10 amazing tips for therapists to help more people and do better business online

Why do therapists have some of the worst websites online? The answer is because no one has really tried to help therapists online yet. I’m a MSW and a web designer, and I care about your success online. There is a way to do better, here are a few tips.

1. Get a website

The point of having a website is to help someone in need. A website will help you to help others. Also, 76% of Americans conduct online research before purchasing a product or service. If you don’t have a website, you are losing out to those who do.

2. Make your website awesome

Online, there are awesome websites and then there’s everyone else. Therapists have some of the worst websites online. People who need a therapist have nothing to gauge how good you are, so they do so through visual cues and comparisons. A bad website is not helping someone build confidence in your services. It’s hard to promote yourself when your website suggests otherwise. Research shows that 50% of your visitors may leave your site if it looks bad and has lame content.

3. Know the truth about directory sites

Directory sites are not fun for finding a therapist. They are only good for building your link profile. A lot of therapists are listed at the following directory sites:

  • GoodTherapy.org
  • Psychotherapy St. Louis
  • Psychology Today

It is nearly impossible to get business from directory sites. Hundreds of therapists are listed here, but visitors only click on the first five or so. Therapists are displayed randomly every time the site loads, so if you aren’t showing up in the top five results, you’re paying to be invisible.

The money you pay a directory site allows you to link to your website from your profile. This helps your personal website to rank a little bit better in Google. But watch out for GoodTherapy.org; the company links to your website in a way that prevents you from getting the linking benefits in Google.

4. Take a good photo of yourself

The only things you need for a great photo is outdoor, natural light,  a camera that blurs out the background and your smile. Avoid studio photography; it makes you look artificial and generic. Avoid cellphone cameras or cheap cameras because their image quality makes you look cheap.

You want to meet your visitors with a smile and have a photo that makes you look professional. Who would you trust with your therapy? The smiling professional or the non-smiling person with the low quality photo?

5. Have fun with your writing

The point of having a website is to be able to help someone in need. The writing on your website is your opportunity to help and inspire a visitor. Be authentic. Talk about benefits. Be entertaining. It’s not a website, it’s a relationship. Use it to build rapport. Use this rapport to build your practice.

6. Make a ‘Google Places’ page

Go to Google Places and create a profile. This is your best opportunity to improve visibility online. You cannot compete with directory sites for top rankings in Google. But you can let Google know where you are located. This will greatly increase your local visibility.

7. List your site with insurance providers instead of directory sites

A lot of people check with their insurance providers to find therapists. This channel is better for business than the directory sites listed above.

8. Finding a therapist online is stressful

If someone needs a therapist, that individual may already be stressed. And when it comes time to find a therapist online it gets even more stressful. If you search for “Therapist in St. Louis” all the results are directory sites with a few local results sprinkled in. Now imagine said person having to wade through the hundreds of therapists listed in these sites without knowing how to choose the best one.

As a general rule, the more options you have the more anxiety and confusion you create. When this person finally selects a therapist from a directory site, he or she will find that you don’t have a website or your website is cheap, confusing or boring. This is a horrible way to go about helping people and building confidence in your services. It’s ironic how this helping profession has many of the least helpful websites  online.

9. Craft a winning web strategy

There is an art and science to helping people and your business online. People want quick, helpful and engaging answers to their questions. And they want visual cues that confirm their confidence in your skills and service.

Your business needs to learn how to connect with people and how to make money. People connect with virtues, so it is imperative that your business reflects virtues like trust, care, inspiration, humor and thoughtfulness. It is very hard to do this with free or cheap websites that looks more generic and budget than virtuous.

What if you had to date your website? Would you even be interested?

The science to making money online is understanding how to get paid. To get paid online as a helping professional it is essential to confirm your visitors’ confidence in your services. You do this by helping, being inspirational and looking more put together than your peers. Failing at this is the reason potential clients leave your site, never come back and do business with the other therapists with a better online presence.

10. Focus on helping

All you need to do is help. Helping is the one main ingredient to a successful website. Helping is a passion that every therapist has. So, make it fun, make it helpful and make it inspiring. Therapists’ websites are about to get a whole lot better. Let’s talk about how we can help more people and help ourselves succeed.

Here are two therapists SOLVM has collaborated with recently to provide more help online and to better business:

About me

Benjamin Gandhi-Shepard

I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with an MSW (focus: mental health) and a degree in Art Therapy from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. I’ve been a psychiatric social worker at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, an intensive case manager with BJC Behavioral Health, a National Suicide Hotline operator, an Anytown social justice facilitator and lead web designer with Anheuser-Busch. I can say with confidence that I know the social services world and the web world very well.

But this page is not about me, it’s about us. It’s about us learning what we can do to help people and to do better businesses.

Questions?

Ask in the comment section, and I’ll respond shortly!

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