If you're thinking about building your own personal trainer website you'll need a few things before you get started. Choosing them can often seem frustrating and overwhelming when you have no idea what's what. We're here to help.
In this post we're going to build a house. Along the way we'll learn about the essential elements you need to create your fitness website, why they’re important and how to use them when embarking on your website design project.
Whether you want to build it yourself or you are considering hiring a web designer, it’s essential that you understand the following 5 elements of website design.
What's a domain name?
A domain name, also called web address or URL is your online address. It's the address you copy or type into your browser to access your website. For example, our web address here at My PT Website is: www.mypersonaltrainerwebsite.com.
Think of it as your business’ address. Like the address of your home, your domain will be the address of your online piece of real estate.
Why do I need a domain?
Much like a physical business like your local gym needs an address so new people can find them, you need an address someone can use to find your business. To find your online piece of real estate.
You need a domain name if you want your business to have an online presence in form of a website or if you want to set up a business email address which will have your domain name after the @ symbol. For example, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Friendly and professional.
How do I get one?
Choosing the right domain name has a whole host of it's own complications like whether to choose your own name as the domain, choose a business name or choose a name with the words "personaltrainer" in it.
See the Build Your Personal Trainer Website lesson on the iPT Academy to learn more about domain names.
My advice: They're so cheap you can just buy three! One with your own name, one with your business name and one using your service and location. Then later, when other aspects of your business have come together, you can choose.
Once you have a few domain names in mind, you will need to check with a domain name registrar to see if the domains are available. It doesn't matter too much who you choose. They're all similarly priced and offer the same services. Here are my top 3:
Normally the fee for the first year is very low then increases from year two.
What is hosting?
If building a website is like building a physical business then hosting would be the land you build your business on.
Web hosting is a service that allows you to place your personal trainer website onto the internet address you bought earlier.
A web hosting service provider passes information from a server where your website information is stored to the browser from where someone is looking at your website.
Why do I need hosting?
Your website needs land to place your website on which is accessible 24/7 and stores all the data contained on your website, e.g. pictures, copy and other elements and details of your web pages.
How do I get hosting?
Hosting providers will charge you to use their storage, this can be paid monthly, quarterly or yearly. Think of it like paying rent for the ground your site sits on. Most domain name registrars will offer hosting services, so will most website design platforms and businesses.
What is a fitness website?
If the domain is your address, hosting is the land, then a website is the property that sits on that land. Your website is what people see when they find your address either by typing it into a browser or by finding it on a search engine or social network.
Why do I need a personal trainer website?
A website is typically used as an online receptionist that works for you 24/7. People can visit your "online property" and find out more about your business while you're busy training clients or sleeping.
Imagine your online property is a large building with rooms. Each room explains to the visitor about your business, what you can do for them and about the services you offer.
How do I get a PT website?
How people find the information they are looking for depends on how you plan the pages of your website.
How you plan the site will be similar to planning the layout of your online property. You need to arrange the rooms and corridors in a way that makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for and encourages them to take the next step with you.
A good website design will have a polished and professional look, an easy to understand layout and simple navigation. Having a poorly designed website is like inviting people in to a poorly built building with horrible decor and a poor floorplan.
Naturally, we recommend you hire a professional but there are other DIY and cheaper options for those who have design skills like:
What is branding?
Branding is the silent underdog that can often dictate the success or failure of a business.
Your brand consists of your:
Why do I need a brand?
The short answer is because you would like to appeal to your target audience in a way that they can distinguish your services from your competitors’. As a result your ideal clients can find you more easily and understand why your personal training services are the best for them compared to other companies.
How do I get a brand?
Components of a brand are: business name, domain name, slogan, logo, the colours and a specific theme used on all marketing materials including hard copies and online.
This means before starting the work on your fitness website project, ideally you'd already have made decisions on some or all of the components above.
You can choose to work with different professionals on each step or pick a service like My Personal Trainer Website that includes all the above and will be able to create your brand and work in your branding at the same time.
What is content?
Simply put, content is the backbone of your website. Content includes website page copy, blogs, pictures and call-to-actions. The website copy is also the most important element for SEO optimisation.
Why do I need content?
Without content your website doesn’t add anything to the virtual space. It would be like having an empty house. Pointless. On the other hand, when you have killer fitness copy and other valuable content, your website can become your most effective online marketing tool.
How do I create content?
There are many ways to create the content of your website, one of which is to write the fitness copy yourself and get pictures taken specifically for the purpose.
Alternatively, you can hire someone to write your website copy and use stock photos. Make sure you have the right to use the content on your website otherwise you may be subject to a lawsuit from the person who owns those rights.
Get consent from clients before adding pictures showing them, make sure you buy the stock photos, don’t just download any picture that comes up on Google and check the T&Cs before paying a copywriter or a logo designer.
What is marketing?
According to The American Marketing Association marketing is "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large."
But in simple terms, it's how you're going to let everyone who needs to know about your business, discover your business.
Fitness Marketing is how you get people to your website so that you can sell your services. Marketing strategies include everything from giving out flyers, creating Facebook ads, posting on social media to sending emails and promoting your website.
Why do I need marketing?
Without marketing, there is no exchange of values. A potential client can't see why they'd hire you instead of one of your competitors.
No website visitors, no sales. Without sales, your business doesn’t survive, so it’s very important.
Your fitness website is not just about its content, it’s more about how you use it, where the traffic will come from and what readers do after landing on it..
How do I market my website?
Before taking any action, you need to consider what you’ll do after the website went live. If it just sits there doing nothing it will not make you any money. It will become a liability. Something you pay for that doesn't earn its keep.
There are a few ways to market your business using your website. Choosing the right strategy for your business will make a huge difference and that strategy lies in your strengths.
You can create Facebook and Google ads as part of your Outbound Marketing Strategy and/or you can also build an Inbound Marketing Campaign to create a consistent flow of traffic to your website.
Outbound marketing requires more capital investment and you continuously pay for the ads that drive traffic to your website.
Inbound marketing requires a lot of work hours at start and maintenance updates regularly but costs less financially.
Elements of a good fitness marketing strategy are blogging, social media platforms, email marketing and search engine optimisation. There is a full course dedicated to each of these element on the My PT Website Academy, feel free to browse around and learn more about each. Registration is free.
Many personal trainers are confused at the start of their career about how to get started with a fitness website because none of the available courses include guidance or business training on the topic.
If you want to avoid spending tens of unnecessary hours online or paying huge amount of money for something you don’t like, start with getting to understand the fundamental elements of effective website design and choose a solution that best suits your current business situation.
And remember, no website will always be better than a crappy website. Don't build a website just for the sake of having one.
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