At MyFitCoach, we spend our days helping others to build their fitness businesses and over the last few years, we have learned a lot about what traits are likely to make your business successful. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing a series about what we have found to be most important in establishing your fitness business.
This Week’s Topic: Building Your Website
Building your website can feel like an overwhelming task. But if you invest the time to do it right the first time your efforts will be worth it. Depending on your needs, there are a ton of different website options. Do you need an ecommerce site to sell your products? Are you planning on blogging or vlogging to share your expertise? Would a simple static site to provide information about your services meet your needs? Do you plan on offering membership services and need a back-end system that can accommodate that?
Today’s article will be focusing on the basics. We will be writing a more in depth post that covers the details of ecommerce and membership websites that will add more functionality to your website in the near future…stay tuned!
The first step to building your website is to create a list of your needs. If you start building a website and find out that it doesn’t offer the functionality that you need down the road, you will either have to settle for less than you want, or you will have to start again. And neither of those options are very fun.
Once you have a list, you will be able to find the right platform to meet your needs.
Step 2 – Choosing a Website Domain Name
In the ideal world, your website name would be YourBusinessName.com. If that is available you should buy it now…do not wait as domain names get snatched up quickly! Even if you are not ready to build your website right now, you should buy and hold onto the domain name.
If YourBusinessName.com is not available, here are some tips for choosing a good domain name:
- Choose a name that is easy to remember. For obvious reasons you want your website name to be easily recalled by potential clients
- Make it easy to spell. If you choose words that are difficult to spell, you may lose clients who misspell your domain name and end up on another site.
- Ensure that it easy to say. This will allow your clients to easily share your website address with their friends verbally.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. Potential website visitors may not know if you spelled out the number or not. Do not use the numbers 2 or 4 to replace the words “to” or “for.” This is almost guaranteed to confuse clients. One exception to this is if there is a number in your business name. If this is the case, we recommend that you purchase the domain name using numbers and also with the numbers spelled out to ensure that no matter how a client enters the address it will get them to your site.
- Use key words that you want to be recognized for. This will help clients associate you with your area of expertise and also help with search engine results.
- If you are just starting out, look for a name that is available across all social media as well. This way your clients can easily find you on multiple platforms. If you can find a name that is available across multiple social media sites, be sure to create accounts with those names ASAP.
- The ideal extension is .com but if that is not available, .co and .net are also commonly used.
If you are struggling to come up with ideas, contact us and we will brainstorm with you to find just the right domain name for your fitness business.
Step 3 – Choosing a host
Choosing a website hosting service can be a little confusing if you have never navigated this before, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. Website hosting is simply a service where the company provides you with the technologies necessary to have your website accessible via the internet. They store your website on a server that allows your clients to type in your domain name and reach your site.
When choosing a service provider, there are a few things that you want to look for to make sure you will get what you need from the hosting service.
- Make sure the provider gives you access to the cPanel. The cPanel is your hosting account’s control panel and allows you to edit your hosting files, see your website’s statistics and more.
- Look for hosting services that offer “one click” installation for WordPress or the content management system that you are using (more on that below).
We have worked with several different companies and recommend Blue Host or www.Atariahost.com. Both companies have great customer service, their Panel is easy to use, they allow room to grow (for example: upgrading to a designated server as your business grows) and their prices are reasonable.
Step 4 – Choosing a Content Management System (CMS)
Now is the time to pull out the list that you created in Step 1. You should look for a content management system that meets all of the needs on your list. It is also a good idea to look for a platform that will allow you to grow; if you are not selling any product now but you think you may in the future, be sure to choose a platform that will allow you to add eCommerce functionality so you don’t have to start over when that time comes.
Most content management systems offer a variety of pre-existing templates for you to choose from. Take a look through the options before deciding what CMS to use, be sure that there is a template option that you like.
We have tried quite a few content management systems, but our favorite is WordPress which is what we use for most of our coaches’ sites.
Here are a few of the features that make WordPress our go-to content management system.
- They offer thousands of different themes so there is something for everyone.
- Affordable prices
- Plenty of plug-ins to accommodate the needs of your site: integrating social media, scheduling tools, opt-in services, search engine optimization and more
- Can integrate eCommerce functionality
- Easy to navigate back-end for adding content and updating websites
A few other content management and website development systems to look into are:
Make sure that you do your research and choose a system that meets your needs from step 1. If you are feeling overwhelmed and want some help building your website, let us know and we will be glad to help you out. When we are building your website you can be sure you will get a great site with professional content and all the functionality you need. Contact us for a free consultation today!
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about building your website.