The Therapist’s Guide to Web Design
The rise of online therapy only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More people than ever now search online first to find therapists.
Having a comprehensive website for your therapy business is critical. Even if a majority of your sessions are still in-person.
This guide will walk you through key steps to building a website so that it not only looks great, but ranks highly in Google searches.
Website elements we’ll discuss include:
- Website hosting platforms you can use.
- What pages to add to your website.
- What information to include, like therapy services.
- SEO tips to rank in Google.
- How to drive organic traffic to your site.
And don’t worry. You don’t need previous coding or design knowledge. This guide will walk you through each step of therapy website design.
Let’s dive right in.
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Part 1: The Website Design and Build
Affordable website design comes down to organizing your options and following best practices.
People often become overwhelmed by the number of options when creating a website. It can be a lot. But it doesn’t have to be.
This section helps break down a potentially complicated process into digestible bites.
It’s important not to skip any of these steps. They affect the way people find your site, which is to say your business. And how they book your services and share them with others.
Step #1: Start with Web Hosting
Purchasing your web hosting is like buying a plot of land for your home (site) to sit on. There are many web hosting services you can choose from, including:
- WP Engine
Next up, it’s time to build your house — er, we mean, website. Like home construction, you have a couple of choice “builders” to choose from.
Step #2: Choose a DIY Therapist Website Design Builder
Your next step is to actually build that professional website. If you’re not sure if a custom website design is right for you, you have options. Squarespace and WordPress offer easy website creation.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the two, they’re essentially website builders.
Both options offer pre-built themes and templates. They’re not as robust as working with a custom website builder. But they can get you started in a pinch. You can customize logos, fonts, colors and layouts using these themes or templates.
There are also a variety of drag-and-drop builders you can use. Simply install them then get busy creating a website design. No coding necessary.
Finally, if you’re worried about creating a logical “flow” to your site, don’t be. The templates are optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile user experience.
Step #3: Organize Your Site’s Navigation According to Website Design Best Practices
As a therapist, your practice depends on being the empathetic expert in the room. Your job is to guide clients through crises and questions.
But, as a business owner and service provider, you’ve got to ask those questions for yourself and be your own expert. If you’re not working with a designer, then you’ve got to gain clarity on website design elements too.
These include details like layout, menu navigation, scrolling effects, and visual graphics. Not to mention, you need to make sure all the copy works together to tell a prospective client who you are and what you offer.
And this matters because you want your visitor to arrive at your site and remain there. They’ll only do this when it’s a pleasant and logical experience. According to research by the Nielsen Norman Group:
- The average page visit lasts less than a minute.
- Users will only read a quarter of the text on pages they visit.
- The first 10 seconds of a user’s visit will tell them if they want to stay and learn more. Or if they should move on to another choice in their Google search adventures.
Let’s look at the key web pages every therapist website design needs to include. These web pages will live on your site’s menu navigation.
You’ll need to build out every single page on your own. So, think about how to order and present information. The goal is to get your visitor to learn more and book an appointment.
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A therapist’s website design begins with the homepage. Think of this like your dashboard. It gives visitors or potential clients an opportunity to learn about you and your services.
You only have a couple of seconds to capture attention. So, focus on introducing your practice with information about:
- Your mission or practice philosophy.
- General services.
- Special offers, like free initial consultations.
- Testimonials from colleagues.
- Any “freebies” or guides like e-books or an option to get on a mailing list.
Scrolling through your homepage should take visitors on a journey. It starts with the most important information and works down to less essential info.
An “About Me” page is not entirely about you. It’s also about your clients, and how you can serve them better.
You can use this section to describe what inspired your practice and philosophy. Or list your credentials and specialist techniques. But you should also spend time describing what the process of working with you entails.
The copy and graphics on this page all highlight your clients’ common pain points. Then show how your “why” provides them a solution through counseling.
Another good idea for this section is to include a testimonial section. Reviews from past clients can back up the efficacy of your expertise.
Your “services” page gives you a chance to take all the offerings listed on your homepage and flesh them out. Drill down into the counseling niches you cover. Also, the modalities you offer.
For example, your practice could include niches like:
- Marriage and couples counseling
- Family therapy
- EMDR — Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing
- Grief and bereavement counseling
- Gestalt and transpersonal psychology
- Substance abuse counseling
- Eating disorders
Many templates you use will give you an opportunity to create copy for each area of expertise. Plus, an icon or graphic that symbolizes each of these disciplines. This allows visitors to absorb information quickly, without reading all the little details.
You could also include information on session duration, cost and the type of appointment (teletherapy, in-person, etc.).
Most, if not all, therapist website templates include a blog and navigation as a standard. So, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.
Your “blog” operates on two levels.
First, it helps position your website, business and practice as a resource. You want your website to be a go-to source for content around the counseling approaches you offer.
Second, it does a world of good for your SEO practices.
Let’s say you help teens with eating disorders. Your articles might “target” or speak to their parents. Each blog can give tips on how to care for their child’s eating disorder at home, beyond counseling sessions.
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Booking & Scheduling
There are two booking and scheduling formats that you might take advantage of. We wanted to highlight both.
The first is to set up a “Contact” page that gives your visitor the details about:
- Contact information
- Quote or query form
- A visual map
The second method assumes you want visitors to book sessions through your website’s calendar.
In this case, a way you can do so is to place an interactive calendar. This provides information about how many appointment slots you have available. Plus, which days they can book an appointment.
Part 2: Basic SEO for Therapists
Online has become the first place people go to search for a therapist. So, SEO presents a huge professional opportunity, but only if you know how to wield it.
The fact of the matter is that SEO for therapists is the best way to gain traffic to your website in an organic search.
You can also redirect traffic to your website through social media platforms like Facebook. Or by doing some good, old-fashioned “gumshoe” marketing like being a guest on a popular podcast.
This section focuses on SEO for traffic generation to your website. Why? Because it’s one of the most budget-friendly, low-cost ways to get visitors to your website. Your website is why they stay, but SEO is how they find you in the first place.
Part of a therapist website project is to create a website with a sense of authority and authenticity. You’ll use colors that are warm and inviting. Colors that are indicative of your approach and give your audience a sense of calm and trust.
Your copy will speak directly to their pain points and position you as the clear solution.
But your SEO is the way that you communicate with Google, rather than your visitors. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a set of best practices for websites that help them rank higher in Google search results. And preferably, on page one.
Yet Google will not direct traffic to a website that does not have a mobile-friendly design. Or one that has poor, untrustworthy information. So, everything you do to create a professional website is incredibly important.
Here’s what you need to know about SEO for therapists.
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The first order of business is optimizing your website for Google’s “bots.” All your SEO activities will be geared toward the metrics that these bots “crawl” or look for.
- Your site’s technical performance, such as site speed.
- The quality and number of backlinks, which are a link to your website from other websites. Google believes this indicates trust and authority in your website’s content.
- Your blog’s content and the quality of copy on the rest of your website.
- Your website’s mobile-friendly design.
Keywords for Therapists
The next aspect of a therapist’s website design is keyword research.
This is a significant undertaking. You’ll also be competing against other businesses. So, your SEO strategy and keyword research will evolve and change over time.
To start, make a list of target keywords. Your keywords should be terms your ideal prospective clients would search. Google offers a Keyword Planner Tool as part of its Google Ads suite. There are a variety of third-party tools too.
Once you have a list of target keywords, add them to your website and blog content. The goal is to have your website and content appear in searches that include the keywords.
This gets your website in front of the prospective clients you want.
Backlinks are a significant part of what makes SEO such an important (and affordable) way to grab traffic volume from Google.
These are literally links that connect back to your website from other domains and sites across the web. Essentially, linking back to your services or your content is a “signal” that tells Google’s bots that your website is an authoritative and trustworthy one.
Therapist website design might seem intimidating. But it only takes following a few best practices to create a great resource for your business.
Make sure you choose the right website hosting platform. Add key pages to your site with information about your services and credentials. And don’t forget to infuse your site with SEO best practices.
Soon, your therapy website will be ranking in Google searches. And your business will be open to a new audience of potential clients.
Want the beautiful therapist website you deserve? Then you’re in the perfect place.
Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had. Fill out the form below to learn more about our team of professionals who can’t wait to help your practice grow like never before 🙂