So you want to know how good your coaching website is?
Well I ‘m here to tell you it’s fine. Not great, not horrible, but fine.
Websites are like personalities, everyone has one, but most of them are unremarkable. And that’s ok. You need one. Or you think you need one.
You want your website to portray a vaguely professional image.
You want to make it look like you’re a little (or alot) more successful than you are.
You want it to not be embarrassing.
And so your website mostly serves that purpose. It achieves a vague sense of mediocrity and a basic sense of style.
Your website is like a blue oxford button-down.
Your website is a polyester dress from H&M
Your website is the LL Bean catalog from 1997, but with worse graphic design.
And I don’t want to freak you out because that’s fine, but the truth is it could be better.
After doing a review of some websites for some coaches I know I noticed that most coaches websites are bad in the same way and so I’m going to break down what’s wrong with your coaching website in simple clear so that you can make yours better.
1) You’ve got too many calls to action –
Each page is like an invitation. So imagine receiving your website like an invite to a party. Where would you go?
Are you clear on the address of the event? The time? What about the attire or whether there will be food or not?
When I look at most coaches webpages, their sites ask you to do several things at once Sign up for an e-book, book a call, check out my three different services (which is really just coaching vaguely packaged in three different ways)
You want each page to be a clear invitation. An invitation that makes sense to why the person is on your page. Not many people are going to book a call right after they meet you. But they might sign up for your mailing list, or download a free resource. If you really just want them to book a call, cool.
But make the invite interesting…
What’s the call about?
What will they get?
What questions do they have?
How might you answer them?
One page, one call to action.
2) Your ‘stock’ images are also overused by everyone else on the internet –
Look I get it. I like Unsplash too. If you look at my Facebook or blog, you’ll find images other people have used. It’s not ideal but it happens. Enough people searching the same archive with similarish tastes are going to produce a similarish result.
But for your website it helps if you try and find images that are truly unique. Basically you want stock photos that don’t look stock.
My advice is to start by branching out – there are other photo sites on the internet you can check out. You can even reach out to photographers and ask them about using their images.
Next, search deeper – If you want a forest vibe for your site, don’t select the first image that pops up. Dig deeper into the archive you’re searching. Find something compelling and interesting. Challenge yourself.
It’s not something to spend a ton of time on, but it is something to pay attention to.
3) You have too many pages for people to click on –
Most coaches really need 3-4 pages on their site. A welcome page, an about page, a blog page, and a ‘work with me’ page.
Each page should have its own purpose and a specific call to action.
Your welcome page should be all about letting people know what you and your site are about and maybe inviting them to get more engaged with you, either by downloading something or signing up to your list.
Your about page should be about you, your story, how you found your way to becoming a coach, and why you keep doing it.
Your blog page should be about your writing and art. It might direct people to the best posts you have or it might just be a roll of your blogs.
Do you need more pages than this? No, in fact, you could probably have less.
So many coaches have lots and lots of pages all in an attempt to make themselves look like their businesses are bigger than they are. This probably isn’t necessary and generally may detract from the purpose of your site.
The purpose is to help people answer the key questions they have when coming to it.
Is this for me?
Can you help me?
Do I want to learn more?
4) You offer a ‘free consultation’ without giving any context for that consultation –
For some people wandering up to or messaging strangers and asking them if they’d like to have sex might work. But from what I’ve heard from women who are approached this way, the results aren’t great.
The reason this doesn’t work is that the invitation to get intimate doesn’t have any context or enrollment. And yet most coaching websites have a sort of immediate offer of intimacy.
Speak with me! is a common theme. You know that your coaching is your best asset, but it’s a big leap from ‘I just came to your website’ to ‘Sign up to share your deepest fears and dreams with me’
Which is why it’s important that you create some context and a reason for them to get on a call. What will happen on the call? What will they get? What problem is it going to solve for them?
If your offer is clear, then go ahead and make it. If not, you’re likely to get into trouble.
In general, I think email is a better way to offer a consultation. Get in people’s inbox, build value, offer something worth paying for, establish some credibility, and THEN offer a free call.
But if you have to offer it on your site, make sure you’re giving people a reason to say yes, in just the same way you might if you met them at a networking event. Or if you were trying to pick them up at a bar.
5) You don’t take any risks –
The goal of your website should not be to just have it look ‘adequate’ or ‘professional’ it should express a bit of who you are.
If you try to front like you’re a well established business you’ll likely end up looking boring. Instead, be willing to take a risk and express something different.
Tell people what you are about. Share a personal story
6) Your testimonials don’t have pictures –
Words are great, pictures are better. It’s a simple thing to add and it makes a big difference. When I can see the people who you have worked with, it helps me know they are real people.
7) You try to add too much information –
This happens because you want to establish authority, you want your site to seem legit, so you add a lot of information. You don’t need to.
Keep it simple, less is more.
What is it for?
Why is someone on your site?
What do they need to know?
What step or action do you want them to take?
Provide just enough information for this and then cut everything extra out.
Importantly though, publish your crappy website first and then edit down.
8) You spend too much time on graphics and not enough on copy –
The most important design element on your website are your words. Written, spoken, or video.. It’s all about your words.
Keep the graphics simple, incredibly simple, and let the words shine.
Spend 80% of your time on the words you use and 20% on the graphics or pictures.
Not that pictures don’t matter, they totally do (see #2).
People connect with what they read about you and the words invite them deeper. So use your words to deepen the connection. Use your words to create possibility. Use your words to enroll them.
USE. YOUR. WORDS.
9) You don’t tell your own story in a compelling way –
Your story is interesting. I know you don’t think it is, but it is. People want to know about you, they want to know how you became a coach, they want to know about the challenges you’ve faced, they want to know about what you care about.
Assume your story is interesting and tell it like that. If you’re not sure how, ask a good friend to tell your story and write it down or tell it to someone you trust and have them record it.
Your story is part of what people hire when they hire you. Don’t worry about your lack of experience or that you haven’t worked as a fortune 500 CEO. Tell your story! It will resonate with your people.
Oh and don’t just tell your story once, find a way to tell it over and over again.
10) Your URL is too long –
I know that soulcoach as a URL is taken, I know that coachingdojo.com is taken. Finding a good URL is hard, but in general if you want people to come to your site it’s better to come up with a short name. One that’s easy to remember.
So many times I try to go to a coach’s site and I type in the name and get it wrong. I try again. Wrong again. I go to their email and finally click on the link.
This is something you should test, call someone up and ask them to go to your URL, tell them what it is and ask them how it went for them if they got it wrong your URL is too long or confusing.
It’s not the end of the world if this happens, but it’s important..
The best URLs are short, simple, and easy to type in.
I even think samuraicoachingdojo is too long and have plans to shorten it to coachingdojo when we do our next redesign.
A URL should be easy for the user first and exactly what you want it to say second. I get that this can be hard to do , but it’s worth putting some time into. And of course if you need to start with your name and go from there. You can always change your URL later.
The Bottom Line
Ok ok I know you probably hate your site now. Interestingly enough I don’t love my site either. I saw a BUNCH of these problems on my site.
And my business is doing just fine.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t publish your site. It doesn’t mean you should spend years on it. Take a weekend and get your site up. Try to work on the things I listed above over time, you don’t need to spend hours making a site, keep it simple.
While these things will help your site appeal to your customers, getting into conversations with people matters WAY more.
Everything I listed above are the things that annoy me about coaching websites, but none of them are fatal. Mostly you should enjoy the process of creating your site. You should try not to take yourself too seriously and you should speak from your heart.
If you do that, you’ll probably be ok. And of course I hope these suggestions help you create a site that is simple and shows people an aspect of your heart.