You probably know that a website can make or break your practice, but do you know what it takes to rank among the best therapy websites?
You know that an effective website is crucial to marketing your private therapy practice, but how do you go about creating one? The task of rebuilding or building a site from scratch can seem overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to help you cut through all the clutter and get the scoop on how to build an effective therapy website. We boiled it down to seven fundamental, essential components. Ready to take the tour? Here we go! (Click here to see how CounselingWise compares to Therapy Sites ™).
#1 ~ SquareSpace™ or WordPress™
We love Squarespace and WordPress. The two platforms have become the de facto leaders in their field. Why? Because they’re better, easier to use and cheaper than the other content management systems (CMS) out there. You no longer have to be a programmer or know how to code to load content onto your site. WordPress and Squarespace are so smart, they make the hard stuff easy. And guess what? Developers are making awesome new plug-ins all the time, and because the market is so big, they can sell them to you for pennies on the dollar!
#2 ~ Content
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Of course therapist websites need content. But you’d be amazed at how content-poor your site may appear to users. For example, if a confused father (and potential client) is searching for an ADHD evaluation for his teenage daughter, and your site lists “ADHD” as an area of expertise, but only as one bullet point lumped in with everything from eating disorders to anger management, are you really speaking to that dad? Even though you may be an expert in ADHD evaluations, you probably just lost him to your competition. If you don’t have time to write great content, click here to learn more about how we can interview you, capture your voice and expertise, and write content on your behalf.
#3 ~ Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words (and probably a few dozen clients annually). Attractive photographs and design on your site can catch the attention of your readers, encouraging them stay awhile and read more about you and your practice. The images on your site can show happy people whose problems have been solved or unhappy people who reflect the problems of your potential clients. Nature photos can emulate the calm, soothing atmosphere of your practice. Regardless of the images you choose for your website, the bottom line is photos are a must. By choosing not to display engaging photos on your site, you run the risk of losing your users.
You’ve probably heard of it. You may have seen it. It’s that mysterious, elusive formula that speaks algorithm and can elevate or doom your site, depending on whether it is well executed. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and, when it’s done well, it increases your web signal to searchers (potential clients) ten-fold. If you’re wondering how to get your practice on the first page listing on Google, the answer is SEO. But beware of unscrupulous web marketers (don’t look at us) who prey on unsuspecting therapists and sell blackhat SEO “services” as bogus link building. With these kind of services, your site will bubble up the web for a couple of months, only to come crashing down when the Google algorithm catches up to the fact that your backlinks lack value. BAM! Your ranking tumbles down, or worse, Google determines your site is fishy and stops indexing it completely, causing it to vanish. What you REALLY need is user-friendly site structure, great content that provides VALUE to your potential clients, as well as page specificity. Contact us to find out how to make sure your therapy implements sound SEO tactics.
You may not like to blog. You may be too busy to blog. But blog you should. Why? Because you are an expert in your field. People are searching therapy website for answers to questions, and you have them. If you don’t blog, they can’t find the information they seek, and they can’t find YOU. Consider this scenario: a mother in your area is concerned her toddler may be autistic. Even before she talks to her spouse, sister, friend or doctor, she will probably search, “what are the symptoms of autism” online. If you are an autism expert and blog about autism regularly, your site will appear in the search results. If people click on your link and find value in your blog post, they are likely to stay on your therapist website longer and may even schedule a consultation. AND, Google rates your entire site a bit higher, because it thinks, “Hey, people spend a great deal of time on this site, so they must really relate to the content, and this site therefore must be an authority.” As if that were not enough, Google weights fresh, relevant content heavily in its algorithm. Bingo! Higher rankings = more clients. If you lack the time or inclination to blog, we offer a blogging service that captures your voice and expertise.
Free quizzes, email courses, reports, etc. serve a dual purpose on your therapist website. First, they’re an easy way to share valuable information with your potential clients. If your free report is about “The 8 Signs of Clinical Depression” or your quiz is entitled “Are You Suffering from Depression?” many of the individuals visiting your site will find it useful, assuming it is well-written and informative. Second, it helps you build your email list, and hence your relationships with potential clients. Individuals input their email address in order to sign up for an email course, download a report or view their quiz results, and then you continue to send them useful and compelling information about related topics in an email newsletter/blog, say, once a month. You are establishing a relationship with each of those potential clients, and when the time comes for them to seek therapy, you will be foremost in their mind. And you guessed it—we offer these writing services!
#7 ~ A Video
OK, a video is not actually essential, but creating one is a REALLY good idea. A video allows people to hear your voice, get to know you and listen to what you have to say. A video can highlight your expertise, professionalism and personality, and establish an initial connection between you and your potential client. It could be the reason someone decides to schedule an in-person consultation.
#s 8&9 ~ Appointment Scheduling and Online Payments
We said there were 7 Essentials, but when you get right down to it, online appointment scheduling capabilities and payment processing are pretty darn nice too.
If you are ready to learn more, check out these 3 videos that will explain the fundamentals of building a successful online therapy website and strategy. Let us know if we can help. In the meantime, happy therapy site building from the team at CounselingWise.