These days, it’s common knowledge just how important it is for a business to have an online presence and a way to connect with its audience. It used to be that having a personal training website set you apart from the crowd, but these days, you need one simply to keep up.
With the proper tools, a bit of creativity and know-how, a website can become a complete client magnet. And, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to grow their business?
Professional website developers may charge you hundreds and even thousands of dollars to build and maintain a website for you. When you’re just getting started with your business, there’s a good chance that something with that price tag is out of budget.
That’s why I suggest you take the time and effort to build your own personal training website.
But I’m A Trainer Not A Coder!
What’s that you say? You’re a personal trainer, not a computer geek? Gasp!
Well, what if I told you that building your own website is actually a fairly simple process?
That’s right. If you can use any of the programs in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), you can build your very own personal training website for just a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay a professional.
Sure, there are ways to build a website for free. However, the goal is to grow an actual business here. This is your livelihood and your website is one of those things you must be ready to spend *a bit* of money on if you want to come across as a professional to your clients who will be paying you lots of money for your services.
Because so many new personal trainers miss out on the amazing benefits that having a website offers, I’ve created the following guide to show you step-by-step how to get your personal training website up and running.
Here are the six simple steps you need to take to “go live” with your website today:
Step 1 – Select A Platform (also known as a Content Management System or CMS):
Your website cannot just simply “float” on the internet, it needs a platform to sit on. There are two major platforms we’ll cover here: WordPress and WIX.
WordPress: By far, the most widely-used and popular platform on the web, this FREE software is what I use to build all of my websites. WordPress is the most affordable and customizable option, but you’ll also have to put a bit more legwork into building the website yourself. You don’t have to a techie to figure out the platform, but it will often require a bit of resourcefulness on your end. While the software itself is free, you’ll still need to invest in other costs to support the website such as hosting, themes and plugins, which are covered below. A separate webhost is required and hosting a site based on WordPress will generally run anywhere from $4-$15/month.
WIX: One of the quickest and easiest ways to get your website online. WIX‘s intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to build, develop and maintain your website. No coding necessary. Includes hundreds of templates, premium services and support to ensure your website is just the way you want it. You can build a free website on the WIX platform, but expect to pay a monthly fee if you want to connect your very own professional-looking domain name. With most plans priced at $14-$25/month, you’ll pay a bit more, but if you don’t have the time, patience or technical experience to build a website, this could be your best bet.
Again, my preferred option is WordPress due to the fairly low price tag and the fact that it’s generally easy to use. As with most things, you can always switch platforms later, so don’t stress out too much about picking the right one up front.
Business-Savvy Personal Trainer recommends and uses: WordPress.
Since we’re on a budget, we’ll be building a website based on the free WordPress platform through the rest of this article.
Step 2 – Select A Web Hosting Service (Webhost):
A webhost maintains large, high-tech servers that keep your website live on the internet, for a monthly fee, of course.
You’ll want to look for a speedy and dependable web host to ensure that your website is always online. Whenever your web host goes down, so does your website. Any time your website is down, you could be missing out on valuable web traffic and potential clients. Stick with one of these two options, or find one that fits your needs best. Here are the major webhosts that I recommend:
Bluehost: A solid industry choice recommended by many top websites. I choose Bluehost because I’ve found it to be reliable, secure and it always has great customer service (although I’ve seldom needed to use it). You can easily build your website with their one-click WordPress install (in less than the time it takes you to run a mile). Basic plans start around $7.99/month, but they often run specials and discounts to attract new customers.
HostGator: With plans starting at $3.95/month to host WordPress, this one one of the most affordable hosting options out there. Generally good reviews and recommendations, you can’t miss with the incredible value offered at HostGator.
It’s important to note that while subscribing to a webhost is only necessary if you’re going to build a WordPress website, you would be paying for web hosting bundled in the pricier WIX package, if you decided to go the other route.
Business-Savvy Personal Trainer recommends and uses: Bluehost.
Step 3 – Select a Domain Name (URL):
When you sign up for your webhost, you’ll also need to pick a domain name. This will be the URL of your website, or the web address that the visitor will enter into their web browser to reach your site. For example, www.businesssavvypersonaltrainer.com.
Picking a domain name is nearly as important as your business name, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting yours:
- Keep it short and sweet. No one will remember your URL if it’s overly complicated and lengthy. Think of all your favorites such as www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, and www.bodybuilding.com. Nothing fancy or complicated, and you remember them forever.
- Avoid using numbers. It’s confusing to tell people your website and leave them wondering whether they should type out the number 171 as www.171.com, www.onesevenone.com, www.one7one.com or even www.oneseventyone.com.
- Make it location specific. Because you’ll be targeting clients in your local area, it can be useful to add your city or state to the end of your URL. For example, www.BusinessSavvyPersonalTrainerChicago.com or www.IllinoisBusinessSavvyPersonalTrainer.com
- Get creative. There are over 300 million domain names registered on the web. This means there’s a high probability your business name is already taken. You may need to throw in an extra word or two to get a domain name that works for you. Try adding words like “fit”, “fitness”, “health”, etc.
- Use a commonly-known extension. Most websites end with either “.com”, “.org” or “.net”. I suggest you use one of these three, preferably “.com” if it is available. Because most internet users will default to a “.com” when typing in a web address, it will increase the odds of them actually visiting your website.
- Careful to avoid trademarks and copyrights. You can be forced into taking down and even changing your website if you infringe on any trademarks or copyrights. It’s best not to take the risk and do a little bit of research before your final selection.
While you can still change your domain name at a later time, it can be quite a cumbersome process so it’s usually best to pick something you’re comfortable with and go with it.
Step 4 – Install WordPress and Build Your Website’s Framework
Once you’ve signed up for a webhost and registered your URL, you’re ready to start building. Check out the quick 5 minute tutorial video below on how to set your WordPress website up:
Once WordPress is installed, you will have access to your WP Dashboard.
Your WP Dashboard is the main hub where you can customize your website. I recommend starting off by adding the following:
- Name of your personal training business or logo
- A call to action (such as an email opt-in form)
- Photo of yourself or something relevant to the business
- Email opt-in form (see the section on Email Marketing Tools below).
Other pages that most personal trainers should have are:
- Client Testimonials. This is your chance to share prospective clients with past client successes you’ve had. This can be in the form of before and after photos, success stories, a positive review, or a combination of all three.
- Services Offered. Not all personal trainers offer the same services. Some specialize in fat loss, others in sports performance. Be sure to thoroughly describe your list of services so that prospective clients can determine whether you might be a fit.
- Contact Page. Prospective clients will need some way to contact you to set up an initial assessment or to ask questions. Make it easy for them to contact you, otherwise, they may simply end up looking elsewhere.
- About Page / Trainer Bio. Prospective clients will want to learn about your services, but they will also want to learn a bit about the trainer they will be working with. This is a good place to highlight your credentials and experience. I always recommend including a photo or video of yourself to this page while adding a bit of your own personal touch.
Because websites are so easy to customize, you can add anything you want. Get creative and think of new and exciting ways to attract the clients you desire.
Here are a few additional, basic tips to help you build a professional-looking personal training website that stands out:
- Use a light-colored background with darker fonts to make the text easier to read. You want people to explore and engage with your content, rather than to navigate away after having strained their eyes.
- Proofread every single page or have someone else read it to correct any spelling and grammatical errors. Even the most minor errors can leave the wrong impression.
- Images are high definition and professional. Avoid grainy, blurry and low-resolution images.
- Add your business’s contact information in a visible area. Information such as your email address, phone number or business address can be included directly on the homepage or on a dedicated “Contact” page.
- There are “calls to action” in relevant locations. A “call to action” is an image, line of text, or email opt-in form that prompts your audience to take action (such as requesting an initial consultation, inquiring about rates, or signing up for your email list).
- Add social share buttons. Social media is all the rage these days. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing out on a massive audience.
- Implement a strong Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. SEO in a nutshell is the process of optimizing your website so that it appears at the top of the search engine listings. Over 90% of web users will click on the first link before even looking at any of the others, and you want that top link to be your business. SEO is a very complicated topic, and there are many resources available to help you with it.
Step 5 – Select A Theme:
Now that you’ve got the basic framework of your website set up, you can focus on making it look nice and pretty.
Every website you see on the internet has a certain “look and feel”. The design you see is usually based on a specific theme or template that has been integrated into the website. There are literally thousands of themes available to customize your website uniquely to your business.
Themes offer a basic design, while still allowing you to control the font, colors, images/photos and more. This is fantastic if you’ve already got a logo and/or specific colors to go with your branding.
For my websites, I use themes made by StudioPress for their clean design and simple, easy-to-use interface. StudioPress themes run on the Genesis Framework, which is basically the frame of the website, with the theme being the design and graphics. This is a bit more technical than most users will need. Professionally-developed themes can set you back anywhere between $25-$100+. This website is currently running on the StudioPress theme Executive Pro.
Keep in mind that WordPress does have an extensive database with hundreds of free themes available as well. Many themes have even been designed specifically with personal trainers in mind, so be sure to check these out.
Internet users access websites from all types of devices and browsers. In particular, an increasing number are using their mobile device and smartphone these days, so be sure to select a Responsive Theme – one that automatically adjusts to the size of the user’s browser, regardless of what platform they are using. Most themes are responsive, but be sure to check just in case.
Once you’ve selected a theme you can upload it to WordPress and have an immediate upgrade in design.
Step 6 – Select An Email Marketing Tool:
One of the most important things you can do to build your business is staying in touch with your online and offline audience. Despite the recent flood of social media across the web, the best way to remain connected with an audience is still through good old-fashioned email.
When you submit your email address to a website, it is added to an email list. This list is pure gold to a business, but can be a handful to manage. Luckily, there are tools to help automate most of the work. Here are the best email marketing tools I recommend:
MailChimp: This is what I use for my websites thanks to its friendly feel, ease of use and functionality. The service is FREE for up to 2,000 email subscribers (without automation options). Paid plans start around $10/month and scale up as your email list grows. And, hey, it’s got an animated chimp as its mascot, what more could you ask for?
AWeber: Very similar to MailChimp, but has a more professional feel to it with a whole host of options for the advanced user. Just strictly great email marketing without any of the fluff. AWeber is a great option for those who are ready for the paid services as the plans start at $19/month after the first 30-day trial.
Your email list will be one of your most valuable assets, so be sure to cultivate it and protect it smartly.
Business-Savvy Personal Trainer recommends: MailChimp.
Ready To Launch
A website will help to propel your business to new heights. It doesn’t have to be fancy or bold right from the get-go, as you can always work on making improvements down the line. Right now, your top priority should be on getting your image and brand online and to create a main hub for your audience to connect with you and vice versa.
To summarize, all you need to do to get your website up and running is follow these six simple steps:
- Select A Platform
- Select A Webhost
- Select A Domain Name
- Install WordPress and Build Your Website’s Framework
- Select A Theme
- Select An Email Marketing Tool
What are you waiting for? Stop wasting time and start getting your name out there. Go through the guide and start building your very own personal training website today!