The Announcement of the “Professional Website” by Simple Practice
When I heard that Simple Practice came out with a website offering, I was curious. I like what they’ve done with their EHR; they seem put-together as a tech company, and they know a lot about the therapy industry.
I was excited to see what they had developed.
Since I’m a Simple Practice partner, I was invited to their “Professional Website Demo”. I missed the live presentation, but watched the replay soon after.
What Was I Watching For?
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a new player or platform enter the therapy website space. This happens all the time. Therapists are a huge market with money to spend. And Simple Practice, who already has a huge install base with their EHR offering, is in a great position to drastically increase their revenue with a new offer.
My experience has shown me, however, that many companies come to the therapist table with substandard website offerings. I’ve seen many things that sound great but, in actuality, don’t do much.
Because of that, and because I know A LOT about helping therapists generate client calls via websites, I’ve become attuned to watch for certain red flags when new offerings hit the therapist streets.
The three questions percolating in my head as I hit play on the demo video were:
1. Do they have an offering that is easy to use, and that generates an attractive therapist website?
2. Do they over-market it — implying that it will do things it can’t do?
3. Will their platform limit therapists from creating a site that could rank in Google and generate client calls?
Here is my experience as I watched the demo video.
(NOTE: The images in this article are taken from the Simple Practice demo video. That being the case, the quality isn’t high.)
The presentation began with the demo team explaining the problem they were trying to solve:
She then moved to the specialties.
She showed how you could add them, delete them, and change the order of them. The specialties ended up displaying like shown below.
Of course, I hoped that she’d take us to a screen where we could really flesh out each specialty. (It’s specialty pages, after all, that rank in google and generate client calls.)
But I thought, well, maybe she’ll come back. I hoped so, anyway.
That was when I knew that this system only generates a one-page website and that it would never rank in Google for anything.
NOOOOOOOO was still echoing in my head, when the presenter said, “You’ve gotten everything done on your website, and you need to make it public online. We make this super easy.”
Yes, it was over before it began.
The presenter then quickly published the site.
At this point, I could answer my first question
Do they have an offering that is easy to use, and that generates an attractive therapist website?
Short Answer: Yes, if you consider a 1-pager a real website (which, I don’t)
It is easy to use, but it doesn’t generate a useful website.
As disappointed as I was when I realized this was a one-page website, I almost stopped the video. But, I hesitated when I saw this screen:
We have three words being used here….
In the serious world of online marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting visible on page 1 of Google… and Conversion Optimization is about converting visitors to take an action (contact form fill, a call, etc.)
Simple Practice made this way too simple. In 22 words, they implied that magic would happen. Magic that involves much more strategy and work.
The truth is that SEO should never be used in relation to this site. Ever.
That gave me the answer to the second question:
Do they over-market it — implying that it will do things it can’t do?
Short Answer: Yes.
This site doesn’t have SEO, because it doesn’t have content. It is not optimized for search engines. It can’t be without content. Yes, can fill in a backend SEO field on any page online, but that doesn’t mean it’s optimized. They might as well not have added the fields, in my opinion.
And that issue answers the third question, as well.
Will their platform limit therapists from creating a site that could rank in Google and generate client calls?
Short Answer: Yes. It absolutely will prevent you from ranking for being found for searches people type in when they are looking for a therapist.
The one-page website is the kiss of death in online marketing.
I wasn’t the only one that seemed to be perplexed by this offering they unveiled.
The very first question in the Q&A session was:
“Why is the website only one page?”
We want it to be really simple to set up, and also to visit. And… we don’t want to confuse your prospective client.
Do therapists really think that’s a valid answer? Do they think their clients are that easily confused?
And does Simple Practice even believe that answer? Their own site has 1550 pages. So, I don’t think so.
In the end…
I realize that my goals and Simple Practice’s goals were totally different. I’m all about creating (or helping therapists create) websites that generate client calls — websites that proactively market therapists by making them visible and then converting visitors to clients.
The problem is, with this website, no one will find you.
In my opinion, the solution they came up with doesn’t even solve the problem they set out to solve. If one cannot be found, then one can’t “market their practice to prospective clients who are evaluating different practitioners.”
If we assume they are found via some other means, then (maybe they have insurance companies or referral sources throwing clients at them) maybe this would help.
But, at the end of the day, the platform creates a page that is really only a glorified directory listing. You show your name, your contact info, your picture, your specialties, the insurance you take, your fees, and a quick little bio.
But, when you have a real directory listing (PsychologyToday, GoodTherapy, TherapyDen), you have the benefit of having some visibility. The problem is that while this Simple Practice “website” has the limitations of a directory listing, it doesn’t have the benefit of being in a directory! Directories usually do the job of ranking in Google, so if you’re inside that container, you’re findable.
With the Simple Practice site, unless you are in a town with 100 people or fewer, you can kiss the idea of ever being found goodbye.
It is a great move for Simple Practice, though. Because they have a huge install base. They already have 10,000 users who have turned this on in their SP accounts (as of the time of the video presentation I watched).
The offering is free until July 2021, and then it will be $15/month. If they end up with 10,000 therapists staying with the platform, that adds $150,000 / month to their revenue stream.
The Big Question: Should You Use Simple Practice’s Professional Website Offering?
As I’ve said, if you don’t need your website to generate clients for you, this is a way to put up an attractive “listing” for yourself for only $15 per month, and it’s integrated into your EHR, so you don’t need another login on another system.
If you’re a busy insurance-based practice, or you have a stream of folks coming to you from other sources already, this could be perfect.
If, however, you want to be visible when people in your area are searching for help for their issues trying to find the perfect therapist online, this will do nothing for you. In that case, it’s a waste of $180 per year.
You’d be better off spending $97 on my course, Client Calls Forever, to learn how you can become visible, and put in the sweat equity to make that happen.
Have you considered this website offering from Simple Practice? Let me know what you think in the comments below.