LeonardoDa Vinci said "Simplicity is theultimate sophistication." While we may not always take life and careeradvice from Leonardo Da Vinci, that little bit of advice shouldbe kept in mind when designing a website, especially for fitness professionals.

Yoursite is the supporting leg holding your training practice up, but it stillseems most trainers are clueless when it comes to creating their sites. They'rethrowing all of their time and money into them and still getting horribleresults. That's really a shame, because having a well put together website canhelp immeasurably in the process of getting and keeping a "float" ofhigh-paying clients.

Tohelp solve this problem, I'm going to give you asdefinitive a guide as possible to develop an effective website. The first thing to remember is to keepit simple. You can't take your cues from Madison Avenue (thebig-money marketing companies) or from entertainment promotion sites. You don'tneed to pretend to be a billion dollar, big-shot training business to getclients.There's a more proven field of advertising to takeyour cues from, and that's direct-mailmarketing. The direct marketing people have actually testedwhat formats and messages work best. They've done the work for you -- justfollow directions and you'll get results.

Theinfo I'm going to share with you comes from the world of direct marketing. Thatmeans its validity has been tested in split testing response rates againstmultiple variables. If until now the only advertising you've studied has beenin magazines, billboards and television, you'll probably fight me tooth andnail on a lot of what I've written. I just ask that you chew on it and lookinto it yourself. It'll get you on your way to saving time and money andboosting the effectiveness of everything you do.

Hereare the most common website mistakes:

1. Too Much Flash A prospect looking at your site,either because of a web search or a piece of off-lineadvertising you put out, is in seekingmode. They don't want to wait for your page to load or havetheir time wasted by flashy graphics and music. These flashy sites have beenproven to perform worsethan clear, simple sites. Even if you are extremely good looking and haveunbelievably ripped abs and have photo-shoot pictures of yourself everywhere,you'll still lose to someone that obeys the rules of providing solidinformation that benefits the client.

2. Ugly As kind of a side note to point one, you don'twant to be too flashy, butyour site can't be ugly either. Everything on there has to leadto a sale in some way. I had this same conversation with a student yesterday. Hehad videos on his site, which is the right thing to do, but some were ugly. Itold him to leave them out. Poor quality? Clumsy demonstration? Leave it off!

3. Over Budget As a trainer, you only need a fewclients to get fully established and highly profitable. Once you're there, youcan start planning world domination, butget there first! To get to that level, you don't need to spenda fortune. Never spend more on advertising than the advertising will yield. Your entire site should cost you only a few hundred bucks -- that's design and all tech workincluded. If people are talking into the thousands for designor set-up work, take it as an opportunity to get in some cardio and startrunning away!

4. Too Much Time Your site also should not takeyou too much time to get started. The main time will come in writing andfine-tuning the text, especially if you don't like to write. But your first jobis to get it done and get it on the web. Don't wait until it's perfect to putyour site up; you can't improve something that doesn't even exist yet. Justget something up that you're more or less happy with, and tweak it every daybased on the new things you learn and other sites you see that you like.

5. Too Much "Me," Not Enough Info Anothermistake we get from Madison Avenue is to talk only about us -- too many picturesof you, videos of you talking, and info about your "company." You need to focus on the benefits to your client. Think about what your target group is looking for, and let themknow you have the answer.

Don'tbe afraid to give away pages and pages of valuable information on your website. Youmay ask yourself, "Who'sgoing to read all that?" Well, someone that's about toshell out close to 100 bucks an hour and spend an extended amount of time witha complete stranger (especially if you're coming to their home) will want asmuch information as possible. They want to know that you know your business. I'vebeen shocked and amazed by how many new clients coming to me have been able toquote some obscure piece of information hidden on a deep page in my site -- butit showed me the time I took to write it was worth it.

6. The Contact Info If people can't quickly see howto contact you, they'll give up after only a few seconds. Have your phonenumber visible very prominently at the top of every page of your site. Alsoinclude your email address and location.

Speakingof location, try to mention your primary area as much as possible on your site.This alone, without any complicated SEO, has gotten my site as the top Googlelisting in a town of 2.3 million people, keeps me there, and has my phoneringing nearly every day because of it.

7. Make an Offer (But Don't Quote Prices) Thiswas a topic that was debated by trainers for year. I try to get my info fromwhat's been proven to work, not my hunches or even my common sense. And it'sbeen proven that stating the full-price up front will kill your response rates.You preferably want to wait til you can tell this person face-to-face, at atime and place when you are bothrelaxed, comfortable, and in control, andafter they have had a chance to train with you and bond with you. At this point, you can charge almostanything you want.

Instead of giving out your full prices, give them an exciting reason to contact you -- “ an "irresistible offer." Then take it from there.

8. The Crutch Like we've already talked about, your site is hugely important. However, some trainers think their site will do everything for them. It does a lot, but it's only a part of the puzzle. You also have to make contacts, work on your face to face selling, and look for referrals.
I have to say, I was a VERY late adopter of the web, and it hampered me most of my training career. Once I got this handled, my career went on autopilot. I could charge higher rates than anyone and just wait for who wanted to pay them to come to me. Keep tweaking your overall approach each and every day until you get to the same place.
You may have noticed I didn't mention TESTIMONIALS anywhere here. That's because they're so important, I'm planning on writing a full article about them soon. The right testimonials can be used to avoid every problem listed above.
But the principles still hold -- just keep it simple and be yourself; I don't think that will ever stop working. 

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.