Archive for Website Strategy

Choosing a Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Choosing a Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Let’s face it — 99 percent of people check out a therapist online before hiring them. So, what is one way you can set yourself apart from other therapists in the area, while also showing up higher in the search traffic?

It can start with your domain name!

When creating a new website, or updating your current website, one of the major things you need to consider is your domain name, or URL (www.forexample.com). But how do you choose a domain name that will get more clients?

Today, we are covering everything you need to know about domain names, including:
  • Why your domain name is important.
  • How to choose a good domain name.
  • Where to purchase a domain name.
domain-name-for-your-private-practice

Why is My Domain Name Important?

Unlike website design choices, your domain name will impact your site’s success in nearly every area — including SEO, click-through rate, branding, client conversions, social media traffic, and even offline advertising.

Whether clients are finding you through organic searches, paid ads, directory listings, or social media, your domain name is the online door to your private practice. Make sure the door is clearly marked.

Taking time to make a strategic, informed URL choice now can increase traffic and give you a leg up on your competition.

Two Common Approaches to Domain Names

Before we get into specifics for choosing a domain name, you may have questions about using your personal name, practice name, or a more generic domain name.

Using a Personal Brand

A common practice is for therapists to use their name as the URL (www.janedoe.com) or their practice name (www.newgrowthcounselor.com).

Using your name or practice name can feel more personal, and personal brands tend to drive higher conversion rates. If you’re planning on using your name for SEO benefit, however, you may want to reconsider.

With a website full of great content driving SEO, there is little or no added benefit in using your name in the URL. People who are searching for you or your practice by name will still be able to type it into Google and find you that way.

There are a few potential drawbacks to using a personal brand as your domain. It’s easy to become so focused on how your URL looks that you forget to consider how it sounds to the reader when processed or read out loud.

Humans have a cognitive bias toward things we can easily think about and say. If site visitors have a hard time processing or pronouncing your URL, they’re less likely to remember it (or remember it positively).

For example, if your first name ends with the same letter your last name starts with, your URL will be harder to read: janeellington.com or matttreadwell.com. Similarly, if your name is particularly long or difficult to spell, a shortened variation or practice name could be easier for referrals to find.

Going with your or your practice’s name is never a bad idea, though. And, you can always change to a new domain from your old site if you wish to scale to a group practice. The process is simple, inexpensive—it can be done for less than $150 in many cases—and can be done without affecting your traffic numbers.

Using Keywords

Adding keywords to your domain name is a sure-fire way to increase SEO rankings and communicate the services you offer to your potential clients.

Including keywords in the domain can give websites a significant advantage in search results. While this SEO force isn’t as strong today, it still packs a punch. Not only is your domain name one of Google’s ranking factors, but it will become part of every page name on your website. By including the right keywords, you send a very clear message to Google and your audience about what your website provides.

The average client searching for “counseling in Denver” is much more likely to click on a link that says ‘counselingdenver’ than one that says ‘haveagreatlifecounseling’ – even though the latter might seem more personal.

More generic, keyword-focused URLs also drive higher click-through rates in paid advertising, according to a recent study by Memorable Domains. In a review of a Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, ‘ads featuring a generic domain name with an exact match to the product (electricbicycles.co.uk) performed significantly better than identical ads featuring an alternative generic (yourbikes.co.uk) or non-generic domain (inahurry.co.uk).’

How to Choose a Great Domain Name for Your Private Practice

Now that you know a few common approaches therapists and coaches take when choosing a domain name, let’s dive into the details that will make your website shine online.

We recommend including one of the most common related keywords – therapy, counseling, therapist, etc. – plus your city name. Including the city helps drive local search results — making sure your site is seen by more potential clients in the area.
  • Therapy + city name
  • Counseling + city name
  • Therapist + city name
  • Psychotherapy + city name
  • Counselor + city name
  • etc.
If you practice in a small town near a large city, consider where your clients are coming from and how they’re searching.

Searches for a Boulder therapist are far less common than searches for Denver therapist, for example. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your local city – just be strategic.
A quick Google search for “Denver therapist” shows just how important domain name can be in driving search results.
Certainly, a lot of the basic domain names may have been taken before you can think to snag them. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great option.

Domain Naming Tips

Keep it short. Long names are hard to remember, easy to misspell, and may not fit comfortably on business cards and other marketing materials.

Keep it simple. You want your website to be easy to find and leave an impression. A great URL helps you do both.

Don’t get fancy with .org or other endings. Users are familiar and comfortable with .com endings. You’ll want the most common ending for your country (in addition to or instead of .com) if you live outside the U.S.

Try not to use numbers or symbols—these are often read and entered incorrectly.

Include keywords. We covered this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Including heavily searched terms like “therapist” or “counseling” in your URL can give your SEO a boost. This can be a bit trickier if you offer a variety of services, such as therapy and coaching, or psychology and psychiatry.

Where to Purchase a Domain Name

When you are ready to purchase your domain name, there are a few common places to do so. If you are building a new website or signing up with a new webhost, see if they offer a free or discounted domain with your plan.

You can also purchase your domain directly from a ‘domain name registrar’ — basically, a company that manages the reservation of domain names. Depending on the domain you choose, most URLs cost between $10 and $20 per year.
Registrars include:
There you have it! Everything you need to know to choose a domain name for your therapist or coaching website.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, download a copy of this guide to review later!

More Posts

Posted in: Marketing For Therapists, Website Strategy

Leave a Comment (1) →

The 6 Pages Every Therapy Website Must Have [Guest Post]

The 6 Pages Every Therapy Website Must Have [Guest Post]

Therapists are a bit like snowflakes. Each one is unique and brings different experiences, training and personality to their private practice.

The same holds true for therapy websites. Each one should be unique and reflect the therapist’s personality and approach to their practice. However, while a therapy website should look and feel unique to the user, a core foundation of key pages can provide potential clients with the best information about each practice. These key pages can help your individual practice shine, highlighting all of the ways you make your specialties your own.

Let’s talk about six key web pages that any successful therapy website must have and how you can optimize those pages. Whether you’re just starting out with ?building your first therapy website or embarking on a redesign project, doing these pages well can help potential clients feel confident in contacting you for that first visit.

1. Homepage: Quickly Tell Them What Your Therapy Practice Is About

First things first: your therapy website needs a homepage.

This is the first and often-greatest impression a potential client will receive of you, your practice and whether or not you have the answer to the problem they’re facing.

Recent studies have shown that the human attention span clocks in at about 8 seconds. Which, as it happens, is less than a goldfish’s. Go humans!

And guess what? In the year 2000, we showed an attention span of 12 seconds. This means our attention spans are growing even shorter.

So when it comes to your homepage, you have only a few precious seconds to capture the attention of your visitors and convince them that you offer something they need. Use those seconds to get right to the point and tell them exactly what you do and how you can help them.

One mistake I see many therapists make on their homepages is giving the reader too many options and presenting them with too much information. When presented with too many choices, many folks will choose none and just leave.

Think of one thing you want a potential to client to know – even if they don’t click on any other page on your website – and stick to that theme.

Then, give them one action to do. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Or do you offer a free phone consultation? Pick one and go with it. This makes potential clients more likely to complete the action that can bring you into contact.

2. About Page: Focus on Your Ideal Clients

Here’s one thing that I’ve learned that may blow your mind: your “about” page is not about you.

At least it’s not entirely about you. Let me explain.

When I first began seriously blogging, all the big shots kept talking about how important the about page is. People said it had it had to be amazing and even tossed around words like “epic” and “killer.” Those are words I never heard to describe any other page on a website.

Now, I never paid much attention to my own about page in the past, but it seemed everyone was saying this. So I checked my Google Analytics and sure enough, at the time, the about page was the second most visited page on my website, after the homepage.

That meant that people coming to my homepage for the first time wanted to know about me before they did anything with me.

They wanted to know if I had answers to their questions and if I could help them solve their problems. So I would be doing my audience and the people I want to help a disservice by not making it abundantly clear what it is I do and how I can help them.

I’m a designer, not a copy writer, so I rely heavily on researching other successful online marketers, bloggers and therapists to see what’s working on their about pages. I’ve noticed a pattern that you can use to outline the about page on your own therapy website:
  • Offer a unique selling proposition that explains who you work with and the desired outcome your counseling services will bring.
  • State the problem or problems your ideal client or clients may be facing that would cause them to seek therapy.
  • Give them the answer to their problem: you! Introduce yourself, your counseling services and what therapy with you would generally be like.
  • Last, share a more formal biography. Talk about your education, certifications and journey as a therapist.
As you build the about page on your therapy website, picture your ideal client and talk directly to them, sprinkling your personality throughout the page. It’s great to add a few details about your life outside of the therapy office as well. Doing so just may make your about page “epic.”

3. Your Counseling Services: An Overview of Who You Serve

Dedicate a page on your therapy website to introducing the people you serve and the topics you can help your clients with.

Typically titled “Services,” “Therapy Services” or “How I Can Help,” this page will give a potential client a snapshot of all that you do, assuring them that you can help with the issue that has lead them to your website in the first place.

When I build a services page, I typically break it into two sections: topics the therapist specializes in and the populations they serve. Do you help your clients deal with depression, a rough divorce or trauma from their past? List these things out on your services page. Do you practice individual adult counseling, just marriage and family counseling or both? Make it clear on your services page.

Your services page should also lead your potential client deeper into those services, should they want to learn more.

Which leads us to the next set of pages that your therapy website needs.

4. A Page for Each Service in Your Practice

There are two very important reasons why I recommend your therapy website have individual pages devoted to each of your specialties or services.

The first is to provide information to potential clients and showcase your own expertise and approach to the services you provide. If your services page were a Polaroid snapshot of all you do, then these pages would be detailed paintings.

Think about the type of client you want to serve and their specific needs. Try to give them the most accurate picture of what therapy with you will be like. Reaching out for therapy can often be difficult and filled with many unknowns. You want to put your client’s mind at ease by eliminating as many of those unknowns as you can.

The other reason I recommend a page for each of your counseling services is for the SEO benefit.

Google is getting smarter and smarter these days, and they want to provide users with the most accurate and relevant information.

So, having a full page devoted to, let’s say, couples counseling, gives you the space to provide that detailed information needed to help search engines find you and direct potential clients to your site.

Use on-page SEO best practices to optimize this page, such as:
  • Placing the focus keyword (i.e. Couples Counseling) in your page title.
  • Making sure the keyword appears toward the front of the page title.
  • Making sure the header of your page is in an h1 tag and includes your keyword.
  • Making sure the focus keyword appears a few times throughout the page with one instance being within the first or second paragraph.
  • Making sure the content is 800 – 1500 words in length.
  • Use the keyword in the page’s URL.
  • Including images.
These pages are truly the meat of what you do as a therapist, so take your time to offer useful information to your potential clients and assure them your therapy services can provide the change they’re seeking.

6. Contact Page: A Simple Way for Potential Clients to Get in Touch

The final must-have page for any therapy website is your contact page. You need a simple, straightforward way for potential clients to contact you.

All the other pages of your website are devoted to why your ideal client should contact you. This page is the how.

When designing therapy websites, I try to make this page as simple as possible. I like to eliminate anything that would distract the user from the task at hand: calling or emailing to set up that first visit.

So, if you’re using WordPress, that means leaving off the sidebar to make a clean, full-width page that includes your phone number, email address and location of your private practice.

It’s also a great idea to include a contact form directly on this page. I’m all about making this easy on the user, so if they’d rather just fill out the form in front of them than call or email, I want to make sure I give them that option. Many premium WordPress themes come with form builders already installed or you could use a plugin like Contact Form 7.

Conclusion: Onward to a Great Website!

Whether you’re just getting started building your first private practice website or you’re ready to tackle a redesign of your current site, these six types of pages can be the foundation of any therapy website. Taking the time to focus on the content and structure of these pages will make that foundation solid and help your potential clients better understand who you are, what you do and – most importantly – how you can help them.
About the Author:
Daniel Fava is the founder of CreateMyTherapistWebsite.com, where he teaches therapists how to create their own kick-butt websites and market them online. Check out his free ebook, 31 Days To A More Successful Private Practice Website for tips that can help you improve your website, get more traffic and gain more clients.

More Posts

Posted in: Website Strategy

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 3 123