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Private Practice Website Spotlight: Allison Davis Maxon

One of the most exciting parts of my job is seeing a client’s website come to life. It’s thrilling to me to take an empty canvas and turn it into a space that reflects my client, communicates what they do and helps to grow their business.

What was once a parked domain is suddenly a way for my client to be found and reach the people she feels called to serve.

Today, we’re showcasing the internet’s newest addition, Allison Davis Maxon.

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Allison has dedicated her more than 25 years of clinical work as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to expert programs and practices in children’s mental health, attachment family systems, adoption and trauma.

Not only is she a therapist, but she’s an educator, speaker and consultant dedicated to helping children, families and organizations connect, heal and thrive.

Why She Needed a Website

When Allison and I first met, she didn’t have a website.

An impressive feat, given the scope of work you’ll find in her resume and list of experience!

As Allison’s vision for her business grew to reach more audiences through speaking, consulting and writing, she knew that a website was needed to showcase her past experience and build authority for the future.

She was also in the process of writing a book and knew that a professional website would be key to a successful launch in the future.

Allison’s vision for the future of her business relied on having a website now in order to get where she needs to be.

If she wanted to attract more speaking opportunities, get more clients and share her passion and expertise with the world, (Allison is an expert in the fields of child welfare, adoption and children’s mental health) she needed a website.

The Website Design Process & Our Work Together

As with all of my clients, Allison and I started with a conversation about where she was at in her business, where she wanted to go and how a website could help her get there.

Then, I gathered a whole bunch of information from Allison, via a questionnaire I send my new clients, that gives me an idea of their design style.

I ask things like:

  • How do you want visitors to feel when they come to your website?
  • What type of fonts and colors are you drawn to?
  • What websites inspire you?

Allison had no problems telling me that she had looked at hundreds of websites to find inspiration and disliked just about all of them.

“I honestly can’t stand the cookie-cutter looking sites that are out there,” she said.

As the designer, I loved this type of honesty because it helps me know what my target is.

So my challenge was to take Allison’s impressive work and organize and showcase it with a website that was original, unique, easy to use and looked great on all devices.

Game on!

I got to work on her homepage and about page. These two pages would set the tone and design style for the rest of her website.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous when it was time to get Allison’s first round of feedback on the work I’ve done.

But it turned out she loved where I was taking her website and felt it truly captured her personality and preferences for her website.

allison maxon therapy website about 1

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After the Launch: Marketing her Private Practice & Business

Now that Allison has a place her business can call home, she’s got a platform from which to market her vast experience and services.

I use the Divi WordPress theme for my custom therapy websites, which gives my clients the power to easily make updates in the future.

Allison has jumped right into content marketing and is now posting her own articles on her website and sharing those articles on her social media channels.

And since she now has a website, any other place she contributes content can be linked back to her website.

She’s got full control over how she drives traffic to attract new clients and opportunities.

allison maxon therapy website articles 1

 

“Daniel was professional, responsive and engaged throughout the process. I appreciated his feedback and input; as it allowed us to co-create a website that I think was better than what I had envisioned. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Daniel to others.”
Allison Davis Maxon

 

Does Your Website Match Your Vision for Your Private Practice?

It was so much fun to see Allison’s website come to life and I’m honored to play a small part in getting her closer to her vision for her business.

Your website is one of your most important marketing tools and I take pride in creating these tools for my clients.

If you think your current website (or lack of website) is hurting the growth of your private practice, I’d love to talk.

Click here to learn more about how we can work together and to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Why you MUST Keep WordPress Updated (and How to Do It)

Using a self-hosted version of WordPress for your private practice website means that you are in complete control over all the files, plugins and themes. It also means that you’re responsible to make sure things are up to date and running smoothly and securely. Not performing regular updates to your WordPress files is one of the main ways hackers can gain control of your website and leave you empty handed.

In this post we’ll talk about the importance of keeping your WordPress up to date and go over how to do it.

Using a self-hosted version of WordPress for your private practice website means that you are in complete control over all the files, plugins and themes. It also means that you’re responsible to make sure things are up to date and running smoothly and securely. Not performing regular updates to your WordPress files is one of the main ways hackers can gain control of your website and leave you empty handed. In this post we’ll talk about the importance of keeping your WordPress up to date and go over how to do it.

The First Time My Website Got Hacked

Kinda like remembering the first time you saw The Lord of The Rings (geek alert!) or your first kiss… some of us (the unfortunate ones) remember the first time we were hacked.

For me it was my very first WordPress site that I built; one for my church.

It was almost 10 years ago and I knew nothing. But they were kind enough to let me practice using the church website as my guinea pig.

I remember waking up and getting an email from the secretary saying something was wrong with the website.

I opened my laptop and pulled it up to find that links to porn sites (yes, porn sites… on the church website!) were appearing throughout the website.

The worst part was, I couldn’t log in to fix it.

I eventually did some crazy MacGyver moves and was able to make changes to the database and regain access. It took me all day.

Want to avoid a similar situation? Keep your WordPress up to date!

The Importance of Updating WordPress

The good folks at WordPress work hard to keep their software secure, fix bugs and also provide the best experience for their users.

They release the new updated code in the form of updates that you can apply to your website.

Here’s why it’s so important to perform these updates:

1: Updates Apply Security Patches

Hackers gonna hack, yo. That’s what they do.

They look for vulnerabilities in code and try to find a way in to gain control of websites.

Each time a new version of WordPress is released, it comes with a nice list of all the vulnerabilities that they fixed in the code.

Hackers wait for that info, then search for websites that have not been updated so they can attack.

So, if you keep your website updated, you patch those holes and limit the ways hackers can attack you.

Applying updates quickly, when they are released, will cut down on the amount of time you’re open to these malicious attacks.

2: Updates Can Fix Bugs

Sometimes when updates are released for a theme, plugin or WordPress itself, bugs can arise.

With any software, when the creators make changes, it can affect other aspects of the software they were not anticipating.

So more updates are released and on goes the train of progress.

Having the latest releases for your themes, plugins and WordPress means that you’ll have the most stable version that works and takes into account any bugs that come up along the way.

This is also a great reason to make sure that you’re using plugins that get updated recently.

3: Updates Add New Features & Functionality

So much has changed since WordPress was first released back in 2003.

Back then, it was a platform primarily created for bloggers.

Now, according to Manage WP, WordPress powers 26% of the internet!

With each update comes more functionality to make operating your website a better experience while giving you more options to make your content shine.

The same goes for plugins and themes.

One of the reasons why I like the Divi WordPress theme so much, is that they are constantly improving it, giving you more features to create beautiful websites.

Using the latest versions will give you access to new features you can use to make your private practice website even better.

How To Perform Updates in WordPress

First, Create a Backup

Before you make any updates, make SURE you create a backup of your website first.

Sometimes updates can conflict with a plugin or theme and crash your website (scary stuff).

But having a backup means if your site crashes, after the initial freakout, you can get to work restoring your website to the working version.

Some hosting services offer daily backups of your files, but if not, you can use a plugin like UpdraftPlus to schedule automatic backups of your site.

Making Updates in The WordPress Dashboard

Once you have a backup of your website, head to the WordPress dashboard.

If you have updates that need to be performed, you’ll see an circle with a number in the top left, under the Dashboard menu:

updating wordpress private practice therapy

Click on “Updates” and it will take you to the WordPress Updates page where you can view the latest updates.

wordpress updates

On this page, you’ll see your updates broken down into three categories: WordPress, Plugins and Themes.

Start with your WordPress version and make sure that you’re always using the latest version.

If not, click on the update button. The latest version of WordPress automatically applies minor updates automatically, which is a great thing to have.

Moving onto Plugins.

Before updating plugins you’ll want to make sure that they are compatible with your version of WordPress.

Look for this sentence:

“Compatibility with WordPress 4.8.1: 100% (according to its author)”

If you see that, you know that you can safely apply the plugin’s update without causing any issues.

You can check off each plugin you want to update, then click the “Update Plugins” button.

Lastly, you’ll see your Themes.

Finally, the last thing that may be updated are any themes you have installed on your WordPress.

Like with plugins, you can select the ones you want to update and click the “Update Themes” button.

I recommend keeping all themes up to date, even the ones you’re not using, just to be safe.

How to Always Make Sure Your WordPress Files are Updated… Let Us Do It!

While keeping your website up to date is extremely important, all this WordPress maintenance can eat up a lot of your time.

You’ll want to spend time each week making sure your WordPress, plugins and themes are using the most current version in order to keep your private practice website secure and running smoothly.

If the thought of this constant maintenance doesn’t get you up in the morning, check out our new monthly WordPress maintenance service.

We’ll offload all your maintenance tasks, such as daily backups, constant updates to WordPress, plugins and themes plus scans of your website to make sure you’re not open to any malicious hacking attacks.

Learn more about the WordPress maintenance and support packages here to get started.

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Why Your Private Practice NEEDS To Be On Pinterest

Pinterest isn’t just for recipes, workout plans, and dream weddings. It’s actually a great way to drive traffic to your private practice’s website.

Did you know that Pinterest is the second largest driver of traffic, second only to Facebook?

So, if you’ve been weary about trying a new social media platform, below are 5 reasons why you need to be using Pinterest to your advantage.

Pinterest isn’t just for recipes, workout plans, and dream weddings. It’s actually a great way to drive traffic to your private practice’s website.

Reason #1: Pinterest has over 150 million users (and growing) who are providing details about their psychographics.

Whether they’re looking for inspirational quotes or have a board dedicated completely to self-care tips, your ideal clients are identifying themselves daily.

Using attractive graphics and optimizing your captions with keywords specific to your niche will draw your future clients directly to your site.

Your potential clients are using Pinterest already, so use it as an opportunity to attract them with content relevant to your private practice and expertise.

Reason #2: Your clients are open and receptive to your message.

In fact, they’re looking for it.

By being consistent with the design of your pin images and consistently providing content that will serve your ideal client, you can stand out as an expert in your field.

And as they become receptive to your helpful content, your target audience may be more likely to contact you, set up an appointment, and become a regular client.

I can’t promise this is going to happen overnight, but as traffic increases over time it does increase the likelihood of converting visitors to clients.

Reason #3: Pinterest can increase traffic to your therapy website exponentially.

When someone pins a post, it’s shared to their friends and followers. This means an entire network of individuals will be seeing your content.

The best part is that this can work exponentially in your favor to bring you loads of traffic.

For example, if you pin an image that links to your blog post and you only have 400 followers, it has the potential of being seen by those 400 individuals.

But if one of those 400 individuals REPINS your content and THEY have 4,000 followers, well you have the potential getting your pin (and clicks to your website) in front of 4,000 more people.

And on and on it goes.

So, more eyes means more traffic. More traffic means more prospective clients.

Reason #4: Your audience is looking for the inspiration and content that you can provide.

Since 66% of people on Pinterest are using the platform for that purpose, give them what they’re looking for.

You see, Pinterest is really a search engine… NOT a social media website.

Pinterest is a place where people go to find answers and it’s a great place to provide answers by pinning your blog posts there regularly.

Ensure your messaging is both inspirational and actionable, giving your future clients a roadmap to follow that ultimately leads directly to you.

Whether they’re numbered lists or how to’s, providing the right content to the right audience on the right platform could be a game changer for your private practice.

Reason #5: Pinterest can help with your SEO

One thing that search engines pay attention to is something called “social signals.”

Social signals do play a role in organic and local search engine optimization. Search engines want to show their users the most relevant and engaging content.

As people interact with your pins and traffic increases over time, it can cause a positive impact on your local search engine rankings.

So when potential, local clients search for services related to your practice, Google will be more likely to show them your website, as it sees that Pinterest is sending many other engaged users to your content.

And beyond local search, your pins can (and probably will) pop up from time to time in Google search results, eventually leading traffic back to your website.

Is Your Private Practice on Pinterest Yet?

Personally, Pinterest is my FAVORITE way to drive traffic to any website.

It currently accounts for more than 90% of all traffic to this here site… and all without having to pay for my content to be seen (like you have to do on Facebook).

If you’re ready to set up a Pinterest profile for your private practice and start driving some traffic, check out the post The Therapist’s Guide to Pinterest.

You don’t need a special algorithm to successfully marketing your private practice on Pinterest.

With a little effort and good content, you will draw your ideal client to you in no time.

Blogging for Therapists: How to Find Your Niche

When you begin to create a blog for your private practice, your first question may be “What on earth should I write about?” quickly followed by “Where do I begin?”

But when it comes to blogging, there is another question that’s an even more powerful place to begin.

Who are you writing for?

Once you know the answer to THIS question, the rest falls into place.

In this post I’ll share with you some simple steps you can take to help you get clear on who your ideal client and blogging audience is to make writing blog posts easier.

In this post I’ll share with you some simple steps you can take to help you get clear on who your ideal client and blogging audience is to make writing blog posts easier.

Understanding who your ideal clients are and creating content specifically for them is key to driving traffic to your site.

Though casting a wide net and writing in generalizations can be appealing in the beginning, it actually shuts out the opportunity to provide the best content to the specific type of client you’re looking for.

Related: 5 Tips To Increasing Your Website Traffic by Choosing a Niche

How to Find Your Blogging Niche

Take some time to go through the exercise below to help you uncover the focus of your blog and your ideal audience.

Step 1: Take a step back and ask yourself “What clients do I really love working with?”

Really think about that and try and describe your ideal client.

Think about their lifestyle, their age and career. What does their family look like?

Try to describe the in as much detail as you can.

Step 2: What are some common challenges that you love to help your clients overcome?

Think about some of the things you’ve worked together to overcome and the outcome of your work together.

What type of therapy work really excites you?

Do you love helping newly married couples start their marriage off with solid communication skills?

Or is it helping someone move past a trauma in their life?

Step 3: How can reading your blog posts help this population?

What transformation can you help your clients achieve?

Why should they read your blog and what can they expect from reading your blog?

Step 4: What impression do you want to leave on someone after they’ve read your blog?

Think about how you want an ideal client to feel after reading one of your blog posts and describe it.

Do you want them to feel inspired to connect with their family in new ways?

Or maybe you want your ideal client to feel proud and unashamed of who they are.

Do this for each client that has energized you to discover what marketers call your “Target Audience.”

An Example of Defining Your Blog’s Focus

Because I like to be a little more show than tell, here’s an example of what it looks like when you define your blog niche and ideal client:

“I’m energized by the work I do with young professionals, aged 25 -30 years old. They are primarily unmarried, focused on their career and have an active social life.

They often struggle with insecurity, poor boundaries and overcoming shame from past and present relationships.

My blog posts can provide this population with ideas and knowledge that they can apply to their lives today in order to understand their boundaries, improve their communication with others and begin seeing a positive change in their lives and relationships.”

See how descriptive you can be?

Then, every time you have a new blog post to write, you can sit down and picture your ideal client.

Pretend like you’re talking to just one person, and I know your blogs will become packed with extremely valuable information that will attract your ideal clients to your private practice website.

Download the Free Find Your Blog Focus Worksheet

To help you navigate through finding your blogging niche and establishing your private practice’s voice and tone, I’ve created a worksheet for you to download here.

This worksheet is from a future course (tease!) I’m creating all about driving traffic using your blog.

With this Free PDF, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify your ideal client
  • Create a list of blog categories and subcategories (topics) to write about
  • Break through bouts of “writer’s block” with ease

Every client you see is unique, but chances are, they have several things in common.

That is your specialty. It’s what you’ve trained years for and are now spectacular at it. The same practice should be used when blogging for your private practice.

The Ultimate List of Online Directories for Therapists

Online directories are often the first place a therapist will go to get their services out into the world. They can be a great source for new clients coming into your private practice especially when starting out.

Online directories are often the first place a therapist will go to get their services out into the world. They can be a great source for new clients coming into your private practice especially when starting out. In this post you’ll find nearly 100 online therapist directories where you can list your services.

Even before she had a website, my wife had a Psychology Today profile. It was through this that she was able to get a couple of her very first counseling clients.

Once we launched her website, she linked to it from her online profile, and she had a tag team of online marketing that really let her personality and her services shine.

In this post you’ll find nearly 100 online therapist directories where you can list your services.

General Therapist Directories

  1. 1-800-Therapist
  2. Africanamericantherapists.com
  3. All About Counseling
  4. Alternative Therapists Directory
  5. American Therapy Association
  6. BetterHelp.com
  7. CatholicTherapists.com
  8. Christian Counselor Directory
  9. CounselChat
  10. Couples Therapist Directory
  11. EMDR International Association
  12. Ethnic Counselors
  13. The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory
  14. Find-a-Therapist.com
  15. Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA)
  16. GoodTherapy.org
  17. HelpPro Therapist Finder
  18. Hypnotic World
  19. International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals
  20. The International Society for Neurofeedback and Research
  21. International Therapist Directory
  22. Integrative Medicine for Mental Health
  23. IVY
  24. Licensed Therapists
  25. Life Quality Improvement Center
  26. Marriage Counseling & Therapy Network
  27. MentalHelp.net
  28. My Therapist Match
  29. National Board of Certified Counselors
  30. National Directory of Family & Marriage Counseling
  31. NetworkTherapy.com
  32. Online Counselling Directory
  33. Online Therapy Institute’s Directory
  34. PsychDirectory
  35. Psychology.com
  36. Psychology Today
  37. Right Therapist
  38. Self Growth
  39. Talking Therapy
  40. Talkspace
  41. The Therapists Directory
  42. TherapistLocator.net
  43. TherapySquare
  44. TherapyTribe.com
  45. Theravive
  46. Wecounsel

Location Specific Therapist Directories

Asia:

  1. Psychology Matters Asia

Australia:

  1. Associated Relationship & Marriage Counselling Sydney
  2. Australia Counselling Directory

British Columbia:

  1. CounsellingBC.com

Great Britain:

  1. The British Psychological Society
  2. CounsellingBC.com

United States:

Alabama:

Alaska:

Arizona:

California:

Colorado:

Connecticut:

Delaware:

Georgia:

Hawaii:

Indiana:

Kansas:

Kentucky:

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

Minnesota:

New Hampshire:

New Jersey:

Oregon:

Pennsylvania:

Texas:

Washington:

Did I Miss Any?

Let me know in the comments below if there are any online directories for therapists that I missed and I’ll make sure to add them to the list!

How To Diversify Your Income for Private Practice Success

Guest post by L. Gordon Brewer, Jr., MEd. LMFT

How To Diversify Your Income for Private Practice Success Pinterest - L. Gordon Brewer shares tips and strategies to diversify your income as a therapist in private practice.

All of us want to be paid for what we do.

When a therapist goes into practice, there are essentially two basic ways a person can be paid for what they do.

One is to be employed by an agency or other provider of services for what you do. The other way is to be self-employed and get paid directly for the services you provide. And, of course, there are pros and cons to either way of doing it.

With being employed, for your income to increase, you will have to get a raise in pay each year.

This might happen if you get a merit increase or you somehow advance within the organization. Either way, it is highly dependent on the organization when and if you get an increase in pay.

But what about being self-employed; AKA private practice?

In most cases, what you get paid is determined solely by you. And of course there are a lot of factors that go into this: your average rate per session, the number of sessions you have, the cost of keeping an office open, vacation time and time off all affect your bottom line and ultimately what you get paid.

For anyone that is solo and in private practice there are limits as to how much you can make if you do not diversify your income.  

In other words, there is only so much you can charge per session and only a limited number of session you can have. There is only so much time in a day.

For a solo practitioner there are three “traditional” ways to increase you income in private practice:

  1. Create a higher level of counseling income for your time (increasing your rates) or
  2. Spend more time with clients (more sessions) or
  3. A combination of these two approaches

Just seeing clients can be limiting.

It is not “scalable”. You can fill your practice and spend a lot of time seeing clients. But you will quickly reach a limit as to what you can do. That is why it is important to find ways to diversify your income. By diversifying streams of income, you can increase your income without having to spend more time having sessions.

Generating More Income with a Group Practice

One of the best ways to “scale-up” is to move from being a solo practice to a group practice.

In other words bring in other clinicians into your practice in order to duplicate your efforts. Group practices can be structured in several different ways. And from an income perspective the practice owner(s) get a portion of the income produced by each individual in a practice.

Group practices can be structured in any number of ways.

A common way though is for the practice owner to hire the clinicians as a contract provider and do a “fee split” with the clinician. In other words, the practice owner keeps a certain percentage of the total fee collected for each session. (Ex. 60/40 split; the clinician keeps 60% of what is collected).

Other ways to do this is for the clinician to simply pay a flat rate each month to be part of the practice.  In many ways it is simply them paying “rent” or subleasing.

A third way of doing group practice is to make the other clinicians employees of the practice.

This requires more of the practice owner in terms of providing the required benefits and meeting employment regulations.  And there are some states that limit you from doing split fees, so it is something that needs to be researched for your area

Other ways therapists can diversify their income

Being able to diversify your income as a therapist or counselor is something that is very doable.

It does require thinking outside the box and looking for ways to bring in either passive income or more income for the same amount of time.  In other words, getting more money for the time spent.  Time is limited.

So in order to increase income, you have to get more money for the time spent.

Here is a list of other ideas for increasing or generating other streams of income  for your practice:

  • Group therapy sessions- brings in several counseling clients at once without you having to spend the time on individual sessions.
  • Offering or being trained in services outside the clinical realm.  For example, mediation services.  Family mediators are something that is always needed and in high demand from courts.  Most states require a certification in this, but it does create the potential for charging much larger fees for your time.
  • Community workshops or classes that you charge for; again this allows you to concentrate your time for a larger amount of income
  • Creating online courses or webinars you can charge for; ideas would include parenting or anger management
  • Writing a book or creating other materials to sell;  workbooks or guides for clients are good ways to generate income; self-publishing on Kindle.
  • “Monetizing” your website or blog; using affiliate marketing links to generate income when people purchase books or other items you recommend. (Affiliate links are when someone clicks on a link you provide and then get a commission if they buy something from that link):

Check into Amazon Associates – https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ . Amazon provides a way for you to create an online “store” to sell books and products your remmend on your website.  You will need to know how to embed code on your website, but it is simple to do once you learn how to do this.  It is simply a matter of copying and pasting some code that Amazon provides.  Here’s an example of an Amazon “Store” on my website: http://practiceoftherapy.com/recommended-reading/

  • Start offering “concierge services” (retainer services); people pay in advance for sessions that they may or may not use. In other words, you could offer a “package” in which people pay a specific fee or “membership” for you to be available to them for therapy sessions.
  • Related to the previous idea, start a local or mini EAP.  With this idea a clinician would set-up an agreement/contract with local businesses to see employees that wanted or needed services.  Really modeled after traditional EAP (employee assistance programs).  The businesses or client would pay a fee to “join” the service and then a specific reduced per session rate when they use the services. The additional income for the clinician would come from the “membership fees”.
  • Offer products within your practice.  For example, being able to sell books, meditation products or health products can bring in additional income.  Be careful about this in that having these products in your office. It could turn-off some of your clients. But if these “products” fit with what you are doing in sessions, it could bring in additional income.

Diversifying Your Private Practice Income is Doable!

As has been mentioned already, being able to diversify your income in private practice is absolutely doable.

It does take a bit of creativity and being able to think outside having a strictly “fee for service” business.

Ultimately it means being able to learn how to get more for your time and ways to bring in income that do not require your time.

 

Gordon Brewer - The Practice of Therapy

 

12 Ways to Grow Your Therapy Practice with User Experience Design

Have you ever visited an ugly, hard-to-use website, leaving you with a poor perception of that business or service? In today’s post, we’ll talk about user experience design and what it means for you, your therapy website and growing your private practice.

Have you ever visited an ugly, hard-to-use website, leaving you with a poor perception of that business or service? In today’s post, we’ll talk about user experience design and what it means for you, your therapy website and growing your private practice.

I’ve got a problem. I’m not sure if it’s in the DSM-5, but maybe I’ll find it in the next version. We’ll see. My problem is that if I’m looking for a place to eat and a restaurant has a poorly designed website, I just can’t bring myself to go.

I’ve got a story I think you’ll appreciate (and will, of course, explain where I’m going with this)

Can You Relate to This Scenario?

My wife and I LOVE finding new restaurants and new culinary experiences.

Here in Atlanta, the foodie game is STRONG. There’s never a shortage of outstanding, non-chain places to excite the pallet and offer you an amazing date-night experience.

I remember one occasion where we exhausted our list of new places that friends have recommended and we were faced with a blank slate for an upcoming date night.

Being only a couple months in our new home, we didn’t know the area too well. So, after deciding we were in the mood for sushi, I resorted to what any man searching for his next meal would do: using Google maps.

Searching for nearby Sushi places presented me with about 10 options in our vicinity.

So, how does one decide between all the many choices surrounding them?

I began opening up each restaurant’s website.

And the funny thing is, I don’t really care what the food looks like. I want to know what the restaurant looks like. What’s the atmosphere? What feeling do I get by looking at the photos of the place? Is this a place I can bring my bride and enjoy the ambiance as well as delicious culinary experiences?

Many of the websites I found were just awkward. Un-professionally shot close ups of raw fish carelessly placed on a table. Pictures of the front of the strip mall where the restaurant sat that tell me nothing of what I’d find inside.

Finally I stumbled up on the one.

They had a modern, professional-looking website that looked good on my phone. They provided plenty of pictures of what the place looked like inside. I could picture Liz and I enjoying a date here.

Subconsciously, I thought, “if the website and photos look this good, how bad could the sushi be?”

What is User Experience Design?

So what is user experience design and what the heck does it mean for your therapy website?

I love the definition of UX design (as the nerdy folks like myself like to call it) given by Joshua Porter in this article from UserTesting:

“[User experience design is] design with an awareness of every touchpoint that makes up the overall experience with your product or service.”

I love that because it implies the emotion of the potential client that is interacting with you and your practice from start to finish.

How do they feel when they call you? How do they feel when they go to your website? How do they feel when they show up to your office?

Think of some of your own experiences with a service or brand that really made you feel great. I bet the company intended that.

While a website may have played a part in that experience, I’m sure there were many other points in which you interacted with the brand or service that made you feel comfortable doing business with them.

That’s user experience design!

Spend some time thinking about the many ways that potential clients interact with you and the entire process they go through from first glance at your website to leaving your office after their first session.

Think about intentional things you can do to enhance that experience and you’re officially a user experience designer.

Way to go!

Potential Clients Will Judge You By Your Website

Whether we realize it or not, we tend to place a higher value on things that we perceive as aesthetically pleasing.

According to this article by Digital Information World, “3 in every 4 of online users admit they decide on a company’s credibility based on its website design. And that, 17—50 milliseconds is the time it takes for a person to decide whether he or she finds your website appealing.”

How potential clients view your therapy websiteImage Credit: Digital Information World

A beautifully-designed website that it’s easy to use evokes a very different feeling than a website you can’t navigate on your phone and is filled with distracting elements and bad photography.

Your therapy website will most likely be a potential client’s first interaction with you.

It is your first opportunity to let them know that you have the answer to the problems they’re facing.

But if your website is unusable, cluttered or distracting, they may be turned off and never know what you can offer them.

Some of those sushi restaurants may have been amazing, but I may never know because I wasn’t just looking for food. I was looking for an experience. I wanted to drive there in confidence, knowing that my wife and I would enjoy spending an hour at their restaurant.

Having an easy to use website can help give your potential clients the confidence they need to step foot in your counseling office, knowing exactly what to expect.

Simple Ways to Design Your Potential Client’s Experience

If you’ve stuck with me this far, I applaud you! I also want to give you some simple things to walk away with from my little sushi story.

Here are some things you can do today be intentional about designing a great experience for your potential clients:

  1. Create a “Your First Visit” landing page on your website and explain the entire process your client will go through, from first call to leaving your office after their first visit
  2. Include high-quality photos of your office on your website to give them a glimpse into the environment they’ll be in during therapy
  3. Ask current clients about their experience and take notes of constructive feedback to help you improve
  4. Get honest feedback of your website. This post explains how you can get strangers to review the usability of your therapy website for free
  5. Craft your about page in such a way that it speaks directly to your ideal clients and the problems they are facing
  6. Include a professional headshot of yourself on your about page
  7. Shoot a welcome video for your about page and share a little about yourself, who you help and why
  8. Make sure it is easy for potential clients to contact you when they’re ready by including multiple options for contacting you throughout your website
  9. Simplify your homepage if it has too much going on, focusing on one action you’d like your users to take
  10. Brainstorm some ways you can improve the offline experience for your clients, like serving them tea, making your office more comfortable, etc.
  11. If you’re using an outdated WordPress theme, think about finding something more up to date. You can check out my post on choosing a WordPress theme for your therapy practice to learn more
  12. If your website is reeeeally old, ugly and doesn’t look good on mobile, consider hiring a designer/developer to get you up to date

So, the next time you’re searching for the perfect restaurant, or researching a business or product, think about the experience you go through. Good or bad, they can help you improve the way you interact with your clients and help you grow your private practice.

If you need any help improving the experience your potential clients have with your website, I’d love to lend a hand. Head on over to the Work With Me section to learn more about the services I offer.

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Therapy Website Must-Haves, Designing for Potential Clients & SEO Tips

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of talking with Clay, for the onlinecounseling.com podcast. If you’re not familiar, onlinecounseling.com is an online directory for therapists, counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists that have taken their practices online and offer virtual counseling services.

While the podcast typically focuses on online counseling, it’s also an amazing resource to anyone with a private practice. Clay also has a Therapist Toolbox on his website that’s packed with resources to help you grow your practice and build your business.

The interview was not only a lot of fun, it’s totally info-packed! We covered a lot of topics and I know you’ll get a lot out of it.

We spent the most time talking about finding your voice within your therapy website and creating content that speaks to your ideal client. Because, let’s face it: web design means nothing if it doesn’t attract the right people to your therapy practice.

Here’s just some of what you’ll learn in the podcast episode:

  • An elaboration of my own journey into how I got started creating therapy websites and my blog
  • The foreign country where I met my wife (the Therapist)
  • What is WordPress and how popular is it?
  • Finding your voice and how to use your therapy website to speak to potential clients
  • Tips to help your SEO and attract the right clients
  • Some must-haves for any private practice website
  • Making it easier for potential clients to get to know you through your therapy website
  • Content marketing and why it’s important

So head on over to onlinecounseling.com to access the full episode (or click the image below). I encourage you to explore Clay’s website and check out his many resources as well as some of the past podcast episodes to hear from experts in the counseling community.

 

The Online Counseling Podcast  explores the world of online psychotherapy and those that practice tele-medicine.

 

Are you a therapist thinking about creating a website but have no idea where to begin?

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How I Used SEO to go From Zero Clients to Too Many Clients

Guest post by Jeff Guenther, LPC.

I have been a therapist in private practice since 2005. I was 25 years old and had just moved to Portland from Los Angeles with the ink still drying on my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. One of the reasons I moved and relocated to Oregon was because, as a therapist, you were allowed to start a private practice, even if you were not licensed yet as long as you were practicing under supervision. So I rented a cheap office, hung my shingle and opened up shop. And nobody came.

Learn how Jeff Guenther, LPC, used SEO tactics and specialty pages to target a specific keyword to get on the first page of Google and fill his therapy practice with a waiting list of clients.

And why would they come in? I didn’t have any word of mouth referrals, I wasn’t connected to the local mental health community and I had zero presence on the internet. I knew I had to change all that and with all the time I spent NOT seeing clients, I decided to create a website to generate business.

How I Got Started

Back when I was a sophomore in college, I was trying to decide between majoring in psychology or computer science. I was obsessed with technology, the internet, graphic design and 3D animation. I wanted to learn how to make software applications that millions of people used. However, I really loved sitting down and talking to people one on one. Ultimately, I decided to move forward with psychology but keep up to date on technology as a hobby.

In those early days of my private practice, way back in 2005, I channeled my computer and technology interests into understanding how to create websites and rank well on search engines like Google. I took what I knew and created the first website for my therapy practice.

I created a pretty typical therapy site. Basic info on the home page. My background and approach on the About page. Pages devoted to the psychological theories I used. A clean and simple contact page. Nothing really out of the ordinary. However, I decided to spend the bulk of my energy and time creating specialty pages. My specialty pages were focused on issues and problems that I had a passion for treating and studying. As a 25 year old therapist, I didn’t have much experience treating issues, but I did have a lot of enthusiasm and interest in certain presenting problems and that is what I wanted to convey.

How I Got Focused

One area that I thought was incredibly intriguing was treating clients with anxious attachment styles in romantic relationships. The struggle, the drama, the highs and lows. It was all fascinating and I wanted to figure out how to help bring balance and peace into relationships. The problem around creating a specialty page on anxious attachment style was that potential clients looking for counseling around this issue were not typing “therapy for anxious attachment styles in my romantic relationships” into search engines. I needed to create content around what actual searchers were looking for.

First, I decided to ask friends and family about what they would type into Google if they were struggling with anxiety in their relationship. I got all sorts of answers that were all over the place. However, the one consistent term that I heard the most was “codependency.” People feel codependent in their relationship when they are all tied up in knots by anxiety.

I did a quick search for “therapy for codependency in Portland” to survey my competition. Luckily there wasn’t much competition to speak of. Other than a few national directories that ranked first, second and third in the search results, all the other websites returned seemed to accidentally rank well without specifically trying to focus on codependency as a key term.

My goal became apparent.  I set out to rank as the first website, under the national directories, for the term “codependency.” I created a webpage (that still looks similar to the one I use today) and created a page of content that addressed codependency issues. I wanted the page to be simple and get straight to the point. My goals were to define what codependency/anxious attachment style was, describe the symptoms, and clearly state how therapy addresses the problem. I also planned to create a simple video explaining what the different romantic attachment styles were and a guide to dating someone who is codependent.

The Results

I did just that, and after about a month I was ranking on the first page of Google right under the national directories. I still am routinely ranked in the top five results of Google when you search for “codependency therapy portland.” Here is proof.  Just look for www.jeffguenther.com.

After I created that page on my website and it started to rank on the first page of Google, my caseload filled up in a few months. Since then, for the last ten years, I have had a waiting list for my private practice with a steady flow of clients that I want to work with.

My New Passion

 Since 2005, I’ve gone deeper and deeper into the world of online marketing for therapists and wellness providers. In 2014 I launched, what is now, the number one mental health directory for Portland, Portland Therapy Center. There are hundreds of therapists on the site that are all attracting client referrals. Recently, in February of 2016, I launched my second healthcare directory, Wellpdx, for alternative and holistic care providers.

I am now able to gather user data from these sites to hone in even closer on why some therapists are more successful at attracting clients compared to others. With all of my experience and the proprietary data that I have collected I launched the Practice Academy. Practice Academy helps health and wellness providers build their digital brand and attract more clients online. I recently wrote a blog post and created an easy to follow guide on how to create successful specialty pages on your website.

I love being a therapist and I am sincerely interested in helping other therapists build their practice through online referrals. I can’t wait to continue figuring out more ways to ethically and effectively build a successful private practice.

Jeff Guenther, LPCJeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005 and currently leads workshops on how health and wellness practitioners can build their digital brand and attract more clients online. Jeff is the creator and owner of two highly ranked healthcare directory sites, Portland Therapy Center and Wellpdx. Jeff recently launched a new project, the Practice Academy, to teach healthcare workers how to ethically and effectively build and grow their private practices or small businesses.

 

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Building A Private Practice: The Best Websites to Help Grow Your Business

Chances are you went to grad school to become a therapist, not a business guru or online marketer. But lucky for you, there are a ton of amazing folks out there serving the psychotherapy community by teaching the principles of building a successful private practice.

Chances are you went to grad school to become a therapist, not a business guru or online marketer. But lucky for you, there are a ton of amazing folks out there serving the psychotherapy community by teaching the principles of building a successful private practice.

Online marketing, creating a website, getting referrals, what to do about taking insurance, SEO, client forms… When it comes to starting and building a private practice, the list of questions you have may be overwhelming.

So, below I’ve compiled a list of over 20 websites to help you in your journey to build a thriving private practice.

Abundance Practice-Building

abundance practice building with Allison Puryear
I love this website! Abundance Practice-Building is Allison Puryear’s colorful home of private practice awesome-ness. When I first checked out her website, I was looking to see what resources she offered, but instead got sucked in by the beautiful design and color. If you want some inspiration on how to add your personality to your own website, look no further. You should especially check out her about page for a great example… and her amazing story.

Allison has a great blog with in-depth articles on all things private practice, an upcoming book, as well as consultation services for individuals and groups.

All Things Private Practice

all things private practice website

This website is home to Tamara G. Suttle, M.Ed., LPC. Tamara has  worked in private practice for over 20 years, and in  2003 she founded Private Practice From the Inside Out in order to share her knowledge of marketing strategies with health care professionals.

One glance at the list of topics on her website will let you know that her website really is ALL things private practice. Whatever challenge you’re currently facing, I’m confident you’ll get great advice from Tamara and the range of guest bloggers on her site. Not only will you find articles devoted to growing your private practice and advertising, but detailed tips on things like how to deal with insurance, referrals and writing.

I really appreciate how Tamara works to create a community of readers to connect with and work together to build their own private practices. Check out her Let’s Connect page to join her.

A Smart Practice

a smart practice website

Aiming to “take the anxiety out of your practice,” A Smart Practice is a website filled with resources to help you grow your private practice. Here you’ll find a slew of articles on topics like Accounting & Finances, Marketing & Strategy, and Client Care. I’m particularly a fan of the amount of guest posts you’ll see on their website, giving you a glimpse at how other practitioners have built their practices and the lessons they’ve learned. They also offer a number of downloadable resources like client worksheets and client call logs to make your life much easier.

Be a Wealthy Therapist

be a wealthy therapist

What an awesome name for a website! Casey Truffo recognizes the challenge that most counselors in private practice face: you want to help people but you also have bills to pay. After struggling with the challenges of building a private practice she eventually built a 6-figure practice with a waiting list. Now Casey is passing on her knowledge to you.

Be A Wealthy Therapist has a number of products covering all aspects of marketing and how to build a successful private practice. Aside from a great counseling business blog, she offers a once-a-month free 30-minute call where you can join other therapists to learn more about building a strong, sustainable private practice. Pretty cool and pretty darn generous!

Counseling Wise

counseling wise website

Holy crap, Counseling Wise has a lot of info on their blog! You could seriously spend a lot of time on this website getting a lot of your online marketing questions answered. Started by Becky DeGrossa, Counseling Wise combines her technical, marketing and psychology backgrounds to serve the mental-health community. Just look at the What We Do section and you’ll see Becky and her team have you covered on all your web marketing needs.

The Counselor Entrepreneur

the counselor entrepreneur website

The Counselor Entrepreneur offers one-on-one business strategy sessions as well as business consultation groups. All can be done in person, by phone or via Skype.

Camille McDaniel, LPC provides mentorship on private practice development, networking and marketing, and marketing through writing and blogging. Check out her blog for lots of great articles about marketing for counselors and ways to pick her brain about private practice.

Get Down to Business Consulting

get down to business consulting website

Get Down to Business Consulting, with Cathy Hanville, LCSW, provides business and internet marketing consultation and coaching for psychotherapists. On her website, you’ll find a great blog that focuses on both the marketing and business side of private practice. Resources include a blog, info about SEO, an Internet Marketing for Therapists Made Easy eBook as well as the chance to get CEUs through lessons Cathy offers. She also offers consultations on your current online marketing efforts to help you craft a plan to grow your web presence.

The Independent Clinician

the independent clinician website

The Independent Clinician focuses on speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists to help them build successful private practices. Created by Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP, you’ll find many tools and resources to help you succeed. There’s a free mini course to help you start your private practice, ebooks, a great blog and more.

Influential Therapist

the influential therapist

Deborah Legge, PhD CRC LMHC has been helping mental health professionals build their private practices for over 20 years.  On her website she shares her knowledge through a host of self-study training programs to help teach you how to create the business of your dreams. She also offers advanced mentoring for folks who need that one-on-one approach to growth.

Kat Love

kat love website

In her own words, Kat Love helps “psychotherapists turn their next website visitor into their next client through empathy-based, compassionate website design.” She’s a web designer who understands that a successful psychotherapy website is one that is client-focused AND converts. And not to mention beautifully designed. Kat is also an advocate for the positive change therapy can have on one’s life and uses her design talent to help therapists create successful websites so that more people can benefit from counseling.

On her website you’ll get lots of great articles all about marketing your website to potential clients. She also offers website design and consultation services.

Keri Nola

keri nola website

Keri Nola is a licensed psychotherapist and Founder of the Conscious Coaching Academy. Her website provides practice building resources for healers who have been frustrated when it comes to attracting clients. Coaching and mentoring, a Practice Building eCourse and free webinars for therapists are just a few of the great resources you’ll find on Keri’s website.

Marketing for Therapists

marketing for therapists website

Built by an online marketer, Daniel Wendler, Marketing for Therapists is a straight-forward website that teaches you how to launch your website, design your website and get new clients. There’s not a ton of content on his site but some of the articles have very in-depth info and tips if your working on a website for your private practice. He also offers consulting services on things like Adwords, SEO, and WordPress, to name a few.

Perfected Practice

perfected practice homepage

Samara Stone LCSW-C provides coaching and training to help you build a new private practice or grow your current one. In her words, “Perfected Practice was built with the aspiring behavioral health entrepreneur in mind.” Samara understands the positive impact business coaching can have on your private practice, saving you time and money and helping you achieve your goals.

Samara offers a few great trainings (some provide CEUs) and business coaching to help take your private practice to the next level.

Practice Academy

Owned and operated by a mental health therapist (Jeff) and a communications specialist (Kate), the Practice Academy was founded to teach healthcare workers how to ethically and effectively build and grow their private practices or small businesses.

 

Jeff Guenther has over 10 years of successful private practice experience and he’s been teaching healthcare workers how to acquire more clients using digital assets since 2005. He’s teamed up with a communication specialist to share their expertise at Practice Academy. On their blog you’ll find tips and free resources to help you strengthen the content on your therapy website and specific actions you can take to boost your SEO.

 

 

Practice of the Practice 

Practice of The Practice homepage

Home to Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC, a counselor with the mind of a business marketer. He’s got a clean website with a ton of great information for counselors in private practice.

A unique feature of Joe’s website is his monthly income report, where he shares the different ways he’s making money in and around his private practice. Taking a look at these reports may expand your thinking about the ways you can market your services and grow your business. You may also want to check out his Practice of the Practice Podcast, where he interviews successful people in the counseling field and beyond, and shares his own tips and insights to grow your business.

Private Practice Toolbox

private practice toolbox homepage

Dr. Julie Hanks has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field. She was named #1 Online Influencer for depression and the #2 social health maker for mental health by Sharecare. When it comes to online marketing and practice building, it’s clear from her experience that she knows what she’s doing – and wants to help you succeed.

Besides being a colorful and well designed website, Dr. Hanks’ site offers many ways to help you grow your private practice. Business consulting, webinar trainings and a hand-picked Media Mastermind Course for therapists are a few things you can leverage. And of course, her blog is pretty awesome too and features a wide range of topics as well as podcast interviews.

Real Psych Practice

real psych practice homepage

Heather Hill-Spaine has been helping therapists build and grow their psychotherapy practices since 2004. On her blog, you’ll find a ton of info to help you start, grow, manage and market your practice. What’s my favorite part of her website? Why, it’s the Ask A Question section, where you can ask her about something your stumped on and she’ll either reply or answer it on the blog. Pretty cool stuff!

Soothed

Soothed homepage

Soothed is the website of Catherine Doyle, a web developer who’s been creating websites since 1998 and now focuses on website design for natural therapists. She offers web design packages to help you get your private practice up and running online. She’s also got a great blog where she discusses aspects of successful therapy websites, online marketing and practice-building.

Selling the Couch

selling the couch website

Selling the Couch is a podcast and blog created by Melvin Varghese PhD as a way to help current and aspiring mental health private practitioners learn the ins and outs of business and marketing. On the podcast you’ll learn from seasoned mental health professionals all about how they grew their private practice as well as marketing professionals on how to market your private practice. What’s more, Dr. Melvin shares about the things that are working for him when it comes to online marketing.

You could also join Healthcasters, his Podcasting Workshop, which is a course designed for mind/body health and wellness experts who want to learn how to start their own podcast.

SuccessfulPractice.net

successful practice website

SuccessfulPractice.net is the website of Dr. Dennis Given, a licensed psycholigist, who teaches other mental health professionals what he’s learned about building a profitable private practice. The website is mainly made up of articles in a range of categories, such as marketing, networking and billing.

The resources section of SuccessfulPractice.net is pretty chock full of good stuff, so make sure you check it out.

Thriving Therapy Practice

thriving therapy practice with jennifer sneeden

Jennifer Sneeden is a business consultant turned marriage and family therapist turned private practice business consultant. After getting tired and frustrated over the stresses of practice-building and finding clients, she began to apply her 10 years of business consulting knowledge to her psychotherapy practice, and began to see great success.

She’s developed a system for growing and maintaining a thriving private practice and is passionate to see others “fill their schedules with clients they love, without having to stress over where their next clients are coming from.”  Besides consultation services, Jennifer puts on workshops and conferences and has a great blog and podcast with great tips for practice-building and marketing for psychotherapists.

Zur Institute 

The Zur Institute

The Zur Institute is a website jam-packed with resources, articles, clinical forms and online continuing education courses. Founded by Dr. Ofer Zur, the institute’s mission is “To provide quality continuing education, training and free information for psychotherapists and other health-care professionals.” No matter what aspect of private practice you find yourself in, this website will be a great asset to you.

While many of the ebooks and resources found on the Zur Institute website come at a cost there is also a wealth of free information to be found there. Check out the Free Articles section for information on things like Online Marketing for Psychotherapists, Key Ingredients for Thriving Private Practice, and How to Avoid Therapists’ Burnout.

Zynny Me 

Zynny Me

Miranda Palmer, LMFT, and Kelly Higdon, LMFT are two ladies seeking to help and empower as many therapists as possible. Just read their about page and you can tell they’re the real deal with hearts of gold. They say, “We adore taking therapists from lost and unsure to focused and confident.”

They do just that through their free private practice trainings for therapists, as well as their Business School Bootcamp Training. I’m amazed at the breadth of free resources you can get your hands on on their website. If you’re just starting out you definitely need to check them out. Their blog also covers a ton of topics and includes many interviews with successful therapists, giving you a glimpse at the challenges and victories of private practice.

Did I Miss Any Practice-Building Websites?

So there you have it! I hope you’ll use this resource to help you start your private practice or to grow your current one into an even more thriving business.

If there are any other websites you refer to often to help you in your therapy business ventures, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list.

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