Therapy Websites: Safe and Inviting

Therapists websites by leoraw.com

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:
contact form example, using Contact Form 7

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:
contact information for Robin Raina Benjamin

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?

banks therapy flower header

But then the site was a little too colorless, so Dr. Banks asked me to add some color, and here is the footer illustration:
banks therapy footer
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:
Palm tree sunrise stars sun for Robin Raina Benjamin

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:
menu structure
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:
menu on left Robin Raina Benjamin

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.


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39 Responses to “Therapy Websites: Safe and Inviting”

  1. Susan Cooper says:

    The contact forms are so important for a business for so many reason. The example you provide that your customer used are excellent. I agree with there need to take great care in selecting, language, images and visuals to convey a message of security and trust. That is no easy bit so necessary in any business especially therapy. :-)

  2. Jeri says:

    When I’ve gone to various doctor/therapist sites, I always look for links about their professional involvement and publications. To me, that shows their interest in advancing their field, and not just in showing the services they offer. I’m probably weird that way… must the be the writer/academic in me. On another note, when I moved back to Idaho I had to get in contact with one of my old doctors and the contact form on their website was useless since they hadn’t yet activated the email address associated with the website. They were still using gmail, but put the new email address on their webpage.

  3. Diana says:

    I enjoyed the post, Leora!

    It is super good you included the how did you hear about me drop-down menu in the contact form – helps greatly in assessing marketing communications and channels. A piece of advice though – better make the default option —choose— or something as this way you risk having a lot of “friend or acquaintance” as source of contact if people forget or don’t want to complete that field.

    On your question about therapists – if i had to look for one, i think i would trust friends’ recommendations. If the website is professionally done, that’s good enough for me – after all they are therapists, not designers, programmers and cutting edge technology experts :-D

    oh, and by the way – your tip about changing the name of the tab on the navigation bar – where were you 5 years ago when i was trying to figure out how to do this?! You would have saved me so much reading, searching and trial errors.

    Thanks for a great post, Leora! Buffering it.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Loved your comment about where was I five years ago, Diana. In fact, I’m pretty sure this menu system in WordPress did not exist five years ago. So the answer would have been – hand code the whole darn menu. Not very fun.

      If you have friends who can give therapist choices, that’s great. Many people don’t have those resources available.

  4. You’ve incorporated some of what might attract me if I were going to select a therapist: easy to contact, HOPEFULLY quick to hear from, pleasant colors and images.

    I have seen therapists twice in my life. I’ve always selected one based on a friends recommendation. Maybe some references or endorsements within the legal limits of posting that.

    But for me, I do think they like anyone marketing online, need to offer some kind of “give away.” Even if it’s a report of some kind. I want to know more about them and how they think.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Pat, interesting, the idea of a giveaway. That would actually turn me off, but I suppose it’s how you present it. But in Robin’s case she has a video – if that’s what you mean, that’s a great idea.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Great job with these sites! Almost makes me want to see a therapist! It occurred to me that folks needing help might find this especially useful if they don’t want to confide in anyone that they are seeking help. Years ago I saw a therapist that I was referred to by my physician but I truly like the idea of these sites…particularly in that you’ve done a beautiful job.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      “if they don’t want to confide in anyone that they are seeking help.” That is so true! People often want confidentiality about their issues. So a website can give one that introduction.

  6. Catarina says:

    Have never seen a therapist. But if I decided to do so I would find out who is considered the best in the area and see her/him regardless of how their website looked. At least I think so:-)

    Like how you have sturctured the websites in question. Personally prefer photos to illustrations. But one really important aspect is that the therapist has to be easy to contact.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Catarina, independent of the website issues, a good question to ask, after you determine that the therapist is indeed quite professional, is do I connect with this person? A therapist may have great recommendations from others and great credentials, but you yourself need to be able to connect. Perhaps something the therapist writes on the website can help answer the question of will you connect.

      That said, contact information is vital! Thank you for your comment.

  7. A.K.Andrew says:

    I think it’s essential now for a therapist to have a good website that shows clearly what they specialize in. Great idea for the contact form as it can give both you and the therapist access to information which doesn’t then waste anyones time. And definitely I think the graphics are particularly important for this kind of business – any business actually. It tells you a lot about the person you are going to be dealing with.
    V. enjoyable post Leora & food for thought.

  8. At this point, I can’t say whether I will choose, but I will say that these sites will certainly be on the top (won’t get filtered out)….because they focus on what’s important – an easy way to contact the therapist, organized nav bar and clean design with a warm header.

    I especially liked the way Robin opens up – feels friendly (and that is what we expect out of doctors, right? A person who takes care of us….not just for the money or something else, but actually cares about us).

    Loved the illustration, by the way :D

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Leora :)

  9. For sure, safety would be an essential element for a therapist’s website. I think the tricky part might be encouraging potential clients to communicate, without trying to resolve their issues by email. In other words, encouraging them to come in for an appointment. Confidentiality would also be huge, since there is still so much stigma around seeing a therapist.

  10. Bindhurani says:

    I love the illustrations. The contact form is a great idea . Really love the idea of collecting the information through the form too.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Bindhurani, glad you like the illustrations. I’m proud of them. Yes, one can carefully plan the contact form questions to help screen the people in advance. Makes it is easier for the small business person to respond.

  11. I like that you have included the contact information in more than one place. Sometimes even on the simplest of sites you can get lost and miss an “obvious” contact button.

  12. I would always ask for a recommendation for a therapist from someone I trust. However, a therapist’s website is an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and the therapist’s credentials. If the website was poorly designed or had typos, I would consider that a negative in choosing that therapist.

  13. Pat Amsden says:

    Overall I think you’ve done an excellent job. I’d definitely be turned off by a therapist site offering ‘freebies’ but if the therapist had some articles they’d done for other publications those could be put up and would probably attract people interested in their services. The health authority I work for has a lot of different information available for people who are interested. That’s obviously a lot different than a therapists web site but does illustrate a thirst for information shared by many.

  14. These are great examples of therapist websites Leora. I like that you added the “How did you hear about” question Leora. Referrals are so important to professionals such as therapists. That’s important data to collect. I have used shorter navigation labels than the page title.

    I’ve never searched online for a therapist but I have searched for chiropractors before and I honestly wouldn’t dream of contacting one who didn’t have a website. Personally, I wouldn’t contact either a therapist or a chiropractor online. I would probably call them. I had a wonderful chiropractor (who has since moved out of state) and I found him online. Some of the things that impressed me enough to visit his office (walk-ins were encouraged) was the professionalism of the site, his bio and photo and photos of the equipment and rooms at his facility. You did a great job on these sites!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Thanks, Sherryl. I haven’t looked at too many chiropractor sites. An interesting comparison you make between therapists and chiropractors. The only chiropractor I’ve ever seen is one my husband knew in person; he helped my husband a lot at one point, then he saw my father, then he helped my daughter a lot (after too many antibiotics from the medical docs). And now I use him for nutritional analysis. OK, that’s way off topic, but maybe I see different needs for a chiropractor than a therapist (and of course similarities, with the contact information being vital). You don’t really have to connect with a chiropractor in the same way you do a psychotherapist. Thanks for your kind words about the sites.

  15. sharma says:

    therapist’s website is an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and the therapist’s credentials. If the website was poorly designed or had typos, I would consider that a negative in choosing that therapist.

  16. Cheryl says:

    Contact Forms are the best way to go for businesses. I agree. Having their sites in Word Press gives them the option of tweaking for themselves if they so choose. Listing their services from the Menu is also wonderful. I always look for these when I visit sites. Welcoming colors and images… Very nice!

  17. Arleen says:

    I have never had the need for a therapist, but I would apply the same type of contact information for an acupuncturist. It is so important for the website to be a billboard of who you are. I have made going to get acupuncture a life long need that I feel the information that you offer for the therapists site could be used not to waste anyone’s time

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Arleen,

      You hit on an important point. A professional might ask: why do I need a website? So you and your staff don’t have be bothered with the same questions over and over and over again. A valuable point for many businesses.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Arleen.

  18. sharma says:

    Almost makes me want to see a therapist! It occurred to me that folks needing help might find this especially useful if they don’t want to confide in anyone that they are seeking help. Years ago I saw a therapist that I was referred to by my physician but I truly like the idea of these sites
    thanks:-)

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Yes, certainly helpful to have all the information in advance before making the initial contact. If you find a good therapist, it can really help you grow with your relationships and your life. But sometimes you match up with a therapist who wastes your time. Live and learn.

  19. Adrienne says:

    HI Leora,

    I’ve never chosen a therapist based on a website and to me it could be the ugliest thing ever because for that service I would definitely base it on their credentials.

    Still with that being said, one that is more pleasing to the eyes, easy to navigate, all their information is readily available, those would probably be the sites I would paid much more attention to.

    I like the header designs on the ones you have displayed here so good job my friend. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you though.

    ~Adrienne

  20. Becc says:

    I am definitely a person who goes for the contact form. It means I can have an answer and read/reply in my own time.
    Imagery is also big for me as I am very visual and it helps that there be a connection of sort there.

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