When it comes to your coaching or consulting business, a website is a must. Whether you already have a website you are looking to improve or you are starting your online presence for the first time, read on for our top 12 tips.
Getting Started with a Website
1. Pick a simple, professional domain name. Your domain name—whatever you decide you want to follow “www.”—is the face of your online presence. It adds professionalism and legitimacy to your business, and it makes it easier for people to look you up and learn more about your services. Also known as a URL or web address, your domain name should be simple and relevant so that you don’t overcomplicate things for potential visitors to your site. We recommend starting out with your name, e.g., www.janesmith.com or www.janesmith.me, but be careful if your name is difficult to spell! Plus, you can use an email address tied to the domain, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, which is much more professional than emailing clients from email@example.com; plus, it reminds clients to check out your site! To find an available domain, look at sites like GoDaddy (our favorite) and Namecheap to see your options.
2. Be open to buying more than one domain. We recommend starting with one, but you can always add more domains down the road that point visitors to your main address. For example, our domain, level7websites.com, can also be reached by someone who types in levelsevenwebsites.com, since it redirects to our main site. If your business name could have some alternate spellings, consider buying more than one domain name to cover all your bases.
3. Keep it simple. A simple website is significantly better than no website at all! When you start out, don’t worry about having a fully fleshed-out site. Avoid turning your website project into a black hole by focusing your energy on creating one page to start. Share your name, who you are, what you do as a coach/consultant, and how people can contact you. That’s all you need! A great rule of thumb is to invest in your website to where you are with your business at this particular moment. You can start out using a do-it-yourself service like Squarespace with an inexpensive monthly fee. Once you start growing your client base and developing your niche, you can expand your website to include more features and information about you, your business, and your brand—you can always rework your website and rebrand later if need be.
The Key Elements of a Strong Website
4. Grab their attention with a banner. Start at the top with a banner or logo. Websites often include a logo on the left-hand side of the page. You can include some simple text, like a headline or tagline for your business, so that new visitors to your site quickly have a sense of who you are and what you’re about. When thinking about what text to include at the top of your site, keep it short and sweet so your visitors know who are you from the start—and want to read on to learn more!
5. Connect with your niche. Now that you’ve grabbed the reader’s attention, it’s time to include some writing that connects with your niche. Talk about what you do, and angle it in a way that will prompt your ideal audience to think, “She’s talking about me. She understands what I’m going through!” Keep it short so that people are more likely to keep reading. It you’re a leadership coach, think about one or two paragraphs that start by asking, “Are you challenged by how to lead your team? Are you trying to find the best way to make them productive?” If you’re a weight loss coach, you can start with something like, “I know you’re tired of never-ending diets. I can help you overcome that.” If you’re newer to coaching/consulting and aren’t at the point of targeting a specific audience, go ahead and share some more general information about coaching and how you can help. The great thing about websites is that you can always edit them later as your business evolves.
6. Show your face. Don’t be shy! Including a photo is a great way to let your audience know you’re a real person they can connect with. On a simpler site, you can include it right on the homepage. As your site grows, it can live on your About page (see #9 below), for example. We recommend a professionally done photo. When possible, make it specific to your niche. If you’re a leadership coach, your photo should probably be a bit traditional. Maybe you’ll wear more formal business attire, or you’ll use a more corporate headshot. If you’re a health coach, you might go with a photo at a fitness center or in the kitchen making a healthy recipe. A life awareness or life purpose coach might choose to have a photograph at the beach or in a yoga pose.
7. Offer an opt-in. An opt-in is a great feature to add to your website; it’s an opportunity for a visitor to share their email address with you in exchange for something valuable. You could share a free e-book you wrote, a tip sheet, or a video that would be attractive to your target audience. Be sure to share something concise—most people won’t read a 300-page book, but if you give them something that demonstrates your expertise and has just enough value to pique their interest, you can build connections with potential new clients. Also, you can add the email they shared to your newsletter mailing list. Your opt-in should be prominently displayed on your website so it attracts the visitor’s eye.
8. Create a call to action. Every page on your website, especially your homepage, should include a next step for your reader. This call to action, or CTA for short, is what you want people to do next. This can be as simple as “Call me for a free 30-minute trial session,” or “Contact me to learn more about our business.” A more expanded website could include a call to action on every page along the lines of “Click here to learn more about my services.” The most common CTA is usually encouraging someone to contact you, but it could also direct someone to read an article or download a workbook.
9. Share an About page. With a more expanded website, you can dedicate an entire page to your bio. Your About page can include a bit about who you are, why you do what you do, and what makes you special and unique. You can also add information about any degrees and certifications you might have to strengthen your life story.
10. Walk visitors through your services—and make it easy to get in touch. Dedicate a page to talking about different areas you work with clients on and how you can help. You can also promote workshops and events you have coming up. Make it easy for people to get in touch with clear contact information. It can even go on its own page on your site. Some people include a contact form, others include an email address and a phone number; whatever you choose, make it easy and obvious for potential clients.
11. Shine a light on your successes. Talk to your peers—preferably on the phone or in person—and ask open-ended questions about your business and services. Write down their answers and ask if it’s okay to post what they said as a testimonial. (This makes testimonials as easy as possible for the people providing them for you.)
12. Be social. You can connect your website to social media sites you use to expand and promote your brand. Include links to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest accounts to better connect with people on your site.
At Level 7 Website, I design JUST for coaches and consultants.
As a certified professional coach who has 10+ years of marketing experience, I know what coaches and consultants need to establish themselves online.
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