Most therapists today have been told over and over again that the first step to success is “getting a website.” So therapists go shopping for a website like they might shop for a beautiful couch. Checking out designs, forms, etc. However, therapist websites have no resemblance to couch shopping.
A therapy website is better compared to a book. More specifically, writing a book. No, you don’t have to write a 500-page novel, but the process is much the same.
- Determine the kind of book you want to write. It is educational, fictional, informative, or fun fluff?
- Decide on the theme of the book.
- Define the audience for the book.
- Write the book.
It is only after your book is written that you start to really dig into formatting decisions and cover art. While we all want to skip ahead to the fun part, the truth is- it is hard to determine the right cover art for a book that hasn’t been written. Your words should inform the look and design of your website.
Many therapists shop for a website designer with the idea that they will invest in a website and that this person will write their website. Even if you can find someone who can write your website- do you want your name as author to someone else’s words and ideas? While you may be able to find a therapist who can get to know you and ghostwrite for you effectively, hiring a college student or even a web guru to write a book about therapy- isn’t often a great idea!
Here are some tips to help make your website a success:
1. Be ultra-clear on who you want to reach. Think of all the different sections in the library. Make sure your website is going to show up in the right section.
2. Don’t try to speak to everyone. You can’t do it effectively. Imagine trying to counsel 100 different clients face to face at the same time. Break things out into “chapters” pages if you want to attract multiple types of clients. However, each chapter or page should be COMPLETELY about that client.
3. Think about your potential clients, not your colleagues. While you may have colleagues googling your website, the most powerful shift in your practice is when people who don’t know you, or anything about psychotherapy can move from a Google to find the best fit therapist for them- in a few hours on Google!
I hope these tips help you as you launch your counseling website. Your community wants to know you exist- the first step- get it written…Then we can worry about making it pretty, and getting it found!
Do you have a website already? Share your website below. Did you know that commenting on popular blog sites like PsychCentral can make your counseling website more findable? So- share your website, post your question, let’s build some community here!
Would you like more help understanding how websites for therapists work? Check out our Websites 101 training for therapists in our free Private Practice Library.
Miranda Palmer, LMFT is a therapist and business coach who sees how business decisions impact clinical work – for good or for bad. She wants to teach therapists how to make business decisions that allow them to do the best therapy work possible.