Guest post by Kat Love
Every private practice therapist is juggling many roles.
You are the therapist in your practice but you’re also the admin assistant, the bookkeeper, the head of sales, the marketing director, the biller…
It can be a lot.
And when it comes to marketing, and specifically to creating a therapist website, it can feel huge and complicated.
It’s also one more thing to add to your growing to-do list along with everything else you need to do to build, sustain, and grow your practice.
Yet you know that your website is important.
Your website is your practice’s home base on the internet. It’s the heart of your online presence.
And as daunting as it can be to plan, write, and build a website, it’s also totally figureoutable. There are a few basic things that, if you keep them in mind, will make the journey as simple and as easy as possible.
So while knowing the below 5 essential things will not eliminate the task of “create a website” from your to-do list, they will make the task much more easeful.
If you focus on getting the following five key ingredients right, you’ll have a website that works.
1. Written Copy That Communicates and Connects
Copy is the written text on your website that sells how you help.
Your website’s copy includes the written content of your home page, your about page, your services or specializations pages, your contact page. Basically all pages of your website that are not educational content are considered “copy.”
Your therapist website copy demonstrates that you understand your best-fit client’s struggles. It shows that you have experience with helping with their struggle. And that you know a better life is possible.
Website copy is what communicates who you are and how you help. It helps visitors feel seen, heard, and inspires hope that there is another way. They don’t have to endure the current pain they are experiencing.
Importantly, your copy highlights that you can help them get to a better place.
Website copy that communicates who you are and how you help is absolutely essential to any therapist website.
2. Prominent, Persistent, Easy-To Find Contact Information
Phone number, email address, business address – you would be surprised by the number of therapist websites that don’t display contact information prominently or persistently.
Your website visitors shouldn’t need to dig around to figure out where you are located or how to contact you. To provide maximum ease of use, think of it like this: it should take zero effort to find your contact and location information.
If a visitor has to read through your entire “About” page, rummage around in a cluttered sidebar, or actually click through to your contact page to be able to contact you, that is too much work. The reasonable amount of work a website visitor should endure to contact you is zero work. Instead, make it as easy as possible to find your info and reach out to you.
One reason to make your contact information easy to find is that there are known credibility factors including types of features and content that signal that you are professional. One such sign of credibility is being easy to contact through direct methods of communication like email address and phone number.
Putting your name, address, and phone number, also known as NAP, is also important for local SEO. Best practices tell us that you ought to have your NAP on every page of your website and ensure it matches across all listings and citations you might have around the internet. Increasing your chances of showing up in local search results is an additional reason to make your contact information prominent and persistent.
At the very least, you should display the following information in the website’s footer. (This area of your website is persistently on every page of your website):
● Your business address
● Your email address
● Your phone number
● Your ability to do online therapy and for residents of what state
● The next step in getting your help (more on that next!)
Displaying this information in your website’s footer will make becoming your client easy.
Offering Online Therapy Only? Here’s An Insight On Why You Still Need To Display Your Business Address
Even if you only offer online services, you still ought to display your business address prominently and persistently on your website.
You still want to be credible. You still want to show up in local SEO. And humans, even if they’ll be getting online services, still like to know where you’re operating out of.
It’s best to display your business address in the footer and on your contact page to ensure you get the benefits of doing so.
3. Clear Invitations To Take The Next Step
In addition to communicating and connecting, your website copy also needs to be motivating.
If you’ve written excellent copy and your website visitor feels like you are a good-fit therapist for them, what is their next step towards getting your help? And are you guiding them towards that step?
A call to action, or CTA, is the invitation or encouragement for your website visitors to take an action, usually in the form of a button, link, or a small task they can do right now, that will direct your website visitors towards your help.
The call to action takes a website visitor from reading about your solutions to getting your solution…
● From reading about how you help domestic violence survivors heal, to scheduling their free consultation call to explore how you can help them too
● From connecting with you as a human who’s also overcome panic attacks to actually scheduling an appointment with you to get help with the same challenge
● From reading your blog post about depression to signing up to your email list that includes tips on rising up out of depression
Every page of your website should include a single, priority call to action. To discover what the CTA ought to be, answer the question, “What is the most helpful task that a visitor could complete after reading this page?”
Once you’re clear on what your CTA for the page is, feature it on the page. Here are some further tips to guide you on how:
● Be empathetic. A good CTA is an extension of your empathy for your website visitor’s suffering or needs. You can include some language that speaks to that, e.g. “Ready to stress less and be more at ease? Schedule your free 15 minute consultation call today”
● Keep it concise. Because you’re guiding your visitor to take action, don’t get overly wordy. Keep it as brief as possible and clearly stated.
● Motivate with action words. Find the right-fit verb to help your visitor act. Using words like, “Call” or “Email” or “Schedule Now” can help your visitor know exactly what to do.
● Be repetitive. Generously place CTAs across your website, you can even repeat the same language over and over again. To you, it will look repetitive, but to a visitor who is likely skimming, and not reading, your website, it will be reassuring. It’s the exact guidance they need when they are looking for help.
● Communicate the benefit. When the space allows, you can communicate more about what they will get from following through with the action. Will they get to ask questions? Will they understand more about how you help? Be descriptive so they know what to expect.
Having clear calls to action throughout your site helps guide your visitors to the help they truly need. Keeping in mind that your best fit client may be in crisis can also be important to keep in mind. When someone is overwhelmed, they need more help getting help. And a clear CTA is how you can help journey with them.
4. Simple Design
The look and feel of your website communicates as much as words – but that look and feel can be simple – don’t over complicate it.
In fact, most therapists overdo their website’s design. Adding too much. Too much clutter. Too many design elements. Too many colors. Too many fonts.
Keep the design simple. Do less. And you’ll save time, save money, and have better results.
In fact, designs that are more minimal help reduce the cognitive load that can further stress website visitors who may already be in crisis.
When it comes to the design, including colors, fonts, layouts, the great news is you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Website templates are already designed. Seek out a template that gets you 95% of the way there and insert your text into it. Once you realize that design isn’t something you do but rather that you find, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit.
The smartest investment here is investing energy into finding a good-fit template that doesn’t have to be overhauled to work for you.
Part of what to look out for in a good template is “conventional” design. Conventions in design, like for instance having the navigation at the top of every page, can help website visitors know where to find things. They know where to find things because it’s the common place to do so across many websites that they visited before. Conventional design leads to that, “I felt at home” factor that you actually really want for every visitor to your site.
Instead of seeing conventions as “boring” or as “not expressing who you are” enough – reframe it to seeing conventions as serving a very important role of creating ease for your website visitor. Plus it simplifies things for you yet again. What if you find the simplest template? Not the most “jazzy” one? Not that one that “pops”? And go with something that feels familiar?
When inserting text into your template, follow these four simple formatting ideas to keep your copy easier to skim:
● Break things into shorter paragraphs of 3-5 sentences
● Use lists to draw out important information
● Use headings every couple of paragraphs
● Use bold to draw attention to important words or phrases (but do so very sparingly)
Between a solid website template and inserting your copy in a way that makes it easy for visitors to skim – you’ll have a simple but effective design that helps further communicate how you help.
Do you come through on your website? Your journey, your face, how you help, what your values and beliefs are, how you advocate for your clients, what it means to you to be a therapist?
You could have all of the other 4 essential things on this list and still have a website that falls flat if you aren’t being seen on your website.
Your uniqueness is a differentiator, helping potential clients and referral sources answer the question, “why you?” and, perhaps more importantly, “is this therapist a good fit for me?”
This goes beyond whether or not your site “stands out” enough. Sure, you may have a practice in a saturated state. Sure, you may want to stand out in the market. But the real reason you need to be unique on your website is because if you aren’t being seen, it’s not effectively communicating how you help.
You are part of how you help. Are you showing up?
No one else is you. When you create a website that reflects the special and unique way that only you can help, you stand in a field of your own. You attract the clients that are a fit for you in your totality.
Start showing up on your website with getting a clear sense of your own identity. This self-awareness is key to showing up as yourself on your website. It’s not possible to create an authentically you website without this identity piece.
You have a unique way of caring. Unique superpowers and strengths. You have a unique approach to healing. You have unique life experiences. And all of these pieces can come through in your websites copy and design.
Part of your identity is also your unique take on the experiences of those you help. Thinking about what is unique to the identity of those you are offering your solution to is another way you can be seen. Why are your best fit clients your best fit? What inspires you to help them specifically?
Take a step back and observe yourself in what you do and then try to make sure that comes through on your website. A therapist website isn’t a therapist website without the therapist. Be present. It’s essential.
Keep It Simple By Focusing On The 5 Essentials
Use the 5 essentials like guiding principles. There is always space to get more elaborate with your website but focusing on these 5 essentials can help you create a website that works.
Having visitors journey through your site, connecting with you, and taking action to get your help is the true destination you want to have in mind.
Writing good copy, including your contact information clearly, ensuring you invite visitors to take the next steps, and all within a simple design will get you most of the way there.
But don’t forget to include you. Part of the true value of therapy is the relationship that a client gets to have with their therapist. You are selling the benefits of therapy but you are the direct mode of delivery for these benefits. Don’t overlook the “you” part of the equation.
Being true to yourself and letting your authentic self be seen is perhaps the most essential of the 5 elements outlined in this article.
You are unique and you give your clients healing in a way that only you could. Now it’s just a matter of getting your website to reflect that.
Guest author: Kat Love
Author: Kat Love
Therapists helped Kat heal from childhood sexual abuse, so now they specialize in helping therapists with their marketing. From helping you find the words to write to implementing the marketing strategies you need, Kat helps private practice therapists get more clients, more referrals, and start making an impact. Check out Kat’s service that helps with copywriting for therapists and their marketing consultancy website.