Whether you’re a business or life coach, you’ve dedicated your professional career to helping others achieve greatness. However, establishing a flourishing coaching business isn’t always easy.
While you might be able to start your coaching business on social media or via word-of-mouth, at some point, you’re going to have to have your own website. When it comes to building sites, you have several options. You can hire a developer and have them create a website for you, but that’s costly and makes it nearly impossible to manage the site on your own.
Instead, today, we have open-source CMS platforms, or Content Management System platforms and website builders, which allow you, the coach, to remain in charge. But how do you select the right CMS for your coaching business?
Let’s break it all down.
Complex or Simple? Determining Your Needs
Here’s the thing, you have a business to run and clients to manage, so you need to be candid with yourself about how much time you have to devote to the building and management of your website.
True CMS platforms are much more comprehensive, customizable, and they typically have a slew of helpful additions. You can generally have several users or subscribers on your website. And, you can manage lots of content, like blogs. The downside to true CMS platforms is that they’re more complex, and they take a bit longer to learn how to master.
A website builder is much more user-friendly for the layperson. Even if you’ve never built a website, most website builders come compete with easy-to-use drag-and-drop modules, making set up a breeze. They’re ideal for creating the front end of your website. The downside to website builders is they often aren’t very customizable, and sometimes you don’t own the domain.
Let’s look at some of the top choices of both CMS and website builders across the web.
WordPress is probably the most popular CMS platform out there. It is a true CMS, not just a website builder. Because of that, there’s a seemingly endless number of themes, plugins, and functions. You have the option to self-host or have WordPress host for you. Several WordPress themes have drag-and-drop features, so even a person who has never built a website before can start using WordPress with relative ease.
To get into the more complicated parts of WordPress, you’ll likely have to hire a developer, or devote some time to WordPress forums. If you decide on WordPress, you’ll also need to know whether you want to host the site yourself (wordpress.org) or have WordPress host it for you (wordpress.com). Aside from hosting, WordPress is free.
Like WordPress, Joomla is an actual CMS. It has several integrations, and it’s relatively simple to customize once you know how to use it. Users do note that set up has a steep learning curve. You will need a host and domain name with Joomla. There is a lot of community support with this CMS, but users recommend that you hire a developer for the more complex stuff.
If you aren’t opposed to hiring a developer for the build and maintenance, Joomla has been a winning CMS for many years. Joomla is free.
Its fans know Wix as “the most user-friendly CMS in the world.” It’s intuitive, simple, and has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface. It intermingles well with other apps around the web, too. With the ease of use comes some downsides. For one, once you choose a template, you can’t change it. Also, you don’t have the option of running an actual eCommerce store on your site, which, as a coach, could be important.
So, Wix is pretty limited in customizations (especially compared to WordPress and Joomla), but it’s straightforward, so if you don’t want a steep learning curve, this could be a great CMS for you. They offer a free version, but it’s branded with Wix and will put ads on your site. They also have paid plans to remove branding in ads starting at $13 per month.
Squarespace has been around since 2004, and for a good reason. They’re a website builder that is user-friendly and gives you the ability to build visually stunning sites. While they don’t integrate with plugins or apps, they go for an all-in-one approach, in that, you should be able to do everything you need to do inside the platform.
While their eCommerce options aren’t as comprehensive as say, Shopify, they do boast some pretty powerful eCommerce functionality. All of this user-friendliness comes with a hefty price tag, though. The lowest plan starts at $12 a month, but for your coaching business, you’ll probably want to go for one of their beefier plans. In addition to the monthly fee, they take a 2-3% fee from all your online transactions.
Which CMS is Right for Your Coaching Business?
These are just four of the most prominent CMS platforms out there, but there are many others worth looking into as well, including Shopify, Weebly, Drupal, Carrd, Tilda, and more. Ultimately, you need to figure out:
- How much time do you have to invest in learning?
- How much money are you willing to spend?
- How much control do you want over customization?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help lead you down the correct path. If you’re open to learning a little, you can’t go wrong with a wordpress.org website. If you want the most straightforward solution and you don’t care about cost, then Squarespace might be a perfect choice.
Get an idea of what you want and then narrow down your choices. Ultimately, you just need a functional site to help you manage and grow your coaching business.
Sam Willis is a business management and business marketing writer. He specializes in providing business owners information on how to value their business in order to increase it’s valuation before they decide to sell it.