Website Design and Development for Healers

Website Design and Development
for Healers

One of the questions that I’m asked most frequently is why I specialize in doing website design and development specifically for therapists. 

I think that usually when people ask me that question, they are often most interested to see how it is that I got interested and involved in working with this group of clients. But the truth is, it’s just as important to talk about why professional healthcare providers need a different kind of service when they need a WordPress website or website design, than other small business owners do. 

If you are a therapist, no matter if you are a mental health professional, a physical therapist, a massage therapist, a life coach, or other type of wellness practitioner, there are some aspects of growing your business and creating a website for your practice that are unique. 

Though there are many things that you have in common with other small business owners, a therapy practise is fundamentally different than someone who works providing home renovations, kitchen remodeling, or other service providers who might be looking for a website design. This is because people who are helpers and healers are ultimately doing the work that they do because they want to help other people. And this means, on the one hand, that the way that their websites work is different, and it also means that working with them as clients is different.

Yes, as a therapist, you want to grow your business.  You want to connect with more clients, and you may need help with website design, graphics, content creation for your blog, logo design, or any one of a hundred things that are part of creating a robust online presence.

But just talking about the technical aspects of creating your website or designing the assets that you need for your brand, is not enough.

The Mindset Shift You NEED to Make

As a web designer working with health and wellness professionals, I find that many of the therapists who I speak to feel very uncomfortable with the idea of marketing themselves. This is because their main focus is helping others. 

They’re not out simply to run a successful business, (although that is certainly one of their goals), but the motivating factor behind everything that they do is the desire to help others. 

And often, it isn’t just that marketing isn’t something they are familiar with thinking about – they feel negative and actively opposed to the idea of marketing themselves.

So, instead of thinking about the blog post you are about to write, or the website that you are going to create, or even the ads that you run, as being ways that you’re trying to “get a sale”, instead keep in mind that you are reaching out to people and letting them know what resources are available that could help them to solve any number of problems that they’re experiencing in their day-to-day life. 

So when I talk to therapists about web design for healers, one of the things that we often end up discussing is making a crucial mindset shift, where I ask my clients to look at things differently.

Instead of thinking of yourself as “marketing” (which many therapists think of as a dirty word of sorts), I ask them to think of themselves as doing outreach. 

Keep this in mind: studies suggest that in the US, up to 60% of people with mental health conditions go untreated. 

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US for people between 10 and 34 years of age, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

Ask yourself this question: when a person in crisis goes to their social media feed, how likely is it that they are going to be bombarded by messages about what they should look like, what they should accomplish, and who they should be? VERY likely, right? 

Now ask yourself this: how likely is it that that same person will see something telling them how to access help, reassuring them that things can get better, and promising that it is okay for them to seek out the support they need? 

At the end of the day, therapists who spread the word about their services aren’t just filling slots on their calendars. They are reaching out to those people who are not getting the help that they need.

So, instead of thinking about the blog post you are about to write, or the website that you are going to create, or even the ads that you run, as being ways that you’re trying to “get a sale”, instead keep in mind that you are reaching out to people and letting them know what resources are available that could help them to solve any number of problems that they’re experiencing in their day-to-day life. 

That social media post you are struggling to write, may very well be building bridges and letting people know that there are ways that their life can change for the better.  

When you work on improving your website’s visibility to a search engine (search engine optimization) , you are making sure that, when people look for help, they can easily find out about how to access all the services they need. 

So, how can you create a website for your therapy practice that encourages your website visitors to take positive action in their lives, and allows you to share your message without feeling salesy?

Here are a four basic principles to keep in mind: 

#1) Share your VISION

One of the most empowering things that you can do on your website is share your ideas about what your clients life can look like once they’ve been able to overcome their current problems. As you know, feelings of hopelessness and despair can sometimes leave individuals feeling as though the rut they are stuck in is their new reality, and can’t be changed. So, it’s important that you do the work for them, by talking about the way that the help you provide can give them the tools they need to create real, lasting change, and to make peace with things that are currently causing them pain. 

 

#2) Share your PURPOSE

You do what you do for a very specific reason. There is something specifically about the type of work that you do, and the kind of impact that you have on people’s lives, that moves you, inspires you, and keeps you getting out of bed day after day. When you want to communicate with people who might be coming to you for help, one of the best things you can do is talk about why you find your work so meaningful, or even spiritual.  What about your work moves you? Talk about the transformations that you’ve seen, and the ways that you know that people’s lives can get better. Talking about this aspect of your work, which is personal, but which is also very relevant to people who might be coming to work with you, is a powerful way to build trust, and to make them feel safe and telling you about their problems.

#3) Share Your EXPERIENCE

One of the best ways to build trust with someone who is considering coming to you for treatment, is to demonstrate your expertise.

There are two main ways that you can do this on your website. One way is through describing your experience. This can be done by sharing testimonials, or by talking about the different things that you have done over the course of your career that have helped you develop a variety of skills, and prepared you to make a real difference in the lives of your clients. 

Another way that you can build trust is through sharing expert advice. This can be done through articles, blog posts, short videos, or other pieces of media which you have produced, which give advice that people can use and immediately see as valid, useful, and insightful. Sharing these ideas can help website visitors to take action and contact you. 

#4) Create a Website that’s INTUITIVE

No matter how heart-felt the messaging on your website is, if the website itself is confusing or unpleasant to use – your message won’t get through.

Website visitors today are short on patience and easily frustrated – and this is even more true when visitors are in crisis or need help urgently. If visitors to your site can’t get the information that they needquickly and easily, they may leave your website before they have a real opportunity to learn anything about who you are and what you can do for them.

Your  website needs to have a holistic feel, so that people recognize your brand, feel that the website truly represents who you are, and that it is easy to navigate to the parts of the website that they most want to access.

Some of these things are easier if you are working with a website designer, graphic designer, or branding specialist. Having a professionally designed website rather than an off-the-shelf WordPress theme, gives you the advantage of having a site that is really a reflection of who you are and the kind of impact that you can have on your clients’ lives. A professional designer will be able to focus on who you are and on the type of services that you offer, as well as what’s unique about your particular practice. A professionally designed site, is a site that is unique to you, and therefore gives a personalized and accurate representation of who you are to your potential clients. 

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start to approach marketing in a strategic and gradual way. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once.

Sometimes it is helpful to think of marketing as a pyramid that you build, starting with the foundation and then gradually adding more and more layers.

Now It’s Up To You

I hope this article has given you some concrete, actionable ideas about how you can  shift your mindset, and approach marketing your practice in a more positive light. 

Now I want to know what you think:

What is the first thing from this article that you are going to take action on? 

What questions do you have about what you’ve read? 

Leave a quick comment below and let me know!

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Hi! I’m Sarah. 

 I help counselors and therapists  have a bigger impact on the world through better client connection. I do this by creating beautiful visuals and strategically designed websites.

Sarah Gershone web designer