15 must-have features for therapy websites
If you want to attract therapy clients online, having an outdated and un-optimized website is not an option.
Your website is the heart of your entire online presence, your virtual HQ, salesperson, and customer service in one. For it to function as such, it must contain non-negotiable features that will help you attract leads and convert them to clients.
But before you dive into creating your website, here's the website design planning guide that will make the preparation process smoother and help you set yourself up for success.
Your website is not only a design project, it involves many aspects; from copywriting to branding and user experience. To help you organize, I divided the 15 must-have features for therapy websites into 5 separate topics: design, functionality, effectiveness, authority, and content.
This will help you understand the power of a well-done professional therapy website and implement these features into your own.
Therapist Website Design
A poorly designed website is not only an aesthetical turnoff but also a major hindrance to your visitor's experience with your practice.
Whether you design the website yourself or hire someone to do it for you, you need to make sure that design elements like typography, color palette, branding, intuitive menus, and consistent branding are at the forefront of your design plan.
As a professional designer, my advice is to choose no more than 2 fonts for your typography and divide your text into easily scannable chunks. With that in mind here are the must-have design features for your therapy website:
Your Homepage and Branding. Chances are that people will land on your homepage first. When they do, you have about 3 seconds for them to understand what your website is about and how it can help them. If that's not clear, they will simply leave your site and move on to another. The main area of your website, a.k.a. the "Hero Image", is your prime real estate to showcase your therapy brand, and invite the visitor to take action. In addition, you can imagine your homepage as a visitor's center from which you will be directing your "guests" to different pages, and resources and introducing yourself to them. Designing your homepage with that in mind will help you keep your visitors on your website longer and increase the likelihood of converting them to your clients.
Mobile Friendly design. Roughly 60% of online searches are carried on mobile devices. If your website is not mobile optimized because it's old or built with simplistic tools, you will be losing a big chunk of your potential clients. Updating and building your website to be mobile-optimized is essential to attract therapy clients online.
Clear navigation. It's incredibly frustrating to hunt for needed information online. Having to scroll down and click around your website to find information about your services, credentials, or contact information will drive people away from your website. When planning and designing your website, make sure that critical information is easily found with just 1 or 2 clicks.
Functionality: Client Scheduling & Appointment Booking.
Most EHR tools allow you to integrate their scheduling functionality into your website. Letting people schedule appointments or request information directly from your website will make communication easier for your potential clients and yourself.
Treat your website as your online personal assistant and delegate to it as many functions as possible. Here's what you'll need to easily automate your communication with your website visitors.
A Call to Action (CTA). Before people will get the courage to schedule an appointment, they'll need to be urged to click that button. Having a CTA button like "book an appointment" placed in visible places on your site will increase your conversion rate. Taking the initiative to see a therapist can feel intimidating for some people so urging them with a strategically placed CTA will help them get help.
Online Appointment Scheduling. You can integrate your scheduling from your EHR software, like Simple Practice, or have a landing page dedicated to appointment requests. In either case, using your CTA to direct people to an easy appointment booking portal will help you create a smoother experience.
Contact Forms for Inquiries. Making sure that people find an easy way to contact you even when they're not ready to book an appointment is also important. Your contact form can live on your contact page and be listed on your main navigation menu.
Effectiveness: marketing integration
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that your website should be treated as your online HQ. Well, as part of your HQ, your website should house a marketing department as well.
A well-designed website can be a powerful marketing vehicle that allows you to establish a more meaningful connection with your potential clients. To do that, you can integrate two main features that will help you engage and continue the conversation with people who're not ready for your services or simply need a bit more coaxing to get help.
Optin form for email marketing. Email marketing is one of the best ways to showcase your brand, educate your audience and urge people to book an appointment. Email is not subject to social media and search engine algorithms and allows you to have full ownership of your audience in the form of your email list. If you want to make sure that the people who land on your website leave a way to connect with them, add an opt-in form on your website and offer a valuable piece of information in exchange for their email addresses.
Social Media Integration. People who land on your website and like what they see will want to find out as much as possible about you and your therapy practice. If you have a social media profile or a group on a social media platform, make sure people can access them through your website.
Authority: About Me Page With Bio, Credentials, and Services Offered.
About Me/Profile Page. After working with dozens of therapists 1-on-1, I discovered that people in your profession are reluctant to talk about themselves. If that's you, know that hiding behind your credentials and education will not help you establish an emotional connection with a potential client. What's more, it'll make it harder for someone to trust that you're the best therapist for them and book an appointment. When writing your "about" page, make sure to include a professionally done headshot and write about yourself in an approachable way that is professional jargon-free. Imagine talking about your background and education in a friendly conversation and bringing this voice to your "about" page.
Services/Specialization. A thorough description of your services and specializations will help clients understand more about your work. Additionally, it will bring your page to the top of the search results when people are looking for a specific type of therapy.
Testimonials and Reviews. It's true that as a therapist you cannot solicit reviews and testimonials, but you can ask your peers, supervisors, and referral sources to leave you a positive review. Social feedback is important online and people tend to read reviews about businesses and service providers. Add them to your website in strategic locations to help you boost your authority.
Content: to optimize your website.
You may be aware of this already, but search engines crawl and index each one of your web pages separately. To help you boost your SEO (search engine optimization), you must add useful and relevant content that will help searchers get the answers they seek quickly.
To help you create an optimized therapy website, consider adding this content to your site.
Contact Information. Besides the contact form, adding your full contact information with an address can help you rank higher locally. People who'll be searching for therapy services in your geographic location will be able to find your website faster if you list your business location.
FAQs. Having a detailed FAQ page can significantly reduce the back and forth in your communication and the need to answer the same questions over and over again. You can include questions about your fees, insurance policies, business hours, general questions about therapy, and more. It's your FAQ page and you can make it as detailed as you see fit.
Blog or resource section. Your blog is one of the main features of your website's SEO. While all the main pages (about, services, FAQ) are static pages, your blog is a dynamic section of your website. It means that new content is constantly added to answer the questions people ask about therapy. This is also the area where you can offer your educated opinion, build your authority, and showcase your expertise as a therapist. Each blog post can address a particular search query (a keyword) and offer helpful resources to the public. The more informative and valuable to the reader your blog is, the higher your website will rank in search results, which will drive more traffic to your site and your practice.
Having a well-designed and optimized therapy website will help you attract private pay clients and boost your therapy practice. It'll reduce the need to advertise and constantly establish new ways to generate referrals. Your website is the most important investment in your online presence.
If you'd like to know more about marketing your private practice or have a question about this article, email me your questions here.