Trial & Error

We’ve Analyzed 50 Coaching Websites – Here’s How They’re Missing out on Clients

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The coaching industry is booming, but the growth isn’t reflected in its digital presence. From a complete lack of branding, through technical issues, to missing convenient contact methods - here are the biggest problems you need to address right away, based on our thorough analysis of 50 coaching websites.

Contacting coaches is inconvenient

Our first, perhaps most shocking finding, was how hard it is to contact some coaches. 28% of all websites had no contact form. Many of these websites were lacking interactive phone and/or email addresses – this was the case for 68% of them.

This meant that for many visitors, using their preferred contact channel will require unnecessary manual steps, such as copying email addresses or manually typing in the phone number.

Another 28% of websites had forms, but they struggled in some aspects: using unnecessary fields, poor labelling, or no input validation. You can learn more about what this means for your website in our article about collecting unnecessary data in contact forms.

Only 8% of the websites had no issues with contact forms at all, while the remaining 36% were above average, with some minor issues. The small imperfections were mostly related to secondary forms, such as a newsletter subscription.

Mobile visitors struggle on coaching websites

Anywhere from a third to more than half of the web traffic is from mobile devices. Only half of the websites we’ve tested have shown good responsiveness. Just 18% of all websites were rated as “above average” for user experience, with none getting the highest grade.

This means that even though half of the coaching websites display properly on mobile devices, there are some major issues with other aspects of the layout, design and implementation that undoubtedly stop many visitors from converting to a client.

Navigation is a pain point

The most common problem here was the navigation. One in five coaching websites uses lengthy navigation which isn’t implemented properly. It’s less of an issue for large computer screens, where the confusing navigation is still usable with “hover over” animations.

But that changes for tablets and phones, where even on the largest screens menus were cut off, required scrolling, or didn’t communicate that some elements can expand to show more choices.

As far as the nonresponsive websites go, 18% of all coaching sites was on the other end of the stick, with underwhelming navigation. Some websites used as little as two menu elements. These websites often provided little to no value to the visitor in terms of navigation.

Broken layouts are still a thing

We’ve also observed cases of multiple buttons in the same section linking to one page, even though each of them promises visitors they’ll learn more about a unique subject. And as much as 12% of websites had overlapping elements on mobile, making important interactions hard or even impossible.

And to make matters worse…

Coaching websites load too slow

Mobile users are still put off by the loading times. On top of the previous issues, they need to wait for 3.8s before a first contentful part of a website loaded (median time, the average is 4.37s). The median Google Page Speed score for mobile websites was just 40 out of 100.

The top 10% of websites recorded 2.28s and 77 points.

For comparison, the results are much better on desktops. The median score of 71 and just 1s of first contentful paint time is slightly above our expectations. It looks even better for the top 10%, which boast an impressive 96/100 and just 0.6s to load first paint.

With that being said, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. As pictured on the graph below, even an additional second of load time can decrease your conversions by 25%. With the top 10% of coaching websites performing about 1.5s better than the median, there’s a high chance your website is losing you clients because it’s too slow.

How website loading time impacts your conversion rate.

Online, every second matters

When searching online, your visitors are just seconds away from thousands of your competitors. It’s unlike any other marketing channel coaches are used to.

Even on a networking event, where there are other coaches available nearby, a brief conversation is bonding. Your prospect has invested their time to talk to you, and you’ve done a superb job to explain how you can help them.

Online, it takes visitors just one click to go back to Google after they’ve “wasted” five seconds of their time on a slow website. If your website is not up to speed, you’ve lost a prospect before having the chance to tell them about your services.

Lack of modern solutions

These days, your website is the hub of your marketing. There are many useful integrations that can reduce your workload and give convenient contact options to your visitors. It surprised us to see that only 10% of coaching websites used a booking solution. And for those that do use it, they don’t utilise the power of integrating it into a website.

Booking a session on these sites redirected us to a third-party website, which is an unnecessary step and there will be visitors that might not trust that external page. With many booking and customer relationship management systems around, as well as other integrations, we were disappointed to see that the vast majority of coaching websites don’t take advantage of them.

Security is still not a given

14% of tested websites didn’t have a valid security certificate. Considering that the contact forms on coaching websites often ask for detailed personal data, including phone numbers, having an SSL certificate is a standard in the industry.

Lack of branding

Last but not least, an astounding 78% of websites lack branding. 20% are a step above just a basic logo and only 2% have shown that enough thought has gone into the colour palette and voice tone.

A lack of branding causes several issues for the industry and its individual websites, some of which are:

22% of all websites had serious issues with the legibility of the text even for able-bodied visitors. This was caused either by the contrast issues or poor design and font choices.

How can you identify these issues on your website?

Now that you know the most common issues on coaching websites, how can you tell if your website is among the best or the slightly worse ones? To identify most of the problems above, you’ll need specialist knowledge. You can book a free strategy session with one of our experts today to evaluate where your site stands.

But there’s also something you can do right away, in just minutes. Here’s a quick action plan that will help you test your website to decide if it needs improvements:

  1. Visit your website on a mobile phone and check if everything displays correctly. Focus on the navigation and how much you need to scroll to find the key information. Some of the warning signs: the menu doesn’t fit on your screen, the dropdown elements do not show when you tap on them, the menu is always visible and makes your pages longer.
  2. Check how many fields your contact forms use. Do you need all of them? A rule of thumb is to use 3-4 fields for a regular contact form (including the message field) and just two for subscriptions such as a newsletter. Sometimes having more fields might be necessary, but we’ve found it was rare. Please make sure that the labels of the fields are always clear and visible. In some cases, filling a longer form that uses “placeholder” labels that disappear when typing might get extremely frustrating.
  3. Run a Page Speed test on your website and verify your results using the table below. We’ve used our knowledge and experience to estimate the impact of various Page Speed ratings on your conversion rate. We base the values on a general dataset. Conversion rate fluctuates based on an abundance of variables, so please do not make any final decisions based on the values. Only use them for a theoretical exercise and contact an expert to verify your findings.

PageSpeed scoreConversion rate change
0-9-66%
10-19-50%
20-29-43%
30-39-37%
40-49-32%
50-59-26%
60-69-17%
70-79baseline
80-89+33%
90-100+100%

Originally published Jun 16, 2020 4:20:00 PM, updated October 22 2020.

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