Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Websites

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

It’s REALLY tough if you’re a new coach and you’re thrown in the wonderful world of WordPress and you want to find a great theme for your website. There are so many options which boast so many features – it can take hours to days to find your way.

When it comes to themes for your website (themes are ready-made designs for WordPress) you may be wondering, which is best, which is cheapest, which do you recommend? Which works best for coaches?

All are great questions and sadly, there’s no one best answer simply because there are too many variables involved. They can all work to some degree or other.

In this article, I will share with you my experience, thoughts, and suggestions to help you find your way through the forest.

There are loads of themes out there, and me, an expert website designer, have seen quite a few. But you may be surprised, that I do NOT spend 24/7 tinkering with all of the toys out there. There’s more technology out there than I could possibly know in a lifetime – plus, in a year’s time, things will evolve and change.  I can’t say which is, hands down, the best. But I can give you some guidance.

One quick warning as you venture to find the perfect coaching WordPress theme: Graphics. Graphics can suck up your time – big time! And new coaches go for the eye candy. But after hours upon hours of searching and doubly more hours trying to tweak a theme (I think some of the appeal of a theme is “playing with it”), you’ll likely find yourself settling for a far less than perfect visual design. Beware not to get too hung up on visuals.

My biggest suggestion is to focus more of your efforts on the strategy (how will it convince visitors you’re a great coach and contact you), the content (is it easy to understand, motivating and presents you like an expert?), and getting out there (getting traffic).

Let me share with you the top themes I’ve seen and my experiences with them.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

WooThemes

This is my favorite theme provider, mainly because of the simplicity of one of their themes I love to use, Canvas. It’s clean, simple, and you can easily make a few customizations for visual appeal without getting all nuts into the coding. The company provides good support and they are proactive in making improvements based on user feedback (makes me VERY happy). They are on the cutting edge of adding function while keeping things simple. They also provide good support.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

Elegant Themes

I’ve used them a few times with clients and while their themes are beautiful, their customization options are very limited. That’s great when you want to think less and just go with it. However, a few basic customizations you’ll want to make, like getting your logo into the header or a making a prominent opt-in box can be tough – especially for a non-techie coach.

Elegant Themes is VERY inexpensive. Right now it’s $39 for ALL of their themes. Use them if you want something nice looking and are willing to skip customizing. Warning: For a low fee you get ALL the themes, so you may find yourself playing around with them too much.

Quick Tip: SimplePress is one of their themes that I’ve used. If you try it out, get rid of the sliding images on the home and get your content up higher on the page.

Support seemed to be ok the one time I used it. But again, the theme is designed to be minimal when working with it.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

StudioPress (Genesis)

 

Lots of gurus promote them. They are a little more costly, nearing 100 bucks. Their designs are nice and strong. Professional is a good word.

I’ve been inside their themes a few times and found myself, as I do with all themes, spending quite a bit of time figuring out their “environment”. Just about all themes will require significant learning time. It just is.

Are they more confusing or harder to work with that other themes? I can’t say for sure. They are popular and some big names use them.

I’d recommend them if you’re following a marketing guru’s recommendation and that guru is going to be with you along the way (saves time, helps with strategy).

I’m thinking it might be time to have a peek at them again.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

DIYTHemes (Thesis)

 

Back in the day when they first came out, I poked around. They tout good SEO abilities, and they may have a few nice tools and features, but in my SEO experience, it’s more about your strategy than any individual theme.

I’ve felt their buzz quiet over the years. I haven’t spent much time with them in the last five or so. I couldn’t say more about them, except they are still out there, plugging away.

A quick look at their sales page tells me they’ve gone into more visual appeal in their designs. Every coach wants a great looking website without spending loads. I do like their web 2.0 style (a move to simplicity) of their sales page. If you have used them, I’d love to hear from you.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

PageLines

I’ve used them for a few years and all I can say is “what a mess.” And by that I mean too complicated on the inside. Too confusing with their “double names” … which is it? PageLines? or PlatformPro? I got so confused. They need to ditch “PlatformPro” or name it something that sounds more like a theme than a theme company.

The themes look nice, clean, minimal. They do boast a “drag and drop” framework, but last time I toyed with that, about three years ago, I don’t recall it making life any more amazing. I left them for WooThemes.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

iThemes

They are definitely famous for BackupBuddy, a nice piece of software for automated backups.

One time, several years ago I used a theme by iThemes. It was complicated. Also, their website is complicated due to their promoting their sister sites which you’re probably not interested in. I abhor complicated!

Their theme names are confusing to me as well. Some of their themes seem more like platforms or parent themes rather than full on workable themes by themselves. Already it’s getting too confusing. I dislike confusion.

They may have some good themes, but I resist exploring.

Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Website

Theme Forest

I haven’t used them but I did peek into their themes a while back. I took a fresh look at their home page and they’ve got pricing “starting at $1”.

They are providing something of a market place for theme authors and buyers (you). Web designers can go there sell their themes (nice). You can rate them (cool). But when it comes back to my likes in a theme provider (save time and good for client-attraction), you’ll probably struggle here.

You’ll struggle because there are so many themes and are authored by various people. My gut tells me support might not be consistent.

In summary

So yes, I know that’s quite a bit to take in. The main thing I’d suggest you pay attention to is time. Get help that saves you time. That means an easy-to-work-with theme, fast responding tech support. Also, as my personal tip, try not to fuss with the design too much and go quickly. Aim for themes that are simplistic and not too flashy, else your attempt to add images will cause huge visual clashes with the theme. Spend more of your time on getting the major marketing features in place on your site smoothly.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Have you gone cross-eyed? What themes have you tried? Are looking to try? What have you found to work and not work? What advice would you share from your experience? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.

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11 Responses to Top WordPress Themes for Coaching Websites

  1. Donal December 12, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Hi Kenn, thanks for the article. I know my way around WordPress and know some of the theme providers you mention. Woothemes have a more limited choice but their support is good. ThemeForest have a wide range of themes with widely varying quality and functionality (often reflected in the price) but, as you indicated, support is not the best, because they leave it up to the theme designer (for each theme, there is a comment section where you can ask the theme designer directly). My personal experience of TF’s own support seems to be more about selling you services or where you can complain if you don’t get a response from the theme designer. Saying that, I bought themes from them and, as long as the theme works as it should and is easy to understand and implement, then you can get some really good stuff. The other theme providers I don’t know.

    As a warning to the uninitiated: before you buy any theme, check that the company you are buying from is really bone fide. No telephone number, no contact details, no address, no names, a WHOIS search brings up no address? All that you have is a web form or a Skype address? Don’t buy anything from them.

    • Kenn Schroder December 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Great points Donal. And thanks for voicing your experience here. Happy to hear what you’ve got to say. Funny, as a web guy, even though I find a great theme for some clients, I find I spend too much time modifying it to work. Hence my attract to Canvas from WooThemes. Just great to work with one theme, get the basics into the site, design it up nicely, and it works well for the client attraction strategy I suggest to clients.

      You find too much time spent tweaking?

      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Jeannie Barker December 12, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I build all my own and client sites with WordPress now and I have used all the themes you have mentioned. My top two favourites are Elegant Themes and Studio Press.

    Most of mys sites now use Studio Press. Genesis is awesome! Beautiful, well supported and so customisable. I love it and just keep coming back to it for every new site.

    • Kenn Schroder December 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      Hi Jeannie. Great to have you here. How much time are you spending tweaking Genesis to work for clients? And besides beautiful, what few other aspects do you love about Genesis?

  3. Anne December 12, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Thanks Kenn! As always – great information for us non-techies.

  4. Maggie December 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Hi Kenn,

    Thanks for the article – this is really helpful.

    What are your thoughts on the Profits theme (http://profitstheme.com/) and the SmallBiz wordpress theme (http://www.expand2web.com/smallbiz-theme/)? These seem to be marketed specifically towards small business owners, and I’m wondering how they would compare to WooThemes or StudioPress.

    Thanks!

    • Kenn Schroder December 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      Hey Maggie. Thanks for asking.

      I’ve no idea about profits. Seems like a cheecky site, visually, so I don’t expect any good visual design – BUT visuals aren’t everything. The question I’d ask, and if you do use them, please let me know later on, how fast and easy it is to work with. How well does it support “profits”?

      The other theme company boasts “themes with small biz owner in mind” … means nothing to me. I think all theme companies are for that kind of person / web designers. I think they need to be more specific … maybe “simplest to setup” is what they should boast.

      So … I dunno, but nothing stands out as special by a quick glance.

      I’d LOVE to hear back if you explore those.

      My motivation for woothemes is that their canvas theme is easy for me, a web designer to manage for my clients, clean and simple, and they give good support. They are a company on the cutting edge, so that I respect. They also aim for simplicity in their business handlings, another thing I love. They evolve nicely.

      Again, my main points for any good theme provider are: (1) fast and easy to use themes, (2) great support, (3) a company that’s makes the effort to improve and is good at figuring out what makes things very easy for us end users.

      Great to have your questions here.

  5. chris curley February 4, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Ken,

    I am trying to find a theme just like the one that you use for this site. Specifically one that allows for a picture profile to be used for the header. I like that instant connection that this type of template conveys. I feel that this is especially important in the realm of internet coaching.

    Any help would be appreciated

    Cheers

    • Kenn Schroder February 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      I’m using Canvas by Woothemes, with some customizations. Sadly, I’ve never found a theme that works perfectly out of the box. Though I’m on the hunt!

  6. Frank Colella November 1, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Nice info, ken, but I’m a little disappointed you didn’t include any themes with built-in features that would be used by most coaches: optins, client-only access areas, email integration (for autoresponders, newsletters, client list), shopping cart… I’m fairly new to this, so maybe I just don’t understand that it’s understood that you need to use lugins or third-party services for all these functions… I found a few themes that seem to include at least some of these features: WP Professional and Coach Pro… thanks for your help!

    • Kenn Schroder July 1, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Frank … thanks for your comment. I’ve not found any themes with built-in features for coaching. One should be made and/or there may have been one out there that has surfaced, and I say to myself, I should probably create this.

      Also, each coach approaches their biz differently and so needs different features.
      Also, there are companies who do shopping carts with a massive team of people, same for email lists.

      Coach Pro and WP Professional … I’ll have a look at this, thanks for bringing them up. I’ll probably blog about them, my likes dislikes.

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