Aside from just the fun of it, here are three primary reasons why those in the athletics coaching industry should take a hard look at creating a website:
1) Helping others. Maybe you're a football coach and want to shine some light on your players' accomplishments and market them to college coaches. Perhaps you want to build a site for your baseball team's booster club. A website is an easy, effective way to point people towards a worthy cause.
2) Branding and professional development. A website can be an extension of your resume. It's more than just a piece of paper (even though I think your resume should be jam-up as well!) and gives you a chance to show readers more about your personality and philosophies.
3) The side hustle. Athletics coaching is obviously a big business, and that means that there are ways for you in your position as a coach to make money on the side of a variety of ways (private coaching, selling products, blogging, etc.) A website is the best vehicle to give your side business legitimacy.
Sounds good, right? Now, you may have a few reservations. First, you’re a coach, and that means you don’t have a ton of time on your hands. Secondly, you don’t know the first thing about coding or building webpages. Lastly, you don’t want to spend a lot of money or make a big investment in a website. TheCoachBridge.com is here to answer this question for coaches:
What's in this post?
How can I make my own website?
The good news? None of those potential reservations mentioned above are a problem; you don't need tons of time or coding knowledge or cash to build a website that will accomplish your goals – whatever those may be.
Follow the step-by-step guide we have created and learn how to create your own coaching website.
Disclaimer: TheCoachBridge.com has partnered with some great companies which feature products that help our readers achieve their goals of leveling up in the coaching industry and monetizing their skill sets. Our website features affiliate links for these companies, and we may receive commissions at no additional cost to you if you choose to purchase. This helps support our free resources for coaches! Check out our full disclaimer here.
If you're just getting into the website game, regardless of what you're going to utilize your website for – it's a good idea to keep your up front investment small. And yes, there are free options to create and host a website. There are several good reasons to utilize a paid service while not breaking the bank, however. You do tend to get what you pay (or don't pay) for when it comes to web building and hosting. Why waste your time on something that doesn't look and sound good? In most cases, paid options are going to allow you to:
A) Avoid a clunky website domain name
B) Not have a bunch of irritating ads on your website
C) Carry better customer support
D) Will generally be more effective, easier to work with, and allow you to achieve your goals.
No matter the type of website you are creating, a customized domain name is easier to remember for prospective visitors and makes you appear legitimate. Think about it, what sounds better: TheCoachBridge.com or sites.google.com/view/thecoachbridge?
While I have worked with web hosts/builders such as Wix and Squarespace in the past (and those can be quite effective), my top option for beginning your own coaching website or coaching blog is Bluehost due to its flexibility, reliability, low cost entry point, free domain name for a year, and ease of use. Get started today with Bluehost to secure your domain name and to begin work on your very own coaching website. I highly recommend pairing Bluehost with the Divi theme to enhance the look of your site and to make it easier on you as you build your website.
Now, let's get started on our guide to building a website for coaches.
STEP ONE: GAME PLAN YOUR WEBSITE
This is obvious, right? As someone who's wasted lots of time over the years starting ill-conceived websites without a clear path or purpose, make sure you begin with the end in mind. Don't worry at this point about design or any of that; think about your primary goal with the website. Go back to the topics mentioned above: Is your primary goal to brand yourself? Is it to provide exposure for your players? Are you hoping to sell a product, or use your knowledge to help other coaches? Do you just want to blog as a hobby? Figure that out first. Grab a notebook and jot down some ideas.
From there, it's time to think of a name for your website. It doesn't need to super clever – practicality is going to be important. Let's use this site as an example: I chose TheCoachBridge.com for a couple reasons. First, I thought it perfectly matched what I was hoping to accomplish with this website: to help athletics coaches meet their career goals. In other words, my hope was that this website would be a resource, a “bridge”, for coaches to make progress. Secondly, and less importantly, I thought the name “TheCoachBridge” sounded pretty cool. Your website could just be “YourName.com”, or it could be something more catchy. Again, just make sure it matches your goals and is recognizable.
Before you get too stuck on a domain, run it through a tool like InstantDomainSearch to make sure it's available for purchase. You don't need to go buying it at this point; Bluehost includes a domain upon registration.
STEP TWO: SIGN UP FOR BLUEHOST
Here's where folks can run into trouble, and I speak from experience. With so many choices out there to build a website, so many alternatives for hosting, you can absolutely overwhelm yourself doing research. You may experience the dreaded “analysis paralysis” and never really get off the ground, or waste time and money jumping from option to option. Pick a good one and stick with it.
For our coaches looking to get in on the website game, I recommend using Bluehost when you're starting out for several reasons.
1) It's inexpensive ($3.95 a month for the first 3 years; sometimes Bluehost will even give you an even better intro coupon during registration!)
2) It includes a free domain name for the first year.
3) It's secure and has quality customer service.
4) You can install a website in one click and get to work on building it out from there.
5) Bluehost uses WordPress which is the best overall content management system, is super customizable and gives you the freedom to easily change your website's design in the future, if you'd like. I've used multiple site builders and hosts, and I can tell you that things did not truly click for me until I began to use a host that utilized WordPress as the primary builder.
To take the first step of securing your domain name and hosting, use TheCoachBridge.com's link for Bluehost. This comes at no additional cost to you; it helps support us!
Once you're on the Bluehost front page, click the “Get Started” button. You really only need the “Basic” plan to get started, unless you have designs on launching multiple websites from the get-go (that's another perk of using Bluehost; you don't need separate plans for additional sites in the future). You can always upgrade your plan later if you want.
After you pick your plan, you will be prompted to go ahead and pick your domain name as we discussed earlier.
Type in your domain name, then click “next”. As long as it's available, you'll then head to the next screen, where you'll finish creating your Bluehost account. Note that you'll have an option at the top of the page to sign in using Google, if you'd like. Fill out the required content fields, then under “Package”, ensure that you have selected the plan and pricing that you prefer. Under “Package Extras”, if they're automatically checked, you really do not need to CodeGuard Basic or SiteLock Security Essential at this point, so you can remove those. I would recommend getting domain privacy protection, and here's why: when you register a domain online, you're listed in a directory that can lead to spam and robocalls. Getting privacy protection for your domain ensures that your personal registration information (name, address, phone number) is hidden. It's still up to you, but it's just 99 cents extra per month.
Enter your payment information, read the terms and conditions, click the box indicating you've done so, and then hit the green “submit” button. You'll then be prompted to choose a password for your account. You can then log into your account, and now you're just about ready to get started on your actual site. Next, you'll see a series of screens asking you different questions about goals for your website, your building experience, and the like. None of those are necessary for you right now, so just select “skip this step” at the bottom of those pages.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE YOUR WEBSITE THEME/LOOK
A “theme” is the design, the look and feel, of your website. There are literally thousands of theme options within the WordPress content management system, and Bluehost makes it easy to install both WordPress (the content management system) as well as your theme.
After you complete the registration process with Bluehost – and after the series of question screens I referenced above – the next screen you will see is one prompting you to choose a theme. If you see one you like right off the bat, you can go ahead and choose it. Or, you can select “skip this step” and look through others later, which is my recommendation. A quick aside on themes: there are free and paid options. Remember the point I made earlier on web hosting, that you get what you pay for in most cases? That applies here as well. There are tons of free WordPress themes that can work quite well. From my experience, in order to make most of them look great/look how they are shown in demos, you will need to purchase paid add-ons. What it boils down to is that paid theme options usually look better and function more effectively. That's why they cost, but I've found it's well worth it. There are multiple places where you can find themes. You can search for both free and paid themes within your WordPress admin. You can demo options from places such as Envato Market and ThemeIsle. Or, you can utilize my top option for themes – with the added bonus of the best responsive drag-and-drop page builder – in Divi.
Whether you select a theme right now or not, Bluehost is then going to let you know that it's installing WordPress.
After that, you'll come to your account screen, or what Bluehost refers to as the “Portal.” Now it's time to access your WordPress dashboard or admin, which is the “back end” of your website and where you're going to make the magic of building your pages and blog posts. You an access your WordPress admin from that Bluehost Portal upon login, or you can always access it from the yoursitename.com/wp-admin web link.
Once there, click “Dashboard” on the left side navigation bar. It's now time for us to install your theme. On the left side, mouse over “Appearance” and click “Themes”. If you want to search through the WordPress database of themes, click those options at the top, then browse the database to take a closer look/demo any you may like. Once you find one, mouse over and click “Install.”
Again, my top option is to upload your own premium theme, which is the option you'll use if you purchase Divi, or buy a theme from a place like Envato Market or ThemeIsle. Divi is my preferred option and is the tool that I use to build all of my websites. It is true that Divi is more costly than (obviously) using a free theme, and even costs more than many premium themes. However, it's well worth it for the following reasons:
A) It carries over 200 full website layout packs (i.e. multi-page website designs that you can customize to your liking) and nearly 1,500 total web page layouts. That's a ton of flexibility for you.
B) It has a drag-and-drop editor that's much more user-friendly, especially for beginners, than other options.
C) There are lots of tutorials, both video and written, that you can utilize to lessen the learning curve. Divi also has a customer service chat line (via a web widget or email) that you can use to send in questions. I've used it many times in the past myself and have always received answers to my questions.
D) You can use your Divi license on multiple websites.
E) Divi also includes access to a couple really cool “plugins” that you can use to level up your site, those being Bloom and Monarch. Bloom is a tool that lets you create email opt-ins and call-to-action popups that are awesome if you're trying to build an email list or sell a product on your site. Monarch gives you the ability to create a bar or popup that prompts users to share your content on social media, which can help your site visibility.
Divi has two plans: a yearly option and a lifetime subscription. It also has a 30 day money back guarantee. When I first tried it, I purchased the yearly plan just in case, but then fell in love with it and upgraded to the lifetime plan to save myself money for the future.
Once you sign up for Divi, it's time to actually download the theme so that you can upload it, pick your website look, and start building. Log into your account, then from the “account” or the “my downloads” screen, simply click “download the Divi theme.” Back in your WordPress dashboard, under “Appearances”, then “Themes”, then “Upload”, click “Upload Theme”, then select the Divi .zip file from your downloads folder on your computer. Click “Install now” and the next screen in your dashboard will give you a message that it's been installed successfully. Click “Activate” and you're all set. If you choose a premium theme that's not Divi, this upload process is going to be the same.
STEP FOUR: CREATE PAGES AND BLOG POSTS
Now, it's finally time to have some fun and get started on building your own coaching website! Again, you do not need coding knowledge to build your pages and posts. You'll use a page editor to set the look of both your blog pages and your website pages. The builder you utilize depends on the theme you're using. For instance, if you use Divi, you'll have access to its responsive, user-friendly, drag-and-drop editor. If you use other themes, a very popular free drag-and-drop builder is Elementor, which you can download from the “Plugins” tab in your WordPress dashboard.
Pages: Web pages such as a home page, a dedicated blog page (to host all of your blog posts in one place), an “about me” page, a “contact” page, or a product purchase page. For example, if you typed in TheCoachBridge.com on your computer or mobile device, you would see this website's home page, which can link to other pages, the blog, and give more information about your website. To add a new page, “Pages” and then “Add New” in your WordPress dashboard. If you're using a builder like Elementor, you can type in the title of your page and then hit “Edit with Elementor” and build from there. If you're using Divi, you'll have the option to select “Use Divi Builder” here, and you can then select a pre-made layout, clone an existing one, or build from scratch using their drag-and-drop builder.
Posts: This refers to blog posts that may be housed on your website. For example, what you are reading right now is a blog post. To create a new blog post for your site, click “Posts” and then “Add New” in your WordPress dashboard. The process for adding a new blog post is essentially the same as building a new page above. You You can then view and edit all of your blog posts and drafts in your dashboard by clicking “View All” in the “Posts” tab.
Your website may be one page, or a bunch of pages. You may choose to operate your website mainly as a blog, or you may not utilize a blog at all. It all depends on the purpose and goals of your website.
STEP FIVE: EDIT YOUR MENU BAR, HEADER, AND FOOTER, CUSTOMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
Whether it's on your web pages or your blog posts, you'll want to make sure that you have a good looking menu bar/header section. The top bar of TheCoachBridge.com looks like this:
In order to build it, I clicked on “Appearance”, then “Customize” in my WordPress dashboard. From there, I changed the width, color, and configured which pages would show up as links on the top menu bar. Depending on your theme, the options listed in your “Customize” section will differ. You can change things like your site title (what shows up in the browser bar when someone accesses your site), the background color, text options (across all your posts and/or pages), the footer (bottom of your website), social buttons, and much more. Again, Divi's customization options are really cool and I've found their customization section to be more robust than others. The instructions we'll give below are specific to Divi, but you can edit your header and footer regardless of theme in your “Customize” section; it's just worded differently based on theme.
Back to our institutions for Divi users: see the logo for TheCoachBridge in the top left hand corner? Well, your top menu bar is going to default to having a Divi logo when you're designing your site, and you obviously don't want that. You can check the box in your “Customize” section in WordPress to not display a logo at all, if that's what you'd like, by going to “Header and Navigation”, then “Top Menu Bar”, then “hide logo image”. If you do want to have a logo (create your own or use a service like Fiverr to get one made!), I'll show you how to upload one that will display in your top menu momentarily.
You'll want to be sure that you designate the correct page as your website's “homepage.” Your homepage could technically be a page hosting just your latest blog posts, or a dedicated home page such as the one you see on TheCoachBridge.com. To set this, in the Customize section that we have been discussing, go to “Homepage Settings.” If you leave it set to “latest posts”, your homepage will simply be a listing of blog posts. Most folks do not go that route. To set an actual page as your homepage, select “A static page” and click on your preferred page from the drop down menu.
Once you have some pages built for your website – if you choose to have more than one page – you can display those on your top menu bar, too. In the example above, there are two links – Home and Blog. To add pages to that top menu bar, in your “Customize” section in the dashboard, click “Menus”, “Top Menu”, then “Add Items”. You'll see a listing of your “live” pages that you can then select to add to the bar, along with other items.
Always hit the blue “Publish” button at the top to lock in any customization changes you have made.
The very bottom of your website is called the footer, and any page you build with Divi will have a footer automatically set up for you. This is a section you'll want to customize, however. This is what a footer could look like after some changes.
To edit your footer, you'll be doing more work in your theme customizer that we've been using. Under “Footer”, then “Footer Elements”, you can keep the box checked to show your social media icons (such as the Facebook and Twitter ones I have displayed in the example above), or uncheck the box if you do not want any displayed. Click the back button, then access the “Bottom Bar” section to change the background color, text/link color, and social icon color. Divi will have a message automatically displayed in your footer while building that you'll want to edit which is called the “footer credits.” You can choose not to display anything in this section by clicking to hide the credits, but I recommend displaying a message.. Simply type what you want – for instance, copyright 2021 “YourSite.com” – and make sure you publish the changes.
If you have Divi, back in the dashboard, it's time to do more work under the Divi tab, this time in the “Theme Options” section. Click that, then access the general tab. As you see below, here's where you can upload your own logo. You can scroll down further in this select and check/uncheck the various social icons that will show up in your footer section. Make sure you enter the links to the social media pages you want to display here.
STEP SIX: ADD PLUGINS, PUBLISH YOUR WEBSITE
There are many tools that you can use in the course of continuing to build your website, whether it's to do things like find, create or resize images or graphics, analyze your site traffic, write more effectively, collect email subscribers, build traffic through social media, and more.
If you are not super comfortable as a writer – and you not be writing a ton for your site, depending on your goals – consider checking out Grammarly.
Here are some other resources I recommend checking out as you get things going with your website.
The best traffic tool for your website: Google Analytics.
You may also want to add some plugins to your website. WordPress plugins are helpful tools that work in conjunction with your website to optimize speed or add greater functionality. To search for – and add – plugins to your site, click on the mouse over the “Plugins” tab on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. Once you have installed plugins, active that in the dashboard, and then you can configure them by accessing each plugin's settings function.
In my experience, here are the best plugins for your WordPress site:
The top plugin for social sharing: Monarch. Remember, this is included if you purchase the Divi Theme and builder. This is a versatile tool that lets you create pop-ups, slide-ins, or static bars allowing your website readers to share your content on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
The best plugins for email opt-ins: Bloom. Another one included as a bonus with Divi! Bloom integrates with email services like ConvertKit and allows you to create calls to action to gain more email subscribers, highlight your initiatives, or sell products. If you don't use the Divi theme (or even if you do), then check out OptinMonster.
The best plugin for image optimization: ShortPixel. If you do not use ShortPixel, you can manually upload photos or your folders of photos into a tool like Optimizilla. If you have lots of images on your site, it helps your website load much more quickly if you compress your images.
The best plugin for SEO (search engine optimization): Yoast SEO
Before you have made your site live for the first time, you'll see a message like this in your WordPress dashboard.
Keep in mind that you can always build new pages to add to your site, and if you have a blog, you can make new posts or update your existing ones. So, when you're ready to go live, just click the “launch your site” text.
STEP SEVEN: GROW YOUR WEBSITE
Now that you have put in the effort to build your website, it's time to let your friends, family, colleagues, and (if you have a business component) potential customers know about it! As I said earlier, the type of website that you build is going to depend on your goals. It could be that your website is just an extension of your resume, or to promote your players or your program. If that's the case, you are not going to run your website with as much of a business mentality. If your goal, however, is to make money from your website or blog, then you will need to invest in your success. I can tell you this from experience: scared money don't make money, y'all.
By the way, what are the top ways you can make money from your website if you're a coach? There are several.
A) Selling products or services
B) Advertising training services
C) Affiliate marketing
Let me tell you one that will not make you a lot of money, at least at first, and that's ads. When I started out, I thought plastering ads all over my sites (with GoogleAdsense) would possibly make me gobs of money. For instance, I had high school football schedules for every team in my home state and had an almost-annoying level of ads on each one. The pages were trafficked pretty well throughout the football season. I checked my Adsense balance at the end of the year and found a whopping 50 bucks.
Lesson: Don't think about ads.
Above, I gave you some really cool tools to help your website function well. If you want to grow your site -build an email list, monetize your website – then there are plenty of other resources and tools that I would highly recommend.
The best email marketing service: ConvertKit. Whether you want to broadcast information via email to a large group of people at once or market your products and services, ConvertKit absolutely rules. Its ease of use, integrations with WordPress sites, and functionality simply cannot be topped.
The top option for creating and selling courses: Teachable. Athletics coaches can create and sell courses using CoachTube, but Teachable takes things to another level. Among the list of features that Teachable offers? Custom course sales pages, unlimited students and courses, ability to run one-on-one session and talk to your “students” live, creator training, instant payouts, and coupon codes.
Enhance your knowledge with courses: Hopefully TheCoachBridge.com has been a quality resource for you in learning how to build your very own website. There are plenty of other great resources out there for you if you want to learn how to operate your website like a business. Please, do not spend gobs of cash taking every blogging/website course known to man. There are plenty that are a waste of time and money. If you are specific to the blogging side of things, I highly recommend the courses from the folks at Create and Go – try the Launch Your Blog Biz one first! Alex and Lauren have proven that they know what they're doing, and I've learned a lot from them myself.
If you have any questions or feedback, let me know in the comments section below!
I'm a sports media professional with over 11 years of experience, having built lasting relationships across the coaching profession. I want to help you reach your goals in the coaching industry and learn how to make side income in just like I did!