Websites for Therapists for a Successful Private Practice

This content is provided by zynnyme, an affinity partner of AAMFT. This information is not necessarily the view of AAMFT and should not be interpreted as official policy. 

Websites are often one of the first things therapists think about when it comes to marketing their practices. If you have a website, you might remember the first time you bought a domain name or saw your website live on the internet. For me, it felt so satisfying and exciting. There is something about having a website that can make your private practice feel official. Yet, a website isn’t the thing that makes your private practice successful. At the intersection of what makes a private practice successful, you will find a private practice that is not only profitable but that is run sustainably (see you later burnout) and is consistently improving on clinical outcomes. Your website is a tool that can bring those three things together and we want to show you how.

 

 A Website That Works

Your website is how you keep the light on for your business 24/7. At any time in the day, a person searching for help can find you and reach out or get information that can truly transform their life. Your website can be the difference between someone feeling seen or motivated to take the next step toward therapy and a person giving up on the search for mental health services. Having your website do some of the work for you, lessens your burnout on running your private practice. It can hold a lot of information that otherwise would be laborious to get out into the world on your own. Your website makes your marketing plan more sustainable as it is consistently available to people searching for help. Your website also exists to attract the ideal client for your practice. The ideal client is the person you know you can help, and that you have the skills and passion to serve. This directly impacts the clinical outcomes of your practice. By working within your wheelhouse, you can continually improve on your service delivery. People are searching for the right therapist, but you are also attracting the right client for your practice. Your website serves both you and the client in making a match. When you work with your clients and get great clinical outcomes it acts as a loop, giving back to your practice. Your clients stay until they get the needed transformation, your retention improves, clients are more likely to refer to you and as you are more satisfied in your work it shows in the therapeutic relationship as well. This leads to more predictable income as well as consistent clients and clients referring to you. It’s a beautiful thing. But there are some things you need to make sure you have for a successful therapist website.

 Therapist Websites: Make It Connecting

A therapist's website is the hub for communicating who you work with, connecting with their pain, showing that you understand as well as talking about how you uniquely help and the transformational value of working with you. While people may find you in other places, they may come to your website for that final validation that you are the right person to reach out to. From the moment someone comes to your website, they should know they are in the right place. You want your website to reflect your ideal client through the copy and images. Because it is here that the first attunement can begin in the therapeutic relationship, far before the first session. Our coaching clients often remark how referrals reach out saying that they came to their website and wept because they felt seen for the first time. That’s the power of your website messaging. The message is about attuning to their pain. It’s not really about you all that much. When you talk about what the client is going through, you demonstrate your understanding of their pain far better than if you said “I understand, you aren’t alone.” Yes, you share how you help, but first and foremost you connect. Connecting through the website leads to attracting the clients that are right for your practice, the ones who get great clinical outcomes. Taking the time to create a website that really is a home base for your practice also makes your marketing way easier. Too often therapists think fancy designs make an impression when it really is the language used to connect.

Therapist Websites: Making it Accessible

 You want your website to be easy to use. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to connect with someone from their website and it being hard to find out how to do that. You need a clear path on your website for what a potential client needs to do. Often that is going to a contact page to book an initial consultation, but whatever you want this person to do as a next step, make sure it is clear. Also, you want anyone coming to your website to get the information they need with ease. Making your website accessible means creating a website that someone with vision impairments can read, if there is audio or video then there is a transcript or captions, and the images have descriptions. The design should never distract from the content. We would also argue for using the language that your clients use. No more technical jargon that creates a barrier between you and the client.

 Therapist Websites: Making it Visible

You can have a great website that is connecting and accessible, but it must be visible and easy to find. When someone searches for a therapist in your area, you want to pop up as an option in their search. We refer to this as SEO, Search Engine Optimization (learn more about it here). We teach how to do this in our Business School for Therapists, but essentially you want your website to tell the search engines what your website is about and why it is relevant to show your website on search results. Creating a website isn’t enough, it has to stay up to date with information. Consider it an ongoing project to get your website to be ranked and visible. You also want to share your website with others. Put it on your social media accounts, email signature, business card, or digital card and in your other marketing materials. Since it is your hub of communication, with any points of contact with others you want to bring them to your website.

 

Therapist Websites: Making It Ethical and Compliant

As a therapist, everything you do in your practice needs to be compliant with the ethics and laws of our profession. This means you need to have the proper notifications on your website, such as your terms of use, privacy policy, & disclaimers. Use tools on your website that are HIPAA compliant, even for your contact form. Your messaging should never offer false promises about what therapy can do. You can speak to the hope in the transformation, but using quotes and making guarantees about outcomes are something to avoid.

Website Perfection

It can be hard to make your website public or to promote it. You might want it to be perfect. We believe that most therapists can easily start their website with just one page. You don’t have to have all the pages, bells, and whistles together before you launch your first website. In fact, we don’t believe you have to hire a designer and pay thousands of dollars for your website. You can definitely do that if you have the budget, but in our website checklist for therapists, we cover all you need to know to get started or to revamp your website. The sooner you get yourself out there the sooner people can find you, even if it isn’t perfect.

 Website Mirage

Sometimes it can feel like all you are doing is working on your website, but you don’t know why the phone isn’t ringing. Fiddling with your website is just a marketing mirage. Your website is a piece of the marketing plan, a tool, and not necessarily the only way people find you and decide to work with you. You still need a marketing plan. When it comes to your website you do want to add pages and make updates based on the needs of your practice. You also want to keep your website fresh with new content such as through blogging. But you also want to be building relationships in the community, building your visibility with the people you serve. The website is just the start of expanding your marketing and making your message more accessible. It relies on you going out there in the world in order for it to do its job. Need more support with your website? We have a ton of resources on our website checklist for therapists here. Our hope for you is that you continue to hold your clinical outcomes as part of the foundation of a successful practice. Your website is another marketing plan cornerstone where you can make decisions that influence that foundation. It is with your website that you can find more ease, attract the right clients, and continue doing the work you love.


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