When setting up a private practice, one of the first things you’ll probably consider is, should you have a website?
The short answer to that question is…. yes.
In this article, I look at why counselling private practices need a website and what the counselling website design should include.
Table of Contents
- Why Your Therapy Business Should Have a Website
- What should a counselling website design include?
- Website Theme
- Website Best Practices
- Should you build your website yourself?
Why Your Therapy Business Should Have a Website
It can feel like a daunting process if you have never had a website before, but any business needs to have some online presence and therapy services are no different.
A website is not just a marketing tool for your private practice. Think of it as the hub of your business where you can provide information to existing clients and potential clients.
A good therapist website provides a safe place where your clients can come and read the latest news, book a session with you and contact you directly.
Here are some reasons why you should have your own website:
- Attract more clients
- Promote yourself to prospective clients
- To provide a list of helpful resources
- To remind past clients about your services
But I already have social media accounts?
Your social media accounts are a valuable tool for driving clients to your website but don’t make the mistake of treating them as the heart of your business.
You may not know this, but you don’t own anything you put on social media. If you build a fantastic following on Instagram and then one day the powers that be decide to shut it down, guess what? You will lose everything you created.
Your website is your property, and you own everything that your therapy practice produces on that website.
What should a counselling website design include?
Now that you’ve decided to create a website for your private practice consider what you want to include.
To start with, keep it simple and have a clear structure and include some essential elements.
You should start with only the essential pages and you can always build on your counselling website design as time goes on.
Preparing your private practice website
Set some time aside to think about your private practice website and ask yourself the following questions.
- What type of website visitors do you want to attract?
- What services do you want to offer your clients on your website?
- What will your website’s content include?
- Who is your ideal client?
Once you have answered those questions, you can start to think about your website more in-depth. Don’t do anything online yet. Get yourself a good old fashioned pen and paper and start planning.
Do Your Research
Spend some time researching other therapist websites. What do you like about them? Are they easy to navigate? How could they be improved?
Make some notes about what you think a successful therapist website should look like.
Keep a note of any therapist website examples that you find and use them as a reference point when you come to build your own site.
When we talk about a website theme we mean the look and functionality of your website.
Choosing the right theme for your website can make all the difference between an amateur and a professional-looking website.
Again, do your research and look at other websites and their themes. If you are unsure of the best theme to use, contact a local web designer who can help.
Start building your pages.
Now it’s time to think about what pages you want on your website. Here are a few ideas of the types of pages you might want on your website.
Your home page is the first page people will see when they visit your site. Ideally, your private practice website’s homepage should be a friendly and welcoming page explaining more about what you do as a counsellor and how you can help.
What to include on your therapy website’s homepage.
- Link to the resources page
- Detailed information about your rates
- Payment methods
- Days and hours of work
- Link to your FAQ page
- Links to your social media profiles
- Links to recommended blogs/articles
About Me Page
The ‘about me’ page is different to your home page. This page is where you get the chance to explain more about yourself. After all, website visitors will want to know more about you before they decide to book an appointment.
Provide only relevant information, you don’t need to go into your family background or discuss your favourite film
Remember to include a professional photo of yourself.
What to include on your about me page:
- A good headshot
- Education and background
- Areas of expertise
- How you can help
The contact page is essential for any business. It’s where your current and future clients can find all the information they need to get in touch with you.
What to include on your contact page:
- A contact form or your email address
- Phone number
- Opening hours
- Directions to your practice
- An appointment scheduler
Your clients will have questions, and most likely, they are the questions you get asked all the time.
Compile a list of all the most commonly asked questions and answer them on your FAQ page.
Remember, you can imbed a link to your FAQ page from your home page.
You should devote one entire page to resources. It is an excellent tool for your clients and will help you stand out from other therapists websites. It demonstrates that you are an authority in your field and is an excellent way of attracting new website visitors.
What to include on your resources page:
- Links to articles
- Recommended books
- Useful blogs
- Useful apps
Blogs are a fantastic way to boost your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO).
When you write an informative and knowledgeable blog on your therapy website, you demonstrate that you are an authority on the subject. You can also use the blog for marketing yourself—post excerpts on your social media channels to encourage readers to come to your website.
Include a call to action
What is a call to action? It’s an offer to a potential client giving them a reason to contact you or engage with you in some way.
There are different ways to incorporate a call to action into your website and below are a few examples:
- Offer a free phone consultation to prospective clients.
- Offer a free ebook in return for an email address
- Include a ‘doing’ button for example, ‘read more’, ‘call this number’, ‘watch this video’
- Give a discount for a first session
Website Best Practices
Once you have decided on the pages for your website, there are some best practices that you should consider.
Keep it Simple
For now, keep your website simple. If you want to add videos or additional pages later, do it because your think it will enhance your website and not just because it looks good.
Get rid of any unnecessary fluff that will detract from the essence of the website and what you want to achieve. Use a clear and simple headline for each of your website pages.
Potential clients usually want the answer to the following three questions:
- Your services
- Your rates
- Your locations
A fancy website filled with videos and clever animation will not only slow your site down but will potentially put off any potential clients.
Stay Client Focused
Your website should demonstrate that you are the right therapist for a potential client, but it’s not all about you!
Remember to stay focused on the client and view your site through their eyes. How does it look? Will people want to book in to see you?
As you create your website, keep coming back to your client and ask yourself, would I want to see this if I was a client?
A Mobile-Friendly Website
Your website might look great on a laptop, but how does it look on a mobile phone?
50% of all website traffic is viewed on mobile phones, so your website has to be optimised for mobiles. It’s not an option.
Your Google ranking will also drop if your site is not optimised for mobile phones, as Google won’t promote non-mobile websites.
Adding a series of professional looking photographs to your website is a great way to break up content. No one wants to read pages and pages of text. You’ll very quickly put people off.
You can use photographs of yourself at work, and it’s worth paying a professional photographer to take some headshots or images of you work.
There are also image sites like Unsplash or Pixabay that offer plenty of interesting images. Take care though, unless you’ve signed up for their premium service, ensure that all the images you use are copyright free.
It’s widely reported that humans average attention span is reducing. It’s currently lower than 10 seconds which is less than that of a Goldfish!
So you must grab your potential clients attention within that first 10 seconds and if you have a slow loading site, guess what? That’s right. They will click away before your site has a chance to load.
Adding a few precious seconds to the loading speed will make all the difference.
Want to know how to make sure your website is up to speed? Check out this step by step guide.
Should you build your website yourself?
Only you can answer that question. If you feel confident and comfortable building a website then why not give it a go.
There are plenty of website building platforms available. Some you may have heard of including Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. But there are also lots of web design businesses that can help you. Some even specialise in building therapy websites.
An excellent place to start is Fiverr. You can find experts in all fields of Webdesign for a reasonable price. Whether you want your website built from scratch or want support, someone on Fiverr will be able to help you.