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Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 28, 2011

How to Choose a Great WordPress Theme for Your Health Coaching Website

Health Coach Website

WordPress is a great shortcut to getting a professional looking site up and running for your health coaching business. You can set up a basic WordPress site in about 10 minutes then add a fantastic looking theme to give it just the right look and feel for your business.  Yes, it can be that fast to set up.

Because there are tens of thousands of WordPress themes available – both free and paid – choosing the right WordPress theme can be time consuming and challenging.  In this article, Iʼll give you 5 things to consider when reviewing WordPress themes to help you quickly eliminate themes that wonʼt work and narrow down your choices on which will.

Understanding WordPress Themes

Two things you need to clearly understand about WordPress themes in order to choose the best theme for your website.

1. A WordPress theme is a template.

What you see is what you get. Unless you hire a webmaster to customize the stylesheet, you will have to be satisfied with the look, feel, graphics, and layout of the theme you are using.

If the theme doesnʼt come with drop-down menus, then youʼll have to do without them. So write down what features are really important to you so you can use this as a checklist when considering themes.

2. Not all WordPress themes are interchangeable.

One of the beliefs promoted about WordPress is that you can quickly and easily change the entire look and feel of your site by just changing themes and that all your pages and data will stay the same.  This is only true some of the time.

In actuality, not all themes will have the same layout and navigation menus.  And some specialty themes even store your data differently in the database.  What this means is that if you change themes, some of your pages, posts, and sidebars may no longer appear, or they may contain gibberish.  So when you pick a WordPress theme, do so with the intention of keeping it for a while.

Now that you understand the basics about WordPress themes, here are 6 things to look for to choose a great WordPress theme for your health coaching website.

Easy vs Flexible

The easiest and fastest way to get a WordPress website up is to use the theme as is and do little or no customization.  But if youʼre like me and you want to customize, look for a theme that is flexible in design.  Some themes include a dashboard that lets you select fonts, backgrounds, colors, and more with just the click of a button – no HTML or CSS programming required.

Masculine vs Feminine Designs

Thereʼs very little information on this topic, but I believe it is critical for health coaching websites.  If your ideal client is a woman and youʼve been having trouble finding a WordPress theme you love, thereʼs a really good reason.

According to a University of Glamorgan study done a few years ago about what aesthetically appeals to males and females when surfing the web, women prefer sites designed by women and men showed a preference for those created by men.

They also found that:

• 74% of sites were produced by a man or a predominantly male team while just 7% were designed by a female or female team.

• 94% of websites were biased towards men and only 2% towards women.

• websites which might appeal greatly to one group are a total no-no with the other

I personally find that most of the WordPress themes on the market have a masculine look and feel about them, which is why I often create custom graphics for my clients and replace the ones that come with the theme.

When youʼre choosing a WordPress theme, look at it from the prospective of whether itʼs more likely to be attractive to women or men and compare that to your ideal client.

• Women tend to prefer a clean, uncluttered look with space to breath, rounded edges, neutral background colors, great images, high-end photography, and easy to use navigation.

• Men tend to prefer straight lines, few colors in the typeface and background, and formal or expert language.

Pretty vs Optimized for Sales

Of course, you want an attractive website that will give you a professional online image.  But ultimately, you want a website that will attract your ideal client and turn them into prospects and clients.

While there are a lot of attractive, professional looking WordPress themes available, few of them are optimized with effective online marketing strategies, e.g themes that incorporate an opt-in box for a free irresistible offer.  This is the cornerstone to having a profitable coaching website.  Yet, finding a theme pre-designed for this strategy is almost impossible to find.

That means you need to look for a theme that can be easily customized to include an opt-in box on almost every page.  Some coaches choose to put their opt-in box in the header graphic section to accomplish this.

However, I personally donʼt recommend this because extensive research has shown that the header graphic and footer areas are the two least looked at sections of a webpage.  That being the case, why would you want to put your opt-in box in the least looked at area of your webpage?  For more information on this topic, see my article “Website Layouts that Maximize Sales and Sign Ups”.

Other coaches choose to put the opt-in box in the sidebar, which is a great option.  But that requires you have a sidebar on every webpage, which may not always look good.

Paid vs Free WP Themes

A lot of people ask me if they should use a free theme or a paid theme.  I used to use free WordPress themes, but now use paid.  Why?  Because the paid themes I use are kept up-to-date with the latest versions of WordPress.  That means that I donʼt have to worry about my theme crashing next time I update WordPress.

I also look for paid themes with a member forum and great customer support.  That is easily worth $35-$80 for a premium WordPress theme.

Fast vs Slow Page Loading

Most of the theme designers are not Internet marketers.  That means they are more interested in offering theme features than in designs that load quickly.  I have found that even themes promoted as “minimal” can load slowly.

You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of a website visitor.  So look for a WordPress theme that loads quickly.  Since “quick” is a relative term depending on the speed of someoneʼs ISP, you can test the loading time of several different themes using this site: http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/

First find the webpage with a demo of the WP theme you are considering using.  Then enter the URL to the theme demo on the websiteoptimization.com page and submit the query.  Youʼll get a detailed report to help you make the best choice.

Built-in Features vs Adding Plugins

This is closely related to page loading time.  The first thing many of us do after we set up a WordPress theme is add in all our favorite plugins.  Thereʼs the SEO plugin, Facebook plugin, spam filter, Google Analytics plugin, video plugin, and more.

Some things you need to know about plugins:

• They can significantly slow down your page loading time.  The more plugins you use, the slower the page loads.  So even if your theme loaded quickly in the tests, your plugins can slow it down to a snailʼs pace.

• Not all plugins work well with other plugins or even with every theme.  I sometimes have to try 2 or more plugins before I find one that works with a specific theme and other plugins.

• Sometimes free plugins arenʼt kept updated, which means that they may stop working the next time you update your version of WordPress.

Some WordPress themes include a lot of built-in features, especially the paid themes.  The benefit here is that if the extra features you want are built-in, you wonʼt have to bother finding and adding compatible plugins to do the work.  This could also mean that the theme will load faster because the features have already been optimized for speed.

Summary

The best place to start when choosing a great WordPress theme is to ask your web designer or online marketing mentor.  If they set up WordPress on a regular basis, theyʼve tested and looked at a lot of different options and can give you great advice.

You can also search online.  Here are some theme sites that I have either used or I know a trusted advisor who uses and recommends them:

• WooThemes.com

• StudioPress.com

• ThemeForest.net

• MySiteMyWay.com

• DIYthemes.com/thesis/

One last thought.  To get the most out of WordPress, youʼll need more than a 10 minute set up and a WP theme.  You will also need to configure the settings, create the sidebar content and menu, customize some of the graphics and/or stylesheet, add plugins, insert content, and optimize the design for sales and sign ups.

If you donʼt have the aptitude to do these yourself, get training or hire a professional to help you.  Remember, the faster your website is online and effectively marketing for you, the faster you can get clients and sales.

Looking for more information on how to use WordPress for Internet marketing? Get free instant access to tips and articles on how to get more clients and sales from your health coaching website.  Just visit http://www.KarenBrunet.com.  From Karen Brunet, online marketing consultant, where “Itʼs not just a website…Itʼs the Mother Lode!”

September 21, 2011

Using Webinars To Promote Your Health Coaching Business

Using Webinars To Promote Your Health Coaching Business

 

Have you been paying attention to how popular webinars have become in the past few years?  The technology is making it much easier to start using webinars to promote your health and wellness coaching  business.

Offering webinars is a fantastic way to get more people into your marketing funnel.  Do you offer a workshop or a class that could just as easily be done online as in person?  Turning this into a webinar has never been easier.

Here are a few ideas of things you could do on a webinar to promote your health coaching business:

  • Do a sugar blues workshop
  • Teach a cooking class
  • Do a workshop on the food-mood connection
  • Teach people how to reduce stress through diet
  • Build a workshop / webinar with your target audience in mind
  • Find a done for you presentation and turn it into a webinar

Think about it, how much easier would it be to find people that were interested in listening to your message if they could do it from the convenience of their own home.  These days people are busy and many are unwilling or unable to attend your live events even if they are interested.

Not only can you give a webinar live but you can record it so people can watch it at their convenience.  The latest trend is to offer pre-recorded webinars.  Depending on the purpose of your webinar, this can be an effective tool.  If your goal is to sign up as many clients from the webinar as you can, I would highly recommend doing the webinars live.  This way you are able to answer any questions attendees may have and interact with them directly.  If people just feel like they are listening to a canned webinar, they are much less likely to listen to all of your message.

How should you lay out your webinar?  Again, it depends on your goal, but the focus should be on providing your prospects and clients with extremely high value content.  Nobody want to sit through an hour long sales pitch.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell yourself or your program, but that should not be your focus when your on the webinar.

Recording webinars is a great way to put together video content for your blog, YouTube channel, or membership programs.  A recorded webinar can also be a fantastic lead generation tool for your website.  Simply have visitors give you their name and email and then they get to watch your webinar.

Webinars are also much more effective at getting people to become your clients than your web site or newsletter.  They get a much more direct experience of who you are and what you can do to help them.  Many people go online searching for the solution to some sort of problem.  When you show them that you have the solution, they naturally will want to work with you.

There are several platforms for giving live webinars, ranging from fairly cheap to extremely expensive.

  • GoToWebinar is the gold standard for many people, but is fairly expensive (They do have a free trial.
  • AnyMeeting is a free webinar platform, but people have to call in on a phone line.
  • Adobe Connect is another popular high-end webinar platform.
  • GVO Conference seems like a good middle of the road option, not as many bells and whistles as GoToWebinar but much more affordable, especially for smaller webinars.

Most of these platforms have free trials ranging from 14 to 30 days.

One of the most powerful features of creating a high value webinar with fantastic content is that your potential clients begin to know, like and trust you more when they see you in action.  Be authentic, don’t be a salesperson, so many online training try to teach all the tricks for getting people to buy your “stuff”.  Not to say that none of this is valuable but at least from my perspective, I am much more likely to buy from someone I feel is authentic and is really looking to help me.

One of the reasons I decided to help you promote your health and wellness coaching  business is because I have found that 99% of the health coaches I meet are mission driven, which is much more powerful than the profit motive alone.  The mission of changing the health of this country and this world is a big one, it will take many people getting their message out to the world in a big way to make it happen.

When starting to promote your health coaching business, it’s easy to get too focused on acquiring new clients.  Instead focus on building your community and tribe that you want to serve and develop a good relationship with them.  This way you will have long term relationships with more people instead of having people just come in and out of your business.

Make sure to connect on our facebook page and let us know how you would like to promote your health coaching business.

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September 14, 2011

4 Easy Steps to Get More Health Coaching Clients with Your Website

Welcome! I think you’re new here – lemme give you the perfect place to start.

You’ll really LOVE The Health Coach Blogging post series. In it I go through the whole life cycle of a blog post

Check it out here.

What makes a great website?  If youʼre a health coach, your answer is probably a website that brings in clients and money.  So why is it that some websites attract clients like crazy, while others donʼt?

Itʼs because great websites focus on the right things.  Health coaches donʼt attract clients by having the prettiest or most professional looking site.  And itʼs not about using great graphics, videos, or WordPress, though those can all be great, and I recommend using them.

In this article, Iʼll take you through four easy steps that will help you have a great website – one that attracts your ideal prospects and converts them into clients.  It starts with understanding that online marketing for health coaches is about building relationships, not about selling stuff.  And your website is an integral part of the process.

Your ideal client is desperately looking for help with a health issue.  And we know they arenʼt looking for another pill to cover the symptoms.  They are looking for a person who really understands their problem and has the knowledge to help them.

In other words, they are looking for a relationship with the right person.  And your website is one of the important ways that you establish yourself as “the” expert they want to work with.

Here are the steps to get more health coaching clients with your website:

Step 1 – Focus on Attraction

To attract your ideal client, you first need to know what they like and donʼt like.  That means you need to know your niche really well.  Some people are attracted to yellow-highlighted text.  Others are annoyed by flashing red arrows.  Some people love video, while others might prefer written information.  If your ideal client is having challenges with their eyesight, hearing, or focusing their attention, you will want to keep that in mind when deciding what to put on your website.

What colors will they connect with your services?  Red is attention grabbing and a high energy color.  Greens are usually soothing, and blues inspire trust.  A lot of health coaches are using green on their sites because of the connection to “natural and holistic”.  Yellow is another common color used.

You also want to consider the market you are serving and what colors they will most likely be attracted to.  If your ideal client wants help with stress relief, you want to avoid a site with lots of high energy colors, like red, vibrant purples, and orange.  Instead, use soothing, calming colors.

What words and phrases grab their attention, especially industry specific words?  Remember that as a health coach, you are probably in the habit of using terminology that your ideal client is unfamiliar with.  Itʼs fine to use those sometime, but you mainly want to use the words that they use.

Make a list of everything that you know attracts or repels your ideal client.  Then use this information when creating your website content and graphics.  Not sure what your ideal client likes most?  Just ask them.  Give them two to five choices on a headline, color scheme, or graphic and ask them which they prefer and why.  Youʼll usually be surprised by the results.

Step 2 – Make it Easy

Once youʼve made your site attractive, you need to make it easy to them to find information.  Remember that 90% of the people searching online are looking for information.  And if youʼre a health coach, that means your ideal client is online right now looking for a solution to their health problem.

Here are the 3 areas you most want to focus on:

• Easy Navigation – Keep it simple with no more than seven navigation choices in any one grouping.  If you have more pages, use drop-down menus to put them in subpages.  Or you can create a secondary navigation elsewhere on the page.  When using categories in a blog, keep it to under 12 categories and use subcategories if necessary.  Any more than that and it becomes harder to navigate.

• Easy to Read – Avoid clutter at all costs.  Group the page into two to four sections so the content is easy to scan and read.  Use the layout of an attractive magazine page, and avoid looking like a messy bulletin board full of posted notes.

• Easy to Find Relevant Information – Include great content, and organize it in a logical way so itʼs easy to find.  Donʼt forget to include a search box on your site.  And put titles on your webpages and blog posts that include descriptive keywords.  For example, “3 Ways to Prepare for Detoxing This Spring” is a much better title than “Get Ready for Spring”.

Step 3 – Give Clear Directions

Your site is attractive, and youʼve made it easy for them to get great information.  Now you want to make it easy for them to work with you.  Without this step and the next, you wonʼt have clients.  Youʼll just have fans who love your site – which is good but doesnʼt pay the bills.

Start with an opt-in form that offers valuable, relevant, free information in exchange for their name and email address.  If you plan this well, your free offer will be irresistible to your ideal client and build a list of prospects for your health coaching business.  At the same time, it will filter out people you donʼt want to attract or work with.

Have clear instructions (text, audio, or video) on what you want them to do, such as “Just enter your name and email address below to receive your free report “How to Boost Your Metabolism in 30 Days or Less.”  Or you might use “Call 123-321-4321 for your free fitness breakthrough strategy session.”

Your instructions should tell them what you have for them, why they want it, and what you want them to do next.  The above examples do all three of those clearly in just one sentence.

Step 4 – Follow Up

To build a relationship with someone, you need to interact with them on a regular basis.  In online marketing, that means following up with prospects who are interested in what you have to offer.

Start with a series of email messages that are automatically sent to anyone who signs up for your free offer.  Next, send a health newsletter out regularly – two to four times per month – filled with tips, strategies, and articles on your health care topic.

Other ways to follow up include sending emails that offer free teleseminars, webinars, or complimentary strategy sessions.

Summary

You want to attract more high-paying clients and grow your health coaching business.  To do that, your website needs to be an integrated part of that process, not just a pretty online brochure.

It can be as simple as a one-page website with a free, irresistible offer and opt-in form.  My clients who are new at coaching are getting amazing results with these.  Or you can use a WordPress site that helps establish you as “the” expert they want to work with.

In just four easy steps, you can turn your mediocre website into an online marketing system that helps you get more clients and more sales more often.

Are you ready for a coaching website that attracts your ideal client?  Get free instant access to tips and articles on how to get more clients and sales from your health coaching website.  Just visit http://www.KarenBrunet.com.  From Karen Brunet, onlinemarketing consultant, where “Itʼs not just a website…Itʼs the Mother Lode!”

 

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September 7, 2011

6 Secrets of a Nutritional Psychologist that Can Forever Change Your Practice

6 Secrets of a Nutritional Psychologist that Can Forever Change Your Practice

by Marc David

After being in practice as a healer, counselor, coach, teacher, mentor and facilitator for over 30 years, I’ve made enough mistakes and stumbled upon enough insights to finally feel qualified to say that I’ve learned some important lessons that I’d love to share with you. My hope is that you’ll be the kind of helping professional who is truly effective, serves others in a brilliant way, and experiences the inner and outer rewards of being gifted at your craft.

So here’s how I’d like to be your mentor for today: I’ve come up with 6 principles of counseling in the nutritional and eating psychology realm that I have found to be very powerful guidelines in helping practitioners to turbo-charge their personal growth and professional effectiveness. Please note the word “growth.” As long as we are growing in our own personal universe, in our professional skill-set, and in relation to our own challenges  – we can expect that the universal law of “inner richness reflecting outer richness” to graciously operate in our lives.

With that said, please consider the following 6 guidelines:

1. You don’t need to know “everything” in order to help people

Many practitioners have a core belief that they need to know every single bit of arcane and rare nutritional information in order to be qualified to help others. This is a trap, and it’s simply a version of “perfectionism.” If someone comes to you with a problem you can’t solve, then send them on their way, or refer them to someone better. Doctors do this all the  time. Trust that the wisdom of life has sent you every client for a reason. Stop filling the airwaves with doubt and let your practice teach you as you go along. Be confident about the  things you DO know.

2. You don’t need to have the perfect body and perfect health to serve others and make a powerful difference in their lives

Are you familiar with this one? Far too many healers and coaches are caught in the trap of believing that they need the perfect body or perfect weight or perfect health as a  prerequisite to help others. Ouch. The point is, none of us are perfect, and perfectionism itself IS the dis-ease we are looking to help others heal from. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself, do your best to get over it, love what is, embrace what you have, and relax into the fact that we are all a work in progress. Can you be big enough to be kind to yourself in this way?

3. See the beautiful opportunity in our challenges around weight, body image and health

Far too many practitioners and an even greater percentage of clients hold the false belief that our unwanted symptoms and habits and ailments are “problems.” We see our health challenges or eating issues as the enemy that must be attacked and defeated. This is an insane strategy that seldom works.  How can attacking oneself possibly lead to healing.  Has war ever led to peace?  Has self-hate ever been a useful road to self-love?  We cannot fight our health challenges and food issues.  It’s about loving them.  It’s about seeing these as amazing opportunities for growth and healing and personal evolution. That’s why those challenges are there in the first place. To help us grow and unfold in ways we could not have imagined.

4. Stop fixing, and start deepening and relating and listening

This is a big one. Most practitioners believe that it’s their job to “fix” people. You can fix a car, or a computer, or any widget in the mechanical universe. But you can’t fix a human because none of us are truly “broken.” We are spiritually whole beings who may have food issues, health issues, or life threatening diseases. But we are still not broken. When people believe they are broken, they become victims – disempowered, helpless, and without their true creative potential ever reached. Don’t fix you clients. Love them, coach them, cheerlead them, educate them, and see them as whole human beings who are learning deeper soul lessons on planet earth.

5. Stop trying to “get client’s” and focus on giving your gift

So many practitioners are concerned and stressed about “getting” clients. Of course, this makes perfect sense. The problem is, clients are not “things” that one acquires. When we focus our energy on getting clients from a place of lack or fear, our life becomes more uptight and it’s easy to attract clients who simply aren’t a good match for us. Yes, we need to market ourselves and do some great PR or advertising. But do it from a place where you are looking to give your gift to the world, not from a place of  “ I need more clients, I need more money.” As you can tell, when we “need” clients, we often show up as “needy.” And who wants to be the client of a needy practitioner? Attract your clients from a place of abundance, confidence, humility, and patience. Neediness won’t build your practice.

6. Redefine “Success” with clients – help them in their largest goal, not just their smaller ones

One of the greatest mistakes practitioners make is that they aren’t clear and conscious around how they measure success with their clients. Most health professionals measure success in terms of our client having no more symptoms, no more disease, no more overeating, and they’ve lost all the weight they wanted to lose. This all sounds nice and sweet, but it’s seldom the case. Our ailments and unwanted habits are here to teach us. They aren’t merely an enemy that we are trying to get rid of. Redefine success with clients to mean that ultimately, success is about your client expressing their fullest potential and creativity in their life. The more you can help them be who they are truly meant to be in their relationships, in their career, with family, and in their inner world – the more their body and metabolism can express it’s fullest potential.

I hope you can see the beauty in making your professional practice not just a business, but as a vehicle to learn about yourself, to grow, to evolve, and to serve others by giving the gifts you are here to give. What better way to build a business and a career? If this approach intrigues you, please feel free to learn more about our work and our programs at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. We offer powerful trainings in eating psychology and mind body nutrition that are cutting edge and unlike anything you’ll find.

Marc David

Best selling Author and Founder of:

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Psychologyofeating.com

We’re now enrolling for our Professional Certification Training in Boulder Colorado that begins in October, and our Professional TeleTraining that begins in September. Please go to our website to learn more, and feel free to spread the good word.  Questions?  Call us at 303-440-7642 or email info@psychologyofeating.com.