How to create a coaching business website that converts
The old saying that 'success leaves clues' rings true for me when it comes to creating a coaching business website that converts clicks into clients. There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. In fact there is a very simple formula which when applied to your site, providing your copy (written words) is on point, is sure to have your ideal clients buying from you quicker than you can say "empower" (or hopefully not saying that 😝).
When it comes to website design I'm a big fan of 2 things:
Reducing the number of clicks required to take action on a site
Making sites as easy as possible to navigate by taking the guess work out of it
We've all found ourselves on a fancy website where the menus are harder to locate and operate. These are unnecessary roadblocks that we can easily remove in order to have our audience one click away from becoming a client.
Applying universally recognised navigation norms takes the pain out of clients having to find what they're looking for. It also provides a great snapshot of what people can expect to find on the site, allowing the right people to quickly determine whether they want to stick around and explore.
Here's how to apply global navigation principles to your site's header:
Logo placed in the top left-hand corner
Navigation menu at the top in the centre or on the top right
Menu order left to right: Home, About, Work with me (or Services)- use a drop down here if you have several options, Blog, Contact
You may opt to have a Contact or Book Now button on the top right instead of having it as part of the header menu so it stands out.
The header (or footer) is also a great place to add your social links
If there's one thing to really focus on it's your website copy (written words). These should speak directly to your ideal clients, addressing their desires, their frustrations and how you can help them to overcome them. It's a chance for your audience to get to know, like and trust you. Here are some copywriting tips:
Write in your own authentic voice
Keep it sounding conversational, allow the audience to feel you
Get to the point in as fewer words as possible
Make your first 100 impactful and ensure you include keywords (for SEO purposes)
Use language that the people you serve understand and would use themselves
Be explicit about your transformation promise
Write in short sentences and break up the copy using paragraphs, ideally 4 lines long
Aim for around 300 words per page on your site
Calls to action
Think of a website as a receiving portal.... A place to receive new clients and new contacts.
In order for your site to work for you, your audience needs to easily navigate their way around by following clear and direct instructions asking them to take action. It's ideal if there is a call to action at the bottom of each section. Each action (usually a hyperlinked button), ultimately opening up to receiving.
It's important to keep in mind that 95% of first-time visitors to your website won't be ready to work with you. In light of this, you need to be able to provide them with ways they can find out more about you and whether you 'get them'. You can do this by keeping in contact with them and providing value until they're ready to make a decision to work with you.
This is why adding a high-value opt-in (commonly referred to as a lead magnet) to your website is worthwhile. Offering up an irresistible piece of content that solves a problem for your ideal client in exchange for their email address will have the right people saying a huge "yes please!" and will have you growing your email list of people who are keen to get to know you better.
Not everyone loves an opt-in and that's fine, just make sure you have a place where people can at least subscribe... be sure that you regularly send them some love. After all, that's what they're asking for when they give you their details!
Social proof is a great way of showing potential clients what you do and your personal touch through a client's eyes. Having testimonials on your home page that speak to the wishes of your ideal clients confirms their feeling that you may or may not be a good fit.
When selecting photos for a website, ensure you have a mix of portrait and landscape photos.
Choose a hero image for the home page banner, ideally one that reveals the windows to the soul... the eyes. Make it a photo of the best version of you.
Your ideal clients want to get to know and feel you. Given that a picture says more than a thousand words, use the opportunity to capture your personality in the images you include. Choosing quality photographs of you over stock imagery is more likely to achieve the desired result as it's revealing more of you. Remove any mindset blocks you have around being seen or having too many photos of yourself. In this day and age people buy from people - they want to see and feel YOU.
Colours, fonts and feels
Keep these consistent across the site. Ideally work with a designer to select a palette that aligns with your overall brand message. Before you start the website, create a mood board that lays bare the colours, fonts and feels. Feels can be imagery, elements or both.
SEO - Search engine optimisation
SEO won't make a difference in having people who land on your site become your clients however it's an important part of being found online. You are far more likely to have your site appear in a Google search if you have done your due-diligence and ensured that your site is optimised for search engines.
With around 80% of website views accessed via mobile devices, it's essential that your site is optimised for mobile. You want your audience to have a pleasant viewing experience regardless of which device they're using.
Home Page Layout
Think of a client arriving on your home page as a stranger arriving at your house for a party. There's certain things you would and wouldn't say and show them right away. You'd likely greet them at the door with a warm welcome and assure them that they're in the right place.
You'd introduce yourself (briefly) and then you'd start to show them around... "Here's the food and drinks, here's the bathroom, here are the people". Then you might invite them to take a seat and relax with a drink. Your website home page should have the same flow and feel to let your people know they're in the right place (or not) and provide an orientation to you and your coaching services.
Here are the recommended sections, in order, to structure your site for conversion maximisation:
Header applying global navigation design features (see below)
Hero banner including a hero headshot, your name and your "I help..." statement or USP (unique selling proposition) and a button with a call to action.
High value, irresistible opt-in (see below) that solves a problem for your ideal client
A brief introduction to who you are including a summary of your credentials. The goal here is to foster like-ability and credibility with your ideal client. Include a button at the bottom to your About page so they can click to learn more.
Work with me or services section. Include a brief summary of your services and calls to action to learn more on your services page or pages.
Testimonials, three is a good number. Social proof that speaks to what your ideal client is looking for support with.
Links to articles or features that you've written or been included in (these can also be placed directly under the hero banner at the top)
A strong call to action
Optional: Gallery of Instagram or preferred social media channel
In summary, resist the urge to get fancy with your coaching business website and instead apply the KISS method. Keep it simple and remember success leaves clues. Your potential clients are interested in the words you're saying more than the template that you choose. Use the basic structure and guidelines outlined here and spend the bulk of your time nailing the copy and ensuring that your site is optimised for search engines.
If you decide that you don't want to go it alone and would prefer to work with a website designer to birth your site, then seek the services of a website designer who specialises in websites for coaching and consulting businesses. You can find more out my website design for coaches and consultants here.