For some businesses a website seems like a no-brainer. For others...its more like a take it or leave it proposition.
Private practice websites tend to fall into the latter category. Maybe you are not quite tech savvy and can’t really see what having a web presence has to do with providing counseling services.
Well, I can tell you from personal experience that once I really understood the power of a web presence, my website became my new best friend. Here's what my website does for me...
1. Flawlessly introduces me to the world
Imagine for just one moment...you have been researching a new service or a friend recommends a company. What is the first thing you do? If you are anything like most people...you head for the web. Google is our go to resource whenever we are trying to vet something new. Your private practice is no different. The first thing potential clients will do when they learn of you is research you online. What will they find?
Not having a web presence can immediately tank your creditability. Can you imagine going online to learn more about a specialist you've heard about only to find nothing there? It is almost creepy to be invisible on the web. Your website is the first thing that lets clients know you are the real deal. Having an up to date simple website will flawlessly introduce you to clients and referral sources 24/7.
2. Speaks highly of me
Think of your website as your cyber advocate. Your site will be there to help you shine in your very best light--for the entire browsing world to see! Imagine being able to create a rapport with your clients before they even walk through the door. That process begins with helping potential clients understand who you are and what you do; your website can do that!
Would you believe that the most visited page on the web is ABOUT US? This page offers you a golden opportunity to share with clients, referrals sources and colleagues everything you want them to know about you. You get to show clients who you are, how you practice, and what they can expect….all before making face-to-face or phone contact. There is nothing like the power of a well thought out website! It can serve as a beacon that attracts your ideal clients.
3. Available all the time
Emotional pain does not regulate itself to standard office hours. I often think of the people out there who are hurting in the middle of night. They are up searching the internet for help, hoping for something that will bring them comfort. Finding your website—reading about the support you can offer—may ignite in them a sense of hope. Your counseling services might be exactly what that person needs to make it through whatever they are facing. They may even be able to sleep a little better knowing that they have found you.
Your website will be there at any time of the day to make official introductions to the people that you need you most... come rain or come shine.
4. Works with me
Like any good relationship, having an effective website is a two way partnership. Your site can only help you accomplish your practice goals if you give it what it needs. To ensure that your voice and expertise shine through, start with having:
- a professional picture
- an informative and personable bio
- a clear description of services offered and fees
- an easily accessible way to contact you
Let clients know not only what you do, but WHY. This helps them get a better sense of who you are and why they can trust you.
The other important thing to remember is that relationships require ongoing maintenance. Be more than just a casual acquaintance with your website, make frequent updates and keep your content fresh and relevant to what is going on in your practice. For your website to really shine, you have to stay connected!
OK, now that is out of the way, I can hear someone saying right now..."I know I need a website, Samara, but I have no idea how to build one!!" As with anything, you really have two choices. DIY or hire an expert.
You can build a basic website using a drag and drop builder like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly and pay with a learning curve. OR... You can hire a professional like Brighter Vision , KatLove or TherapySites to help you get it done and pay with money. The first step is to commit to having one and make it a priority.