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HostPapa Blog / Web Design & Development  / Build an Online Coaching Website Step-by-Step
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30 Oct

Build an Online Coaching Website Step-by-Step
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(Last Updated On: November 11, 2020)

Why did you decide to start a coaching business? Are you already providing professional services and would like to add a new tool to help your clients? Or maybe you’re looking into starting an online coaching business after decades of working as a consultant?

Whether you’re starting your business or diversifying an existing one, one of the first challenges you’ll face is defining a winning marketing plan.

Having a dynamic, valuable, and attention-tracking online presence is essential for coaching businesses. You can drive incredible growth by creating and sharing content that tackles your clients’ needs and interests while positioning yourself as an expert. 

But where to start? An online coaching business has many potential marketing channels. While every coach should be on social media, don’t underestimate the importance of having a website of your own.

Your website would allow you to:

  • share lengthy, in-depth content about your area of expertise
  • showcase testimonials from satisfied clients
  • allow clients to contact you (via a contact form)
  • sell digital products
  • host online courses

This article will show you how to easily set up a functional, professional-looking website for your coaching business. 

Hey! This article is part of our How to Start an Online Coaching Business Guide – Check it out for a comprehensive approach to building and starting your business!

How to Build an Online Coaching Business Website

First things first: Before you can start working on your website, you’ll need to find a hosting provider. A quick Google search will return many companies to choose from, offering low-priced and feature-full hosting services. Take the time to explore your options, it’ll be worth your while.

Broadly speaking, a hosting provider gives you a spot online. You can fill that spot with anything you like, from a blog to an online shop. In this case, because your no web design specialist, you’ll want something easy to handle and maintain like a Content Management System, offering you an easy-to-use interface and a smooth learning curve. Your site should be scalable enough to add functionalities and simple to manage.

WordPress, the Content Management System that powers 38.6% of all websites, might just be your best option. Most hosting providers offer optimized WordPress hosting, which means your hosting setup is ready from the get-go. If you’re new to the web, it’s especially important to choose a WordPress hosting provider who can offer expert assistance – you never know when you’ll need it.

Once you’ve chosen your hosting provider and have installed WordPress (or it was already installed for you), let’s start customizing your website: log in to your WordPress by visiting www.[your website].com/wp-login.

Enter your credentials – the username and password you picked for your WordPress.

Once logged in, you’ll enter your admin dashboard. Let’s start by customizing your website’s name and description: from the left menu bar, click on Settings > General.

In this section, you’ll set your website’s title and tagline. For this example, let’s go with “John Doe, Digital Business Coach”. The title is descriptive but may be a little too long. No worries, you can always change it later. 

Enter a tagline: “Leading coaching services for digital businesses”.

Once you’ve set your desired title and tagline, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Changes. Remember, you can modify all of these options whenever you see fit.

How to Customize your WordPress Website

Picking your title and tagline is just an initial step. If you visit your website, here’s what it currently looks like:

Before worrying about your website’s colors, fonts, and visual layout, let’s define its structure: What is the website going to do? What content will it feature? Once the content is ready, you can choose how to best present it.

For instance, as your next step, let’s create five pages:

  • A homepage: Reimagine & Scale Your Digital Business. Use it to introduce yourself and give visitors a first look into your world. 
  • An About Me page.
  • A What Is Coaching page to explain your approach and method.
  • An Insight page to home your blog and latest posts.
  • And finally, a Contact page.

Of course, feel free to structure your site however you want. This structure only serves as an example for this tutorial.

Let’s start working on these pages: go back to the dashboard and, from the sidebar, click on Pages > All. All your existing pages are displayed here.

To remove a page, simply click on its corresponding checkbox and, from the dropdown menu, select Move to Bin. Then, click Apply to delete the page.

To create a page, click the Add new button at the top. The following interface appears:

Use the “plus” button to view and select blocks. These blocks are very useful. For instance, use a Youtube block to embed any video from your channel, from a public speaking reel to a clients’ testimonies. 

The latest versions of WordPress’ Gutenberg editor also include Patterns: these are commonly-used design elements that come “prepacked” and that you can edit as you see fit. 

Once you’ve placed your content in the editor and arranged it to your liking, click on Preview to see how the page will look once published. If it looks good, click the Publish button. Before it goes live, you can change the page’s visibility and publication date.

WordPress recently added a feature allowing you to instantly preview how your website will look on desktop, tablets, and mobiles. 

Visiting this page now, you’ll see that all the content is there, but chances are it’s a far cry from what you want. WordPress’ default themes allow for some customization, but they tend to be pretty rigid, especially if you’re not a developer.

If you want to take your website to the next level, you should look for a designer-made  WordPress theme that doesn’t come as default. 

WordPress Themes & How to Use Them 

As explained on the WordPress documentation:

A WordPress theme changes the design of your website, often including its layout. Changing your theme changes how your site looks on the front-end, i.e. what a visitor sees when they browse to your site on the web. There are thousands of free WordPress themes in the WordPress.org Theme Directory, though many WordPress sites use custom themes.

If you’re not a coder, you may pick a theme for its looks. But this shouldn’t be your sole criterion. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind when choosing a theme:

  • Weight. The more features the theme has, the more time it will take to load. 
  • If you decide to pay for your theme, make sure the developing studio has an active support forum.
  • Cross-browser compatibility. Has your theme been tested across browsers?
  • Plug-in compatibility. If you want to open an online shop and install the WooCommerce plugin, will your website break?
  • Gutenberg compatibility. Is your theme modern enough to handle Gutenberg blocks and patterns seamlessly? 

Other features to look for are GDPR compliance, update frequency, and whether the theme’s ready for translation. And, of course, is it responsive (adapting across screen sizes)? 

For this tutorial’s purpose, let’s use Airi, a WordPress theme specially designed for business sites. Airi comes in many versions, but let’s use the free one. 

Before installing a new WordPress theme, you need to download it. Once that’s done, go to the Appearance > Themes section. 

The Themes page displays WordPress’ default themes.

To install a theme, click on Add New. This button will take you to a selection of themes from the WordPress theme directory. The Add new button has been replaced by the Upload theme button. When you click on it, a new section will appear in which you’ll be able to upload your theme as a .zip file. 

Next, choose the .zip file and click on Install now. Once the theme is installed, WordPress will redirect you to a page with three options: Live Preview, Activate and Return to the Themes Page

Click on Activate. WordPress will then redirect you back to the Themes page.

Since this is a business theme, Airi is inviting you to download some compatible plugins to enhance your website’s functionality.

Now, let’s go back to the menu and click on Customize to begin customizing your website. 

This is how your theme looks out of the box:

The left column is the customization panel. You can use it to modify how your website is displayed. The customization panel will have different sections depending on the theme. Premium themes usually offer a wide variety of options, while free themes are limited. 

You can use the customization panel to change several aspects of your website. For instance, use the Site identity section to change your website’s name and description.

You can also use the Homepage Settings to set “Reimagine & Scale Your Digital Business” as your homepage.  

The homepage now looks like this: 

There are still a few things you can change. For example, the sidebar takes a lot of space away from the main content.

Because you’re no coder, you’ll be very reliant on your themes’ default structure. So, make sure you pick a theme that looks and feel very similar to what you want or that offers plenty of room for personalization. 

As an alternative to Airi, let’s install Neve.

This is how it looks out of the box: 

Neve provides far more customization options than Airi, allowing you to change how the website’s menu is displayed, as well as fonts and colors. This theme puts the content at the center and integrates the Gutenberg blocks into the design. 

How to Enhance Your Website’s Functionality through Plugins

Our mock-up coaching website is looking just right. But can it do what you want it to do? For instance, is the contact page featuring a contact form? How can you do this? 

The simplest answer is: through plugins. Basically, plugins are files that add functionalities to your website. Using plugins, keep three principles in mind:

  • Reviews are important. Don’t ignore feedback from fellow users.
  • Active installations are relevant. Go for plugins that have been tested on thousands of sites.
  • Less is more. Don’t have dozens of active plugins simultaneously, as this could slow your site slow and increase possible vulnerabilities.
  • Updating is key. Failing to update plugins can result in security vulnerabilities and poor site performance.

For this tutorial, let’s use a plugin recommended for all websites: Jetpack. Developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress, Jetpack connects your website to WordPress.com, adding dozens of features and integrations. One of these allows you to create contact forms.

To install Jetpack, visit the admin panel and click Plugins > Add New. Here, look for Jetpack and install it. Once done, click the Activate button.

The setup process is simple – the plugin will walk you through it. Once the setup is done, you’ll be able to enjoy the many perks of Jetpack. From loading images to site metrics and downtime monitoring, to this beautiful online form, which we can add to our pages and posts, just like we added the previous Gutenberg blocks. 

And this is how the contact page looks now: 

With WordPress, free themes, and free plugins, you can create a beautiful and functional coaching website in no time. 

In this post, we explored how to start an online coaching business website with free plugins and themes. While the prospect of having a website of your own can seem overwhelming and expensive, there are cost-efficient solutions that don’t require years of training. 

Aaron Arias

Freelance writer and designer based in Buenos Aires. Helping build memorable brands through content & UX.

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