More and more health and wellness brands and coaches are building their own DIY websites. Some enjoy the process, while others struggle.
Often, they are creative types that have unique gifts, but may be making some common mistakes when it comes to building their website. The result is overwhelm.
Let’s take a close look at that so that you can eliminate the overwhelm when creating your website, starting with:
•The 25 common challenges creative entrepreneurs face when building a DIY website
•The 3 most important components of an effective health and wellness or coaching website
•Your 3 best bests for “starting where you are at, but also focusing on where you want to go.”
For the record, I’m not “calling out” right-brained, creative types. Left-brain dominant logical types also tend to make common mistakes as well.
Make sure to check out my blog about the strengths and weaknesses “left brained types.”
Building a website isn’t just about clean coding or great design. In order to be effective and become one of your strongest marketing tools, we need to embrace both our creative and more linear, logical, step-by-step skills. We also need to know what is already proven to work, so that we’re not wasting our time or throwing money at something that won’t get us more leads, conversions, and help us grow and scale our businesses.
I build websites and templates for wellness entrepreneurs and creative entrepreneurs who are scaling their businesses with online offerings. Along the way, I saw a real, tangible, practical need for some kind of system to help my clients, particularly the ones who describe themselves as being “non-techy.”
Many of my clients are DIYer’s who are diving into the world of building websites and landing pages. They are gaining confidence as they discover that they have the tools and capabilities to create their own digital infrastructure. I love helping DIYer’s.
Others might prefer to have someone else do this kind of work.
Either way can work, and it’s about what’s right for YOU. (Check out the bottom of this page for some great options)
This blog is for those who may feel a little frustrated by all the “tech” stuff, and are not sure how to get started.
Let’s talk about the creative mind and some of the advantages AND potential pitfalls a creative person can encounter.
Advantages creative entrepreneurs have when building a DIY website:
1. Your intuition. This is such a powerful tool that it may cover 1-10!
2. The ability to communicate well using both images and words.
3. Storytelling. This isn’t just a trend. The ability to tell a good story is becoming an essential marketing skill.
4. NOT getting caught up in the “back end” stuff. Spending too much time on this could slow you down. (I know, because I can be a nerd and need to focus only on what counts)
5. Speaking from the heart, using the perfect blend of EMPATHY and AUTHORITY.
Creative types tend to approach the process of building a website.. or any other digital marketing system.. differently than your average developer, and this is NOT a bad thing, at all!
In fact, some of the most successful projects I’ve worked on were the result of very CREATIVE ideas and processes.
24 reasons why many creative coaches and wellness businesses are struggling with their DIY website:
Some of these are unique to creative types, but some are things we all struggle with.
2. Fear of what might happen when your website.. actually goes LIVE. You may be thinking: Will people like my site? Will it get no visitors? What happens if someone books a call or signs up and I can’t deliver what I promised? (Deep seated fear of failure and/or success)
3. Sabotage via “busy-ness”
5. Not understanding the value of having a website; making it low-priority
6. Not understanding the value of creating regular content and how it is used to attract leads at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and how it it contributes to a sustainable business
7. Thinking that SEO is a minor “technical adjustment” that you can “set and forget”
8. Getting overwhelmed by looking at the competition’s websites
9. Not even knowing where to start, so you never even begin
10. Trying to save time and money by taking shortcuts that end up costing more in the long run
11. No clarity about a niche, trying to appeal to everyone
12. No clarity about your target market
13. No clarity about your competition or potential strategic partners
14. No clarity or direction when it comes to how to put all of this on a website. In other words, how to communicate your message verbally and visually. (It’s the job of your web designer to guide you through this process in the planning stages of creating your wellness website)
15. Shiny Object syndrome: This. No, wait.. that.. Hmm. I’m not in love with this one. Maybe that one..
16. Not having any structure to work within
17. Extreme writer’s block (on days when ideas are not flowing)
18. Taking months and months to deliver a blog or the content that goes on the “about” page
19. Thinking that everything is “written in stone” and can never, ever be changed without having to pay the developer to make changes
20. Good old fashioned mindset blocks
21. Not understanding how powerful a website can be for delivering content on a consistent basis: video, podcasting, blogging, photography.. those are JUST a START!
22. Not making data-driven decisions in addition to using your intuition
23. Not knowing what you don’t know, and/or not being willing to learn from an expert
24. Dreading the whole process, thinking that there’s no way it could actually be FUN. (yes, it can be.. even for creative types. Marketing IS a creative process!)
25. Believing outdated hype about how “hard” it is to build a website in WordPress and how “easy” it is to build it on other platforms. I’ve had to use more code to customize a SquareSpace site more than I ever did a DIVI/WordPress site.
As you can see, there’s a lot more that goes into this whole process than coding, branding, and marketing functions. It’s a highly personal process too.
A good website isn’t about the cheapest, easiest, and prettiest option. Can you imagine if this was our only criteria for the PEOPLE we know? It has to be effective, functional, intelligent, and flexible enough to accommodate a growing business. For many of us, this means having an online product and scaling our practices to include more innovative offerings.
Any of the above challenges could hinder the progress and the effectiveness of a finished site. Or sabotage it altogether. Let’s not let this happen to you. You can start where you are at, but I also want you to look at where you are headed in the next year, so that you don’t have to start all over again because you didn’t think the process of building your website through somewhat.
Creating a website isn’t difficult, but it’s not just about finding the latest SquareSpace template that looks nice and then filling in the blanks with whatever comes to mind.
Certain platforms may be more appropriate for your business at certain stages. For example, if you plan on scaling your business, I recommend a WordPress site. Time and time again I’ve seen clients run into a wall when their system (website, email, and other systems that all work together) isn’t able to do what they need it to do.
Note: I am not biased for financial reasons but ethical ones.. I cannot in good conscience take part in working with certain platforms that don’t end up being effective, create problems with workarounds, and end up costing more in the long run.
Now that I’ve been transparent and honest with you, I just want to let you know that it’s possible to do on your own, WITHOUT the OVERWHELM, by knowing what you need, following a few steps and making a few choices:
The first step in kicking OVERWHELM to the curb is having a solid foundation in place for your business. This will eliminate most of the 25 challenges I listed above. I guide you through each step in creating this foundation in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit, and in the planning stages of every client I work with.
The 3 components of an effective website
A layperson doesn’t really need to learn HTML and CSS, but I believe they should have easy access to the backend of their site so they can blog regularly and make minor changes and updates to their website.
There is a persistent myth that working with WordPress means not having access to drag-and-drop builders. This isn’t true, and hasn’t been, for a number of years now. I offer training to all of my website and coaching clients on how to edit their sites using Divi.
I’m also adding another service/product that I’m really excited about: TEMPLATES designed in DIVI based on the StoryBrand framework, along with a course or guidance to show you how to easily create your own simple website.
Good design isn’t just about choosing the right images, layout, and branding. Even branding isn’t just about your logo or even just colors or fonts. It’s not just an arbitrary process. Before the process of branding even begins, I need to gather information first. A brand doesn’t arise from thin air, but is informed by getting SUPER specific about the ideal client avatar, niche, message, positioning, and more.
It’s all about how to deliver your message with strong visual and verbal communication. The two are linked, and don’t function as separate entities. This is why having someone who knows about copy, layout, design, AND the flow of a website that converts (via telling a story) is important.
An effective website needs more than “good coding/best practices” or good design. It has a job to do, and at the end of the day, it’s about getting new leads and converting leads into actual sales.
It needs to be functional and have the basic tools needed in order work for a growing business. (NOT just what you want to do this month)
I firmly believe that the more educated my clients are about marketing their products and services, the more successful they will be. (on their OWN terms of success) They will be much less likely to burn out, and have more energy to exercise their unique gifts, including their creativity and intuition.
A good website developer or designer who works with creative businesses needs to know these 3 things. They need to have experience in communication, planning, and the entire process of creating a website tailored for a client. It’s not about having 2 choices: An expensive website that requires knowledge of coding, or a “cheap, easy, and pretty” site that does NOTHING for you or your business. (A cheap digital brochure is still a waste of time and money)
This is why there is a thorough intake and prep process. There are many pieces, some technical, some creative, that go into a launch, and about 100 moving parts and details to attend to so that you get traffic to your site, capture leads (grow your email list) engage your audience, and get conversions (sales) on autopilot. In other words, your site will be more than just a “digital brochure.”
The next step, now that you know the 25 common pitfalls and the 3 components of an effective website, is to decide how to pace yourself. Luckily, you have more choices than you did even 5 years ago. Here are the 3 best bets for starting where you are at, while keeping in mind, where you’re headed:
1. You can take in stages. Much like how people build houses here in Europe. Rather than overextending themselves, they fund and build one thing at a time, whether it’s the roof or the plumbing or the interior work.
There are ways to build a system, whether it’s a website or a launch, that can evolve and grow with your business or a specific strategy or even a tactic.
This COULD mean starting with a “starter site” like Wix or SquareSpace, while building your permanent “home base” or website and laying the foundation for creating it. I usually recommend this ONLY for those who have not yet done the foundational work. (Niche, market research, audience, ideal client avatar, etc)
For others, this could mean getting familiar with the WordPress ecosystem early on, perhaps with a “hobby site.” This is also a lower cost option than a subscription-based starter site, and for many, surprisingly do-able and easy. I recommend this step to anyone who has a solid concept of their offering, niche, etc. (the foundational work has been done)
2. You can start with a template. I’m not talking about any old “clean and elegant” design that you can find on most of the “cheap and easy” platforms out there. I’m talking a template that is actually based on the StoryBrand framework, your industry, your branding, and the tools and extras you’ll need as your business grows.
All with guidance to show you how to complete your site. This is a new offering and I’m still putting together the details, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
This is a great affordable option. I wanted to bridge the often HUGE gap between a basic starter/subscription site and a full-blown, done-for-you WordPress site for my clients. This helps me too, because I can’t afford to set aside an entire week for a client to build a website for peanuts, like some designers are doing right now. As you know, I almost never recommend discounting your prices, but finding innovative and value-added solutions that don’t cost you more TIME.
3. You can have someone do it for you, and either show you how to edit and maintain your own site, or manage it for you. As your business grows, this could make a LOT of sense, not only because your time IS money, but that website will be making it possible for you to grow your business for years to come.
There is no longer a reason to postpone the “home base” of your entire online business.
If you consider yourself a “right-brained creative” and thought that having a well-designed, functional site that will do what you NEED it to do, AND is affordable was out of your reach, I just want to let you know:
You have options.
1. Continue to struggle on your own. If you dislike building websites or “don’t know what you don’t know,” this path usually leads to overwhelm and frustration.
2. Slowly build your own website, but without skipping important steps in laying the foundation. Get all the steps here.
3. Consider a “Done for you” WordPress website using the Divi theme and builder. This option could save you a lot of time, energy, and money, depending on what stage of growth your business is in.
4. Get the best of both worlds with the Tell Your Story DIY Website Kit. You get a StoryBrand -based template, step-by-step guidance, and support at an affordable price for those just starting out.