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GETTING STARTED

Here’s an overview of the web design process ahead.

WHAT I NEED TO GET STARTED

REGISTER FOR DOMAIN/HOSTING

Please follow these step-by-step instructions to get started.

WORDPRESS LOGIN

An administrator login to your current WP site (if this is a redesign of a WordPress site).

HOSTING CREDENTIALS

Your hosting account login and/or Cpanel username and password.

IMAGES

Images you want to use on your website (high-res JPEG). See below for details on what photos are needed and where to find them.

YOUR LOGO

High-resolution JPEG or PNG. Please let me know if you need a logo.

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WEBSITE CONTENT

The copy for your pages, license type (MFT, LCSW, etc) and number, office address(es), phone number, and email address. See below for content-writing tips.

Please upload these items to your secure Google Drive folder which will be emailed to you.

WRITING YOUR WEBSITE CONTENT

Your website design+content form a story that guides your potential client through its pages so that the reader feels held, connected, and understood. You want your ideal client to say “Yes! S/he gets me and can help me” which leads to your phone ringing. Effective website copy establishes you as an expert and helps your ideal clients find you. I created the following templates to streamline your writing process.

While there is no optimal amount of text per page, I recommend 600-1200 words per page. You want to write enough content to rank well but not so much that readers get overwhelmed and leave your site. While it’s tempting to share an abundance of therapeutic knowledge in order to educate and connect with potential clients/referral sources, keep in mind that the primary goal of a website is to get a potential client to contact you. That first phone call will then be the most important step to assess for client fit/motivation and to schedule an initial appointment. Another important factor in ranking well is providing new content, so it works well to put longer content in your blog posts.

Following are some content-writing tips for the most common pages you may decide to include in your therapist/coaching website. I am happy to help if you need help defining your niche, ideal client, or writing your content. Please feel free to contact me about my niche and content creation services.

Before we begin, here are two important tips to remember:

  • Write to your ideal client, not about yourself.
  • Leave out the psychobabble. Use the language of your ideal client.

HOME PAGE

Your home page will be your most-visited page and is usually the page that your potential clients (and potential referral sources) will see first. Your home page should give a brief overview of your offerings as your visitor’s first stop through the story of your website. First impressions count. Speak directly to your ideal client to form a connection and show that you understand where your ideal client is right now and how s/he wants to feel. Your home page will likely be around 600 words.

Complete the following for each of your services. In other words, if you are going to have 3 service pages (social anxiety, health anxiety, and agoraphobia), then you should complete the following section three different times addressing each service area. Note the approximate length of the example, and keep these sections brief. You will go into more depth on your service pages.

 

Header:

Write a short phrase that describes how your ideal client wants to feel
(Examples: Goodbye anxiety, Reconnect with your spouse, Live a life free from addiction)

 

Paragraph 1:

Write one short paragraph that describes how your ideal client feels right now and what is bringing him/her into therapy.

Example for Social Anxiety:
Sometimes common activities that others take for granted can become a struggle. It may feel scary to be seen or noticed. You may dread social obligations or avoid social events. Your relationships or friendships may suffer, and it can be hard to make friends. Perhaps you use alcohol to feel comfortable in social settings. Social anxiety can be isolating, but you do not need to struggle alone.

 

Paragraph 2:

Write one short phrase or paragraph that describes how therapy will help your ideal client.

Example for Social Anxiety:
Let therapy help you learn to enjoy being around others.

ABOUT PAGE

While it is tempting to launch right into details about yourself, it’s important to first connect with your potential visitor. Always remember the primary reason potential clients are on your website: They are in pain, want relief, and are deciding whether you get them and can help. Your About page will likely be around 600 words.

 

Paragraph 1: Your Story

Write 5-10 sentences that connects who you are to your potential client’s primary pain points. This paragraph is the opportunity to show you are a real person. Skip the technical jargon, and just talk directly to your ideal client about who you work with and how you can help. Here’s a step-by-step template of what to include:

1 – Introduce yourself: “Hi, I’m (your first name plus title/moniker).”
2- Who is your ideal client: “(How you serve your ideal clients) is my calling/jam/life’s work/passion.”
3- Form connection and trust: “I know what it’s like to….”
4- How you help your ideal client: “My goal is…”
5- Call to action: “If you want to (your ideal client’s primary motivation), then please contact me today for a free phone consultation.”

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
Hi, I’m Cris, the Therapist’s Therapist. Supporting therapists while they’re busy supporting their clients is my jam. I know what it’s like to build a successful therapy practice, make the daily transition between therapist and wife/mom, manage family life, and be a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation between aging parents and kids. It isn’t easy. While there are a lot of resources to help therapists in their professional growth, my goal is to help and protect a therapist’s emotional well-being. I work collaboratively and trust your professional and personal expertise. I will help you take off your therapist hat when you enter the room so that you can experience purely being heard. I will use humor and give direct feedback and ideas to challenge ways of being that might be getting in your way. If you are ready to take your own time on the couch, then please contact me today for a free phone consultation.”

 

Paragraph 2: Your Professional Bio (optional)

Here is where you can share your education and relevant credentials. Bullet points work well. Keep the psychobabble to a minimum.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:

  • B.A. from Dartmouth College
  • M.S. in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Dominican University of California.
  • Certified Prepare/Enrich Relationship Counselor
  • Trained in the Gottman Method of couples therapy and Imago Relationship Therapy
  • Author of the MFT Handbook titled “On the Road to Becoming a Successful Marriage and Family Therapist: An Insider’s Handbook from Graduate School Through Licensure… and Beyond!” which is required reading in several MFT graduate programs
  • I consult with aspiring MFTs on the licensing process, with newly licensed therapists on setting up a private practice, and with established therapists on re-branding and marketing their practice for success.

SERVICE PAGES

For SEO purposes, I recommend writing one page per niche/specialty. Remember to speak directly to your ideal client in simple language, and skip the psychobabble. Aim for 900-1200 words per service page.

Please visit the website template you chose to get an understanding of the format and appropriate length of each section.

Title: One question or statement describing your ideal client’s primary struggle.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
Are you a therapist AND a wife, mom, and daughter of aging parents experiencing burnout?

 

Subtitles: Expand on the title by adding 3-5 questions/statements that goes deeper into your ideal client’s primary struggle.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:

  • Do you dread going into the office or getting new clients?
  • Do you notice an increase in clinical errors such as double-booking clients, forgetting appointments, or not remembering significant client details?
  • Are you more tired than usual?
  • Are you short-tempered at home feeling like you have nothing else to give?

 

Paragraph 1: Describe how your ideal client feels right now in 4-6 sentences.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
You are a therapist AND a wife, mom, and daughter of aging parents. You feel like everyone is pulling from you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depleted in this stage of life. Friends may turn to you for “free therapy,” you may be grappling with your own feelings in today’s political climate, or you might have a hard time taking off your therapist hat after work. Being a therapist is full of highs and lows, and you may struggle listening to your family’s problems after listening to clients. Psychotherapy can be an isolating profession, and emotional burnout is common.

 

Paragraph 2: Describe the obstacles preventing your ideal client from getting help and then normalize your ideal client’s struggle. 8-10 sentences.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
You may feel like you shouldn’t need help. After all, you’re a therapist so have the tools and insight to be on top of your own stuff, right? We know it’s not that easy, though. Just because we are therapists doesn’t mean we don’t have our own anxieties or struggle in our own relationships. It’s easy to feel like an imposter when others look to us as an expert. But we are human. Being a therapist doesn’t mean we don’t have problems just like everyone else. Sometimes we need support too, and that’s okay.

 

Paragraph 3: Describe the benefits and outcome of being your client in therapy. 8-10 sentences.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
Personal therapy for therapists is a good thing. We must first put on our own oxygen mask before we can sustainably help others. Personal therapy can relieve stress and minimize burnout. Spending some time on the couch also helps us become better practitioners. Therapists who seek therapy become more attuned to the client’s experience. As therapists we must stay vigilant in separating a client’s issues from our own, and we raise the bar of our profession by ensuring our own emotional health. Self-care allows us to best serve our clients, our families, and ourselves. You give so much to others. Now it’s time to give to yourself.

 

Paragraph 4: Ask and answer the 3 primary questions that could prevent your ideal client from seeking therapy.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:

  • What if a fellow therapist finds out that I’m getting therapy? There is no shame in getting support, and self-care is an important resource for all helping professionals so that we may continue to help others.
  • What if a client sees me entering your office? I offer both in-office and online sessions to meet your privacy needs.
  • How can I go to therapy when I am drowning from work, life at home, and caring for my aging parents? Just as you’d tell your clients, therapy is a worthwhile investment in yourself so that you can be better supported for all that your life demands.
  • Shouldn’t I be able to help myself since I’m a therapist? As therapists, we have high expectations of ourselves that we shouldn’t need help. Just because we have bigger toolboxes doesn’t mean we also don’t need help at times.

 

Paragraph 5: Tell your ideal client what to do next through a concise call-to-action.

Example from My Private Practice Website as The Therapist’s Therapist:
You can recover from emotional burnout and manage all of the pieces in your life with less stress so that you can enjoy life more. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation, please call me today.

 

WEBSITE PHOTOS

Images are a critical component to an effective and compelling website (and also helps with SEO). You want to find a mix of photos that show how your ideal client feels right now and how your ideal client wants to feel.

 

HOW MANY PHOTOS

For your website design, here are the photos I will need from you:

 

  • 4-6 photos total per page: 1 horizontal header photo showing how your ideal client wants to feel, 1-2 horizontal photos showing how your ideal client feels right now, 2-3 additional photos (all horizontal or all vertical) showing how your ideal client wants to feel
  • 2 current professional photos/headshots of you (ideally wearing your brand/logo colors)
  • 1-2 office photos (turn lamps on, try different angles)

 

Please review the design template you have chosen at https://growingtherapists.com to better understand what photos will be needed.

 

WHERE TO FIND PHOTOS

I recommend the following stock libraries:

When you find a photo that you want to use, download the largest available file.

Important: When you download a photo, take a screenshot of your photo download that shows the photo is licensed for free commercial use (which is usually located right on the download page). Keep these screenshot in your records. Using unlicensed photos can result in hefty fines, so protect yourself by keeping a screenshot of any photo used on your website in perpetuity in case there is ever a question of whether you had permission to use the photo.

If you need a therapist headshot and live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please feel free to contact me about my therapist headshot photography services.

 

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Designing a website, no matter how big or small, is an extensive process that can be overwhelming. To better help you understand what to expect during the design and development, I’ve outlined my process into 4 steps:

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1) LAYOUT AND DESIGN

After I receive all items listed above under “What I Need To Get Started,” I will begin customizing your chosen template. First I will design the sitemap (page/menu hierarchy) and Home page. Included in my template package are 2 rounds of edits to the Home page. All edit requests should be listed in one email to me per round. If additional edits are requested, I am happy to provide a separate estimate for that additional time.

3) RESPONSIVE

Once the completed site is approved, I’ll make sure your site looks great and functions nicely across devices and browsers.

2) DEVELOPMENT

Once the site layout and Home page design are approved, I’ll move forward with designing all site pages and implementing all functionality and plugins. Included in my template package are 2 rounds of edits to the completed design. All edit requests should be listed in one email to me per round. If additional edits are requested, I am happy to provide a separate estimate for that additional time.

4) WRAPPING UP AND GOING LIVE!

Your site will be transferred to your hosting provider. Amidst applause and cheering, your website will then launch! Your website logins will then be emailed to you. PLEASE SAVE FOR YOUR RECORDS. You’ll receive training showing you how to maintain your site. You will also receive a link to my Moving Forward page where you’ll receive tips on what to do with your new website in addition to information on my Care and Security Plan which I highly recommend for those who do not wish to maintain their own site.

Please contact me with any questions and, if you haven’t had a chance, please fill out my: