Create a Website for Your Private Practice
It’s the 21st century, and you need a website for your private practice.
But you’re procrastinating because you’re not quite sure what elements to include on your website. You’re probably wondering:
- Which pages will make the most significant impact?
- How do you create content that turns first-time visitors into clients?
Overwhelmed? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss how to create the perfect website for private practice.
Why Do You Need a Website?
You need a central hub online for your private practice. A lot of therapists make the mistake of using social media as their home base. I wholeheartedly recommend using Facebook and other social media platforms for promoting your practice, but those sites cannot serve as your central hub.
First of all, you don’t “own” your profile or presence on social media. You’re renting. And, if Facebook decides tomorrow to shut down your profile, you’re out of luck.
On the other hand, with a website, you’re the owner.
Also, let’s talk a little bit about search engine optimization (SEO). If you genuinely want to compete, you’ve got to create and maintain a presence online. That’s because people search online for everything, including therapists. You need for your practice to turn up on a Google search, and the best way to do that is by having, and then optimizing, a website for the search engines.
Now, let’s look at the pages you need to include on your website.
“Start Here” Page
Consider creating a “Start Here” page for your website. On this page, you’ll condense the vast resources of your website onto one page. You can discuss your services, how much you charge, link to your frequently asked questions, and share your social media profiles.
Alternatively, you can create a “Start Here” tab on your menu navigation bar, where you link to a few of the most relevant and accessible pages on your site.
About Me Page
Most prospective clients will want to get to know you before deciding if you’re the right person for their site. Don’t squander this opportunity by stroking your own ego. You don’t have to create an exhaustive biography—but do share your passion, your experience, and your education. It’s also a good idea to discuss a little bit about your approach in therapy.
Include your contact information (along with office hours) on this page too. This is especially helpful if you have multiple therapists in your practice who may work different hours.
The Contact page is an absolute requirement for any website. Even though you’ll include your name, address, and phone number on each page (more on this later), you should also have a dedicated contact page for your site visitors.
Here, you may include the following:
- A contact form
- Your email address (for those who don’t want to use the contact form)
- Phone number
- Office hours
- A map (preferably a Google map)
- Directions from north, south, east, or west
- Links to your various business social media profiles
- An appointment scheduler
Frequently Asked Questions Page
Prospective clients will have questions. These questions are likely to be the same ones you answer all the time. So, save yourself (and your prospective client) the stress by devoting an entire page on your website to answer these questions.
Also, bonus points if you link to this page from your contact page.
A resources page is an awesome addition to your website, as it gives your visitors the information that they crave. On your resources page, educate your client on their issue. For example, if a majority of your clientele struggles with anger issues, provide links to useful anger management worksheets & activities and games. If you’re linking to resources off-site, be sure to select authoritative websites.
Break down what you offer. But don’t just list your services—explain them. This is how you educate the prospective client on the need for your service. Take this opportunity to explain your practice’s philosophy, and the modalities you practice.
I’m a big fan of including rates on your website. Your rates aren’t a big secret that you need to keep hush hush. Anyone can call you and ask. So why not put them on the website and make it easier on the prospective client?
Along with a list of your rates, include your cash pay policy and if you accept insurance (along with what insurance you accept).
Share important forms with your site visitors. Here’s a partial list of forms you can link to on your website:
- Client intake form
- Financial policy
- “No show” policy
- Cancellation policy
- Client disclosure release form
Blogs boost your SEO. They also help you establish your authority as a therapist. And, I love blogging as an ongoing and effective form of marketing. You can use your blog to attract prospective clients and then nurture them until they’re ready to book their first appointment with you.
A Way to Collect Emails
I love pop-ups for converting first time visitors into email subscribers. You can use emails to forge a lasting connection with your subscribers, and eventually turn them into clients.
Your website should include some sort of email opt-in, whether it lives on the sidebar or it pops up before the visitor leaves.
Best Practices for Websites
Although you can create your own website, chances are you’ll hire someone else to do it. If you do use another party (or even if you tackle it yourself), make sure that your website adheres to the following best practices:
Don’t go for bells, whistles, or any sort of intro video that prevents a site visitor from accessing the information they’re looking for. Excessive design elements, while cool, can slow down your site and make it difficult for visitors to find the answers they need. When people come to your site, they want answers to questions like:
- What services do you offer?
- How much do you charge?
- Where are you located?
Make sure that your website’s design isn’t standing in the way of converting visitors into clients.
Focus on creating a user-friendly website that anyone can navigate through.
A Focus on the Client
While you should definitely use your website to prove that you’re the right therapist for a specific type of client, remember that your website isn’t about you. It should be focused on the client.
Experience your site through the eyes of the prospective client.
Does your prospective client really want to see all of your accolades, and learn everything about you, your family, your last vacation to Disney World, your recently published book on Amazon, and how great you are?
Or is your prospective client searching for reassurance that you’ll be the right therapist for their needs?
As you create (or hire someone to create) your website, continue to ask yourself, “If I was a prospective client, would this [page, resource, section] truly answer my question?”
A Mobile Responsive Site
Mobile responsive means that your site looks good on mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets. In other words, the visitor won’t need to pinch to zoom your website in order to read it.
Having a mobile responsive site is non-negotiable. It’s not okay to have a website that looks horrible on mobile devices. That’s because over 50% of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices now. If a prospective client arrives on your site from their phone, your site needs to fit that smaller viewing screen.
Also, if your site isn’t mobile responsive, your ranking on Google will drop. That means that people who search Google for therapists in your area won’t find your listing because Google doesn’t promote non-mobile responsive sites.
NAP on every page
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. You need these three things to show up on every page of your site. The NAP is usually in the header or footer area.
NAP is important for SEO. Google uses your NAP to decide when to return your website for a local search. If you don’t have your name, address, and phone number listed, Google won’t know when to promote your page.
It’s such a simple thing to do that it’s often overlooked, but make sure that you include NAP to boost your local SEO.
The age of teeny tiny fonts is mercifully in the past. Your private practice website needs larger text, especially because of the increase of mobile users.
But even for desktop visitors, include large fonts as a courtesy for those of us who don’t want to strain our eyes to read.
Photos are a great addition to any website. Images serve to break up huge chunks of text, but they also help to add tone to your content. Whether you want to evoke happiness or reflectiveness, you can use photos to do it.
Studies show that you have less than 10 seconds to keep first time visitors on the hook before they start scrambling for the back button. Way less. People are so accustomed to fast loading sites, that if your site takes longer than three seconds to load, you’ll lose up to 40% of your site visitors.
So, it’s extremely important that your site is lightning fast.
Need a Web Designer?
If you’re looking for a professional website designer, we recommend Brighter Vision. Sign up through this link and receive one month free.
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