In my years as a website designer, I have built several websites for therapists. I wanted to share with you two therapy websites that I built in the past year. Both sites are in WordPress so the therapists can tweak, edit, change the sites as needed. In some ways, these two sites mimic what other small business websites might need. However, there are some needs that are unique to the therapy profession. In this post, we will explore what is important for a therapy website and what might be nice to have as well. As you read, you can keep in mind: would I use this therapist? Why or why not? What about the website helps me make this choice?
Contact Information, Contact Forms
What are the features of a therapy website that any small business owner might want to have? A key component of many a website is the contact information. How can you contact this business? I usually recommend including phone, address and a contact form. Here is the contact form for Dr. Banks:
One of the reasons I suggest a contact form is the information goes straight into the therapist’s email. The problem with posting an email address online directly is that it attracts spam. Once your email is caught by the spammers, it is hard to stop the spam from coming. You can pay for spam filtration, but then you also have the danger of losing good emails if the filters fail. There are fancy scripts you can add to slow down the spammers from lifting your email address, but here again, the email address is available to spammers. With WordPress you can use the free plugin Contact Form 7. If you want a more sophisticated form, you want easier editing, or you have several forms, you might opt for the paid plugin Gravity Forms. Other form plugins are available as well.
Another advantage to a form is one can gather a little more information about a person before responding. On both these therapy websites, I added the question: How did you find out about this therapist? A list of drop-down choices is given. Interestingly, the more questions you ask on a form the less likely you are to get spammy forms, because the person has to slow down and answer a list of questions.
On a therapy website, it’s nice to have the contact information easily available in places other than the contact page as well. See how the contact information for Robin Raina Benjamin, PsyA LCSW is displayed in the sidebar:
Safe and Inviting: Unique for Therapists
A key feature of a good therapist is his or her ability to make the client feel safe. The whole idea of therapy is to provide an atmosphere so the client can open up and talk about difficulties. Language, tone, atmosphere and imagery can help provide that safe environment. In both websites the therapists worked carefully on choosing language that would make a new client feel comfortable. For example, Robin opens with:
“Talk is still the best medicine: We often try to work through the most difficult things in our lives alone. When you are able to say enough to someone who is fully attentive and attuned to you, you are more able to have something new. I help people talk, to suffer less, and to live more consciously with more creativity and ease.”
Both therapists also chose imagery carefully. In one case, Dr. Banks provided a photo. I desaturated the photo (took out all the color) – does the image of the large flower relax you?
But then the site was a little too colorless, so Dr. Banks asked me to add some color, and here is the footer illustration:
For Robin Raina Benjamin, she knew she wanted stars, sun, palm trees, moon … those items don’t show naturally together. So I created an illustration:
Again, the idea of an illustration is to set a mood and draw one in, make one feel comfortable. Just as the therapists spent time choosing words, they also thought carefully about imagery. Hopefully, this would help a potential client feel good about choosing one of these therapists for treatment.
Listing Services on Navigation Menu
Like other helping professionals, therapists often have various services they may offer to clients. In presenting this information, one wants to make lists but not overwhelm. One method of presenting a particular service, such as Marriage and Couples Counseling service, is to include the service in as an item in the navigation bar. But if the title that you want on the page is quite long? When you first write up the page, include the longer title as the title for the page. Then, when you are adding the page to the navigation menu, there is an option to change the label:
Above, where it says Navigation Label, you can change to a different title (be sure to Save the Menu after making changes). In this case, the page is called Marriage and Couples Counseling and the Navigation Label is Couples.
Here is the part of Robin’s navigation menu with the Couples navigation label:
What do you think?
What on a website would help you choose a therapist? Would you complete the form or pick up the phone? Do you respond to any of the imagery? Have you created a page with one title for the page and a different navigation label for the menu?
Need a therapy website or a website for your small business? Need help with your current website or blog? Contact Leora.