In this article
In this article I’ll provide an overview of the entire process of building a website for your coaching business with WordPress. We’ll cover a lot of ground, so check out the table of contents below to easily navigate your way around.
Please note that this article contains NO affiliate links. Any links you see are simply there for you to easily check out the tools that we’ll discuss.
Put simply, WordPress is the most flexible option out there. WordPress will always be able to grow with your business, and there is nothing you won’t be able to do with WordPress. WordPress’s popularity means there is an abundance of tools that have been made to support exactly what you wish to achieve. It also means there is a huge amount of advice and support available online.
WordPress has been around for a long time. It’s continually evolving and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That is not to say there aren’t other good platforms out there, some people love Wix, Squarespace and Webflow. Some of these platforms might try to make things a little simpler for you, but every product has a learning curve, and not every product can promise to always be able to cater to your every business need.
If you’d like to build your website yourself, WordPress will certainly take some time and dedication to get to grips with. To be honest, so will the other platforms too, even if a little less. If you can, you would certainly be better off hiring someone experienced to build your website, while you focus on creating the high quality content it needs.
Why not WordPress?
Although WordPress is by far my preferred tool for this type of website, it would only be fair to consider some of its downsides.
- There is quite a bit of a learning curve at first and some people find it tricky to use.
- You have to arrange and pay for web hosting, plus learn how to use it. This might include installing a security certificate for example. This is all quite possible to learn and master, but you’ll need to make an effort to do so.
- It’s a step up from platforms that manage themselves – with WordPress you have to maintain it by keeping the WordPress system itself, the theme and plugins up-to-date.
- Because of the volume of tools and options available to WordPress users, it can be a little overwhelming deciding which to use.
Of course all of these issues can be bypassed by hiring a WordPress expert to build your website for you. Once it’s all setup, it’s pretty easy for you to make minor updates to copy etc as you need to.
How much does it cost to run a WordPress website?
WordPress itself is free, but you will need to pay for a domain name and some web hosting.
You will also need a ‘theme’, which is essentially some software that provides a styling framework for your website. Many good free themes are available, but for more options it’s usually better to purchase the ‘Pro’ version of a theme.
You will also want to utilise some of the many plugins that are available for WordPress. There is a free plugin for almost everything you can think of, and Pro versions are available to buy if you need specific features or something done particularly well.
Here are some rough costs:
- Domain name: $15/year
- Hosting: Cheap – up to $10/month; Good – up to $50 month; Enterprise – beyond $50/month
- Theme: ~ $60/year, lifetime deals often available
- Plugins: Mostly free, option to invest in a paid plugin for a particular feature
How and where to purchase a domain name
The domain name is the website address you see in the ‘url’ field of your web browser. It’s the first thing you’ll want purchase when you start building your website.
You can buy domain names from many places. Personally I use Hover because they include domain privacy in the cost. Many people like to use Google to host business email accounts, in which case it makes sense to buy a domain from them too. Namecheap is another popular option and almost all web hosting companies sell domains too.
Buying your domain with your web hosting can seem like a convenient option but I prefer to keep these separate in case there is ever an issue with one of the providers.
When choosing a domain name try to get the .com. This will be difficult as they are so popular, but with a bit of luck you can find a domain close enough to your brand name. Try not to use hyphens to keep it looking professional, and try to ensure it’s not too long. Up to 15 characters is ideal, or a few more if you have too. Shorter is best, but really short domains tend to cost more.
How to choose web hosting
If you’ve done any amount of web hosting research, you’ll know it’s easy to get lost in all the options. I’ll make this easy for you: Cloudways.
Cloudways offers fast hosting, good customer service and excellent value for money. Almost uniquely in the space they also offer monthly billing, so you can avoid large upfront payments. Cloudways offer hosting with four different providers. I’d choose a Vultr or Digital Ocean plan for the best value for money.
Siteground is another tempting web host. They offer a user-friendly interface and excellent customer service but once the enticing introductory offer pricing is up, be prepared for a massive price hike if you stay with them (unfortunately this is typical in the industry, which is one reason I love Cloudways so much). It’s also not quite as fast as Cloudways in my experience.
These are not the only good web hosts out there, it’s just who I currently trust with my projects and can heartily recommend. Don’t trust all of the ‘best web hosting’ articles you’ll find online. These lists are often motivated by affiliate commission value rather than actually quality.
How to make a colour scheme
If you need to create a visual identity for your business, you’ll need a colour scheme. If you don’t want to hire a brand designer, there are some great tools for creating your own.
One fun and very easy way to do this is to find a colour that you like using the colour palette generator on Coolors. Next, take the HEX code for that colour (the six-digit colour code you’ll see) and paste it into ColorSpace, which will suggest some colour palettes based on its algorithm.
Black, white and grey can all be utilised on your website, and you can add one or two colours from your palette-generating efforts to make a unique brand of your own.
Which theme and page builder is best for WordPress?
Your web host will provide instructions for installing WordPress on your server. Once you’ve done that you’ll need to select a ‘theme’, which provides a framework to edit the styling options. There are many free themes available but it almost always makes sense to pay for the ‘Pro’ version of a theme for the advanced options.
My theme of choice is GeneratePress, due to it being extremely lightweight and fast. Astra, OceanWP, Neve and Kadence are other options that are are known for being lightweight, and there are many more.
Some themes include page or content layouts that you can load. If you find a layout you like you can avoid having to do a lot of building yourself. It’s worth keeping this in mind when selecting your theme.
Page builders are tools that provide the blocks and elements we need to construct our pages. Over the last few years, front-end visual page builders like Divi and Elementor have dominated the scene, and are certainly the most accessible way to build an attractive page. They come with many nice elements you can easily insert, and a lot of styling options so you can present everything as you wish without knowing any code.
Whilst they make design very accessible, the downside of these builders is that they are built with and load a lot of code, so they can slow your website down. More recently, a new way to build in the WordPress backend using the native ‘Gutenberg block editor’ has emerged, and this is what I’d recommend for anyone who would like a more lightweight and speedy website.
Guternberg blocks allow you to build in the WordPress backend. They are not quite as visual as the aforementioned front-end page builders, but they are visual enough, and offer substantial benefits.
There are many different plugins you can install which offer Gutenberg blocks. My favourite is the GenerateBlocks plugin, which pairs very nicely with the GeneratePress theme. This is the set up I typically use when I build websites for myself and clients. It is fairly stripped back however, and requires being creative with the few types of blocks it includes. This makes it easier to build a really quick site, but is perhaps more suited to those with a design or development background.
For those without that background, Kadence Blocks offers more preconfigured block elements, and is also an excellent choice. There are others such as Greenshift and Cwicly too. Check them out and see which you prefer.
In this article we won’t be going over the mechanics of using page builders and blocks, but you will find plenty of YouTube video tutorials to follow along with.
How to structure your coaching website
A good starting point for the structure of your website is to include the following pages:
- About me
- Work with me (or a page for each of your areas of work if you have more than one)
- Events/Schedule (if you do online or in-person events of some kind)
- Blog/Articles/News (posting regular articles will help with SEO, so I encourage people to write regularly if they can)
- Book a call (add your Calendly calendar, or whatever appointment booking tool you use here)
Here is an example website I made to demonstrate what a coaching website could look like. Feel free to take inspiration from it! Now let’s dive into each page:
Here’s a suggestion for how to structure your home page. Of course there are no rules, but this is a good place to start.
- Your homepage should start with an impactful message summarising what you’re all about, and your key call-to-action (CTA). If you want people to sign up to something, put the optin above-the-fold. Whatever you want the key takeaway of your website to be, add it to this area.
- Follow this up with a section describing the main problem your audience struggles with and how you can solve it.
- Next, Include a section listing how your audience would benefit by working with you. I often like to utilise icon boxes for this to make it more eye-catching.
- After making our audience read for a while, it can be nice to give them a break with something more visual and inspiring. That’s why on my example website I’ve added a large full-width image with space for an inspirational quote or similar on top. It could also be some words of praise for your work, for example.
- I like to use the home page to introduce the other areas of the website, so in my example website, the following sections include an optin box for a mailing list, links to the latest blog articles, and a brief ‘about me’ section.
- Social proof is really important in building confidence in your brand, so it’s great to finish things off with some client testimonials. These could also be scattered around the page if you wished.
People will be really interested in learning about you if they’re considering working with you, so the ‘About me’ page is important. Don’t just write a boring biography, link your past experiences with your current work, describing exactly how your they have made you the perfect person for helping your clients right now.
Work with me
The ‘Work with me’ page is essentially a sales page for your main offer.
This page can simply contain an embed of your events calendar, usually via a shortcade.
If you’re producing blog content, this page can contain a grid or list of your articles.
Add your email address, phone number, contact form or any other way yo’d like people to be able to reach you. Add your social channels too. Some people worry about adding their email address here and making it public, which is understandable, but the way I see it is that we want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to contact us.
The best tools and plugins for a coaching website
Plugins should be kept to a minimum to ensure your website loads quickly. However, some plugins might be essential to achieve certain functionality on your website. A coaching website will benefit from a selection of the following:
A speed optimisation plugin
We’ll talk about this in a dedicated section, next!
Appointment booking software plugin
If you’re a coach it’s likely you’ll want to enable people to book some type of appointment with you for a discovery call, or some paid coaching.
For free appointments, Calendly is a great free option. If you’d like to add a facility for clients to pay for an appointment there are many options. Amelia is one of my favourite options for this. Other good options are BookingPress, Bookly and JetAppointment.
Events calendar plugin
If you run online or in-person events you’ll want to publicise these on your website, and you might wish to take payment for tickets too. The most comprehensive solution for this is The Events Calendar. The free version might be enough, but the nice calendar view and more extensive options come with the Pro version.
Honourable mentions go to Modern Events Calendar, which is probably the best value events plugin out there, and EventOn, which is probably the best looking, but the cost can add up with all of the add-ons.
A security plugin can make your website safer from online threats. They can do things such as protect your login page from brute force attack and scan your site for malware.
Cookies consent popup plugin
Unfortunately GDPR regulations require super-annoying popups every time we visit a website. As you probably know, these are terrible for user experience and lessen the immediate impact of your beautiful new website. Nonetheless, if you’d like to abide by EU regulation, CookieYes is the best solution I’ve found.
Chat box plugin
Perhaps you’d like to make it super easy for site visitors to send you a message? You could add a chat box to you website to facilitate this. Personally I’ve never found these get used very much, but if you have a large audience it might be beneficial. Chaty is a good example of this, and if you have a Facebook business page there is a tool there you can use to add one that connects to your Messenger account. There are many others on the market too. You should be able to route the message to your communication channel of choice – Messenger, WhatsApp etc.
How to make your website fast and smooth for your visitors
Good web hosting and a lightweight website
Good web hosting makes a real difference to load speed. If you can splash out on decent web hosting, trust me, it’s well worth it.
If you’ve chosen a good web host like Cloudways, a lightweight theme and a Gutenberg blocks builder like GenerateBlocks, congrats, you are half way there!
It pays to have as lightweight a set up as possible. Be sure to use as few plugins as possible, as too many can slow your site down.
Speed optimisation plugin
A speed optimisation plugin is also essential for getting your WordPress website to load as quickly as possible. This type of plugin will deploy techniques such as caching, minification and deferring on your website files to speed up load times. They can often also optimise and lazy load images, among other things.
The aforementioned Cloudways and Siteground web hosts include their own excellent in-house speed optimisation plugins with their hosting packages. If you’re not hosted with either of these, the best paid plugin available for this job is WP Rocket.
Some settings offered by the plugins might not always work well and may even appear to break the appearance of your site. Don’t panic, just undo whatever setting you activated. For this reason it’s prudent to test each setting one by one, instead of activating everything all at once. And always read the documentation so you understand what you’re doing! You’ll also find guides online that will help you configure particular plugins.
It’s important to optimise images by reducing their dimensions and file size as much as possible before uploading them to your website. Tools like TinyJPG and JPEGmini can help you with this. Smush can perform similar actions for images already uploaded to your website.
Of course their dimensions need to be of sufficient size for each particular use case, but preferably no larger.
To go one step further you can serve your images in the file format ‘.webp’, which will load more quickly than .png or .jpg files. Several plugins can convert your images after you’ve uploaded them to your website, including Imagify and Short Pixel, though you might find you need to pay to convert over a certain amount of images.
The aforementioned Siteground speed optimisation plugin has this feature built in, so if you host with them you are sorted. If you have good graphics software you’ll be able to export images in this format for uploading.
Images can also be lazy loaded, which means they aren’t loaded until they come into view in the browser. This is done by your speed optimisation plugin and will help with load times.
From time to time your website needs a bit of spring cleaning. The database can be optimised and old page revisions and trashed pages can be removed. Whenever I need to do this, I simply install WP Optimize, run the database cleanup and uninstall it again.
There is much more to speed optimisation, but for non-experts this probably suffices. Those interested can dive further into things like selecting a server closest to your primary audience, CDNs and unloading scripts with Perfmatters and AssetCleanup plugins.
How to get traffic and ranked by Google
SEO is a whole field of expertise in itself, so I won’t do it justice in a couple of paragraphs here. However, follow these pointers to get off to a good start:
- Technical SEO is setting your website up to be favoured, understood and listed by Google and other search engines. This includes all of the speed and technical optimisations we’ve already discussed. It also includes adding page titles and descriptions so results are displayed optimally in search listings.
- On-page SEO concerns optimising the copy on your website such that it ranks for certain search terms.
- Keyword research will enable you to pick which terms to include in this copy and where.
- Don’t have pages competing with each other for keywords.
- Post regular content so Google knows your website is active, and to expand the amount of content that can be crawled by Google.
- Reach out to other websites to have them create backlinks to pages on your website. This increases the authority of your website in the eyes of search engines.
- Guest post on other websites, including a link back to your website, to increase traffic, authority and reach a new audience.
- Create high quality content that people will want to read and link to.
- Use your social media channels regularly to post this and other content so people visit your website to learn more.
How to maintain your website once it’s live
Maintaining your WordPress website after launching it is important. WordPress, your theme and the plugins all need to be kept up-to-date to keep your website secure. From time to time the website also needs to be optimised to keep everything running smoothly and fast.
It’s perfectly possible to learn how to do this. The important thing is to have a regular backup system in place (hopefully your web host includes this as standard), and to test your website thoroughly after updating it.
I recommend doing this at least once a month to stay on top of things.
What if it all sounds like too much?
Building your own website, regardless of the platform you use, is time consuming. If you’re new to building websites it will no doubt be a challenging and frustrating experience. However, if you have the time and motivation, it could end up being extremely satisfying and you will certainly learn a lot.
Many people do manage to build their own business website, but the reality is that if you want something that looks really professional, you won’t be able to achieve this at your first attempt. Like any profession, becoming a skilled practitioner takes time and dedication.
If you’d like to create a coaching website but would prefer to leave it to the professionals, I’d be happy to help. Contact me or complete my design brief questionnaire to get a no-obligation quote for your project.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. I will update it from time to time, so feel free to let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see covered.