How To Know What Will Work For Your Website

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Let’s say you want to build a website for your practice.

How do you know what works? What doesn’t?

What kind of material should be on your website? Should it be a single landing page? Multiple pages? Should it have a blog? Videos? Lots of images?

Countless questions can crop up and leave you paralyzed before you even start.

You can make headway though.

In this article, we’re taking a look at a few therapy websites and showing you how to analyze them so you can start building your own site.

Start With the Competition

The first step in designing your site is looking at other therapist’s websites in your area.

Let’s say one of your specialties is couples therapy.

How do you find other counselors specializing in couples therapy?

The easiest way is to head to Google (https://google.com) and type “couples therapy” into the search bar. Google reads your location and displays local results to you, so you’ll see other couples therapists in your area.

Yes, it’s that easy.

The same applies to other specialties, whether it be addiction, anxiety, depression, divorce, etc.

You’ll see something similar to the following…
At the top you’ll likely see some Google Ads related posts:
Then a Google My Business Map listing:
google-maps-pack-couples-therapy
Ignore both of those.

We’re not concerned with either right now.

What we want is to see the top ranking website owned by actual therapists.

So skip PsychologyToday and Yelp as well. (They dominate the search results in most areas because they’re aggregate websites.)

Based on my unique Google search I see the following sites own the highest position on Google:
Now that I’ve collected some sites I can dive in and see what they’re doing that’s got them on the first page.

Then I can use that information to get an idea of how I should lay out my own website.

Analyzing the Sites - Homepage

Of the sites listed above, I want to start by honing in on The Relationship Center of Colorado as it had the highest rank of the sites at the time of my search.

So, let’s take a look (https://www.coloradorelationshiptherapy.com/).

And while looking, I want to ask a few questions:
  • What’s included in their menu.
  • How much text is on their homepage?
  • Do they have links to social media?
  • How is the site organized?
  • Is there a blog on the homepage?
Let’s walk through an analysis of the site…

The Menu

First off…

Notice how many pages are included in the menu. Some items even have drop-down menus.

All-in-all, there are 23 links to choose from.

It might even be too much, but that will vary from one practice to the next.

The point is… there’s lots of content on this site. That means Google likes ranking multi-page sites for the keyword, “couples therapy.”
Multiple pages means lots of information. These practices are detailing everything they do through Specialty Pages and their blog roll.

To compete we’ll also need multiple pages, with lots of helpful information.

(Depending on where you’re located, you may find a single-page site ranking: a site that doesn’t have a menu because it’s only one page. But this is very rare.)

Social Media

Also, right at the top of The Relationship Center’s website, there are quite a few social media links:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
We’ll definitely want to include social media links on our own site, particularly Facebook since it’s where therapists tend to congregate.

But, do we need all of those sites?

Let’s look at the rest of the competition and see what they include:
  • Growing Self: No Social Media links on the homepage
  • Colorado CFT: Facebook and Twitter
  • Individual Relationship Center: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube
  • Colorado Relationship Recovery: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram
Growing Self is the one site that doesn’t include social media links on their homepage. Compared to the rest, it’s an outlier. We’ll ignore it.

The rest feature Facebook. We will definitely want to consider having at least Facebook linked on our homepage.

What Kind of Sites are These?

Still on the homepage, we want to ask what kind of sites are these?

What I mean is… how were they designed?

Are the websites created by Brighter Vision, TherapySites, GoDaddy? Or, is the site custom made by a web designer? Or maybe Squarespace?

This is fairly easy to tell.

Scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the footer, and you may see text like “Site created by Foley Designs LLC,” for example.

Colorado Relationship Recovery provides a good example. At the bottom of the homepage you’ll find “A Bright Site by Brighter Vision”
But the rest of the sites are all custom made…
  • Growing Self: Custom
  • Colorado CFT: Custom
  • Individual Relationship Center: Custom
  • The Relationship Center of Colorado: Custom
  • Colorado Relationship Recovery: Brighter Vision
Of the 5 sites we’re analyzing, only one is a Brighter Vision website.

We probably want to avoid using a site generator like Brighter Vision or TherapySites if we want to climb the rankings, based on our analysis.

Is There a Blog?

Next, let’s see if the site features a blog.

And see if the blog is active.

If all the competition has inactive blogs (blog pages that haven’t been updated in months or years) that’s a great sign that my site can beat them in the rankings—so long as I actively blog.

Google loves active websites.

The search engine wants to show users websites that are actively being updated because it prioritizes the most recent content.

So what do we see in our sample…
The Relationship Center of Colorado: The last post (at the time of this writing) is dated November 29, 2019. Not great. That means the site is stagnating.
Individual Relationship Center: the last post is December 13, 2019.
Colorado CFT: the last post is dated February 11, 2020
Colorado Relationship Recovery: last post dated January 17, 2020.
Growing Self: very active, the last post is dated February 10, 2020.
Based on the blog activity of the sites our site we’ll have to blog consistently to rank well on Google.

Looking at the Specialty Page

Let’s take a look at Colorado Relationship Recovery’s specialty page.

Again, let’s ask a few questions:
  • How many words are on the page? (A lot or a little.)
  • How is the specialty page organized?
  • What kind of information is included?
Starting at the top, the specialty page in question is a little less than 1000 words. That includes everything featured on the page, which we can see is broken up into 4 sections:
  1. Bulletpoints about Relationship Recovery.
  2. The 5 Phases of how the therapist does therapy.
  3. A short Q&A
  4. A few anonymous testimonials.
It may seem like a lot at a glance here. But it’s important to scrutnizie the page. When we break each section down it turns out they really haven’t written that much:
  • 113 words are used to bullet point what couples therapy is all about.
  • 271 for the phases of therapy and how they help
  • 160 for a brief q&a
  • 231 for testimonials
(No, you don’t actually have to sit there and count the words. It’s enough to just look. We’re only breaking down the word count here to show that looks can be deceiving.)

When we create our own Specialty Pages we’ll want to have just as much content with a lot more substance.

Organizing the Specialty Page

We may want to follow a similar structure for laying out our Specialty Page as Colorado Relationship Recovery.

But we may also want to broaden it a bit, to make our Specialty Page unique to us and our approach:
1. Bulletpoints about Relationship Recovery → Address the reader’s concerns: Substance means sentences and paragraphs. Starting an article with bulletpoints (whether it be a blog or Specialty Page often doesn’t provide enough context for your readers.
2. The 5 Phases of how the therapist does therapy → Your approach to therapy: Introduce your approach to your Specialty, how do you approach Couples Therapy? Why should the potential client choose you over someone else?
3. A short Q&A → Commonly asked questions : Address the most commonly asked questions that may hold a potential client back from going forward with therapy. Empathize with them and offer meaningful answers.
4. A few anonymous testimonials → Further information: If you’re not comfortable with including anonymous testimonials you might choose to remove this section altogether (keeping HIPAA-compliance in mind), or include links to further information about yourself and your practice across your website.

Concluding Thoughts

Keep in mind… whatever the competition is doing you don’t want to mirror it exactly.

What they’ve done works in the eyes of Google (and by extension for clients) so it makes a good start. But what we want to do is make it better.

You want to stand out. So, take what they’ve done, study it, learn from it, and improve it.

Make it your own.

Want to Learn How to Stand Out?

We’ve put together a 3.5-hour training to help therapists and counselors build their own website, regardless of their experience with technology.
You don’t have to be an expert to make a great website that works. You just have to know where to start and be willing to put in the effort.

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