Technology Costs (for an online coaching business)
You can start on a shoestring.
Did you know that I built my online coaching business using one of the free templates that comes with WordPress? That free template, plus some low-cost services I bolted on, got me through 4 years, and with it, I sold literally thousands of copies of my various information products for coaches. Pretty cool, huh?!
Even though I’ve just recently launched a new website, with a much fancier template (it has moving bits – lol!), I still aim to keep my costs low because I don’t want unnecessary expenses eating into my profits – profits are for me and my family to enjoy!
Website prices are all over the shop.
I know, from having spoken with lots of you guys, that rates for coaching business websites are all over the shop. Prices range from free (for hosted services like WordPress or Wix), to thousands of dollars (for custom designs created by real designers), to everything in between.
Since I have a reasonable amount of experience in this area, I thought I’d break down the basic costs for a good coaching website so that when you go shopping for yours, you will:
- Understand what you need
- Be able to ask smart questions to ascertain whether or not the professional you are talking to can meet your needs
- Understand the hidden, ongoing cost of running a successful coaching website
- Be able to spot and grab a good deal when you find it, so you can keep more of your profits!
The technologies needed are…
The table below lists the various technologies you must have:
- To attract prospects and customers
- To and maintain your relationship with customers and prospects
- To sell and deliver your own information products via the Internet
The table also gives a realistic price for each technology. If you want to learn even more about each technology, you can do so here.
(Of course, exact pricing depends on the service provider you decide to use for each technology)
Your address on the web
|$12 per year|
Lets you store your website on their servers
|$7 per month|
|Content Management System|
Framework for easily managing the content (words and images) on your website
|Free with Hosting|
|Online Marketing Service|
Let’s people subscribe to your website and let’s you email your subscribers
|$19 per month|
(Note: this service can range from Free to $300 per month. I’ve chosen $19 because it’s the entry level price for the service I use, Aweber)
|Digital Product Delivery Service|
Delivers digital products to buyers
|$10 per month|
|Client Management System|
Keeps your client files in one place, Online, and also helps you organize and deliver online coaching programs
|$13 per month (for 10 clinets)|
Collects money from buyers and acts as your online bank
|% of each item sold|
|Paid Online Advertising|
Way to drive traffic to your site (needs money but little time)
|$50 per month|
(Note: you can certainly spend more but this is a good price point to start with until you figure out what how to design a good ad campaign)
Way to drive traffic to your site (don’t need money but needs time)
|TOTAL||About $100 per month (or $50 if you decide to take a break from paid online advertising)|
So, you need to plan on spending about $100 a month for your website just to keep the technologies you need going.
But, there is more…
Unless you are a website wiz, you are going to need some people to help you set your site up. And that, of course, brings on additional costs.
So, let’s switch gears and look at the roles or people you really need to invest in to help you bring it all together.
The people needed are…
You can choose to wear all of the hats that I’ve listed below but only if you want to and will enjoy the work. If any of these roles (besides the first one) seems like it will suck life out of you as opposed to give you energy and inspire you, outsource it. Just post a job on elance.com or craigslist.com and you’ll get access to heaps of talented people, from all over the world, at great rates!
This needs to be you! You must understand what you need on your website and why you need it (this is why I’ve given you the list above and the more complete article explaining each technology, here).
Once you are clear in your head about what and why you need these different bits, hire and direct your team to give you what you want. You don’t need to understand the fine details but you must understand the big-picture basics of why you need each component.
Systems Integration Specialist/Developer
If you enjoy plugging things together, it is possible to to do this by yourself. But, if plugging IT stuff together and getting it to work sounds like your idea of hell on earth, you’ll need a Systems Integration Specialist/Developer to do it for you.
Just give your developer the list of services from the previous section and tell him/her you want a website that plugs those technologies together. If you are prepared to use a ready-made a theme/design, he/she should be able to put something together for you in just a few hours!
Once the basic framework has been set up, then you or your developer will need to spend a few hours plugging your content into the right places.
Let’s estimate 10 hours total. At $20-$50 per hour you are looking at $200 – $500 to get your site all set up. That is pretty good!
The more clear you are about what you want, and the more you have planned and ready to go up front, the quicker your Systems Integration Specialist will be able to work, and the less your site will cost.
Graphic Designer (optional)
If you are happy to use a theme (like one of these) for your website and you don’t need a logo designed, then you don’t need a graphic designer.
However, if you want an original, logo and/or custom design for your website, and you are not a designer, you’ll need to hire a graphic designer to come up with these pieces of art for you.
When hiring a designer, make sure that he/she has designed websites that you like. Look at their work before you hire them.
Also, make sure they use a content management system that you will find easy to use, otherwise, you’ll have to pay someone to do really simple changes to your site. I guarantee you that in 9 out of 10 cases, you will feel more empowered in your business, if you can at least add and edit basic content on your website by yourself.
A good designer is usually about $30 – $50 per hour. You should be able to get an original design with 2-3 feedback loops in about 10-15 hours of work. So that would come in at anywhere from $300-$750.
Note: this does not usually include designing a logo, unless you negotiate that into the deal.
Personally, I think having a logo is optional. You can test out your business concept for a while just using plain text for your logo. If your concept works and you have money to invest in a logo, then get one made.
I’ll often go for a year or more without a logo on a business or product, I want to know I’m onto a winner before I invest too much of my profits into it.
However, if you are dead set on having a logo now and are prepared to invest $200-$300, check out companies that specialize in pre-made logos (premadelogo.com) or logo competitions (99designs.com) – great options and great prices.
Your website is your window to the world so you want the content on your site to give the right impression of your products and services. If you love writing or are prepared to give it a try, I encourage you to write your own copy for your website. But if writing is the last in the world you’d like to be doing, then defiantly outsource it! Plenty of coaches do and it works fine.
So far, I write all of my own stuff (because I LOVE the creative process) so, I don’t have a lot of experience hiring copywriters, but a few of my clients hire them. From what I can tell, you want someone who is genuinely curious about your brand, and your values so that they can write using that tone or voice.
It may take a few articles for the writer to find the right voice but if you can push through and find the right writer for your business, your website will be done fast. Plus you’ll have a great resource for helping you with product development and articles.
A good copy writer is about $20 – $40 an hour (sometimes they charge by the page). A website is usually about 5 to 10 pages so you are looking at about $100 – $400 for a copywriter to write your website content.
So here is what a successful coaching website should cost you.
The pieces of the puzzle
- Technologies – $100 a month (or $50 a month if you take a break from paid online advertising)
- Systems Integration Specialist/Developer to set up and integrate the technologies – $200-$500 (optional if you have technical skills)
- Graphic Designer to create a custom design – $300-$750 (optional if you don’t need a custom design)
- Copywriter to write your website content – $100 – $400 (optional if you can write your own content)
- About $100 a month (or $50 a month if you take a break from paid online advertising) – for all of your technologies
- $1,650 one off if you hire people to do EVERYTHING for you.
- Plus around $100 a month (or $50 a month if you decide to take a break from paid online advertising) – for all of your technologies
One of my big themes with the coaches I work with is to get them to get online as quickly and as inexpensively as possible at first. This approach ends the procrastination strategy and puts you in a new space with new possibilities. Your viewpoint is just different once the “getting online milestone” is reached. New opportunities start to exist.
Once you have made a few sales and proven that the concept (be it a business idea or product) is worth further investment, feel free to pump more money into it. Add those all important, logos and fancy moving bits to your hearts content!