A website is a VERY powerful marketing tool... one that once it has been written, honed, launched, and on the first page of Google can provide consistent referrals without requiring you to constantly on the phone, going to coffee, sending notes, dropping by businesses, etc. Today we are going to be talking about what can keep your website from triggering phone calls right now- as well as why starting a website NOW is integral key to long-term success!
Google has to learn to trust you:
Once a website is published- people have to be able to find it. Many therapists struggle with understanding what their potential clients are googling for, and so they don't know how to set up their website so that the search engines (like Google) know that their website can be helpful to the person who is in pain. Google is committed to giving great search results- that is why so many people use them. It can be tricky to figure out how to ensure your website is the kind of search result that is going to make clients smile and happy- so that Google moves you up to the first page. Until you are on Page 1 for the search terms- odds are low you will get consistent phone calls.
Why you need to start now: While there are lots of factors that Google uses to build trust- one is the age of your website and how long your website has been around. The sooner you start a website and establish yourself with Google- the sooner Google can see that you are awesome!
What Are People Really Searching For?
I LOVE the scene in The Princess Bride "You keep using that word- I do not think it means what you think it means." The truth is, writing your website is really hard, and really easy. The first step is always making sure your community can relate. While the second step is ensuring it can be found by the people who need it! It can be tricky to find the right balance of using technical terms that people might be searching for, while defining them so that lay people can understand, connect, and stumble upon what they are looking for when they just don't have the words.
Why you need to start a website now: While you may want to create the perfect website- the truth is- there is no such thing! The sooner you start your website and put it into the world, you can treat it like your many other things in your practice- expand and refine it over time. A simple one page website with a new blog about a topic that relates to what your clients are looking for posted every few months is better than no website! Blogging is also an excellent
How Many People Are Really Looking?
There might not be as many people searching for what you think they are searching for. If there are only 10 people in your area searching for a particular issue- at best you should only expect 1-2 calls a month if your website is on point. Remember the stages of change- many people searching are in the contemplation stage and they aren't quite ready for action. Great websites help people move from contemplation to action by giving them education, empathy, and a sense of hope and safety to move to the next stage.
Therapists are often tempted to try to make their website show up for very general searches or "all the searches" in order to combat this issue. However, it often leads to their websites not being very impactful (people don't call) or Google doesn't quite know what you do or see you as an expert (it won't show up on Page 1).
- Why you need to start a website now: Some people are going to need to look at your website several times before they feel confident enough to pick up the phone. I've had clients tell me that they bookmarked my site MONTHS before they called and peeked at it several times- every time they are looking in on you- they are building trust! AND- if you happen to have added a video or a blog over those months- that could help them break through their self-doubt and get started!
Therapists Get Stuck on Whether to Niche or Not
- A good therapy website educates and empathizes with clients. A GREAT therapy website makes a person feel so incredibly heard and safe that it causes they to pick up the phone right this second because they KNOW this is the time to get started. While I've seen some therapists who are great at connecting- it is pretty hard to connect to everybody that deeply without getting a wee bit specific. This does NOT mean you have to ONE niche or specialization. In fact, in some cases- you really shouldn't! It DOES mean you need to learn how to write in a way that is empathetic, impactful, and a bit specific. You might have several pages that describe how you help people in specific situations!
Why you need to start a website now: Google looks at the amount of content on your site, and how long you've been posting. Writing up 30 pages on a site overnight is recommended and may not be helpful! However, breaking it down and expanding your website over time by writing a new article, post, or specialty page every few months can be incredibly impactful to your community- and to the amount of phone calls you get.
Therapists: Start Your Counseling Website Now
While I can build a basic website and write something impactful in just a few hours- that is NOT a skill that just happened. It took me years of practice and training to be able to do that! While we do NOT recommend this- many therapists take weeks, months, and sometimes years to finally feel confident enough to press the "publish" button. Until it is published nobody can possibly call you, google can start to trust you, and you can't take this off your mental to-do list!
- Already have a website? Here is a quick website checklist to help that website trigger phone calls:
- Is your picture on the front page?
- Do you make sure that the name of your city and what you do is worked into every page of your website in a few different places (technical terms: headings, url, image alt tags, meta descriptions)?
- Do you have at least one niche or specialty page on your site where you get really heart-felt and specific about your passion?
- Does every page on your website invite people to further connect with you?
- Is your website written to the type of clients that you love working with- in a tone and way of speaking that best connects with them?
- Do you know what your clients are googling? Are you showing up when you put those search terms in?
- If you aren't showing up where you want to show up- make a plan to write articles (blogs) about those topics or even record videos about those topics.
- If you aren't sure how to set-up those articles or videos so that they give you the most findability juice- consider getting an assistant that understands SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get those loaded up properly.
We could talk on and on about all things websites... and we will be! We will be launching a brand NEW free live webinar "Website 101 for Therapists" this August of 2016 and we are SO excited about it- so be on the look out! If you are feeling motivated to get started with a website today we highly recommend SquareSpace for a do it yourself website for $10-20 a month, and Brighter Vision if you want to have some expert help and your own webmaster for under $60 a month (the Brighter Vision link also gets you 2 free months if you get started before May 31st)!
Do you need some more direction, support, and some awesome training about how to have a happy counseling practice? Be sure to check out our FREE 8 week mini private practice bootcamp for therapists.