Why Every Therapist Needs a Website
As a mental health professional, your primary focus is likely on taking care of your clients. But to do that, you first need to form a strong connection with them.
To do that in today’s modern world, they need to be able to find you and learn about you and decide if you’re the right fit for them.
When pondering how best to do this, you may have asked yourself, “Do I need a therapist website?”
Simply put, in today’s digital, fast-moving world where people seek immediate gratification – the answer is YES. In fact, upwards of 40% of clients search for mental health services online.
If you’re serious about growing your business and attracting more clients, a website is a must.
In this blog, we’ll cover many of the reasons why it’s in your best interest to have a compelling therapist website, along with helpful tips and examples to help you get started on – and enhance – your website.
Why You Need a Professional Therapist Website
When you’re looking for a specific service, what’s the first resource you turn to? Years ago, it might have been the yellow pages of a phonebook, or by asking a trusted friend or physician. Nowadays, an estimated 80% of Americans turn to the internet as their first line of inquiry for healthcare information.
Your website is your best salesperson - it works for you 24 hours a day - even when you’re sleeping. Consider it your digital billboard or storefront.
Whether you’re just starting out in private practice, or you already have a private practice up and running, you want clients to be able to find your business easily. You also want to appear credible and likable.
The best (although maybe not necessarily the easiest) way to do that is to build a quality website that showcases both your talents and your personality.
And without a professional website, you make it more difficult for yourself by not having one of the most important attributes for a business in today’s hyper-connected digital world: a powerful, legitimate, and compelling online presence.
A Website for Therapists Connects You with Clients
Despite the progress we’ve made over the years, there still remains a lingering stigma around the discussion of mental health and emotional suffering.
Seeking help can be an incredibly difficult decision, even when individuals are well aware that they need life-affirming support — around the world, the percentage of people that don’t seek help for clinical-level mental health challenges hovers anywhere between 45% to 81%.
When asked why, the reasons vary. Many cite a lack of confidence in mental health treatment (i.e. they don’t believe treatment will be effective), while others cite a lack of knowledge. Others fear being judged or feeling ashamed of seeking help. Then, others say that they afford or access care.
While a website won’t solve these societal and shame-based obstacles on a grander scale, it can help the world by improving upon access to your prospective clients and the general public at large. An online presence puts you and your services at the client's fingertips who are searching and ready to enter therapy.
You can structure your website however you’d like — you can have service pages explaining the various approaches your practice specializes in or mental health challenges your visitors may be experiencing.
You could have a blog where you publish insightful articles on topics related to mental health and therapy.
You could have an “About” page detailing how your practice was founded and how it has grown over the years. You could also highlight testimonials and reviews from past clients.
A compelling therapy website also does something important – establishes your credibility as a mental health professional. To those who don’t know you yet, a therapist website with the history of endorsements from colleagues, press features, and client testimonials clearly laid out can help establish a website's level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
In fact, Google has special guidelines for websites that involve YMYL (Your Money or Your Life). This describes the type of content and information that, if misleading, deceptive, or inaccurate, could directly impact the user’s health, safety, wellbeing, or financial stability. As a result, search algorithms assess websites for just how well they do at communicating their “EAT” -Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
To those who may lack confidence in their knowledge about mental health treatment, a therapist website with a wealth of information can help ease many potential clients' doubts. To those that fear being stigmatized, a therapist website that offers online resources can help ease some of their anxiety before being vulnerable and gathering the emotional courage it takes in opening up someone else before they’re ready.
Online Visibility: Are You Who You Say You Are?
The sum of your website should be able to answer the question, “Are you who you say you are?” You want to help your clients. It’s not enough to say it — you have to show it, with the information you offer and the public professional presentation you cultivate.
Consumers nowadays can remain wary. If potential clients can’t do their research to establish a provider's credibility, they may feel vulnerable to falling into the care of an unqualified professional.
A professional website is the best way to build trust with your clients before you even meet them.
Other Platforms for Therapists Online Marketing Efforts
In addition to having a professional therapy website, you may have considered branching out to social media.
Do you already have a substantial social media presence? After all, social media grants you additional online visibility.
Social media can be a powerful tool in marketing your business that can be used to funnel your audience to a single platform – your website – where you can inspire them to take action and reach out.
Social media comes with the benefit of an audience, so it can be a good way to spread your message and plant the seed of awareness, but it does have its limitations.
On social media, you’re limited by the platform’s rules — your posts can only be a certain character count, you can only format images a certain way, and so on and so forth. The rules surrounding social media are also constantly changing and evolving. This can be difficult to carve out a niche for yourself exactly how you want it while delivering all the information potential clients are seeking.
This is why websites can remain an integral part of the client’s therapy journey — if you catch their interest with a short post on social media, they’re more likely to visit your website for more information on you and your offerings. If you don’t have a website, even if you apply every possible online marketing strategy to boost your social media pages, many will be turned away due to a perceived lack of credibility through your own professional therapy site.
Therapist Websites and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Aside from being used as a central landing pad for your online marketing efforts, websites themselves also offer a great opportunity for outreach and marketing.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, may seem like one of those buzzwords with how often it’s thrown around, but it does have its merits and great value.
Every day, Google handles around 5.6 billion searches. When your ideal client searches for something like “anxiety therapy” or “therapy near me,” you want your website to be as close to the top of the search results — around 25% of people will click on the first result and around 75% won’t even progress to the second page of results.
A properly optimized website can bring you to the higher echelon of rankings, which is more likely to attract your potential clients. They’ll see you on their search results, click through to you website link, and browse through your site. If what they see on your website aligns with what they’re looking for (e.g. your background, personality, services, style, endorsements, etc.), they’re highly likely to want to reach out.
If you don’t have a website, you’ll miss out on these opportunities, which will amount to a considerable number of clients you may be missing out on connecting with in the long run.
Even if you do have a therapist website, don’t assume you’re off the hook when it comes to keeping it up to date — search algorithms and marketing trends change over time, and other practices will also be investing the time to continually improve their websites, so your place in the search rankings is never set in stone. It’s vital to run a health check on your website every now and then to ensure it’s still performing well.
Things To Keep in Mind When Building a Therapist Website
By now, we hope that we’ve convinced you of the value of having a website for your private practice.
We understand that if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, the idea of building a website may be intimidating, but there are a few basic principles you can apply to create a powerful and compelling website that works for you, regardless of your skill level.
- Define your niche — As tempting as it is to cast as wide a net as possible, your website will be most effective when it draws in the types of clients you want to — and can — help. Are you focusing on a specific demographic, style of therapy, or mental health challenge? In being vague or too generalist in your offerings, you’re not standing out in the crowd. Give yourself an edge and define who you are, who you help, and how you help will help guide the way your website develops. It also guides your ideal clients to you.
- Develop your value proposition — Your value proposition is what sets you apart from the crowd. It’s the beating heart of your marketing efforts. To come up with your value proposition, consider your niche or target audience. What do you want to help them with? What can they gain from working with you, instead of other therapists? Knowing what makes your practice special can be helpful when formulating your about page and calls to action (CTAs).
- Map out your therapist website — This is a simple but helpful exercise for envisioning the navigation of your site. Create a “map” by listing out the pages you want to have and where they should be nested (e.g. Your main pages should be Services, About Us, and Contact Us. Under Services, you should have individual pages for the types of therapy you offer).
- Learn from real-world examples — Checking out what the competition is up to can help you get a better idea of what you need to stand out. You can get started by checking here and here for great therapist websites from a web designer who specializes in working with therapists.
- Do research on hosting services — To launch your website, you’ll need to pay a service provider to “host” it (i.e. you’ll use their servers to host your content). There are plenty of hosting providers available, such as Bluehost, GoDaddy, Hostinger, HostGator, InMotion, and more. They differ in their prices, services, and ease of use, so shop around to see what works best for you.
- Consider hiring a website designer — If you want to go above and beyond, the help of a skilled website designer can elevate your website. They’ll be able to better optimize your site for both desktop and mobile, ensuring that everything is responsive and glitch-free.
If you want a deeper dive into building a truly exceptional therapist website, check out our guide on Key Parts of a Stellar Therapist Website, where we break down what you exactly need to include in your website, how to use your website to attract your ideal clients, and what you need to do before your website goes live.
Once you have your site up and running, you might benefit from our guide on Online Marketing for Therapists: 10 Strategies to Grow Your Practice — a simple guide designed to help you grow your online presence with real, actionable steps.
Build Your Website for Therapists Confidently with Clarity Cooperative
It’s natural to want your practice to grow. It’s also natural to struggle with it, especially when growth requires skills and knowledge that are out of your wheelhouse and hypercompetent competition seems to lurk around every corner. If you’re out of your depth when it comes to websites and online marketing, feel free to reach out to us at the Clarity Cooperative.
We’re a group of therapists dedicated to helping other therapists grow their businesses with confidence and ease. Visit our website today to learn more about our community, resources, and much more.
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