Ep 45 – Custom Coaching Website Vs. DIY Template with Guest Nichole Betterley

Find the full transcript here of my interview with Nichole Betterley, web designer extraordinaire for coaches.

Don’t forget to check out Nichole’s free guide for you below, 5 Things for Powerful Coaching Websites.

Nichole Betterley is the Owner and Chief Web Wiz at “N” Powered Websites. She helps coaches, consultants, and other solopreneur service providers create websites that get noticed, get used, and get clients. She has more than 13 years of experience with what works for the ever-moving target of powerful websites and online marketing. Nichole lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, daughter, and the obligatory, work-from-home cat (even though she’s really a dog person at heart).

Rhonda Hess: Hey coaches, I am so excited to share a special person in my business life with you. And this is the sixth episode of Client Winning Coaching Websites.

Today we’re going to be talking about the difference between a DIY website, one that you do yourself using something like Wix or Squarespace or having a professional designer create a custom website for you.

There are a bunch of differences and I want you to know what they are so that as you’re making this decision you can go in with your eyes open.

The special guest that I have for today is my friend and colleague, Nichole Betterley. She and I have known each other … I think for 13 years or something like that now. (Nichole: Yeah!)

Nichole runs a company called NPoweredsites.com. Nichole, you call yourself the Chief Web Wiz. Tell us a little bit about you.

Nichole Betterley: Thank you so much for inviting me on your podcast to begin with. I’m just, I’m so excited to be here and to talk with you about this. I’ve been a web developer for 13 years now. Actually, you were one of my very first clients and I just hold our relationship so specially in my heart.

I came to be a web developer. I have a long history of loving technology and coming out of college I got a job as a developer at a big corporation. And like so many of my clients are, you know, after 11 years of that, I, I totally burnt out on that. And so now I’m corporate refugee.

And, I went on and didn’t quite know what to do. My husband and I started this little oatmeal business where we were making pre-packaged oatmeal, selling them at farmer’s markets and craft fairs.

I had to build the website so we could sell them online. And so I went down this whole rigmarole of figuring all of that out and designing a site and setting up, you know, the ecommerce platform and everything. And I really, really loved doing that a heck of a lot more than I actually loved making the oatmeal!

And so, you know, that’s kinda how I fell into my calling here and just discovering my love for it and transitioning into being a web developer.

Early on as I was kind of searching around for what I wanted to do after my corporate life, I did take some coaching certification classes and I kind knew coaching itself wasn’t quite right for me, but I just loved the people. I loved the philosophy, you know, I loved getting coached myself.

And so coaches just turned out to be, you know, an ideal client for me. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and love helping people. I think I’ve blossomed from being just a developer and a designer to more of a consultant and a partner. I’m working with people now and I am just so grateful for where I’m at and what I get to do every day.

Rhonda Hess: Oh, that is such a fun story. It explains a lot. It’s funny, because I did not know that you had taken coach training.

I always recommend you to my clients because I’ve been through lots and lots of web designers and I’ve never found one nearly as good as you. That is so great to know.

So tell us a little bit about who your favorite types of clients are to work with Nichole.

Nichole Betterley: Oh Gosh. You send me the best clients … coaches that work with you. It’s somebody who … the thing that I value the most … is the clarity that they have about their business. The clarity and the energy and the enthusiasm.

So when somebody shows up and they are super sure about who they’re working with and what they’re helping them with and they’ve got that sparkle and that energy about them, that that just comes from knowing that you’re in the right place and, and, and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. That is just, it’s contagious.

And I just love those kinds of clients once they’ve hit that point. And once they found that for themselves, because that’s really special to work with. And it helps us.

When I create a website with somebody, I really believe that we co-create the website, just like coaches co-create the outcome with their clients. And when somebody brings that sparkle with them, we end up with this really amazing website at the end because of what we brought together.

Rhonda Hess: Well, first of all, I’m honored to hear that. I’m really glad you like the people that I send you. They like you. What I always hear back from them is: “I’m, like, besties with Nichole already” after they first meet you. They are so enthused to work with you.

And there’s that real sense of partnership. I also feel really lucky that I get to be in on it to a certain degree because usually when my clients work with you, they’re still working with me. And so I get to see the first designs before they’re finalized. I get to see everything as it’s going along and it’s a very  exciting unfolding.

Here’s a question for you, and you’ve already kind of partially answered this, but I want to be really clear with the people that are listening.

What do you think makes a client winning coaching website?

Nichole Betterley: What I have discovered over the years and, and the websites that I see actually work really well for coaches to in, in getting clients. They’ve got a couple of things that are, you know, that they have in common.

  • One of them is they’re talking to and about their client using their client’s language.
  • The website’s not about the coach. I mean, almost the entire website is not about the coach.
  • Even the About page really needs to connect with the client and the site visitor. The words and the branding, your company name, all of that immediately speaks to the client.
  • And then the other big thing is there’s a clear next step on just about every page for a client to take.

And not just a next step, like, oh, go read this next page. It’s the next step of, you know, this is how to take the next step with me. And it’s not even usually contact me. It’s usually, an email opt in something kind of a powerful that is a clear next step for the site visitor to take and, and kind of get them into your funnel— that process of starting to interact with you and build that relationship with you.

And, and then they’ve got things on the back end of that too, that continue that, that journey for the client. They have processes and systems in place, emails that go out that build that relationship, invitations that go out, they’re putting regular content out.

On top of that, they’re out there in the world sending people, driving that traffic back to their website. So it’s like a whole ecosystem that they start to build and have in place. And, and those are the sites that I see that actually work really well.

Rhonda Hess: That was beautifully said. And you’re totally in alignment with what I say to coaches as well. And what I have found is worked so well on my own website.

I’m very lucky that I continually get clients from my website, people I have never met before, hire me through my website and that is the beauty way to go. That’s what we all want. The things that Nichole just laid out are pretty much the same things that I laid out on episode 42.

If you have not listened to that episode, listen to that after this one because it it lays out all the very specific things that make a coaching website claim winning.

I wanted to hear it from Nichole’s perspective. She’s on the other end of the table, if you will, and usually by the time I send clients to you, Nichole, I’ve done 3 of the 4 phases of the work that I do with my clients.

So there is a lot of prep that goes on before the web design process happens, before the content gets put on the page. And then that means that the content that’s put on the page is highly valuable. It has that piece of clarity you were talking about.

By the way, I just wanted to mention, Nichole has a fantastic blog. I recommend that you go to her website and sign up to get her blog on a regular basis. I read every word of her blogs and share them out because I learn so much from them. Find Nichole’s blog at https://npoweredsites.com.

What’s the web platform that you prefer and why?

Nichole Betterley: I have been building websites almost exclusively on WordPress for just about the entire 13 years. I think you were one of my very first WordPress sites too.

I occasionally have a client that will come to me who has a Wix or Squarespace site and wants support. And every now and again I’ll take them on because they need just little bits here and there. So I have experience with both of the platforms.

I don’t want to knock Wix and Squarespaces of the worlds because for what they provide they’re pretty good solutions. They can be. And I’ve seen some really beautiful websites built on them, so I know that it’s, it’s possible.

But what I love about WordPress, it’s OPEN SOURCE software and what open source means is it’s free. The software itself is free. And it’s built almost entirely by this huge community of largely volunteer people who just love it so much that they give their time to it to build it up and support it and make it what it, what they want it to be.

They always have a project team that’s guiding the next release. But I mean, literally thousands and thousands of people can contribute to WordPress in so many ways. It’s this incredible community of people that are so supportive.

And WordPress is very much like coaching in a lot of ways it’s just the comradery of the people that are in it and the giving attitude that they have. There’s this whole community and they just put so much love and so much effort and energy into it and it’s grown and it continues to grow.

There are new releases of WordPress about every 3 months and a major new release almost at least once a year. So it’s not going anywhere. It powers over 1/3 of the websites on the Internet today, which, if you think about that, is just a phenomenal number of websites.

Just about anything you could imagine you want to do with your website, somebody has imagined it and built a solution for it. The software itself is free, but the ad-ons (plugins) are usually very reasonably priced. And so you can build an incredibly robust website that does e-commerce, membership sites, learning management for not that much money.

Things that had cost tens of thousands of dollars, you can build for a couple of hundred dollars in software and you know, course developer time takes more than that.

WordPress is such an incredibly powerful extendable system that your WordPress site can be literally whatever you need it to be.

Whereas with, with sites like Squarespace and Wix, you are limited to what they offer you. So, if you’re using Aweber for example, Squarespace doesn’t even have the necessary ability to integrate with Aweber. They integrate with MailChimp really easily. And so it requires custom coding to get that on your website.

If you don’t use what they have provided a solution for, you’re having to build custom anyhow. It’s not very easy. And, you can’t build a membership site on Squarespace or Wix. You’re just really limited by those platforms with what their offerings are. And if that’s where you’re at with your business, that’s totally fine.

But if you’ve got grand visions for your coaching business and have ideas of where it’s going to go, WordPress is a much better foundation to grow with you.

Rhonda Hess:  You’re saying everything that I have felt. I love OPEN SOURCE. I always feel really excited when I can be a patron of an open source software. And I just think WordPress is so cool.

My site, which you have helped me with all along, has done all of those things. We’ve had a membership site on there. We’ve put online training on there. There have just been so many things that we’ve added with plugins onto the original WordPress site. So it’s, it’s just imminently expandable.

I will honestly say, I hate to see my clients go with Wix or Squarespace. If they really want to have what I call a going concern, and they want to have a business that’s going to last them for 5 – 10 years or 2 – 3 decades.

I just think we never know where our business is going to take us. And that’s one of the beautiful things about being an entrepreneur is you twist, you turn, you pivot. And I love the way that WordPress can do that too.

And I just loved your enthusiasm with that. Nichole, you’re, you got really going. You’re just like sending out energy rays as you talked about it.

Why do you think it’s important for a coach’s website to be customizable?

What’s the advantage of hiring somebody like you over getting a Wix or Squarespace template and trying to figure it all out on yourself?

Nichole Betterley: I will tell you, I’ll admit straight out. I’m a total DIY person. I love do it yourself. Plumbing projects and electrical projects around my house. And just a couple of weeks ago I refinished my tabletop and so I get the DIY desire and I get why people want to do that and because I’m just right there with you.

But the templates that they offer, and you can do a lot of things with them, but the way I put it is … you’re trying to cram your business into somebody else’s template and your copy, your message into their template as opposed to building your website and your marketing engine around your message and having your website fit your message.

Having a customizable site just gives you — from an aesthetic point of view — you end up with a much more beautiful site because you’re not trying to cram this piece of copy here and, and find a picture that’s supposed to go right there.

It’s just so much less flexible and then the fact that it doesn’t grow with you.

You asked me a question … what do I do with people that come to me with those kinds of websites that they want my help to fix them?

I just don’t even do that anymore because 9 times out of 10, we just need to start from scratch because it was going to be more expensive to fix and to shoehorn in an opt in form here where the site clearly doesn’t really want an opt in form. It’s not designed that way.

One of the things I do in design is pay attention to how your eye travels down the page and make sure that where your eye lands is where we want people to be looking. That’s where you want your opt in form and that’s where you want your call to action and things like that.

So I don’t even take those clients on anymore because it’s not usually really worth their time for me to try and fix the template. I do occasionally take them on to become new custom design clients.

Yeah and I feel bad for them that they have this website that just isn’t going to adjust and grow with them as they learn more about their business, as they change their messaging, as they refine their messaging, as they want to add new features to the site.

You know, they may want to start doing content upgrades and doing more social sharing type things. The templates just don’t really support growing and changing very well without a little good amount of pain I think.

Rhonda Hess:  Well I really appreciate your point about loving DIY. I will tell you that for most of my clients that decide to DIY, it’s mostly about money. They don’t want to invest the money into hiring a web designer.

And while sometimes I think that’s just the choice you have … you’ve got to do that on your own. I will say that it does take something away from the coach as opposed to being one of these wonderful experiences where you learn something new that you’re going to be able to use again down the road.

I find that for most of my clients that DIY their website — who don’t already know what they’re doing — it actually becomes a heartbreak. It becomes this torturous sort of rabbit hole that they had no idea what they were going to experience and they’ve found it very hard to get the kind of support they need without shelling out a lot of money for consultant support.

And so in the long run they end up spending nearly as much as they would if they invested in a designer like you who is going to be kind and friendly.

And the other thing that happens is that when my clients decide to DIY their website, it means that for the time they’re working on their website, we’re not able to move forward on other tasks during the time we worked together. And so very often we don’t get to those other things. They’re sort of robbed of my support during that time.

There’s a mindset that goes with the idea of put your time and effort into things that you know how to do, that you have strengths for, and then be willing to reach out and in best in people who are experts to help you with the other things.

I’ve run my business that way from the get go and it has paid me back so many ways to be generous with myself and say:

“Okay, I don’t have any idea what I’m doing here. And, I’m not going to spend the next 3 months with my head stuck into this trying to figure this out, when I could have this person, who knows what they’re doing, do it so much faster, so much easier.”

So for what it’s worth, I really encourage that. And you’ve said something to me once that you actually charge clients more. What was that about?

Nichole Betterley: Over the past 5 or 6 years, I have come to the very sharp realization that in a good website design your copy absolutely has to come first. And, I say that as a diehard designer and developer. I love the design step. I want to get in and start doing the pictures and the layouts and things like that.

But, if you don’t have good copy up front and we build the design around that good copy. If you don’t have that piece, you are starting 100 yards behind the start line at least. And you know, you’re starting in the hole.

Clients that you send to me that you’ve worked with on their copy, I’m able to offer a substantial discount than what I charge somebody who walks in off the street. Because the person that walks in off the street … they might have a general sense of who their target audience is and what they’re helping them with but we’re usually starting from scratch on that copy.

Yes, somebody who comes to me that hasn’t started with you and doesn’t have that incredibly strong foundation about what they’re doing in their business. They’re not clear about what their signature system is and what their freebie is that they’re going to offer. It’s just, it takes so much more time and so much more money.

I just am so grateful to what you provide them. And they come up with much better at websites at the end. It’s not as hard to get that website to be churning in new clients for them as it is when we’re starting from scratch.

Rhonda Hess:  Yeah. When you mindfully put time and energy into your business rather than slap something up or follow the leader of the other coaches, you know, who may not really know what they’re doing … it’s just amazing the difference that can make.

And at the same time, I’ll just say that it’s all a developmental process. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has to do, do-overs. I have done many. It’s just all about how you like to roll.

It’s so great for me to have a colleague like you that I can send my clients to.

Nichole, I know that you have something that you want to give to the listeners of prosperous coach podcast. Could you tell us about that?

Nichole Betterley:  Absolutely. I have a little freebie of my own called:

5 Things for Powerful Coaching Websites

It’s not super long and it applies whether you’re just starting out with your website or if you’ve got a website. It’s really good to look at your website through this lens and what are these five things that you can over the next week either get really clear about what you want to go up on your website or to actually make changes to your website to make it work better for you.

Rhonda Hess: Nichole, I just want to thank you. This was so much fun. I wish we could just talk all day and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more from Nichole somewhere down the road.

Nichole Betterley: Thank you!

Rhonda Hess: Okay, everybody well, stay inspired and make things happen.

The Next Episode Is: 6 Steps to Ace Your Coaching Website ‘About’ Page