Our last blog taught you about Psychology Today, LinkedIn and using keywords that helps Google find you…and now, it’s time to expand your reach with your own website that will link to your profile sites with a click …and whoosh! All you need is another 60 minutes, that info you carefully crafted and WordPress.com; the most popular platform for websites in the world that happens to be free. There are a lot of website platforms out there but we recommend WordPress because it has the highest search engine optimization (SEO) and that translates to more hits on your site.
Why do I need a website?
Well, you don’t–if your practice is full. That probably means, you have a constant source of referrals based on your own personal marketing–but even if that is so, a website can be your electronic business card, offering forms, niche description, office information and a point of view.
Can I really do it myself?
Yep. Try this. Google “How to Build a Website on WordPress.” Whoa. From YouTube to Wikihow, there’s plenty of tutorials out there that explain step by step how to build a simple website. Pick one.
What should my website include?
- Contact information, a photo and the services you offer
- Your niche, fully explained, in your authentic voice
- Policies and procedures
- Bonus: psychoeducational information explaining counseling and simple clinical terms and FAQ’s.
- Here’s a few: When to Seek Therapy; What to Expect from Therapy; The Five Most Common Issues in Therapy
- Double Bonus: a blog page
What shouldn’t it include?
Information that’s too personal or intimate; this is a business card. A design that wouldn’t appeal across genders and age. Keep it neutral. Blogging about pets or vacations is for your personal facebook page.
Do I have to blog?
Nope, but it helps Google find you and it shows your clients a point of view. Make it easy–write 1 paragraph on 10 clinical situations (e.g. stress management, relationship tips, seasonal affective disorder, etc.) once a week or once a month. Start with the facts, talk about the process and end with a solution. Just make sure it sounds like you, not your Helping Skills textbook.
Should it be in my name?
That’s perfectly fine. However, if you decide to name your practice, just use keywords that someone would type in a search. For example, if you offer play therapy in Atlanta, you might want to call your practice “Atlanta Play Therapy”. In the world of SEO, the title of your website has the highest ranking, followed by the first title on your home page, followed by subsequent titles. So, using our example, if someone is searching for a Play Therapist in Atlanta, your website is more likely to pop up on the first page.
Where do I get a domain?
Seriously, shouldn’t I just hire someone to do it?
You can! Remember when you didn’t know much about DBT or EMDR or OCD? Then, you took the training and did the roleplay and you learned the skills. That doesn’t mean it became your niche or your passion. Designing your own site is like that. Put yourself out there, and see if you can develop a look, a feel and a voice that gives a consistent picture of you, as a therapist. Chances are, you spend a lot of time on websites and have an opinion about what you like. If this is too hard, time consuming or just not all that interesting, hire a designer, (we like 99 Designs) and a website developer. But, I’m going to bet, that once you get started and you begin the the conversation of who you are and what you do, albeit electronically, it will feel as natural as the conversation you start with the individual client. Later, as you build your empire, a designer/developer might be just the thing. After all, you’ll be managing the empire–you know, the one that was built as a result of your website!