10 Reasons Most Life Coaches Websites Fail (and what to do about it)

Let’s be honest with one another, most life coaches are struggling to make a decent living from coaching and most life coach websites suck.

It’s the reason why I devote most of my training to the client acquisition element.

It’s no good being a brilliant coach if you don’t have any clients!

As thousands of coaches set up their own practice each year the competition has gone from tough, to very tough, to absolutely brutal.

I have worked with well in excess of 300 coaches and I could count the ones who were thriving when they hire me on one hand.

Those figures may be skewed somewhat because by and large if you have a steady stream of new clients you certainly won’t have the same inclination to hire me as a new coach would have.

However, it’s not just the coaches I work with that leads me to believe more coaches are struggling than the leading training organizations would have you believe, it’s the barrage of e-mails I receieve requesting free help.

In one 24-hour period a couple of years or so ago I had five coaches e-mail me asking for advice.

Now I refer people to the free coaches support group I set up in Facebook, but I still get concerned.

Not for the people who e-mail for help, or those who ask me on Facebook because they obviously recognize they have deficiencies and are trying to do something about it.

But, it’s the thousands of life coaches who don’t realize they are about to walk in to ravenously hungry den of lions armed with only with a rolled up copy of the New York Times.

Or the ones who *think* they know what to do and really don’t.

There are no doubt dozens of ways to screw up your online presence, but in terms of your website, these are probably the 10 easiest ways.

10 Reasons Most Life Coach Websites Fail

1. Having An Ugly Website

Websites are like children, most parents think their kid is better looking and smarter than the average kid and get offended when somebody points out otherwise.

The only problem with this belief is that most life coach websites are uglier than Wally the Warthog who just won this years Ugliest Warthog of the Year competition for a sixth straight year.

I have looked at hundreds and could probably count the really good ones on both hands without needing to trouble my thumbs for any further help.

When I started coaching full time in 2005 the “If you build it they will come” philosophy generally held true.

Just having a website set you apart from the competition and made you look professional.

That is no longer the case and hasn’t been for quite some time.

An ugly, difficult to navigate and/or slow loading website is probably worse than no website.

There is a cognitive bias called the halo effect in which we tend to think that people we admire for one or more admirable traits, must be admirable in other areas of their life too.

This applies to your website.

If potential clients see a website that looks poorly designed or has spelling or formatting errors, then subconsciously they will presume you’re sloppy or careless

Think of your website as your shop window if you had a brick and mortar business – because that’s exactly what it is.

If it looks cheap and tacky it will only attract cheap and tacky at best, and nobody at worst.

website designer

2. Having A Do It Yourself Or Free Life Coaches Website

You’re a Life Coach and unless you have design and/or coding experience you should not be designing your own website.

If you do, it will almost certainly look like the website of a life coach designed by a life coach.

Would you attempt to do your own dentistry, hair styling or build your own house?

I have had many people proudly tell me they built their own website just as I was thinking, “Wow, you really need to fire your designer and rip down that site before anybody sees it”

You can get a clean looking easy to navigate website on WordPress for well under $2,000 these days and you can get an amazing site that truly kicks ass for around $5k.

I change the design of mine about every 4-years and as such investing between $5k and $10k is well worth it.

Similarly, you should NOT be using any website that you or your designer do not host.

With free sites like Wix, Weebly, Sitebuilder or Squarespace you have little control over design, SEO, and you don’t even own your own content in the majority of cases.

Some people have said they upgrade to a paid version of the above for extra features. It really doesn’t matter, avoid them like the plague if you want to market online.

Even companies that ‘specialize’ in offering sites for life coaches, should in the majority of cases be avoided because they’ll be using templates and just dragging and dropping everything.

The net result of this is that all their sites look the same and don’t meet your individual needs.

There are exceptions like Chris at Falaris who I use and highly recommend. The difference with Chris is, he hand codes everything and will take several hours talking to you to ensure exactly what it is you want.

Note: I’m NOT an affiliate for Chris, so if you hire him all I get is a nice warm fuzzy feeling and you get a great website.

call to action

3. Having No Real Call To Action

What do you want people who land on your site to do?

You probably answered, ‘hire me!’.

That would be the wrong answer.

Well, actually no strike that, it’s a reasonable answer to want that, but you shouldn’t be aiming for that because if you do you’re going to fail.

What you should be looking to do is to start the process of building a relationship with potential clients.

When people land on the home page of Coach The Life Coach I want them to subscribe to my newsletter.

Of course, there is an option for them to contact me directly and some people do, but my main goal is to get them to sign up for the newsletter.

If they do, I can then start to build a relationship by supplying them with high quality content that has value in and of itself.

By doing that, I know there is an exponentially increased likelihood they will hire me in the future or take one of my courses.

i get between 250 and 500 unique users a day to the site and that is way more than most life coaches.

However, I couldn’t survive if I was just aiming to get people to sign up for the course immediately without getting to know me, and neither can you.

We’re not selling Snickers bars or cheap novelty gifts here and people rarely hire a life coach on impulse, so don’t expect them to.

At least buy them a drink before you ask them to get in bed with you.

what about me

4. Having No ‘What’s In it For Me’? (WIFM)

Can you look at your home page and honestly say you have clearly articulated the benefits for anybody hiring you in a paragraph or a few bullet points?

If you have any doubt whatsoever get somebody who doesn’t know what you really do and ask them.

You have about 3 to 7 seconds to deliver that message before the back button has been hit and your potential client has gone for good.

My home page makes it perfectly clear what I do and who I help.

The people landing on your website don’t care about you, they care about what you can do for them.

It’s all about them!

In the nicest possible way, presume everybody is stupid and make your service offering blindingly obvious.


5. Having No Picture Of You

We are in the partnership business and not having your picture on your website is fatal, did you hear me?


You’re potential clients want to connect with you.

Not a nice flower, not a beach, a cute dolphin or any other crap stock image you bought for 5 bucks or downloaded for free like I just did with the one above.

If you are nervous about uploading your photo (and a decent one with you looking welcoming) because of what others may think, you’re probably in the wrong job.

It’s okay if you’re a tad overweight, have lost most of your hair and aren’t aging especially gracefully.

Er, wait a minute, that’s me!

google search life coaches

6. Not Understanding SEO Basics

SEO means search engine optimization and is the process of making your website as appealing to Google and all the other search engines as possible so they will send you visitors.

Presuming you didn’t click through from the Coach theLife Coach Facebook Group or from my newsletter, then you probably found this page by typing something similar to ‘life coach websites’ into Google.

And that’s because I know what I’m doing with SEO and this page outranks hundreds of others who would like to appear on the first page for that search string.

I just did a search and I am the first result below the paid ads.

Why would I try and rank for such a term you may wonder?

Well, it’s because most people searching that are going to be new life coaches and they are my target market!

If you want Google & Bing and thus people to be able to find you, then you have to understand basic SEO good practice.

You need to know about long-tailed keywords and how to use them, anchor text, the benefits of internal and external links, how to maximize meta descriptions, read Google Analytics and a whole lot more.

Of course, you can outsource all that but be warned because if you know nothing about it, how do you know your SEO company does?

Note: There is a movement suggesting SEO is dead as we move more toward content marketing. It’s not.

Content marketing is just a different way to optimize your site with high-quality in-depth content that people then want to share and link to.

If you’re serious about understanding SEO, then I suggest you subscribe to Backlinko.


7. Outsourcing SEO Overseas

I recently I got the following comment left on one of my blog posts:

“What’s up to all, as I am truly eager of reading this website’s post to be updated daily. It contains good material.”

The link took me back to a life coaches website, a life coach who almost certainly didn’t write that gibberish.

Who did then?

Probably his overseas SEO company where nobody spoke fluent English or knew anything about his business.

The one that guaranteed to have him on the front page of Google by the end of the month.

The one that charges next to nothing for a service that requires a lot of time, knowledge and perseverance.

If that is, it’s to be done correctly and in a manner that won’t have Google slapping your wrists or worse.

Firstly, my blog comments are ‘no follow’ links meaning I’m telling Google not to follow the link, so there is almost zero benefit to him which has me wondering if the company he hired even understood SEO basics.

Secondly, he looks like a total imbecile to most people who won’t realize the comment was left on his behalf, and not by him.

I deleted the comment but if I’d have left it up there what would you have thought about a coach who leaves such meaningless drivel in other peoples blog post comments?

Would you have been rushing off to hire him? Or laugh at him?

It’s perfectly ok, to outsource SEO, but the really good companies usually charge a lot of money.

And if you don’t know anything about SEO you don’t know the right questions to ask to see if they are good at what they do.

Trust me I have been badly burned with this one and it almost put me out of business seven or eight times.

I hired an overseas company who took me from around page four for the term ‘life coach’ to page one.

I was ecstatic and my inquiry rate exploded

Then almost as quickly I went from page one down to page 44 overnight and almost got de-indexed by Google – which would have finished me off.

The reason was my SEO company was using all sorts of black hat tactics that were in direct contradiction with Googles terms and conditions.

Remember that the company you hire can destroy your reputation a lot quicker than you can build it, both with Google and with your potential clients.

cute puppy

8. Having Irrelevant Content Not Related To Life Coaching

If you have another sideline business it has no right being on your coaching website, it will just confuse people.

In fact, if you have another site that isn’t related to coaching don’t even link to it anywhere prominent.

Why do you think I have two websites, here and A Daring Adventure when it would be a lot less work and cheaper to have just one?

Because otherwise, it would confuse people.

For the most part, people don’t care what book you’re reading, how many cats you have, what your favorite color is, which mountain you once scaled or what your star sign is.*

Everything on your site should be there for a specific reason, otherwise strip it out because you risk overwhelming people with crap that means nothing to them, or worse, bores their arse off.

* There are reasons why this can help in rapport building, but unless you know how to do this properly, don’t.

online marketing coaches

9. Not Understanding Social Proof

Social proof can be very powerful, but if you don’t understand how it works it can also be harmful.

If you have 100,000 blog subscribers then you may want to share that with your visitors.

That amount of subscribers will give the impression that you must know what you’re talking about and thus they will be far more likely to sign up.

The flip side of that is a website I went on recently that proudly displayed it had 2 readers.

That is social proof in reverse, so strip it out.

Similarly, having 2 testimonials is worse than having none.

2, 3 or even 4 tells people one of two things.

  • You haven’t been coaching very long and as such you have limited experience
  • You have been coaching a long time, but you’re not a very good coach because nobody wants to give you a testimonial

Personally, I wouldn’t put up less than 7 or 8. I won’t even take a testimonial these days without a photo because I want people to know they’re genuine.

You will never see, “Tim is an awesome Life Coach – John, Australia” as I saw last week on another coaches site, except it obviously didn’t say Tim.

  • Being a published author is good social proof, so use it – having a 12-page ebook for download not so much
  • Being interviewed on TV is excellent social proof – unless that is, you were interviewed because you saw a crime take place
  • Being quoted or published in a national magazine is great social proof-writing a guest post for me probably isn’t 🙁
  • Having lots of comments on your blog is good social proof – having a long list of posts with 0 Comments highly visible next to them isn’t
  • Getting lots of social media shares is awesome, but having a Share Bar with everything at zero doesn’t look great.



10. Trying To Be All Things To All Men (and Women)

90% of people who land on your website probably aren’t your ideal client, and don’t be afraid to tell them that.

Don’t claim to be a business, executive, life and relationship coach because guess what will happen.

  • People who want a business coach will leave and go and hire a business coach
  • People who want an executive coach will leave and go and hire an executive coach
  • People who want a life coach will leave and go and hire a life coach
  • People who want a relationship coach will leave and go and hire a relationship coach

If you want to be a Jackass of all Trades be my guest, but your potential clients want a specialist, not somebody claiming to be an expert in a number of different disciplines

On this site I ONLY target other coaches or people who are looking to become a coach at some stage.

I don’t even talk about relationship, executive or career coaching.

I don’t do productivity or time management coaching, I don’t coach couples, I don’t coach kids and I don’t do what I call ‘accountability coaching’.

  • If you are brilliant at stress management, shout it out
  • If you excel at helping people manage time, make sure everybody knows it
  • If you can help the laziest people become more productive, yell it from the metaphorical rooftops

Don’t be shy, don’t hide your light under a bushel and don’t think it’s obvious just because you know what you do.

The alternative is that your competition will take your clients as you mutter how lucky they are, when the reality is you simply didn’t do your job properly.

Of course there is much more than these 10 things in having a successful website, but I hope this has given you something to think on.

Remember your website is dynamic and you should be testing and tinkering with it all the time.


2 Bonus Reasons That Can Cause Your Problems

Google has made it abundantly clear that if you want to rank highly then your site needs to be on HTTPS and not HTTP

The ‘S’ stands for secure and if you’re techie minded and want to know how it all works, then you can click here.

You don’t really need to know, you just need to get it changed over if you’re still stuck on HTTP.

If you don’t not only will you find it difficult to rank, but Google is now telling the world your site isn’t safe by literally saying so in the navigation bar.

Similarly, your site must use a responsive theme.

All that means is that it automatically adjusts to the device it is being viewed on i.e. phone, tablet, desktop etc.

Pretty much all themes these days are responsive, but if your site is a little older then you need to check this or forget about getting your site to rank.

Any questions or comments (positive or negative) please let me know.

Oh, and if you could share this on social media, that would be truly wonderful!



  1. Very helpful post Tim, thank you! You had my undivided attention at “suck donkey b*%#s” lol. Personally, I have no problem with my competition making these mistakes 🙂

    • Tim Brownson

      #11 was make sure you fill in your web address correctly when leaving comments on other blogs so that if anybody wants to click through they can do Jeff! 😉

      This doesn’t work https:thehealthyexec.com

      Done it myself, many times!

  2. Hi Tim
    Great post as usual, thank you. I’m moving forward as a Life Coach slowly but surely, absorbing information and taking action incrementally – which suits the ‘Rich and Happy’ life I’m building (you know the one where you can do what you want and when, as you suggest in your awesome book).

  3. Patricia

    Most websites fail in my mind because they aren’t humorous enough and they don’t have enough cursing. And mentioning of animals’ body parts.

    Hence, yours is a winner.

  4. Tim and Karl, thank you.
    This is an excellent article. I’m doing most things right (I think) but damn it’s a learning curve. I think it’s fantastic that you place so much value on this side of it on your course. As always I appreciate your resources and knowledge. Your like know and trust factor for me is high.

  5. Great article as always Tim. I am almost through your values book great read and helpful information. I am almost completed with my website I am really geared towards working with people who care for individuals with chronic illness. What are your thoughts on this: I have blog posts that I am writing using personal experiences that families may encounter. Anxiety, stress management, and moving their arses along in goal setting if needed. So it is contextual if you will.

    • Tim Brownson

      Glad you’re enjoying the book Josh!

      And yes personal stories can be soooo powerful, Good luck man!

  6. Rowena

    Thanks Tim, I really appreciate your blog on this topic – perfect timing for me as I am just getting into sorting and investing in my website! Some great points, some I was already aware of and considering (and some I wasn’t!)

  7. Alexander Baranov

    Thanks Tim, it is helpful. Two questions. Reflecting on some of the words in the post like ‘donkey balls’, ‘imbecile’, ‘Jackass’, ‘arse’, etc. I wonder what’s in it for you? What kind of clients are you targeting with these words?

    • Tim Brownson

      Real ones who aren’t offended by such words, and being able to write congruently.

      If somebody is so offended by the word ‘arse’ then not only do I not want to work with them one-on-one, I don’t them on the training either. I’d feel like I was walking on egg shells all the time.

      On the A Daring Adventure blog I regularly drop the ‘F’ bomb because guess what? I do in real life and my writing reflects how I term things. 90% of the time it’s in a humorous way.

      To me it’e being authentic. I want people to know me and not have some false perception.

      My question to you is? What that a real question with a desire to know (how else did you expect me to answer it?) or a diplomatic way of reprimanding me, or pointing out I’m wrong?

      I’ve been blogging 9 years and many people have told me the latter, but I do ok.

      • Alexander Baranov

        Thank you Tim. Wrong? no, everybody has his/her own way. I believe you when you say you are being authentic about this. I guess I wouldn’t go this way with my readers but I’m curious to look at different coaching styles. I learned something today, thank you!

        • Tim Brownson

          My blog is a great way of attracting clients on the same wave length.

          I know we shouldn’t need to like our clients or be similar, but when we do and are it makes it so much more fun.

          IOW, I don’t censor myself intentionally because I’m ok with polarizing people, as long.

          As I’m not deliberately trying to offend others, then I’m ok with it.

  8. Thanks for your insight, Tim!
    I find the section related to Social Proof particularly interesting. Showing off picture-less testimonials is as good as faking them.
    I’d say that nowadays you should also include links to the referral’s social profile if you are serious about using testimonials.
    Greetings from Italy and all the best for your CTLC program!

    • Tim Brownson

      Hi Carlos and that’s a great idea about linking to a social media account, I’d never considered that, thank!

  9. Tim, – Great post. I’m curious about your social proof idea though. That being not posting testimonials without pictures. I get the reason, and it makes sense. However, I would think there are still so many people who don’t want their faces out there. Do you think it could impact the ability to acquire testimonials to place on one’s site?

    • Tim Brownson

      Kim, I have only once had a client request I didn’t use a photo since I started imposing this 2 or 3 years ago and she worked for the Government.

      In which case I just didn’t use her testimonial, it wasn’t a big deal.

      For this site we haven’t had a single person say no, so I think the likelihood is smaller than you may think. Presuming that is, you have done a good job!

  10. Hi Tim!

    That was a very interesting and informative post – even for a non-coach. For me, no.9 was an extremely important point. If I would look for a coach I would probably look for testimonials, experience and success stories to see if I can trust this person.

    Thanks for sharing Ilka

  11. Thank you very much for this information, I am registered Social Worker with over 15 years in the field. I have recently starting a life coaching and motivational speaking business. So all of these tips are very helpful, I am in the research and developmental phase, where I am looking at some of the existing coaching programs that already exist; which I feel will allow me to develop a services that is very unique and effective.
    Please feel free to offer me any advice that you may have that will be helpful.
    Thank you again

  12. I have so much work to do with #9 especially. I also loved your explanation for why trying to be everything to everyone does not work. Thanks for giving me so much to think about!

  13. This is such an informative post Tim, even for someone who no longer coaches but still has an online presence. Still working on some of your tips – especially getting better at SEO and yes I’ve heard that it’s becoming less important (which would be brilliant for me!) too bad it’s not so!!!

  14. I “stumbled” upon your blog, quite frankly by accident. I absolutely love it. Your approach is refreshing, insightful, witty and intelligent. It is absolutely brilliant. I am looking forward to reading more of your work while I work on my “coaching” business. I am amidst hiring help to update and overhaul my website. What a learning experience it is! You certainly cannot do it all. Or you can try and pay the harsh price for it!!

  15. Excellent (and clear!) information! Thank you, Tim. I want to add that I just recently listened to an interview of a branding expert for coaches, and what he said also resonated with me, big time. He stated that one of the reasons Life Coaches struggle is because of how confused they become by the multitude of choices that are out there to help people, and before they know it they forget their #1 and # 2 strength/expertise and what makes THEM unique, just like you stress with #10. As an ex top sales executive for Apple, I was focused, driven and dynamic (and the results showed). Today, as a Life Coach (soon to be changed!), I struggle due to the lack of a clear path, and am grateful for articles like yours as they point me (us) in the right direction to replicate my previous success.

    Thanks again,

    • Tim Brownson

      Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad to be of help Lauretta! If you haven’t done, you might want to sign up for the newsletter as there is some really cool information in the 2 books we give you similar to this. Best of luck!

  16. Michael Wecke

    Really great and informative post, Tim. And it’s the reason my motivation for a start-up coaching business has stalled. No social proof, no testimonials etc and as a now reluctant pensioner I can’t really justify the expense of starting out as a Life Coach. You mentioned Chris as the goto person for website development etc. I absolutely and 100% agree. As I mentioned in another comment in one of your posts, Chris came back to me on my inquiry and his presentation in chat format via a video absolutely blew my socks off. Thorough and thought-provoking advice given, as you do so freely! Blessings on you from Down Under, mate!

    • Tim Brownson

      Seriously hoping you make a go of it mate, I know you’ll make a great coach!

  17. This is brilliant -> “Websites are like children, most parents think their kid is better looking and smarter than the average kid and get offended when somebody points out otherwise.”

  18. Mary

    Good advice. Quick question – All very helpful for life coaching but Leadership & Executive Coaching has a whole different audience. Any suggestions, besides the excellent ones you stated that can be related? Thanks again!

    • Tim Brownson

      I don’t think any of the points are not equally relevant to leadership and exec coaching Mary.

      Having said that, I think for that type of work physical interactions are much more important.

      Remember I don’t do ANY offline marketing, but I think it would be almost impossible to make a success of leadership and exec coaching taking that approach.

      My *guess* would be that most hirings like this will come through word of mouth.

  19. John

    Hi Tim, I’m a bit slow to read this one, seeing as the first comment was back in 2015, however I noticed the following that you may wish to edit, as noted in (parenthesis).

    Firstly, my blog comments are ‘no follow’ links meaning I’m telling Google (something missing here) so there is almost zero benefit to him which has me wondering if the company he hired even understood SEO basics.

    Trust me I have been badly burned with this one and it almost put me out of business seven or eight (times?).

    Best regards, and thanks for the free download offer on your ebooks. Much appreciated.