Why does a therapist have website?

The first and most important question to ask yourself is, “Why should I have a website? What is the objective of my private practice website?”  Answers I typically hear include: “To let potential clients know about me and what I do”, “So people can read about me and my practice” “To list my credentials”, “So people can find me”, “So that potential clients don’t think I’m a dinosaur”. None of those answers hits the nail on the head.

The singular objective for a therapist to hae a website is to simply TO CONVERT A VISITOR INTO A PHONE CALL via your CTA (call to action) which for most of us is a phone call to set up a first session. That’s it. That’s the ONLY thing you want to focus on. Your website is not a business card, it is not a tri-fold brochure and it is not a directory of links inadvertently sending visitors away from you website unlikely to even return.  This is, btw, the singular objective of all transactional websites of which—yours is one.  Having spent 14+ years in the online dating industry working with Jdate, Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, MatchMaker to name a few, designing websites that successfully converted visitors to members and members to subscribers, I learned early and often to focus my efforts on creating an intuitive user experience (website usability) when constructing a website to ensure a successful experience for both the visitor and the website owner.  As such it’s critical to understand how people navigate websites, what design, feature and functionality  “best practices” are and to remember at all times– you are not building a website to satisfy you own sensibility—you are building it for your ideal target demographic.

For example, we designed the Jdate homepage quite differently than we designed Match.com’s homepage—even though they both were attracting singles.  Each site focused on a specific demographic population within the larger population of singles, differentiating themselves as THE best SOLUTION to the PROBLEM relative to their target demographic.

Whether you DIY or DFY (done for you), here are important things for you to know about in order to get the best results when creating a website for your private practice:

  1. Only use WordPress because it is the easiest platform for you to manage yourself, it’s very SEO friendly, can be made very secure, open source (which means that zillions of developers are creating features and functionality for free or just about that are available to you).  You do not want to be dependent on anyone to manage your content, nor be forced to pay a developer to make changes for you.
  2. Your motto for your website should be “Don’t make me think” which is our motto at ShrinkWr@p and is based on the brilliant book by Steve Krug of the same title which the bible for most savvy website designs. The book is written so anyone can learn the basics of usability—get it used on Amazon for around $3 or cut/paste this link for a free PDF I found online: http://professorbolin.org/DontMakeMeThinkACommonSenseApproachtoWebUsabili.pdf
  3. No one reads website copy when they land on your site.  They scan.  Big paragraphs of copy are a death knell.  Instead use brilliant headers, sub-headers and bullet points. Use short crisp sentences.  You have less than 3 seconds to get a visitors attention so they will give you another 4 seconds so that they might read some of the copy on your site IF they connect viscerally with and to the look and feel of your site which is all about branding.  Remember too that we need white space to scan—so make sure there is plenty of uncluttered space around the copy so the visitor doesn’t have to work hard to assess if they have come to the right place for them.  Don’t use a lot of different and swirly hard- to-read-fonts.  The objective is for them to contact you, not be overly admiring of and distracted by your artsy taste in fonts.
  4. Everyone is tuned to the same radio station—WIIFM—“What’s in it for ME!” This means that potential clients are far less concerned with how many years of training you have, or where you went to grad school or what your theoretical orientation is or how committed, passionate and successful you are with your clients, not to mention empathetic—they want to know what you are going to do for THEM!  How are you going to solve THEIR problem! To achieve write copy that converts, I recommend writing in first person and TO your potential client. Limit your “I, me and my” statements and instead focus how they will feel, what THEY will receive in working with you.  BTW, don’t bother reminding them of their problems with lengthy descriptions and clinical names of what they are suffering from—they know they are in pain —they are looking for a SOLUTION—focus on the solution you offer instead of banging the drum of symptoms and disorders.

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