Here, through Calm Pathways Counseling, we have a great example of Specialty Pages. These are the pages that highlight what a practice offers, such as Anxiety Treatment or Depression Treatment. They’re the heart of a website. They tell potential clients what exactly the therapist does and why this particular therapist is right for them.
Now, what makes Calm Pathways Counseling’s Specialty Pages great?
It’s not enough to write whatever comes to mind and post it. Authors don’t do that. They create a structure for their work. Think of chapters, subheaders, the index, and preface. These are organizational tools that guide the reader; the same has to be done for any therapy website.
Specialty Pages have to meet visitor’s expectations, by answering their questions, addressing their worries, and presenting hope in the form of therapeutic solutions.
Doing so is following a proven formula for presenting information in a concise manner that speaks to the people therapists can help. Which is exactly what Calm Pathways has done.
The final section of the page offers contact advice. But what it lacks is further links for clients to explore related information, or a one-click button to schedule a call. To be fair it does feature a phot number and an email address, but the idea is to make scheduling the simplest possible process for potential clients.
Admittedly, there is a “Contact Tish” button beneath the final image, but the image itself hides it. On a mobile phone, visitors might not scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
Also, the specialty page includes links to blog posts on the sidebar. These blogs should discuss a similar topic, i.e. Panic Attacks. But they appear to generally discuss therapeutic information. Why should they be related?
If someone lands on a page about panic attacks, they’re more likely to want to see information related to panic attacks, maybe a blog post about how hiking has been shown to help control panic.
Websites have to predict what their visitors want to see and deliver that information in an easy, accessible manner.
Think of a website is a road. And what’s the fastest way between any two single points on a map? A line. Present information to potential clients so that it resembles a line.
A website’s menu its table of contents, and any table of contents should be intuitive at a glance, telling visitors all the information they need to find what it is they’re looking for.
Which is exactly what Resilience Therapy has accomplished.
The entire layout of the site is captured in six menu items that cover the visitor’s journey, from “About Me” to “Contact Me” with the only drop-down menu being the most important, the practice’s “Specialties.”
The lesson? Don’t overwhelm potential clients with complex menus—a flood of dropdown options that do more to confuse than help. Keep your menus as simple as possible.
Make your navigation so that somebody who thinks “Facebook” is another word for the “internet” easily finds their way around.
We also want to compliment the home page which thoroughly presents the practice’s mission without being overwhelming. It explains Kaite Markley’s approach, history, and potential to help clients in a succinct and clean matter, while also interspersing the text with appropriate imagery.
A home page shouldn’t overwhelm visitors either but serve as an introduction to the rest of the site.
Now, to be equitable to all sites we, of course, have to offer some criticisms.
The homepage currently features a YouTube video explaining the practice, which is a great feature and we encourage people comfortable enough to get in front of the camera to create a video.
But the video is currently set to autoplay as soon as a visitor lands on the page. And this can be disorienting for first-time visitors who don’t realize there’s a video below-the-fold.
They hear music but they don’t necessarily know where it’s coming from. Some visitors may leave the site thinking they’ve opened a pop-up.
You don’t want to confront visitors with any type of popup or pitches when they first land on your page. It’s a bit like a salesperson asking if you’ve found everything you’re looking for as soon as you walk into a furniture store. How would you know? You haven’t started looking yet.
Organization. It’s been one of the themes of this post. How a website is organized is fundamental to its success or failure and that applies to individual posts as well.
Website organization means using headers properly. It’s important primarily for SEO reasons. These are the Header1, Header2, Header3, and so on tags that you find in the text editor on your website. By default they enlarge your font, turning your text into headers or subheaders.
What these do is first help your readers understand what each section of your page is all about. They’re like mini-chapter headings.
But these headers also tell Google what the page is about. The title of your page is typically a Header1 and it says to Google’s bot, “This text is what this page is about,” e.g. a Header1 that reads “Anxiety Treatment,” tells Google the page is about anxiety treatment.
While subheaders also tell the search engine what the most important information on the page is about so that Google knows who to show your page to on the search engine.
April Lyons has done a fantastic breaking her posts into digestible headers that break the text up logically and follow proper heading formatting.
Therapist websites that perform well have strong interlinking. What we mean is… a post about “Body Positivity” will link to another article (preferably a specialty page) about the same subject.
Doing so helps potential clients learn more about therapists and their practice, while also showing Google how information is connected on their site. In one way that’s what internal links are for. They weave a web of information to show search engines how pages and posts are related.
It’s tempting to drop a link into a post with the text, “click here,” which is done all too often. The problem is that doing so creates a relationship between the text (“click here”) and wherever it’s linking to so that Google thinks the title of the page being linked to is, “Click here.”
You wouldn’t name a chapter in a book, “Click Here,” so don’t name a hyperlink “click here.”
Highlight and link text that’s relevant to the page it links to. If the page is about “Depression Treatment” then link the text, “treatment for depression,” or “depression treatment,” or even learn about my therapeutic approach to depression treatment.
The point is to make the text relate to what it links to. Doing so ensures a sound structure in the eyes of both Google and readers.