Do I Need a Website for my Coaching Business?

on 22 September 2019

Do I really need a website?

With billions of websites on the internet, it seems like every business and their dog has one! But as a coach who offers a service, rather than a tangible product, do you need a website? Is it the missing key to your success, or is it a distraction from work and clients?

Well here’s the thing. 

A website can be an invaluable tool for your business. But it can also create a strain on your time (if you’re building it yourself) and money (if you’re investing in someone else to create it for you). 

So let’s consider six key questions to get you on the right track so that you’re not spending time unnecessarily focussing on the wrong task, or spending money unwisely. 

WHO – Is the website for?

WHAT  – Are you going to put on the website?

WHEN – In the lifetime of your business do you build a website?

WHERE – Do you host and promote your website?

WHY – Do you want a website?

HOW  – Will you use your website?

Let’s dive in, figure out if a website is right for you, what other alternatives you may have, and some best practices to make sure that if you do build a website, it becomes a hugely profitable asset for your coaching business.

When is the best time to build a website, and do I even need one?

Great question.

The truth is, a website is not critical for every business, especially when you’re just starting out.

But most coaches feel some sense of urgency as everyone else has one, and it’s one more thing to tick off the task list. And it’s true, that your potential clients will look for a website, and in the long-run, it is likely to be harmful to your business growth, not to have one. So it is the logical step.

However, I have quite strong views about people NOT building a website when they first start out in their coaching business. There’s a tendency to get excited and feel pressure to build a website because it makes their business feel more ‘real’. Actually, it’s a distraction from what’s most important during the first six months, which is gaining clients.

Gaining clients is important not only from a financial perspective but also because businesses grow and evolve in those first 6 months and any website built in that timeframe would be quickly outdated in terms of your offerings. Also, you gain a solid understanding of your client’s needs and requirements when you’re actually working with them.

The solution? Build a landing page which is a one-page website which outlines what you do at this moment in time.

Here is a landing page which I built for a client whilst she was waiting for my WordPress Success Bootcamp to start: https://breatheandheal.org/.

It does 4 main things:

1) Uplevels your mindset around your business – because you have a real destination on your website which you can send traffic to – you can have business cards/flyers printed without worrying about including a website address with nothing on it.

2) Gives visitors to your website enough information about the work that you do to pique their interest.

3) Starts building your domain credibility in the eyes of the search engines.

4) Enables you to set up a funnel to a lead magnet if you already have a free resource which you could offer, so starts you building your email list from the outset.

Ultimately, your website is a crucial part of your online marketing. But it will work so much harder for you once you have a very clear idea of who you’re working with, how they benefit from the work that you do with them, and the transformations that they will achieve. And 6 months into running your business, these points will become so much clearer than when you’re just starting out.

So 6 months into your business is a perfect time to invest time and money into your website.

So, now you’re ready for a website, what are the benefits of having one?

Below are 7 benefits of having a website. Depending on where you are with your business, a website could help with one, some or even all of the following areas.

  • Builds Trust
  • Improves SEO (Makes it easier to find you on Google)
  • Builds Credibility
  • Delivers Value
  • Gathers Leads
  • Converts Visitors to Clients
  • Allows You to Scale

Each one of these can have a huge impact on your business, so let’s delve a little deeper into each one.

1. Builds Trust

Every sale relies on trust, and actually, the main purpose of your website should be to establish trust. There is literally no getting away from it – without developing trust, you will not gain a single client.

2. Improves SEO (Makes it easier to find you on Google)

Ranking on Google can be hard, but success here is a game-changer. Think about the last time you searched for something online. Did you click on something on the first page? Perhaps you went onto the second page? How often have you searched through three or more pages? The internet has made us impatient for answers and results, and because of this, results on the first page of Google are receiving 91% of all Google traffic. And when you consider that currently 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search, and 12 Billion of those searches (per month) are on Google, you definitely want to be there if you can. Think of Google as a busy high street. Higher footfall means you get seen more. And the more you get seen, the more leads (and therefore sales) you are likely to generate.

3. Builds Credibility

Having a website shows that you are taking your website seriously. This is as important for your own mindset as for building credibility for your visitors. It’s an opportunity to showcase who you really are, some of the results you have gained for clients in the past, and how you’re going to show up for them if they decide to work with you.

4. Delivers Value

A successful website, especially for service businesses, focuses on delivering huge value long before asking for a sale. When you deliver great content for free, people start actively looking for your paid programmes! This is because we naturally begin to wonder, “If this is what I am getting for free, what will I get if I pay them??” Using your website to deliver great content is the main driver of every other point on this list!

5. Gathers Leads

You have undoubtedly signed up to something on a website in the past. It’s a simple but highly successful method of growing an email list. A visitor to a site signs up for a free resource by submitting their email address. In return, they receive the resource, and often receive follow up emails and an invitation to buy something too, or to apply for a free strategy session/discovery call. 

6. Converts visitors to clients

Architecting a journey on your website to take visitors from a state of curiosity to one where they want to commit to working with you is the ultimate aim of your website

7. Allows You to Scale

This is where your business really begins to take off to the next level. As a coach, working with clients 1:1 is undoubtedly fulfilling, but gives you very little scope to scale your business because you are constrained by how many hours in a day you have. Once you’re fully booked, the only way to grow your earning potential with this model is to increase your prices.  

Your website offers you scope to offer and sell group coaching, host memberships and so much more.

What Are Some Of The Best Practices Of Building A Website For A Coaching Business?

Well, let’s go back to the very start of this article, with those key points.

WHO – Is the website for? 

It is important to know who you are trying to reach. If you don’t know, then your message will be completely diluted in the noise of the other . If you’re trying to connect with everyone, you will undoubtedly connect with no one. Identify your ideal client and 

WHAT – Are you going to put on the website?

Content is crucial, and you need to be strategic about what content you are going to create. And don’t forget, that our attention spans are greatly reduced online, so cut the waffle.

If you’re struggling with what to include on your home page, this blog post will talk through the crucial elements for your home page.

WHEN – In the lifetime of your business do you build a website?

Are you in start-up mode? In which case, you should focus on sales before a website. Or are you further along, with a clear message and client avatar, and are ready to take the next step in your business?

WHERE – Do you host and promote your website?

Choosing the right hosting platform can be important. It doesn’t have to be expensive but beware of providers that offer suspiciously low rates. These are often overcrowded servers that will slow your website down, massively reducing your online rankings. Also, think about how you are going to promote your site. You want the process your customers to go through to feel as simple and as organic as impossible, to keep them engaged and more likely to buy.

WHY – Do you want a website?

This is crucial. If you want a website because your business is failing, you are probably looking for a fix in the wrong place. A website is a multiplier for what is working well in your business. If your business model isn’t working, you need to figure out why and fix it, before exerting a lot of effort building a website. Your website is an asset for delivering all the 7 cornerstones we spoke about above, so be sure to have clarity on the purpose of your website before getting started. 

HOW – Will you use your website?

As important as this is, it is also the one to worry the least about. How you use your website can, and should, evolve and change over time. Marketing practices, the internet, and even the way customers act changes over time, and your business needs to adapt to match. But be careful – jumping from one thing to another too often will dilute your message, and will stop you from unleashing your marketing potential. A good rule of thumb to follow is to create a marketing plan, and stick with it for a minimum of 3 months, then reassessing how successful it has or hasn’t been.

What kind of elements should I consider including on my website? 

Having a plan before you dive straight into the creative process is critical to a successful web project for you. Elements to consider including when you build your website are:

  • Home page – this is where most people will arrive on your site, and it has less than 3 seconds to not only make a good impression but to inform visitors exactly what you do.
  • About Page – What do you do, who do you do it for, and why you do it – this is often your most visited page after your Home page
  • Sign up pages – these are critical for growing your list. Make them clear, simple and easily accessible
  • Blog – A great place to deliver valuable content and keep your website up to date!
  • Contact Details – Make getting in touch with you or your business as easy as possible, or you will lose leads
  • Testimonials – We live in an age of online reviews (think TripAdvisor and Amazon reviews). There’s little that builds trust and authority faster than social proof
  • Social Sharing Buttons – Get people engaged with you on social media and you can indoctrinate them with your brand to create highly engaged fans out of your followers
  • Make it easy to buy from you – If you have something to sell online, maximise your returns, by making the process quick, easy and painless. This applies for people booking discovery calls too. Using a third party provider like Acuity makes this a slick process.
  • Clear CTA – In everything you do, provide a clear next step for your audience and guide them seamlessly down the journey towards being a valued customer.

 So, The Burning Question!
Do You Need A Website For Your Coaching Business?

Every individual business and person is different, and as a coach, you will be well aware that there is no such thing as one size fits all. But there are some basic guidelines you can follow to get a feel for whether you should have one or not.

If you are just starting out, focus on sales above everything else. No sales = no income. No income = no business. No business means you aren’t helping anyone. Create a foundation of stability, then focus on building up. There is a real tendency to get excited and feel pressure to build a website because it can make your business feel more ‘real’. Whereas in reality, it’s a distraction from what’s most important during the first six months, which is gaining clients.

Ultimately, your website is a crucial part of your online marketing. But it will work so much harder for you once you have a very clear idea of who you’re working with, how they benefit from the work that you do with them, and the transformations that they will achieve. And 6 months into running your business, these points will become so much clearer than when you’re just starting out. So 6 months is a perfect time to invest time and money into a full website.

Before Starting, Consider Whether Some of these Free Website Alternatives Could Work For You

Building a website doesn’t have to be expensive – far from it!

In fact, have a look here to find out what a WordPress website really costs. Think of a website as a multiplier for what you already have in place. There are many online sources you can use to build up your reputation, and utilising even one of these can have great results when you do create a website. Let’s take a look at a few options:

Facebook

With nearly 2 and a half billion users monthly, the platform is huge and global.

Facebook has put considerable effort into making the platform great for businesses, with a whole host of advertising and analytic options available.

That said, the platform has also made efforts to ensure that users aren’t pestered by companies that they aren’t interested in, which can make getting visible more challenging.

But as a free place to store testimonials and business information, plus having the ability to create groups to keep your audience engaged and challenged, (don’t forget using them to create free Facebook challenges that create powerful sales funnels!), Facebook is an amazing place to begin with.

Instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and integrates well, both personally and as a business, but where it sets itself apart is its format.

It is entirely visual, and for a business that is creative, and lends well to a visual medium, it can capture the attention of your audience really well. It also tends to have a younger audience demographic than Facebook, which is something worth keeping in mind.

Plus the Insta Stories feature allows businesses to connect their audience with their brand message and story.

Twitter

Twitter is very different from Facebook and Instagram.

It does away with long format posts and focuses on condensing messages down. It is also seen as an immediate, up-to-date platform, and is often far ahead of websites and even news channels for information.

Twitter can be a great place to connect with your audience, and also comes with a host of business tools, such as ads and analytics.

Pinterest

This is a very powerful platform for creative and service-based businesses.

It is a visual platform that allows users to curate content for others to see. This can make finding relevant content very easy, which is a useful tool for grabbing the attention of potential leads.

In contrast to Instagram, it enables you to link directly to posts which can have a massive impact on your blog traffic. While the business tools it offers aren’t as sophisticated as some of the other channels mentioned here, there are plenty of coaches that successfully use it to drive high volumes of traffic, and is definitely a platform worth considering.

LinkedIn

Think Facebook for businesses.

LinkedIn has become a hugely popular social media channel for businesses and professionals and can be a perfect place for your business in terms of networking and generating leads. You can store long-form articles, create amazing professional portfolios and reach out to a huge network of potentially interested people. And there are also powerful premium tools, that allow you to connect directly with individuals you normally wouldn’t have access to, and refine your search based on important factors such as industry, level of seniority, or even specific job roles. If you work with professionals and corporates, this can be a fantastic platform for you.

Scratching the surface

 

And there are plenty of other social media options too. So you’re probably getting the idea that social media can offer some great, free options, and if you are just starting out, it may be better to start with one of these and branch out as you gain success, testimonials and credibility.

Remember that this list is not exhaustive! Depending on your type of business, you may even want to consider one of the following;

Yell

Yell is an online directory for business, and is a place where you can have your “online shop front”. It can store reviews, testimonials, and if you have one, can direct people to your website. I would always resist the option to run with a Yell website, as I’ve never yet heard anyone have a good experience with it, but the listings may be a good option for you.

Online Marketplaces

Think Amazon, Groupon, Udemy, Etsy and Shopify. Some of these platforms are designed specifically for online retailers, but if you’re wanting to get your courses out to a wider audience at a discounted rate, the likes of Groupon and Udemy offer visibility that you may be hard-pushed to find elsewhere.

So in summary

Do you need a website?

Yes.

Do you need one right now?

That depends. If you’re in your first 6 months of business, you may be better to hang fire.

Resist the temptation to jump straight into the process. And if you want to explore this further, hop onto a free discovery call with me so I can give you some guidance as to when maybe the best time for you, and give you a roadmap to work from when you do dive in.

And if you’re thinking of joining my WordPress Success Bootcamp, I’ll even build that professional holding page for you so you have something fabulous right from the outset.

Heads up! This post may contain affiliate links. It means that if you buy something through one of those links, you won't pay a penny more, but I may receive a small commission in return for referring you to the site. It enables me to provide more quality content for other people starting out, and it helps keep the wolf from the door.

You can read my full affiliate disclaimer here. 

Vicky Etherington

Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2016 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites using her proven signature program, The WordPress Success Bootcamp.

A mini-mastermind on how to launch online, the Bootcamp is about so much more than website creation – it’s about rising above the noise, thriving at entrepreneurship, mastering technology with confidence and staying on track. You can join today

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