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How to Build Therapy Websites Using WordPress

Most people start their search for any service, including counseling, online. They want to know what their options are before taking the next step. That’s why counselors must have websites for their practices. And it’s best to build therapy websites using WordPress.

Why Build Your Therapy Website Using WordPress?

WordPress is the No. 1 content management system, powering almost 40% of websites in 2021. This percentage means about 500 million websites run on WordPress. 

People choose WordPress because it’s reasonably priced, easy to use, and the roughly 60,000 available plugins help make it highly flexible. So whatever you want your website to do for your practice and your clients, WordPress can do. 

While you may need to hire a developer to create your initial website and get it running exactly how you want it, WordPress should be simple for you to update afterward.

If you’re already nervous about building a site on your own, don’t worry. 

How to Build Therapy Websites Using WordPress

Once you decide that WordPress is right for your counseling website, it’s time to get started building your site. First, you need a strong, professional online presence that introduces you and your services to potential clients. 

Sometimes, a targeted landing page is your best option. It will help generate leads from your ideal clients. These pages will explain your services and help you direct potential clients to do just one thing — provide you with their contact information.

Choose a Host and Domain 

A web host connects your content to the internet while a domain name points visitors to your website. You need both for a WordPress site. 

Choose a managed host company to keep your website running quickly and protect it from hackers. Look for a domain name that is short and as close to your service’s name as possible. It may be best to use your name. Either way, you want it to be easy to find and remember.Don’t choose confusing words or easily misspelled words. It makes them hard to remember and isn’t ideal for name recognition.Many hosting companies also provide domain name registration, so you can do both with one group once you choose a host.Most hosts also have WordPress installed, so you’re ready to work on your site as soon as you sign up.

Choose and Install a Website Theme

Choose a website theme that best suits your practice and the tone you’re trying to establish with patients. Think of your theme as the basic template for the site. Keep it simple. Plugins will provide all of the additional features you need. 

Your site’s theme should include:

Header. The site should have a header section to display your branding, including your site’s title, tagline, and a logo or photo.Copy. You’ll want space for copy to explain your services and counseling approach for potential clients. You also want to be able to add pages to your site. Colors. Choose a theme with colors that establish your brand’s tone. Consider light, calming colors like blues or greens.Fonts. Choose a site theme with a font that matches the tone you’re establishing. Make sure it’s easy to read.User Experience. Choose a theme that users can navigate intuitively. You don’t want so many things on your site that it distracts users from the basics of why they visit your site — to learn about you and your practice to see if it’s a good fit for them.Photos. Whether you put it in your header or elsewhere, you want to include a professional headshot on your website. You want potential clients to see what you look like and envision themselves in counseling with you. Do they trust you? They’re likely to make an initial decision based on a photo. Also, consider including photos of your office space and location to help them feel comfortable with the whole counseling experience.

Plan Your Site’s Content

When planning your site’s content, think about what you would look for as a potential client visiting a counseling site for the first time. Try to envision the site as a potential client.

Pages to consider including on your counseling site:

About. An about page tells visitors who you are, establishes your credentials, and helps them get to know you. The about page also is an excellent place to put a photo of yourself.Services. A services page tells your clients what you do. It tells them what services you provide and for whom.Blog. A blog page where you write regularly about issues your clients face will help your site appear in search results and establish you as an expert who can help solve problems. FAQ. Answering frequently asked questions on your site will help provide essential information to site visitors. It also may help them feel more comfortable when they visit your practice for their initial appointment.Contact. Include a contact form so visitors can leave messages for you to return.Scheduling. Allow patients to schedule sessions via the website.  

Add Content to Your Site

Write the content for all of the pages and sections of your site. This content should include a few blog posts to get visitors started there. Even though your site is new, you want visitors to find value, or they won’t come back, and they might not book an appointment with you. 

When writing your counseling site’s content, consider:

Audience. Write to clients and potential clients. You want your site to speak directly to them.Completeness. Your site is a work in progress, and it can change. But you want to make sure you have helpful information on every page before you launch.Accuracy. Make sure you check your site for accurate spelling and grammar before you publish. Skimmability. Most people visit websites from their phones. It’s difficult to read large blocks of texts on small devices. Instead, break up information into small paragraphs. Use bullet points, numbered lists, and subheads to make the text easier to read or skim.Keywords. Think about what potential clients are likely to search for when looking for the information you’re providing. Use those keywords throughout your site and in blog posts.Call-to-Action. Make sure your site tells visitors exactly what you want them to do next. For example, do you want them to fill out the contact form, book an appointment, or call your office? Tell them so in multiple locations.

Once you finish writing, it’s time to assemble all of the parts of your site. Fill in the theme’s content blocks with your copy and media like photos, graphics, and videos. Varying content makes the best user experience for visitors. 

Launch Your Site

Before you launch your website, proofread the copy and test the links one last time. You want the experience to be seamless and informative for your clients and potential clients.  

Once you’re ready to launch, your hosting service can help you get everything online. They likely have a step-by-step process for you to follow.

When your site is up and running, you’re ready to advertise your counseling services, along with your new website.
Growing Your Practice

Social Media Marketing for Mental Health Professionals

Social media marketing is a must for everyone in business. Mental health professionals are no exception. Whether you’re marketing for yourself, your private practice, or for an agency, you need to understand social media marketing. 

Like it or not, social media is extremely popular in the United States. About 223 million people use social media, and the number continues to increase. So, it makes sense to use this medium that’s right at your fingertips. 

It’s also a good idea to think about the age at which most people have mental health concerns. The research shows that 75% of mental illness begins in a person by 24. This information becomes vital when you realize that about 84% of people ages 18-29 use social media.

The numbers tell us that social media is key to marketing to people most likely to need your services. 

Tips to Get Your Started

You’ve recognized how valuable the social media market is for your mental health practice. But how do you use social media to engage with potential clients? Here are some ideas.

Offer Value – Ultimately, your goal with social media marketing for mental health is to attract more clients. Your social media should offer value to these potential clients, not just provide a highlight reel of your accomplishments. Post content related to your area of expertise. Sprinkle your qualifications in with the benefits of counseling.Set Boundaries – Social media content for mental health is not a replacement for counseling services. Be sure you’re clear about what services you offer via the internet and which ones you don’t. Even if you provide telehealth services, it’s a good idea to remind your social media community that your direct messages are not where therapy happens.Be Consistent – Your audience is more likely to engage if you post consistently. Regular posting doesn’t mean you have to share a different post every hour of every day. But you do need to show up regularly. Find a schedule and pace that works for you. You might find it easy to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Perhaps weekends work better for your schedule. Whatever works for you, sticking to a posting schedule communicates that you are consistent and reliable. It also increases your engagement with potential clients.Create Community – There are several ways to build community through social media. Building a social media community can help increase your engagement and even inspire you as a mental health professional. The mental health community on Instagram and Twitter is a great place to start. If you have specific expertise, search for established accounts or groups around that topic. Note what hashtags they use and what kind of content is most engaging for the community. Then jump in and engage with them as you build community on your accounts too.

Choose Your Channel

How do you know which social media channel is right for your business with various platforms to choose from? Know your audience and your goals when deciding which platforms are suitable for you. The key is to spend your time and social media efforts where your potential clients already gather and where you can best represent your business.

Facebook – Facebook is the leading social media platform. People use Facebook to maintain relationships with people they don’t frequently see in person, so it is an excellent choice for social media marketing if you’re looking to build loyalty to your mental health business. But it might not be the best option if you’re starting out and looking to acquire new clients. You’d likely need to place some Facebook ads to get your services seen and you should consider whether the clients you’re attempting to target with your messages are on Facebook. Younger people may not use the platform as much.Instagram – Instagram is a visually-driven platform popular among young people. Instagram is a good option for building clients through hashtags and specific communities, such as the mental health community. You could consider using typography and graphic design on Instagram, as it is more of a visual platform. If you can’t show up regularly with great visuals, you’re unlikely to succeed on this platform.Twitter – Twitter is a great platform to see what’s trending and build awareness. For example, if you’re looking to build awareness of your mental health services and #mentalhealthawareness is trending, you’ve just unlocked a great way to advertise your services and contribute your professional thoughts to the movement. While Twitter is a great place to build community and establish your expertise, getting new clients from the platform may be challenging. People use Twitter to engage, not shop for products or services.LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a platform used by professionals to build their network of colleagues, peers, and industry leaders. People join LinkedIn to search for job openings and see inspiration from other professionals. You can cultivate a larger network of mental health professionals and specialists from other fields on the platform.TikTok – TikTok has grown in popularity among teens in the past few years. It is a platform for creating video content. You can create short, easily-digestible videos to introduce mental health topics to younger audiences. In the process, you’ll increase awareness of your business.

There’s no such thing as a perfect social media platform for growing your business. But it’s almost guaranteed that your potential customers already use some (if not all) of these platforms. Decide your goals and where your time is most productive, then jump in!

Increase Your Impact

There are many ways to increase your impact through social media marketing that apply to multiple platforms. 

Pay for an Ad – Nearly all social media platforms allow you to pay for advertising in some capacity. For example, on Instagram, you can pay to have your posts “boosted” or shown to specific groups of people. Paying for ads is an excellent investment to amplify your message and services.Share a Blog Post – Have you written a blog post or an article about a topic related to mental health? Share them on your social media platforms! Sharing can help establish credibility to your audience. It also allows you to make connections and boost your online presence. Don’t forget to share smart things from others in your community too.Hashtags – Use hashtags across platforms to categorize your content. If you have a specialty, hashtags can help connect your content and services to the audience seeking them. Remember to research and follow the rules and expectations of hashtags on each platform. Otherwise, you may turn people away if you misuse them.

Implement Your Social Media Marketing Plan Successfully 

Social media use is a must these days, regardless of your profession. This post is a good start for anyone looking to build their social media marketing plan for a mental health practice. The ins and outs of social media marketing can be tedious, but it’s well worth it. 
Growing Your Practice

7 Pieces of Advice on Setting Counseling Fees

Setting fees for your counseling services means balancing your desire to help others and your need to pay the bills to keep your practice operational. Of course, you want to set counseling fees your clients can support, but you also have to stay in business. It can be tricky to determine the right amount to charge, so here’s some advice to consider.

Setting counseling fees is an essential part of starting your own counseling business. Your payments need to be high enough to sustain your business, but not so high that potential patients can’t pay them or you price your services out of the market. Consider the following advice when setting your fees.

1. Consider the Market

It is essential to think about the market when considering how much to charge for your counseling services. The market consists of two groups: other counselors in your geographic area and your clients. 

First, analyze what other counselors in the area charge based on their experience and training. Take the closest look at those that offer services similar to yours. You don’t have to set your counseling fees at the same rate or even below theirs, but it’s necessary to understand what the market will support. A good starting point may be to set your fees to match the top half of other local counselors. Also, consider the demand for your services in relation to the number of competitors in your area. 

If you are fresh out of graduate school, don’t assume that you can set your fees as high as someone with years of experience and additional training, certifications, and licenses. As a therapist, you need to decide what kind of practice you want to have. Do you want to work 40 hours per week with individual clients throughout the day? Do you want to work with individuals and groups? Do you want to work with insurance based clients or private pay clients?

Most therapists start out doing agency work because it’s an easy way to get experience and have a consistent paycheck. Oftentimes agencies will include supervision as a part of your employment package. 

If you want to grow your practice quickly, you may consider starting out with a lower rate to help you build a caseload. After a year or two, it is appropriate to increase your fees to account for cost of living increases, rent, insurance, office expenses, etc. Some clients may leave when you raise your fees. But, if they have an established relationship with you, they will understand.  

2. Know Your Why

You are a professional offering a healing medical service to your clients. Think about why you chose to be a counselor and the specialized training you went through to reach that goal. The services you offer are valuable. The average rate for a counselor in the nation is $150 per hour. In certain markets, the cost of seeing a therapist is about $450 an hour, particularly in California or New York. Their professional expertise is the reason for that fee amount. You can only support your desire to help if you charge a fair fee for your professional services.

3. Understand Necessity

Some of how much you charge for a session is based on your expenses. You have to make ends meet. Simply knowing how much you need to make from each patient to meet your financial obligations will help you set your fees. 

Review the budget you included when you created your business plan. Be realistic about the number of clients you can see in a week and how easily you can book them. Don’t forget to set aside money for taxes, insurance, and paying yourself.

4. Hold Steady

Once you set your counseling fees, don’t negotiate. You don’t want to start a bad habit of auctioning your professional services.

If you’ve done the homework and set realistic fees for your professional services, you should feel confident in those fees. Again, if you are trying to start and grow a practice it is better to set your fees a bit lower to increase your caseload.  

5. Consider Exceptions

Yes, we just told you to stick with your fees, but you also want to consider upfront whether you will make any exceptions. For example, will you alter your counseling fee for a battered spouse who needs help or for elderly patients on a fixed income? What about members of the military or first responders?

Outline any exceptions you can think of to your fees initially, then document what payment will look like for those people. That way, you’re prepared when a situation arises, and you’re not trying to determine pricing on the spot. Your client intake form should include any kind of sliding scale policy you decide on. 

It’s also important if you are going to accept sliding scale fees for certain clients, to consider how many of these client’s you will keep on your caseload at any given time. If not, you may find yourself in a situation where you have set fees, but the only calls you get are from people looking for sliding scale rates.  

6. Set Policy

When setting your counseling fees, don’t forget to consider things patients may do that will negatively impact your services and cost you money. For example, what will you do when a patient fails to come to an appointment? You could have booked another patient during that time. Will you charge them? What about last-minute cancellations? Will you charge or excuse the fees? There may be some circumstances that patients can’t control, like a flat tire on their way to therapy. Will you forgive those fees? 

It’s acceptable to charge patients who disrespect your time or keep you from serving others, but you also want to be understanding with your policies. The most important thing is to have a cancellation policy in place and share them with new patients, so they know the expectations.

7. Adjust When Necessary

While you want to be consistent with your counseling fees, the prices you set as you launch your practice aren’t forever. Many counseling services raise their fees a small percentage each year to keep up with increases in costs like insurance and utilities. 

Perhaps it’s a good idea to plan a review of your fee structure in six months or a year to see if it still serves you and your patients well. Once you decide on fees, don’t revise them often. Maybe every three years or so.

You may lose clients when you increase your fees, but it allows you space to book other clients.

Establishing Fees in Vital for Practice Health

Setting counseling fees is a challenging yet vital part of establishing your counseling practice. You want to make sure your fees are fair to everyone involved, including yourself. And that they set a solid foundation for the future of your practice.
Growing Your Practice