there like me… 🙂

    I too am setting up a coaching website, and I seem to find magazine layouts to appeal to my needs the best. One thing I’m leery of though, is making sure that I find a very robust magazine layout that will allow me to completely build into it a lot of other fundamental values that I need. ie, learning platform, customer login with management reports, feedback and different levels of comment section viewing, shopping cart for both digital material and online learning courses, etc.

    Plus I need to have a strong plugin that will give me a great video and podcast sections that is both open to public and tiered by customer membership level, etc.

    And last, something that helps me tremendously with my marketing campaigns and website analytics…

    I really like the “Gazette” layout from WooThemes but worried that it does not have the backbone for the other robust items I want to add..

    Your thoughts…

    And FYI, I followed your initial link to WooThemes(above) and that program you use, http://zferral.com/company_blocked/woothemes – Shows that you are “blocked”. I thought you would certainly want to know that.. 🙂

    Look forward to your feedback, thanks!

  7. Hi Kenn,

    It might be worth building something all inclusive for coaches. I know Frank from the same coaching program. There are a bunch of us coach students and graduates who are emerging from the same place seeking the exact same solutions based on the recommendations made in the business module of our coaching program. New cohorts of student coaches begin their training twice a year (Spring & Fall). I started a secret Business Startup group for fellow students and coaches to help with the online startup side of their business. Perhaps we should connect and talk.


  8. Nice info, ken, but I’m a little disappointed you didn’t include any themes with built-in features that would be used by most coaches: optins, client-only access areas, email integration (for autoresponders, newsletters, client list), shopping cart… I’m fairly new to this, so maybe I just don’t understand that it’s understood that you need to use lugins or third-party services for all these functions… I found a few themes that seem to include at least some of these features: WP Professional and Coach Pro… thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Frank … thanks for your comment. I’ve not found any themes with built-in features for coaching. One should be made and/or there may have been one out there that has surfaced, and I say to myself, I should probably create this.

      Also, each coach approaches their biz differently and so needs different features.
      Also, there are companies who do shopping carts with a massive team of people, same for email lists.

      Coach Pro and WP Professional … I’ll have a look at this, thanks for bringing them up. I’ll probably blog about them, my likes dislikes.

  9. Hi Ken,

    I am trying to find a theme just like the one that you use for this site. Specifically one that allows for a picture profile to be used for the header. I like that instant connection that this type of template conveys. I feel that this is especially important in the realm of internet coaching.

    Any help would be appreciated


    1. Hey Maggie. Thanks for asking.

      I’ve no idea about profits. Seems like a cheecky site, visually, so I don’t expect any good visual design – BUT visuals aren’t everything. The question I’d ask, and if you do use them, please let me know later on, how fast and easy it is to work with. How well does it support “profits”?

      The other theme company boasts “themes with small biz owner in mind” … means nothing to me. I think all theme companies are for that kind of person / web designers. I think they need to be more specific … maybe “simplest to setup” is what they should boast.

      So … I dunno, but nothing stands out as special by a quick glance.

      I’d LOVE to hear back if you explore those.

      My motivation for woothemes is that their canvas theme is easy for me, a web designer to manage for my clients, clean and simple, and they give good support. They are a company on the cutting edge, so that I respect. They also aim for simplicity in their business handlings, another thing I love. They evolve nicely.

      Again, my main points for any good theme provider are: (1) fast and easy to use themes, (2) great support, (3) a company that’s makes the effort to improve and is good at figuring out what makes things very easy for us end users.

      Great to have your questions here.

  10. I build all my own and client sites with WordPress now and I have used all the themes you have mentioned. My top two favourites are Elegant Themes and Studio Press.

    Most of mys sites now use Studio Press. Genesis is awesome! Beautiful, well supported and so customisable. I love it and just keep coming back to it for every new site.

    1. Hi Jeannie. Great to have you here. How much time are you spending tweaking Genesis to work for clients? And besides beautiful, what few other aspects do you love about Genesis?

    2. If you are a non techie person who do not know PHP, html or css or you have basic knowledge and are not confident in what you know I have found Genesis to be a valuable website framework as a go to. The Genesis community does not start and end with studiopress.

      There are a lot of new theme shops currently on the market and more coming in who specialize in the Genesis framework.

      A lot has changed with Genesis since this post in 2012 that makes it easy to purchase a theme and launch a website but like everything else do your research first. Make sure that the theme features are what you are looking for. Once you have invested in the Genesis framework the first time, the only thing you will ever have to get is a child theme whenever you feel like swapping out your website look. So in the first instance, it may cost you at least $100.00 plus any taxes you may have to pay, but after you can reuse the same framework and only purchase child themes.

      1. Cool Michelle. First time I went in there (and I’m super nerdy) I messed around and said to myself, “huge learning curve”.

        And while I like learning and technology, eternal learning is very bad for business as a web designer.

        Plus, I’ve found that it’s more about the strategy and smart use of a good theme than it is about any one specific theme.

        You sound excited about Genesis. Great!

        It sounds like things may have changed. I may have to take a look again.

  11. Hi Kenn, thanks for the article. I know my way around WordPress and know some of the theme providers you mention. Woothemes have a more limited choice but their support is good. ThemeForest have a wide range of themes with widely varying quality and functionality (often reflected in the price) but, as you indicated, support is not the best, because they leave it up to the theme designer (for each theme, there is a comment section where you can ask the theme designer directly). My personal experience of TF’s own support seems to be more about selling you services or where you can complain if you don’t get a response from the theme designer. Saying that, I bought themes from them and, as long as the theme works as it should and is easy to understand and implement, then you can get some really good stuff. The other theme providers I don’t know.

    As a warning to the uninitiated: before you buy any theme, check that the company you are buying from is really bone fide. No telephone number, no contact details, no address, no names, a WHOIS search brings up no address? All that you have is a web form or a Skype address? Don’t buy anything from them.

    1. Great points Donal. And thanks for voicing your experience here. Happy to hear what you’ve got to say. Funny, as a web guy, even though I find a great theme for some clients, I find I spend too much time modifying it to work. Hence my attract to Canvas from WooThemes. Just great to work with one theme, get the basics into the site, design it up nicely, and it works well for the client attraction strategy I suggest to clients.

      You find too much time spent tweaking?

      Thanks for chiming in!