I have done a lot of therapist website critiques over the past few months. And while I am pleased to say that I’ve seen some therapist websites that are well designed, many were DIY (do it yourself) websites that could be improved upon immensely in terms of how they look.
Just to be clear–I am not talking about the copy on these websites, even though many websites are weak in that regard as well. Rather, I am referring to the actual “look” of the website.
I have no doubt that some of these websites are holding back these professionals from attracting more clients…and that is really sad.
While I am not a web designer and never will be, because I am a website copywriter who also focuses on website marketing, over the years I’ve learned a lot about web design, web usability, search engine optimization, and other aspects of strong, client-attracting websites.
And so I have a lot of opinions about websites, much of it based on some pretty solid research of what a client-attracting website should look like.
Consider these scenarios:
Would you show up for a client appointment wearing scruffy jeans and a crumpled t-shirt — clothes that you might wear at home on the weekend?
Would you act like an amateur in your client sessions and leave the door to your office open so others could hear your conversation?
Would you present a professional paper that had unequal margins or overlapping text that looked terrible and was difficult to read?
I am sure your answer is “no” to these questions.
Yes, I know they are a bit exaggerated. But my point is, if you wouldn’t act unprofessional in other situations, why would you be willing to have a website that looks at best amateurish, and at worst, totally awful?
Yes, I know people have told you they “like” your website. But who are they and what are they basing their comments on? (I wrote an article a few weeks ago on why therapists shouldn’t rely on website feedback from friends, family and colleagues).
And yes, I know that your website looks as good as many other websites others in your field (the sad truth is many therapist and healing websites don’t look very good at all).
And yes, I also know you might be using a a website template system via a company that sells websites to therapists (I hope I don’t get hate mail for saying that for a variety of reasons, many of these are ugly and out of date).
Now, as you read this, you might be saying, “Ok Juliet, I hear what you are saying, BUT I can’t afford a professional designer or developer to create my website”.
And to that I say, You CAN’T afford not to.
Before I tell you why, let me say that it *is* possible to find a nice-looking website template or Word Press theme. There are some that exist. BUT even if you have one, you still probably need a “website developer,” if not a designer, to customize it and perform some of the more complex technical tasks that can help your website succeed.
7 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Professional Website Designer/Developer
1. In the long run, you will save time and money. Yes, it can be a significant investment to hire a professional web designer/developer for your therapy website, but it in the long run you will likely gain more clients, more quickly. And hiring a professional allows you to spend your time serving your clients, rather than frustrating the heck out of yourself doing a half-baked job yourself.
2. First impressions DO count. Your site will look professional and appealing to your potential clients right off the bat. You will be taken more seriously and attract higher quality clients.
3. You will stand out from the crowd. Your website will be unique and designed to your specifications. I know many therapists and health care professionals don’t like to think of themselves as being “competitive”, but like it or not, if you’re on the web you are competing with all the other professionals in your field in your city. And because so many therapist and healer websites don’t look all that hot, you have the opportunity to really stand out and be noticed.
4. A professional has important knowledge and skills that you most likely don’t have. There is an overwhelming amount of knowledge and skill involved in putting together a successful website. You cannot possibly become an expert at all these things (unless perhaps you give up your practice and become a web designer/developer).
5. Your website will look good on all web browsers, computers and mobile devices. Have you seen what your website looks like on both PC and Mac computers? What about all the versions of web browsers for both of these computers? While your website might look fine on your computer and the browser you use, it might look like a complete mess on another computer or browser. And have you checked what you website looks like on mobile devices? Did you know that many people now only access the web via a mobile device?
6. Your website code will likely be “cleaner” meaning that it will more easily be indexed by search engines and your web pages will load faster.
7. Professional web designers will (or at least should) back up your site. Do you back up your site now? Do you know how? Imagine what would happen if your website was hacked and you lost everything.
Of course all web designers and web developers are not the same. In fact, their skills and prices vary enormously. And, to complicate matters further, even a lot of talented professional designers don’t how a website should be designed to attract clients. In other words, they may know how to make your site look nice, but don’t understand things like copywriting, web usability and web marketing, as well as search engine optimization.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article below in the comments below.
You can also watch a video I did on 3 well-designed therapist websites.