Web Developer vs Consultant: What’s The Difference?

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The Life Coach's Tech Roadmap

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5 simple website fixes to get more coaching clients

Five sure-fire ways to increase the number of clients you sign from your coaching website.

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It’s Jennie Lakenan, certified life coach & consultant for your web design strategy needs. Over the last handful of years I’ve designed dozens of websites for coaches. My mission is to get more coaching into the world and help elevate the quality of life of humans at large by delivering expert custom website design and strategy to coaches.

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The Life Coach's Tech Roadmap

The only 5 pieces of tech a coach needs to set up an online business without overwhelm.

5 simple website fixes to get more coaching clients

Five sure-fire ways to increase the number of clients you sign from your coaching website.

I often get asked why I don’t call myself a web developer vs a consultant. After all, both a consultant and a developer work on websites, right? So what’s the difference? Read on to hear my answer.

(If you’ve read my post on hiring overseas freelance help, you’ll have an idea of where this post is going.)

What’s a web consultant, anyway?

Google says that a consultant is “a person who provides expert advice professionally.” That means that, ultimately, a consultant looks out for their clients’ needs.

For example, when a life coach client comes to me and asks if I can set up their email service so it automatically sends an email to their list whenever they publish a new blog post, I tell them I don’t recommend that approach.

Because it’s more effective to send an email personally written by you, either talking about the post directly, or giving more original content and then linking the blog post in a “P.S.” at the end.

Because subscribers are much more likely to read an email and click over to the post if it’s more personal, if it’s sent from you and has your voice in the words on the screen.

You get it. A consultant prescribes services based on what they think the client needs.

So what’s the difference between a web consultant and a web developer?

A web developer builds a website

I’m not bashing web developers in any way. We need them. In fact, in the future I’m sure I’ll eventually be hiring developers to carry out projects that are more technical than I care to learn how to do.

But web developers are good at one thing, and that’s developing software that runs on the internet.

Making recommendations on what photos to use, what content to write, and how and when to structure a search engine strategy aren’t usually in their realm of genius. Because that’s not why you hired them – you hired them to build the website according to your specifications.

A web consultant prescribes a solution

My life coach clients don’t want a website. They want a marketing tool that they can use to build their businesses.

That’s why I don’t sell websites. I sell marketing platforms and my experience on what works for a life coach’s digital strategy.

Will my designs win me any grand awards? Probably not. But I know what works and I help my clients implement it.

But what about website builders?

I almost geared this article specifically towards DIY website builders like Squarespace and Wix. I’ve written about why I recommend WordPress over those sorts of builders, but even on WP you can DIY a website pretty easily these days.

But then web consultant Christina Hawkins answered the website builder vs web consultant question so perfectly I figured I’d just share her article. If you’re wondering why pay premium for a consultant vs. going with a website builder, read about it here.

Basically, there are lots of things website builders do for you. But then there are a lot of things they don’t.

Much like those meal delivery services…

Have you heard about those pre-packaged meal services that deliver pre-measured ingredients for specific meals right to your door? You simply go online, pick which meals you want that week (categorized by cuisine and prep time required), and they deliver them to your door.

When it’s time to eat dinner, you simply pull out the labelled sack for that meal and throw the ingredients in the pan. No measuring required, no thinking needed.

That is ROI. Return on investment. A family meal that everyone enjoys and you don’t have to think about.

Or, you could go to the store, spend an hour finding the right ingredients, and get distracted by the cookies and soda you don’t need. Then you stand in a long line to pay for all of it, get home and put it all away. Come meal time, you chop, clean, and cook it.

Finally, you throw away that extra jar of Dijon mustard because the recipe only calls for 2 Tablespoons and no one in your family eats Dijon.

Or…you can pay a premium, for the people with their tools, to have it delivered with no effort on your part. 

You can spend hours and hours on your website. Or you can put all your energy and time into your zone of genius – coaching your people!

I hope this article was helpful in explaining when to choose a web developer vs consultant (and why you might consider a consultant over a website builder, too!).

What’s next?

Since I started as a web consultant, I’ve helped lots of coaches with their website strategy, a huge part of which is content writing.

I’ve helped them narrow down their voice and copy (i.e. the words on their website) so it really connects with their ideal client.

But the problem is, unless you were a website client of mine, you didn’t get the benefit of me or my copy editing expertise.

Until now!

That’s right, over the past few months I’ve been hard at work over here getting my very first video training up for you.

And I am SO EXCITED to introduce you to “The Coach Website Copy Guide.

In short, if you want to know how to write ALL the copy you need for all the important pages on your life coaching website, then this video guide is for you.

This is the training I wish I’d had when I was first getting started writing content for my own website. And I’m not even a coach!

Once you’ve finished the training, send me an email and let me know how it went for you.

I can’t wait to hear just how much this guide has helped you!

I know it will.


P.S. Wondering about a web developer vs consultant? A web developer builds a website. A consultant builds a marketing tool for your business needs. And…as for website builders. They have a place and time, but there’s a lot they don’t do, too.

Get the complete content writing blueprint for a coach’s website here.


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