It’s the million dollar question: As a fitness trainer, how much should I pay for my website?
You’ve decided you need a website, so you take to Google to try to find answers. But you quickly find that it is all over the place. Some sources say a trainer should only spend a couple hundred dollars. Other sources will tell you that a website costs $5,000. Then you see $30,000?!
The results are overwhelming.
So, what’s the answer?
Before you read on, I want to be totally honest with you. There is no right answer.
The answer, as with most things in life, is “it depends”.
I know I know, that is a horrible answer. You came here to find out how much you should pay for your website.
Don’t worry. While there is no right answer, I’m going to do my best to steer you in the right direction.
Whether you’re a personal trainer or you train exclusively online, this guide should help you!
Full disclaimer: I will shoot straight with you. I build fitness websites for a living, and I would love it if everybody reading this decided to pay me thousands of dollars to build websites for them. But that is not at all why I am writing this. I am going to give you my 100% honest opinion of the different options out there for you, because there is far too much misleading information out there on the topic.
Option 1: DIY Website Builders –$25ish per month
We’re living in a pretty amazing digital age right now, and frankly, anybody can create their own websites for their training (as long as they are not technologically challenged).
Services like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, offer anybody the ability to create a fitness website. If you’re willing to put the time & effort in to learning these platforms, you can create a decent product to showcase your fitness training.
- Cheap. Let’s take Wix, for example. The services are priced monthly, on average from about $14-$25 per month. Not a bad price tag. If you use Squarespace, it’s about $18, or upwards of $40 if you want a fully functioning online store. In most cases, this will cover your hosting fees, domain name, and support.
- You have full control. Some of us are total control freaks. If you’re like me, a lot of times you feel like you need to do things yourself if you want them done correctly. If you want to do whatever you want to your website and not have to rely on anyone else, this is the way to go! Want Unicorns running across the screen? You can do that! Logistically, it might not be very easy…. But you get the idea.
- Get setup quickly. Since your website is totally in your hands, you can work as quickly as you’d like. Burn the midnight oil and have a website up and running in no time to showcase your training. These websites usually have templates, both free and premium, where you can essentially generate an entire website for yourself and then swap out your images and text to make it your own.
- You do not completely own your website. Sure, you build your site yourself and you own the rights to all of your content. But you are limited to whatever the service wants to offer you. If you decide you want to add additional features to your site, you may not be able to. And while it is not likely to happen, if the service crashed or were hacked, your site would be compromised because you are fully reliant on them. This is the same idea as relying strictly on social media. If something were to happen to Facebook and you only have a Facebook page for your business, you’re in big trouble. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a bunch of trainers and influencers lose their pages and subsequently all of their content. Trying to get it all back is certainly not fun.
- Your site will not be optimized for your particular audience. A photographer, a personal trainer, and a chef are all very different and attract unique visitors to their sites, and yet with these site builders, they can all end up with very similar websites. These website builders are created to cater to an incredibly broad audience, and while there may be templates for the fitness industry, your business is unique to you. What works best for a person trainer in Michigan is not going to be best for an online trainer & blogger in California. All of our businesses are different, and the way our clients interact with our sites will be different as well!
- You are not an expert. Sorry to break it to you. There is way more to an effective website than something that simply looks nice. You may be happy with your final product, but then realize you’re not gaining traffic or converting users into clients. A pretty website will only carry you so far. I have faith in each and every one of you that you’re capable of building an awesome website, but you need conversions in order to get clients for your training. Here are a few tips to get you started, at least.
- Less than ideal support. You’re human, you’re bound to make a mistake or two. Say, for instance, you accidentally delete some content without realizing it, and then a few days later notice it. You have to email customer support, who is dealing with thousands of requests, in order to try to figure out what happened and how to restore it. Cross your fingers and hope they can help, but unlike working 1-on-1 with a contractor, you do not get immediate attention and support.
The bottom line
I don’t love website builders, but there is a time and a place for them. If you have an established social media presence and want a super simple website for clients to be able to contact you about your training or learn a bit more about you, a DIY website builder will work just fine. If you want something really simple and are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to do it all yourself, I say go for it! If you need something more complex, have no interest in building something yourself, or want something a bit more professional, let’s explore the next option…
Option 2: WordPress Website with Fitness Template – $50-$100
WordPress is my preferred platform, and what I personally build most websites on. While it used to be just for blogging, it has since become the top content management system out there! It is free and open source, meaning you can build a website with endless possibilities. It’s easy to setup, and incredibly versatile, so you can build your dream website for your training, no matter what that may be!
- No restrictions. Since WordPress is completely open source, you can essentially build out anything you want! While DIY website builders build their own functionality in, WordPress has an endless supply of plugins and themes allowing you to build out anything your heart desires. Want to add calendar availability to your site? Just search the database of thousands of plugins and quickly install a calendar plugin to your site! It can really be that easy.
- Easy to update your content. Since WordPress was built as a blogging platform, it is very easy to add a new page, product or blog post to your website. If you can open up Microsoft Word and create a word document, you can create a post on your page.
- Search engines love WordPress. I won’t get super technical on you, but Google ranks WordPress sites very well! Building a WordPress website already puts you at an advantage over a regular static website or DIY builder. And, with the use of SEO plugins and addons, you can further optimize every page and post on your site. Yourself without the need to hire an expert.
- No shortage of templates to utilize. Like the DIY website builders, WordPress has thousands upon thousands of templates. Just do a Google search for “Fitness WordPress Templates” and look how many results you get! You can find one you like and install it directly onto your site to have all the hard work done for you already. Most the good ones require purchasing and will land anywhere from $50-$100 on average.
- Not the most user friendly. I’ll admit, even I was overwhelmed by WordPress as first. As someone who makes a living designing and developing websites, that is pretty telling. I was willing to put in the time to do some Google searching and teach myself all there is to know to familiarize myself with WordPress, but you may not be in that same boat. As a fitness trainer, you have more important things to worry about.
- Hosting, domain name, and additional costs are not included. WordPress is just a tool to build your website on, it is not an all-inclusive service. While WordPress itself is completely free, you’re still going to need to purchase a domain name and hosting plan before you can get your website out to the world.
- It’s easy to totally break your own site. Since there are plugins available for virtually everything you could possibly need, too many people end up installing tons of plugins on their site. It is VERY common for plugins to conflict with each other and coincidentally break your website. And when something break, it’s impossible to know the root of the issue unless you are familiar with PHP and troubleshooting code. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that’s not your forte.
- Zero support. With WordPress, you just install it and you’re off to the races with nobody by your side. If you need help, Google is your only option, unless of course you know someone who can help. Lucky for you, I happen to know a guy who is pretty helpful and would gladly help you.
The bottom line
WordPress is incredible, but it is damn complicated. Many fitness trainers have successfully built their own sites with WordPress, so don’t rule it out. Since it’s free, you might benefit from trying it out and seeing if it makes sense for you. If you already know that you’re not the best with tech, it’s probably best to avoid this option, though. The DIY website builders are more user friendly, so if you’re set on building something yourself, I would look at those instead.
Option 3: Low Cost Designer from Upwork or Fiverr – $200 – $500
There are plenty of websites, like Upwork, where you can post the details of what you are looking for and have a whole bunch of freelance web designers bid for your project. You can set your $200 budget, your 2 week deadline, the scope of your project, and have a bunch of people “apply” to work on your site!
Say what?! Sounds too good to be true, right? Well…
- A large network of options. Thousands of designers right at your fingertips, just waiting to work with you! You can see a contractor’s ratings and previous work as well, so you can focus on those with a good reputation.
- Set the scope of your project. You can lay out exactly what you are looking for before the project begins, so you know whoever you end up working with is going to build what you are looking for.
- Your own budget. If you don’t want to figure out how to build your entire website yourself but don’t have much to spend, this is a great solution. Since you set your own budget for your project, you will only get people reaching out if they agree to work within your budget.
- You don’t have to lift a finger. With the DIY page builders, you have to do everything yourself. But outsourcing the work means that somebody else is going to do all the work for you, and you only need to handle ongoing edits after the site is built.
- Your contractor is only after the money. Sure, everyone wants to get paid, but nobody on these sites genuinely wants to work with YOU specifically, you’re only as good as your pricetag. If you work one-on-one with a specific designer/developer, you can build a relationship and work together on building your business, and you’ll see that some people care about much more than simply making money (shameless humble brag).
- There is a good chance you are outsourcing. In many cases, designers on these sites are working out of India or other countries where they are willing to work for dirt cheap. Cheap is great, but you’ll quickly find that communication is incredibly difficult, you’re in opposite timezones, and their standards are much lower than yours. If you’re adamant on paying $200 for a fully functioning online store, you’re going to get a less than stellar website in return. It looks like Upwork can help you restrict results to certain countries, but you’re less likely to find the incredibly cheap contractors that way.
- You’re going to get exactly what you ask for. How is getting what I want a negative? Well, since you’re not an expert when it comes to converting users into clients or getting traffic to your site, you’re not going to know everything your website needs. But when you lay out the scope of exactly what you want and set your low budget, your designer is going to give you exactly what you request, no questions asked. If you know exactly how to turn visitors into clients, you’re golden.
- They don’t know this industry. Maybe you’ll find a designer who designed a website for another personal trainer in the past, but anyone on these bidding or low cost sites is willing to work with anyone who is going to pay. They are not experts in this field and likely do not know much about what goes into a successful training business. Without having a grasp on what potential fitness clients are looking for, it’s impossible to appropriately optimize your website.
The bottom line
You might get lucky and find somebody great, but you are taking a major gamble. I hate to use the term “you get what you pay for” but it rings true here. I’ve taken over websites that were built previously by an outsourced freelancer, and I can tell you first hand that it is very often a total mess! The websites don’t convert, performance is well below average, and the site structure is like a tangled pair of headphones (you know too well how that goes!)
I am overgeneralizing, and if anyone has used Upwork or Fiverr with great success, please let me know! But in my experience, I would choose a DIY website builder over outsourcing, if you’re capable. The difficult communication and lack of knowledge in the fitness field would be enough to drive me insane, personally. I have very rarely come across fitness professionals finding success going this route. I’m not saying it is not an option, but keep this in mind.
Option 4: Inexperienced Professional Web Designer – $500 – $1,000
If you do not want to build your fitness training website yourself, and you also do not want to pay top dollar for a web designer, this is your sweet spot. There are lots of designers out there who are just starting out and willing to work for cheap in order to establish their name and build their portfolio. Their lack of professional experience doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t great at what they do, though!
- Great work at a discount. This is the obvious biggest benefit. Working with somebody new to the industry will usually result in a cheap pricetag. Everyone has to start somewhere, and there are a lot of designers fresh out of school (or maybe still in school) that need new projects in order to build their portfolio. So, they will charge much less than an established professional!
- Your website is going to look awesome. Just because someone doesn’t have the professional experience, doesn’t mean they can’t create awesome website. If you’re working with a student or someone just starting out, odds are they have a portfolio to share, even if it is full of personal “just for fun” projects. You may strike gold and find someone with some great design chops!
- Helping jump-start someone’s career. Maybe you don’t care about something like that, but remember, we all started somewhere. For a new web designer, every new project is very meaningful, and building a quality portfolio is the difference between turning this into a career and going back to the 9-5 life. By working with them, you’re helping their business get off the ground!
- Lack of experience and knowledge. The obvious negative here is the lack of experience. The web is unlike any other area, making web designing incredibly unique- you can’t just earn a degree and know everything there is to know about it. Web trends are constantly changing, Google’s algorithm can’t stand still, code evolves, social media changes affect your marketing… you get the idea. Without experience in the field, it’s difficult to keep up with.
- Your site may not make you any money. With experience comes a firm grasp on what works and what doesn’t. Sure, there’s a great chance that your website is going to look amazing, but there’s no guarantee that it is actually going to lead you to new clients or any kind of profit. Learning how to actual convert users into clients is something that comes with experience.
- You might get left in the dust. I’ve seen it before. A family friend is getting into Web Design so they create a website for you, only to pursue a full-time career and ditch the web design career, leaving you alone. If someone does not have an established business in this field, there’s no promise that they’re going to stick with it.
- Lack of testimonials. I don’t love testimonials because they sometimes feel forced. But you can’t deny that a testimonial adds credibility. Without the clientele to back them up, you may be getting into a situation where a web designer is unresponsive or otherwise very difficult to work with.
The bottom line
I’m all for working with a student or website designer that is just getting started. I think back to when I began my freelance career as a fitness web designer, and I am forever grateful to my first few clients that decided to take a chance on me! If your needs are relatively simple, this is a great route to go. If you’re looking to build a full e-commerce website and turn it into a powerful fitness brand, you’ll want to work with someone more experienced. But otherwise, you may find someone great out there.
Please keep in mind that a family member or family friend that offers you a website is not necessarily the best choice. I am strictly referring to a person that is pursuing a career as a web designer, not a family member or friend who dabbles in web design on the side and thinks they can throw something together for you. In that case, you’re better off turning to Upwork.
Option 5: Experienced, Specialized Professional Web Designer – $3,000 – $10,000
Working with a professional web designer with years of experience in the fitness field is going to cost you. This range is an estimate as everybody has different rates, but expect your site to fall somewhere in this range. You may be able to tip the scales and lower the prices if your website is incredibly simple, but this is for a full-featured website with things like newsletter opt-ins, blog, online store, one-on-one training signup…you get the idea. And of course, you’re paying for the experience of someone who can actually turn your website viewers into paying clients!
- You know exactly what you’re signing up for. An experienced web designer will be able to break down for you exactly what the project is going to entail. They’ll work closely with you to come up with an effective strategy for the design, marketing strategies, SEO, etc. Before you pay anything, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re going to get and justify the cost.
- You’re going to make your money back. “But it’s a lot of money!” Look, I totally get it! Thousands of dollars is nothing to sneeze at. But think about how much you charge for your training services. If you spend $5,000 for a website, and you charge clients $500 for 6 weeks of training, 10 clients will make you your money back! Working with an experienced, qualified designer means they have the tools to help you get that done quickly so you can start turning a profit.
- Incredible support and assistance. As long as you find someone who isn’t a total jerk, you’ll find that the support and help you get working with an experienced web designer is second to none. Since they’ve been around the block a few times, they’ve heard all of these questions before and are happy to help you with whatever you need throughout the process.
- They understand your business. If you do your due diligence, you can find yourself a web designer that has experience working in the fitness space. While any quality designer can probably put together an effective website for you, it’s important to understand what clients are looking for in a trainer and the best practices to help you get those clients! There are definitely huge advantages to working with someone who is specialized in the area.
- Expensive. The biggest negative here is the price. Yes, you’re going to need to pay a pretty penny. But this is an investment into your own fitness business, not simply the purchase of a website. You’re paying more, but your return is going to be much greater! Of course, if you don’t have the money to invest, this is not the route to go.
- There are no guarantees. This goes along with your website being more expensive; you can invest a lot of money into your site, but nobody can GUARANTEE that you’re going to make your money back (and much more, hopefully). While your web design can set you up for success, you will need to do your part as well, or else your site may just sit there, not converting clients.
- You may not need all these bells and whistles. I’ll be honest, some of you just need a very simple website. A powerful, fully featured website might not be best for you. If you’re looking for a website that is simply one page with a contact form, there is no way you’re going to spend $5,000 for that website! When you talk with your potential web designer, make sure they give a solid breakdown of what you are getting so you can decide if you need all of that.
The bottom line
If you’re trying to build a successful online fitness business, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced web designer. If the goal is to build a 6-figure business, then spending a few thousand dollars to establish it is well worth it!
Spending $5,000 for a damn website probably sounds crazy to you. Especially if you can just build one yourself! I get it. Really, I do. But as a trainer, if you were to charge $500 per client, you only need to gain 10 new clients over the lifetime of your training career to get your money back. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll achieve this in your first couple months!
As an experienced fitness web designer myself, I can let you know that rates are not so cut-and-dry. I can’t just tell you that a website costs $500 or $5,000 or $50,000. There are far too many factors that affect the cost of a website- the complexity, functionality, SEO practices, and so much more. But I can tell you that you have options!
If you want to work with a qualified, experienced web designer but don’t think you have the budget, don’t sweat it. It never hurts to ask, and honesty goes a long way. There’s no shame in asking about payment plans if it is necessary!
I hope this helps you figure out the best route to go!
Every fitness trainer is different. Personal trainers have different needs than online trainers. Maybe you need an e-commerce store for apparel. Maybe you just need an incredibly simple website so clients can contact you. Whatever your needs, there’s a solution out there for you!
Just remember that no matter what, your website should always be viewed as an investment, NOT an expense. If you use your resources to build your website correctly, it will help to propel your business and make back your investment tenfold. If you look at it as you are simply buying a website, you need to shift your mindset. It’s not a product, in a lot of cases, it IS your business.
If you have any questions regarding what route you should go, reach out to me. I won’t just push you to the most expensive option. I’m in this business to help fitness professionals, not take advantage of them.