Tag Archive for: WordPress

WordPress plugins are an amazing way to add new features, increase security and truly customize your private practice website. In this post, I’ll share some of my favorite plugins and how they can improve your therapy website.

WordPress plugins are an amazing way to add new features, increase security and truly customize your private practice website. In this post, I’ll share some of my favorite plugins and how they can improve your therapy website.

What Are WordPress Plugins?

First off, what the heck are WordPress Plugins?

A plugin is a collection of files that can be uploaded within WordPress, to perform a specific task.

If there’s something you want to do with your therapy website that’s not present in the basic WordPress setup or your WordPress theme, chances are a plugin can help you achieve it.

Adding an online store to your website would be a great example.

A basic installation of WordPress does not allow you to display products easily or accept payments.

But an e-commerce plugin, such as WooCommerce, can give you everything you need to create products, send email receipts and accept payments – everything you’d expect an online store to do – right within your WordPress website.

My Favorite WordPress Plugins

Below are the plugins that I personally use the most and recommend for any private practice website.

GM Block Bots

If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, and you’re tracking where your traffic is coming from, chances are you’ve seen lots of spam websites sending you a good chunk of your traffic.

The problem with this is that it can skew your numbers, making you think you’ve had a lot of pageviews and people viewing your content, when in reality, it’s just spam traffic.

Here’s a snapshot of some spammy websites that were showing up in my Google Analytics:

GM Block Bots can help block spam on your private practice website

Not the type of traffic you want.

GM Block Bots filters out that spam traffic and let’s you see a more accurate picture of your Google Analytics data.

This way you can truly understand where your traffic is coming from and how many visitors were real people.

The best part about this plugin is you can set it and forget it. Install it once and you don’t have to mess with any settings.

However, it is good to keep it updated, as they continue to add new spam websites to the list that the plugin blocks.

W3 Total Cache

I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand the entire technical scope of what W3 Total Cache does. Because it does a lot!

But the basic function it serves is to speed up your website by making all the code easier for browsers to load.

If you feel like your website is not performing well and taking a while to load, you’ll want to check out this plugin.

If you do install it, there are some basic settings you’ll want to make sure get right, so check out this article here.

Just a warning: I’ve seen this plugin conflict with some other plugins and make other parts of a website get a bit wacky.

If you install it and run into issues, disable the plugin from the WordPress plugins area of your dashboard.

If something goes really wrong and you can’t log in to WordPress (it’s rare but it’s happened!), use your website’s control panel (with your hosting provider) to delete the plugin and try another caching plugin, such as WP Super Cache.

SumoMe

I love this plugin and I love this company!

Heck, I even wrote an entire blog post about it and how you can use their social sharing tools to boost your blog’s visibility.

This plugin is really more like a suite of plugins.

While they have different levels of customization that you could pay for, I’ve been just fine with the free version.

I (and my wife, the therapist) mainly use SumoMe for their Share plugin, which puts a stylish bar of social media icons on my blog, so readers can easily share it with their networks.

If you’re on a desktop computer, you’ll see it on the left side of this blog. On mobile you’ll find it at the bottom of the screen.

It lets me choose how it looks, where on the page it’s located, and if I want to hide it from certain pages entirely.

List Builder is another great plugin within this suite of plugins.

This is a great way to help you build an email list, if that’s part of your online marketing.

Just like the Share bar, List Builder lets you control the location and visibility of a pop up or slide-in box that you can connect to your email marketing service, like Mailchimp.

Another way of growing your email list is with their Smart Bar.

This plugin places an opt-in bar across the top of your website, only showing it to those who haven’t seen it yet.

You can check out all of SumoMe’s capabilities on their website here.

Yoast SEO

If I could recommend just one WordPress plugin, I think this would be the one.

Yoast SEO has become somewhat of the industry standard for SEO plugins.

What I love about this plugin is that with every page or blog post your create, it gives you an idea of how well (or poorly) your page will perform in search engines.

All you have to do is set a keyword for the page or post you’re working on, and Yoast SEO will give you a score and let you know a few ways you could improve your search engine optimization.

It will also let you know where should put your keyword to boost your SEO potential.

Here’s a screenshot of what it’s showing me as I’m working on this blog post. You can see I still have some work to do!:

A screenshot of Yoast SEO, one of my favorite WordPress plugins you can use on your private practice website.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

UpdraftPlus takes the stress out of backing up your WordPress website.

Let’s face it, things can go wrong with your WordPress website.

Plugins can get screwy and updating WordPress itself can potentially conflict with your theme.

Things happen.

So, it’s always good to have a backup of your website’s files and the database, should you need to revert back to a previous version.

That’s what UpdaftPlus does.

Within the plugin, you can tell it how often you want to back up your website, and where to save it to.

I really like that I can save my backups to DropBox, giving me easy access to files should I need them.

When it comes time (hopefully you won’t need to) to restore a website, just choose your backup and let the plugin do its work to get you back on track.

Limit Login Attempts

Limit Login Attempts is a super simple one that gives you a boost of security to your private practice WordPress website.

Hackers like to break into websites to gain control over them. That’s just what they do.

One way they do this is by using code that will try combinations of usernames and passwords until it finds the right one.

Then they have control to do what they want.

To combat this, Limit Login Attempts does just what the name implies. It allows you set a limit to the amount of times someone can try and log into your WordPress admin area.

Your pretty much just set the limit and then don’t worry about it.

Do make sure you have your WordPress log in credentials saved, because if you forget them, you could end up not just keeping the hackers out, but yourself!

Conclusion

So that’s a roundup of my favorite WordPress plugins you can use to improve your own therapy website! Do you have any favorite plugins that you use on your own website? Let me know in the comments below.

Get Started With WordPress Today

If you've tried using WordPress to build your private practice website, then you know how scary and overwhelming it can be.

That's why I created A Little Course About Wordpress.

This short online course is an introductory guide to using WordPress, where I teach you exactly how to use it and break down each section of the WordPress dashboard and settings.

I'll help you take WordPress from a mysterious, scary and confusing beast to a friendly puppy, easy to navigate and use. Just click the banner to get started:

If you read my last post, you should be familiar with how to create and edit your sidebar in WordPress. But what types of content should you put in your sidebar on your therapy website? In this post I’ll go over some tips to help you choose the best content for your sidebar to help your website visitors get a better picture of you and your private practice.

What types of content should you put in your sidebar on your therapy website? In this post I’ll go over some tips to help you choose the best content for your sidebar to help your potential clients get a better picture of you and your private practice. | Create My Therapist Website

What Is the Purpose of a Sidebar?

So, why should you even have a sidebar on your therapy website? What’s the point?

Well, to be honest, you don’t NEED a sidebar. Your website can and will survive without one.

But, in my opinion, having a sidebar on your blog posts is a quick way to give a passing website visitor a chance to get to know you more and learn more about your private practice.

If you blog consistently, chances are a potential client may see one of your posts on social media or in Google’s search results. If they then land on a blog post, without knowing anything about you, a sidebar can easily lead them into more of your content on your therapy website, should they want to explore it.

It’s also for that reason that I recommend you only have a sidebar on your blog, and not on every page on your website. Your blog can be a great way to hook new traffic, but your about page, services pages and other pages can do without the distraction of sidebars.

Focus those pages on what you want to say to your potential client and what you want them to learn and leave the sidebar out of it.

Ok, now that I’m off my soapbox, let’s talk about the types of content you may want to include in your therapy website’s sidebar.

A Very Short Bio to Say Hello

It has become somewhat of an expectation – in the land of Pinterest and blog posts – to see the face of the author at the top of the sidebar.

I love this approach because it lets your web visitors know who this person is and what they’re all about. It creates connection and that’s what we’re after with your private practice website.

I recommend using a photo of yourself, combined with a very short (one or two sentences) about who you are and who you help. Do you have an elevator pitch for your private practice? Now is the time to use it!

For more details on how to make a widget with a bio in WordPress, check out this post about creating sidebars.

A Search Bar

If you have more than a handful of blogs on your website, it’s helpful to add a search bar so that potential clients can search for specific topics.

WordPress comes with a search widget right out of the box. Visit Appearance > Widgets to grab the search widget and add it to your sidebar.

therapist website sidebar search widget

Links to Your Private Practice’s Social Media Profiles

Since your sidebar is a way for web visitors and potential clients to further connect with you, it’s a great place to link to the social profiles you’ve created for your private practice.

You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to connect with you, and having icons that link to your social profiles is a great way to do that. It has become quite standard and most people expect to see those icons in the sidebar.

Many WordPress themes come with customizable widgets containing your social media icons. If yours doesn’t, don’t worry, there are tons of social media plugins to choose from.

Another way to get your readers to connect with you on social media is to embed your Facebook page or Pinterest profile. If you look to the right, you can see that’s exactly what I did in my sidebar.

The benefit of this is that your readers can like and follow you without even leaving your blog.

Again, there are many plugins that can do this. Or you can grab the code right from Facebook or Pinterest and place it within a Text widget.

Showcase Your Blog Posts

Another bit of content you’ll want to feature in your website’s sidebar are your blog posts.

This is another one of those “standard practice” type of things that we’ve come to expect to see when visiting blogs.

You can easily show your latest blog posts by using WordPress’s default Recent Posts widget:

latest blog posts in a therapist website sidebar

Just drag that bad boy into your sidebar and give it a title (i.e. Latest Posts) and tell it how many links to show and you’re good to go.

Many WordPress themes include an advanced version of the Recent Posts widget that you may like to use instead.

Here’s an advanced tip: If you have Google Analytics installed on your private practice website, find your most popular blog posts and create links in your sidebar for those.

If you know what’s popular and what’s working on your website, why not give them what they want?

To find this info, log into your Google Analytics. Click on Behavior in the left navigation, and then Site Content. Finally click on All Pages and you’ll see the stats for the most visited content on your website.

I highly recommend staying away from displaying a running list of your Blog Archives. It’s pretty ugly and quite overwhelming when you see that long list of links. This was something that was popular when blogging was fresh, but today it just becomes clutter and can make your blog look a bit dated.

Email or Newsletter Opt In

Do you have a newsletter that you send out weekly or monthly to your blog readers?

Your sidebar is definitely one place where you should advertise how folks can join your list.

Try creating a helpful PDF resource and include that in the welcome email they’ll receive when they join your mailing list. Giving something useful away is a great way to add people to your list, because let’s face it, people don’t need just another newsletter.

Keep It Simple and Keep Testing

I change my sidebar often as I have new ideas and new things I want my readers to know about.

So have fun with yours and keep trying new things.

But remember: Keep it simple!

Think about what’s most important to your potential clients and the actions you want them to take (like calling you for an initial consultation). Having too many options in the sidebar can be overwhelming and cause readers to ignore it all together.

We don’t want that.

So be intentional and keep it simple!

 

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The sidebar on your private practice website can be a great place to quickly display some of your most important info to potential clients. In today’s post I’ll take you through the process of creating a sidebar for your blog, using WordPress, so that you’ll know exactly how to build one yourself.

The sidebar on your private practice website can be a great place to quickly display some of your most important info to potential clients. In this post I’ll take you through the process of creating a sidebar for your therapy blog, using WordPress, so that you’ll know exactly how to build one yourself.

Finding Your Sidebar Settings in WordPress

If you’re starting at the very beginning with WordPress, there’s probably not a lot going on in your sidebar at the moment.

If you’ve already installed a WordPress theme, then maybe it looks a little bit more interesting than the generic one you’ll see after WordPress is installed.

For my tutorial on setting up a therapy website using WordPress (in less than 10 minutes!) check out this post here.

For the sake of this tutorial, I’ve got a fresh install of the Divi WordPress theme going on. You can see the sample blog post page and the boring default sidebar below:

Here's what a default sidebar may look like on a new therapy website

The default info is fairly generic, all text and pretty boring. So where do we go to change it?

Once you log into your WordPress admin dashboard, you’ll find your sidebar content under Appearance > Widgets.

Clicking on Widgets will bring you to a page like this:

Put widgets in a sidebar on your private practice website

Now, this area will look slightly different to you depending on what WordPress theme you’re using.

With my Divi theme here, you can clearly see a box on the right marked “Sidebar”.

A sidebar in WordPress is made up of small content blocks, called “widgets”. Hence them being found within the Widgets section of WordPress. Clever nerds!

These widgets are the darker gray boxes within the sidebar. Each one performs a different function and displays different content. Comparing the titles of each one in your WordPress dashboard with what you see when you load a blog post, will give you an idea about what each widget does.

Adding and Removing Widgets from Your Sidebar

Adding and removing widgets is as easy as dragging and dropping them where you want them to be.

To remove a widget that currently appears in your sidebar, just drag it from the sidebar area on the right over to the bank of widgets on the left. WordPress will automatically save it and now when you visit your blog, you won’t see that content any more.

To add a widget to your sidebar, choose from the list of widgets on the left and drag one over to the right, placing it in the sidebar box where you want it to appear.

Depending on the theme you’re using, you may have many more options for widgets than in the example photo above.

Try adding each one and seeing what it does. This way you know all the options available to you to make an awesome sidebar.

Example: How To Create A Bio For Your Therapy Website Sidebar

Enough talk, Daniel, more show!

Ok ok, I’m on it. Let me give you an example and walk you through the steps.

Let’s create a short “about me” widget in a sidebar.

The Divi WordPress theme that I’m using comes with a widget that’s got everything I’ll need to do this, which is pretty sweet. It’s labeled “ET About Me Widget”.

create a bio widget for your counseling website

I want my bio to appear at the top of my sidebar, so I’ll click and drag it over to the right, placing it in the first spot:

Dragging the widget into your sidebar, you can then edit the info

When I drop it into my sidebar, the widget expands to automatically show me what options I have and what content I can place in it. Looks like I can add a title, and image and a paragraph of info about myself.

Note: In order to add an image, I’ll need the URL to where my image is uploaded. So I’ve added a photo in the Media section of WordPress.

Now I can go to my Media Library and click on the photo to get the URL I’ll need:

Find an image for your therapy website's sidebar

I’ll go ahead and copy that URL and paste it into my widget settings, like so:

Fill in the info for your private practice website widget

Now, I’ll click the Save button and then reload my blog post to take a look.

A bio widget in a WordPress sidebar

Beautiful!

Now here’s a little tip if your theme doesn’t have a specific “about me” widget but you’d still like to add a bio.

You can use the default WordPress Text widget and just a little bit of HTML code. Gasp!

Don’t worry, it’s not that tricky. You’ll still need to upload an image to your Media Library and get the URL for that image. The difference here is that you’ll probably have to upload it at the proper width for your sidebar.

If you don’t know the width, you can get away with making it about 300 pixels wide, then use this snippet of code to add the image to the HTML widget:

<img src=”your-image-url-here.jpg” alt=”” width=”100%” />

Except you’d replace your-image-url-here.jpg with the URL to your own image. Here’s how it looks in the WordPress dashboard:

Using text widget for a bio for your therapist website

And how it appears to visitors of the blog post:

Preview of bio text widget in therapy website sidebarConclusion

So, if you’re using WordPress on your private practice website, you should know have a grasp on what a sidebar is, how it’s structured and how to make some basic edits to your existing sidebar.

Stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll talk a bit more strategy and what types of content you should include in the sidebar on your therapy website.

It’s gonna be wild!

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Of all the platforms you could choose to build your private practice website on, nothing offers the most power, flexibility for your business, customization and SEO potential as WordPress. But with so many amazing WordPress themes out there, how can you tell which one is right for your therapy website?

In this post I’ll break down the process of choosing a WordPress theme for your private practice website.

How to Choose the Perfect WordPress Theme for your Therapy Website

What Exactly Are WordPress Themes?

WordPress is a free website framework. It gives you everything you need to create a website and update it easily with pages and blog posts. One of the great features of WordPress is that you can add on any theme of your choosing to make the website look exactly how you want it to look.

A WordPress theme modifies the way your website is displayed without modifying the core WordPress software that runs your website.

A flexible theme will allow you to change the look and feel of your website, adjust colors and fonts, create advanced page layouts and add elements like contact forms and social sharing.

Where To Find WordPress Themes for your Therapy Website

My favorite resource for WordPress themes is the website themeforest.net (affiliate link).

This website is a place where thousands of professional designers and developers sell the products they create, including WordPress themes.

I highly recommend using a premium WordPress theme (a theme you pay for) rather than a free theme, and themeforest.net is a great place to find them.

Premium themes are often better designed, easier to use and often come with customer support to help you when you get stuck while putting your website together.

The themes range in price from $29 up to $64. What’s amazing is that this is a one-time fee you’ll pay; a small investment to have your therapy website look professionally designed.

How to Choose a WordPress Theme

Ok, let’s go step-by-step through my process and the things I want you to look for when choosing a WordPress theme for your therapist website.

Head on over to themeforest.net and click on the WordPress link in the gray navigation bar.

Choosing a WordPress theme for your private practice website

Now you should be looking at an un-filtered list of WordPress themes:

Choosing a therapy wordpress theme

Now is where the real fun (but often time-consuming) work really begins. Use the Tags section on the left to narrow down the results. This way you won’t waste your time looking at WordPress themes for real estate or something not your style.

Use the tags to find the perfect WordPress theme

Take a look at the various ways that Themeforest tags the WordPress themes available. Some WordPress themes can span a few different tags, but try and think about you’re own style and types of therapy websites you’re inspired by. Are they simple or clean? Are they creative or modern or elegant?

Use tags to narrow down your therapy WordPress theme search

Use the tags to narrow down the search a bit.

Here’s a tip: I’ve had a lot of luck with the tag “personal” as these often contain WordPress themes for a personal blog or website, rather than a corporate business.

Another great tip is to use the tag “multipurpose”. The resulting WordPress themes are often great for many different types of businesses and blogs. Heck that’s where I found the theme I’m using at the time this post was written.

Start Collecting WordPress Themes You Like

Ok, now that we’re looking at a smaller pool of WordPress themes by clicking on some tags, it’s time to start previewing a few and collecting some that you think would work for your therapy website.

If you hover over the image next to each theme’s name, you’ll see a little preview of what it looks like. If one piques your interest, open it up in a new tab (so you don’t loose your place).

This will take you to the landing page for that specific theme:

Choose a WordPress theme for your private practice

This page will give you all the information about the WordPress theme, including reviews, comments and price. You’ll also be able to see some screenshots of what it looks like.

Some will even list out all the features of the theme, which is extremely helpful to get a glance of some of the special things the theme can do.

The next thing you’ll want to do is check out the live preview of the theme to see if it could work for your private practice and personal taste.

A new tab will open up with a demo of the WordPress theme. Spend some time here really clicking around and checking out the various web page layouts.

Many of these premium themes come with “demo” content, which means you can import them at the very beginning of building your therapy website, as a starting place. You’ll just go in and fill it with your content later.

Look for that demo content, as well as homepage layouts and imagine your content within these pages. Really try to envision it!

If you like what you see, go back to the theme’s landing page and click on the “Add to Favorites” button. If you haven’t already created a free Themeforest account, you can do so here.

Adding the theme to your favorites folder will save it for later as you continue to look at other themes you may want to use for your private practice website.

Continue this process with as many WordPress themes as you like. It’s time consuming but will be worth it when you find a theme you really like for your therapy website.

I’ll usually do a first sweep, adding about 10 themes to my favorites. Then I’ll come back another day and start winnowing it down to the best one for the project at hand.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Theme

So, now that you still have a bunch of WordPress themes in your favorites, how do you choose the best one for your private practice website?

Here are some ways to help you make the best decision:

  • Read the reviews and comments to see what past customers of the theme are saying. Are they satisfied with the theme? Are they having trouble with it? Also take note of how the theme author responds to those comments.
  • Make sure you go with a theme that offers support from the authors of the theme. This will pay off when you have questions later as you start building out your website. For a small price you can often extend theme support to a year.
  • Check to see that the theme is responsive. It should say so in the features but you can check to see how it looks at different sizes by dragging your browser window in and out. You don’t want to purchase a theme that will not look good on mobile devices. They’re hard to use and Google awards websites that are mobile friendly.
  • Pay attention to the buyer rating and don’t go with a WordPress theme with a low rating
  • I recommend purchasing a theme with a drag-and-drop page builder, like Visual Composer. This means you’ll be able to create new web pages without writing any code. You can easily choose from a number of content elements, drag them where you want them and edit from there.
  • If you want to save time, go with a theme that has demo content. This will give you a great place to start if you really like the theme’s demo layouts. You can then replace their text with yours and save a lot of time
  • Some WordPress themes also come with video tutorials or online documentation. These are extremely handy, especially if you’re new to WordPress. They’ll show you how to make updates and use the Themes settings.

For some examples of WordPress themes you could use for your therapy website, check out this post here.

Conclusion

Themeforest.net offers you thousands of choices for the perfect WordPress theme for your private practice website. And they’re adding new ones all the time!

With a little patience, you can narrow your choice of themes down to a few that you love, then really spend some time with them, envisioning where you’d put your content, reading reviews and exploring the WordPress theme.

And guess what? If you get tired of your theme after a year or so, the beauty of WordPress is that you can always switch it for a new one.

For even more guided learning, check out my online course The Create My Therapist Website Toolbox, where I share step-by-step video tutorials all about how to create an awesome therapy website using WordPress. Just click the banner below to learn all about it:

Create your own therapist website using WordPress

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Guest post by Becky DeGrossa.

Several therapists ask me things like, “I have a website, so people should be able to find me on Google, right?” or “Everyone tells me they love my website. Why I am not getting any new clients?” Although I wish I could say, “If you build it, they will come,” online marketing just doesn’t work like that.

Becky DeGrossa shares the truth about creating a therapy website that actually attracts new business. Does your private practice website have these 5 essential elements?

The truth is creating a website that actually attracts new business is an involved process. There are so many factors that play into the success of a website. Because I’ve talked to so many different therapists about this topic, I wanted to share the five most important secrets to creating a fruitful therapy site. Think of this list as a starting point. There’s way more to add here, such as visual pieces and add-ons, but these steps are vital, and will get the ball rolling.

1. Provide Clear and Easy Navigation

You only have 1-2 seconds to grab the attention of your website visitor. Wait, what?

Yes, if someone doesn’t find what they’re looking for within 1-2 seconds of their arrival to your site, they’re going to click away. While this may come as a shock, studies show that this short period determines whether or not someone will remain on your site (and therefore, use your services).

The best way to ensure people stay on your site is by providing a clear path for them follow. You want to make it very easy to understand what you offer and how you can help. You can do this by listing your specialties in the navigation bar, directing users with queues and images and by providing a clear welcome message on the homepage. If you have too many specialties to list clearly in the navigation bar, consider creating a ‘Specialties’ drop down menu where you can list all your specialties. (While it may be tempting to list all of your specialties on one page titled ‘Services’ or ‘Specialties,’ this has been proven to be much less effective. Read more about page specificity below.)

The bottom line is: make everything extremely easy for your visitor. Provide a clear path with as few clicks as possible.

2. Stay in Touch

You need to stay in touch with your website visitors. Before I dive into ‘how,’ I want to share some interesting facts. The truth is people don’t call and make an appointment the first time they hear your name, visit your website, or hear you speak. In fact, only two percent buy on first exposure, and 80 percent of therapy clients respond between the 5th and 12th visit to your site.

The best way to stay in touch with your website visitors is to a) get them to sign up for your email list by offering a free report, quiz, or download, and b) email them valuable information, such as blog posts.

Ideally, you will want a free download on each of your specialty pages. That way you create specific lists based on your specialties to target your content more effectively. Sending out valuable content keeps your business fresh in your clients’ minds.

3. Provide a Page for Each of your Specialties

As I mentioned in step one, you must be able to clearly communicate what you offer so that your users know if they’ve arrived at the right destination. You should have a separate page for each of your specialties not only so that you can clearly communicate what issues you work with to your potential clients, but also so that your site ranks well on Google. Specialty pages are incredibly important for your site’s rank.

What to include on each page: On your pages, you will want to speak specifically about an issue and how you can help remedy the pain your potential client is feeling. This is not the place to talk about how you work, your modalities, the industry terms, or about you — instead, you want to focus on the potential client and show how you’re the right person to help.

You want to ensure that each of your pages are well optimized. If a page’s SEO is executed poorly, for example, you aren’t including enough content, you aren’t choosing the correct focus keywords, etc., then that page is going to be very difficult to find on Google. Incorporating well thought out SEO on each page is ‘must’ for an effective therapy website. Creating individual pages shows Google that you specialize is say, couples counseling in Austin, Texas; and with a good marketing message, you also show Google that you’re an expert in your field.

Tip: if you have a WordPress website, I highly recommend that you use the plugin Yoast. Yoast allows you to easily add high-quality title tags, meta description, focus keywords and more to each page on your website.

4. Supersize Your Site With More Blogging

Consider the ways in which your site can grow. According to the 2014 Search Metrics Report, the bigger the website (AKA, the more pages) the higher it ranks.

The easiest way to increase the size of your site is by blogging. We recommend writing a 600-word (minimum) blog posts at least once per month, and if you can manage more than one, the more the merrier. There are many different types of content to consider when you’re writing your monthly posts, but blogging consistently is what’s most important. Blog posts offer valuable content to your visitors, which makes them stay longer, and provides you with content to send to your email lists, which keeps people returning to your site.

Tip: in order for your blog to effectively impact your site, it must be integrated– it cannot be a separate website.

If you can’t or don’t want to find time to blog each month, check out our blog writing services. We have a variety of options to choose from based on your budget and preferred writing style.

5. Call to Action

Make sure to tell your visitors what to do next. Without a specific call to action, you lose interaction and decrease the likelihood of being contacted.

Examples of calls to action include: inviting visitors to call and set up a free consultation, scheduling an appointment on your online scheduler, calling to schedule an appointment, or downloading a free report, quiz results, etc.

Does your website have these five things?

Learn more about what goes into creating an effective therapy website at www.counselingwise.com

 

Becky DeGrossa CounselingWiseBecky DeGrossa is the founder and CEO of CounselingWise.com, a small company dedicated to helping therapists effectively market their private practices online. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, Becky pursued her master’s in psychology and became a successful therapist. Now she combines her technical, marketing, and psychology backgrounds to serve the therapy community, and has helped hundreds of therapists in the fine art of website communication. She has helped hundreds of therapists in the world of online marketing since 2007.

​ Schedule a free, 30-minute consultation with CounselingWise ​by visiting www.counselingwise.com and clicking on the ‘Lets Talk’ box in the bottom right hand corner, or give us a call at 720-370-3272.

Building a private practice from scratch takes an investment of both time and money. I remember when my wife first started out. She didn’t have much money to invest in marketing while building her client base, but without marketing it would be hard for her to build her practice. Sound familiar?

Every dollar counts when your building a private practice. So, in this article, we’ll compare the costs of building a private practice website to help you prepare your budget and figure out your options.

Every dollar counted back then, and if you’re just starting out, every dollar counts for you right now.

So, in this article, we’ll compare the costs of building a private practice website to help you prepare your budget and figure out your options.

There are two paths you can take on the journey to your own slice of internet real estate: hiring a professional to build your website or building it yourself. Each option has it’s own set of costs and challenges that we’ll cover below.

The Cost of Hiring Someone to Create Your Private Practice Website

Hiring a professional web designer or developer to build your website is a great option for therapists who have zero technical know-how AND zero desire to learn that know-how.

If you don’t plan on doing much web marketing or making constant updates to your website, then you may want to hire someone to put it all together. You give them the money, they give you the website.

Each design company or freelancer is different in both how they work and what they’ll give you. So going this route requires a lot of research and gathering quotes from potential designers.

Make sure you understand exactly what the end product will be. Will they be writing the copy for you and creating all the landing pages? Or will they just be setting up a WordPress website, installing a theme and handing it off to you to create the content?

All these things should be discussed with the potential developer according to what your needs are.

So, How Much Will it Cost to Have Someone Create My Therapy Website?

Well, that depends.

Knowing exactly what you need, as mentioned above, will help you determine the cost much quicker. If you truly need someone to do EVERYTHING, that’s gonna take more hours and, of course, more money.

On average, most of my clients want a website that contains about 5-10 pages of information about their private practice and includes a blog, contact form and maybe an email opt in. For this type of basic website, I’d say $2500 to $4000 would be the typical investment.

That’s just one example, and that’s why getting quotes is so important. A decent range to assume would be about $800 – $5000 for a website, depending on your needs. Unless you want some really complex site that has a lot more (eCommerce or online scheduling for example) than a blog and basic info about your private practice, I wouldn’t spend more than $4000.

So, let’s break it down completely for a website built with the WordPress platform:

  • Cost to have someone design and develop your website = $800 – $4000
  • Cost for hosting account and domain name: $3.99 a month – $14.95 a month

So that’s a minimum investment of about $804.

It’s possible to find someone who could build your site cheaper. But remember, you get what you pay for so just make sure whoever you go with, it’s up to you to check out their past work, read reviews from past clients and make sure they will do a great job.

Where to Find a Website Designer or Developer

Ok, so you want to hire someone to take care of all this techy stuff and just get your private practice up on the web for the world to see. Where can you go to hire someone?

Here are some suggestions:

Upwork

you can use Upwork to find web designers for your therapy website

Formerly E-lance, Upwork is a place that connects freelancers all around the world with projects, big or small. It is a great way to get a large range of estimates and sample freelance designers very quickly.

You create a job post (remember to be very clear about what you want and need) and set some parameters about who you’d like to work with. Once posted, freelancers will send you a cover letter and a link to their Upwork profile where you can see their experience, browse past projects in their portfolio, read client feedback and also check out their language and communication skills. You can get all that within minutes.

You can pay freelancers per hour or per project. And Upwork has protection in place to make sure you pay only for work you approved and even takes snapshots of the freelancer’s screen as they work.

Click here to check out Upwork and get started today.

Some Other Options

I’ve used Upwork myself and it was a very smooth and rewarding experience. But there are many ways to find designers to build your private practice website. Here’s a few others:

  • Search on Craigslist for a web designer ( make sure the person or company looks reputable and they have a website where you can clearly see their past work and read reviews)
  • Google local design and marketing businesses that you can call to get an estimate from
  • Post on a local college job board ( could be a great way to get a cheaper price, but be prepared for some headaches that may come with working with someone with little experience )
  • Ask for recommendations in the number of Facebook communities for therapists: Abundance Practice Builders, Selling the Couch, or the CMTW Facebook Community

I’d love to Chat

If you think that hiring an experienced designer to bring your website to life is the way to go, then let’s talk. Check out my Custom Websites page to learn more about my process and schedule a free consultation.

 

The Cost of Building Your Own Private Practice Website (DIY)

Your second option for creating a website for your private practice would be to build it yourself.

Today more than ever, services exist that allow you to easily create your own website, start to finish, in an affordable matter.

Let’s talk about a few of the most popular options for a do-it-yourself website.

WordPress

you can use WordPress to build your own private practice website

WordPress is a free blogging framework that gives you all the structure and features needed to create content and publish it to a website.

Note: Here I’m referring to WordPress.org, where you can download all the files for WordPress and host them on your own website. WordPress.com is a website that lets you create a website for free using a basic, stripped-down version of the WordPress platform. You can then pay for certain upgrades, like your own domain name.

WordPress is currently one of the most popular platforms for building websites. According to this article, “WordPress powers 24.8% of all websites – or roughly 75 million sites total by some counts.”

Because WordPress is so popular, it can be pretty easy to find help with creating your own website on the platform. You could post questions on the official forum or just ask any WordPress question of Google and you’ll be almost guaranteed to find the answer.

Just like we discussed above, building your site with WordPress requires you to purchase your own hosting account and domain name. This will be the place where you can install and host the files associated with WordPress.

For step-by-step instructions on purchasing a hosting account and installing WordPress, click here.

So, how much will it cost to create a website with WordPress?

The factors affecting the price of building your website with WordPress have to do with what company you use for your hosting account and what WordPress theme you’d like to use for your site.

Themes are a set of files that you can purchase or download to give your website a new look and new functionality. WordPress is like the framework or foundation of a house. WordPress themes are like the cosmetic stuff and curb appeal.

I recommend purchasing a premium theme for your website, as these often come with documentation on how to fully customize your website. They also give you access to the theme creators, often through forums, so you can ask them questions if you get stuck. Some also come with video tutorials. All this will help you save time when putting your website together.

You can also find free themes out there, but I’ve found that they are more of a headache because you don’t get the above documentation, often leaving you stuck wondering how to make changes on your site without any answers.

Do some research on hosting services to see which one you’d like to go with. I like to use iPage for web hosting and ThemeForest for purchasing great themes, so the prices below will be based on those services. Other hosting services, such as Bluehost, are very similar in pricing though.

Let’s break down the cost.

  • Cost for hosting account and domain name: $1.99 a month – $11.95 a month
  • Cost of a WordPress theme – $0 – $64

So that’s a minimum investment of about $24. (one year of hosting plus a free WordPress theme)

Some hosting requires purchasing a two-year service. So let’s say you do that, plus a $59 premium WordPress theme.

That still only puts you at $107. Not bad to get your private practice on the web!

You can click this link and use the code “LOWESTPRICE” to get hosting with iPage for $1.99/mo plus a free domain name.

Wix

using Wix to create a therapist website
Wix claims to have all the features and apps that any small business would need to function online – “email marketing tools, SEO analytics, online booking systems & more.” Wix prides themselves on providing powerful technology that makes it simple for anyone to get online without any knowledge of coding. They provide beautiful templates and you do the rest.

Starting with a free option, Wix can be a fast way to get online without spending a lot.

The costs come in when you start to upgrade your service. If you want to connect your own domain, you’ll spend about $4 a month to link that up to your Wix account. This means you’ll pay for a domain name on top of your $4 a month Wix account. This option also displays Wix ads on your site.

Plans then increase from there, based on things like storage space, use of premium apps and the removal of certain ads your website.

Below is a sample of their price structure, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Wix pricing

So, a minimum investment into Wix, to get your therapy website online could potentially be $0. But keep in mind that would come with many limitations and cost you in the future, should you want to upgrade to avoid those limitations.

Squarespace

Squarespace homepage

“Squarespace’s mission is to provide creative tools that help anyone give a voice to their ideas. From the designers and engineers who are creating the next generation of web and mobile experiences, to anyone putting a website together for the first time, Squarespace provides elegant solutions that set new standards for online publishing.”

Squarespace is another great all-in-one website building service, giving you the essential tools to help you build your website without having to know any HTML coding.

Like Wix, you can choose from a growing number of professionally designed templates to suite your style and needs. Clicking on a template on Squarespace.com will show you examples of their customers using that template, giving you an idea of the possibilities.

After the free trial period, their cost structure is pretty straightforward:

  • $8 a month when billed annually (or $12 a month if billed monthly) for a 20 page website and a free domain
  • $18 a month when billed annually (or $26 a month if billed monthly) for a website with unlimited pages

So, if we continue with our analysis of initial investment, Squarespace would set you back $96 for a year’s worth of service. Or $12 if month-to-month is your thing (costing you $144 for a year).

Weebly

create a therapy website with weebly

Our final DIY website building service that we’ll cover is Weebly. As you can see from their homepage above, Weebly claims to be “the easiest way to make a website”. With a “100% happiness guarantee”, they provide simple tools to make creating your website as easy as possible for you.

Like Wix, Weebly does offer a free version of their services, but it comes with limitations, such as not providing you with a domain name and limiting your storage to 500mb. Here’s a snapshot of their pricing structure, which you can view here.

Weebly pricing

One difference between Squarespace & Weebly is that Weebly’s $8 tier does include an unlimited amount of pages on your website, which may come in handy should you really want to grow the content on your site in the future.

So, a minimum investment to get your private practice online using Weebly’s tools could potentially be $0. Like Wix, that free version comes with many limitations which you can see in their pricing structure above.

 

Download your free Website Platform Comparison Guide

With so many platforms to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming to choose where to begin.

I created a free quick-guide PDF resource so you can easily see how each website-builder stacks up with the others.

In the PDF you’ll get an overview of the pros and cons of 6 top website builders - Wix, WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace, Brighter Vision and TherapySites - as well as each platform’s pricing table so you can understand exactly what you get for the cost involved.

Just click on the image below to download The Website Platform Comparison Guide and start building your private practice website today.

free download therapist website platform comparison guide 1

So Which Option Is Right For You?

First of all, thanks for reading this far (you’re a true champ!).

So, how do you determine which is the right option for your private practice – to hire someone to create your website, build it yourself using WordPress or use a DIY service like Squarespace?

Well, only you can really answer that question.

Let me explain.

Many factors come into play when deciding to invest in a website for your private practice.

You may have JUST started your practice and finances are really tight and you just want the cheapest option available so you have something on the internet for your business, so perhaps you’d be ok with some ads on your site in exchange for the free Weebly option.

You may have an established practice and ZERO desire to learn about what goes into building a website, so hiring someone may be the ideal option for you.

Or perhaps you want to roll up your sleeves, take full control and build your site from the ground up using WordPress.

You have to think about where you are now and where you want to go with your practice. Think about what makes sense to YOU and the goals you have to grow your business and which option will help you achieve those goals.

In An Ideal World, I Recommend Using WordPress

Let me give it to you straight.

If you want my honest opinion as a web designer/developer, I would recommend building your own private practice website using WordPress, hosted on your own hosting account.

Doing so will give you the greatest amount of freedom and flexibility to grow your website along with your private practice. Because WordPress allows you to add plugins, change themes and create web pages and blog posts as much/often as you like, you’ll be able to make changes for free as needed.

Another plus is that WordPress can be the cheapest in the long run. It can be cheaper than the DIY sites out there and FAR less expensive than hiring someone to build it.

For example, hosting providers such as iPage often offer hosting as low as $1.99 a month and include a free domain with purchase. That’s only $23.88 for a year! If you purchase a professional WordPress theme at $59 (a one time fee), you’ll have everything you need when it comes to a website and have paid $82.88 for the first year. With that, you can then add photos, embed videos, plug in Google Analytics and other extras as you wish. These options will cost you when using services like Wix, Squarespace and Weebly.

And I do recommend having your own domain name as part of your online marketing. It looks professional and helps people remember where to find you.

This means that the cheapest DIY option that includes a domain would be Wix at $4.08 a month BUT this plan includes ads on your website (something I’d advise against) and many other limitations.

All these services and costs need to be weighed and thought about before you decide what’s right for you. In my experience, WordPress has always been the way to go and has given me the most flexibility for least investment.

Click here to learn more about my custom website design services for therapists

FYI, a few of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I only recommend these products and services because I use them myself and find them helpful, not to make a commission should you choose to purchase something.  Please only purchase them if you truly feel that they will help you achieve your goals.

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Have you ever “subscribed” to a blog? You know, you give them your email and then each time there’s a new blog post it magically appears in your inbox? How the heck do they do that? It’s probably some high-tech hocus pocus, right?… Wrong.

In this post I’m gonna explain which system I use to automatically email my latest posts to an email list and take you through the steps to set it up yourself.

Follow along and we’ll have your blog posts hitting inboxes in no time. Let’s get started, shall we?

Why You Should Email Your Latest Blog Posts

Often, what happens when someone comes to your blog is that they’ll read one post, get what they came for, and then go on their merry way. Maybe they came across a link to your blog on Pinterest or just happened to land there from Google. They’ll close out of your site and forget about you.

But what if they really liked your therapy blog and would genuinely enjoy reading more of the awesome content you create? You’d want to give them a way to know when new blogs are posted and a way to keep coming back to your website.

Creating an email list and allowing your readers to subscribe to your blog is a great way of doing that. It can give potential clients a way to know you better, see your expertise and hopefully schedule an appointment. And it can be a great way to drive traffic to your site over time.

So, Which Email Service Should I Use?

Well, that’s really up to you and the goals you want to accomplish with email marketing. Personally, I prefer MailChimp and here’s why:

  1. It’s free as long as your email list is under 2,000 names
  2. You can easily create sign up forms that you can embed in your website
  3. I love love love the brand, design and ease of creating email campaigns
  4. I’ve been using them since 2010 and they just keep improving

Honestly, the price point for MailChimp is what first brought me to them. And if you have a low budget (mine is zero because I’m still growing my blog) they are a great choice. And they have all the functionality needed to detect when I post a new blog and then send it out to my list.

Do a little research though. Other email clients and services you can use are GetResponse, AWeber, or Feedburner (Feedburner can auto-send your posts for free, but it’s not a robust email marketing tool like the others).

How to Automatically Email Your Latest Posts Using MailChimp

Let’s go through the steps to set up your latest post email via Mailchimp.

Go to MailChimp's website to create an account.

Create a MailChimp Account

  1. Head over to Mailchimp’s website and create an account.
  2. Click on the button ‘Sign Up Free’
  3. Fill out the form with your email, a username and a password and click ‘Create My Account’
  4. Head to your inbox and look for the email they just sent you, the subject should be ‘Activate your MailChimp account’
  5. Click the big button in the email ‘Activate Account’
  6. Click the checkbox on the Captcha form to prove you’re human
  7. Click the button ‘Confirm Signup’
  8. Fill out your profile (some of this info will appear in your email’s footer)
  9. Click ‘Save and Get Started’

Boom. You’re all set up with a MailChimp account.

Create Your First Email List

Now that you’re all set up, you should be looking at the MailChimp dashboard. From here, we’ll create our first email list. This will allow you to collect the emails you’ll send your latest post to later on.

The Mailchimp dashboard, time to create your first list

  1. Click ‘Create A List’
  2. Click the gray button ‘Create List’
  3. Fill out the information about your new list. For list name, I like to use something like “Latest Blog Post Subscribers”.
  4. You’ll be taken to an overview of your new list where you can manage the details
  5. Add your email address to the list (so you’ll know it’s working) by clicking on ‘Add Subscribers’ then ‘Add a Subscriber’ in the dropdown
  6. Fill out the form with your info
  7. Click ‘Subscribe’

Now, Let’s Create Your Automatic Email Campaign

We do this in the ‘Campaign’ section of MailChimp

Set up your automatic email campaign

    1. Click ‘Create Campaign’
    2. Click ‘RSS Driven Campaign’
    3. Enter your blogs feed url, it should like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/feed
    4. Enter the frequency and time you want to send your emails
    5. Click ‘Next’ in the lower right corner
    6. Choose the email list you want to send it to and check ‘Send to entire list’
    7. Click ‘Next’
    8. Fill out the information for your campaign. Mailchimp will use RSS values to pull in information about your blog feed. For example, *|RSSFEED:TITLE|*will look at your feed and come back with the title of your feed.Here’s what I use for my email subject: *|RSSITEM:TITLE|* | Create My Therapist WebsiteSo for this blog post it would read ‘How to Automatically Email Your Latest Therapy Blog Post | Create My Therapist Website’
    9. Click ‘Next’
    10. Here’s where you get to choose a template. For the purposes of this tutorial, click the ‘Select’ button for the 1 Column layout under the ‘Basic’ templatesChoose the 1 Column template for auto emailYou’ll then be in the Design section of your campaign. This where the fun really begins and you can make your email look amazing. It’s up to you how crazy you want to get. For reference, this is what my latest blog post email looks like:This is what my auto blog email looks like
    11. Click the ‘Design’ tab on the right side of the page to put in colors to match your website.
    12. Click on the text that says ‘Use this area to offer a short preview of your email’s content’ and update it to whatever you want. I like to use ‘New post from…”
    13. Upload a logo or photo where it says ‘Drop an image here’
    14. Click on ‘Designing Your Email’ to edit the body of your email
    15. On the right side panel, click on the code brackets <>
    16. Paste this code into the editor, updating your URL:*|RSSITEMS:|*
      <h1>*|RSSITEM:TITLE|*</h1><p>by *|RSSITEM:AUTHOR|*</p><p><a href=”*|RSSITEM:URL|*”>Read this post on www.yourwebsite.com</a><br />
      &nbsp;</p><p>*|RSSITEM:IMAGE|*</p><p>*|RSSITEM:CONTENT_FULL|*<br />
      &nbsp;</p><p><a class=”mc-template-link” href=”http://inspiration.mailchimp.com”>*|END:RSSITEMS|*</a></p>
    17. Click ‘Save & Close’
    18. Check out what it looks like by clicking ‘Preview and Test’ then ‘Enter Preview Mode’
    19. If all looks good, send yourself a test email by clicking ‘Send a Test Email’ in the ‘Preview and Test’ dropdown
    20. If the email looks good, click ‘Next’
    21. Check all the details and make sure they’re correct, then click ‘Start RSS’Congrats! You’re all set up. You should be looking at this and feeling good:Your Automatic latest post email setup is complete

Note: RSS feeds don’t automatically include featured images, so I use a plugin in WordPress called Featured Images in RSS w/ Size and Position

How to Add Your Email List Signup to Your Therapy Website

Stick with me just a little longer! Now that we have our automatic blog post email set up in MailChimp, we gotta get some people on your email list. We do that by going back to the ‘Lists’ section of MailChimp.

How to set up an email signup form on your counseling website

  1. Click on the title of the list you created for your auto email campaign
  2. Click on ‘Signup Forms’
  3. Click on ‘Embedded Forms’
  4. Under ‘Classic’, edit the details to what you want
  5. Copy the code in the box titled ‘Copy/paste onto your site’If your private practice website is built with WordPress, follow the remaining steps.Note: I’ve also had some issues with the Submit button not appearing in WordPress, the way to fix this is to delete ‘class=”clear”‘ from this code: <div class=”clear”><input type=”submit” value=”Subscribe” name=”subscribe” id=”mc-embedded-subscribe” class=”button”></div>
  6. Log into WordPress
  7. Hover over ‘Appearance’ and click on ‘Widgets’
  8. Choose the sidebar where you want your form to appear
  9. Drag and drop a ‘Text’ widget into that sidebar
  10. Paste your MailChimp form code into the text box
  11. Click ‘Save’

Ok! You should now have a working signup form in your therapy website’s sidebar. Any time someone enters their info into the form it will automatically be added to your email list in MailChimp. Then, any time you update your blog, they’ll get that goodness delivered right to their inbox.

If your website is not built with WordPress, try looking at the support section of the website service you use for information on adding HTML code to your website.

Well I hope this tutorial was helpful. If you download the cheat sheet below, you’ll get added to my newsletter and never miss an update.

Download my 4 steps to creating and marketing a therapist website

This is a free resource I created to get you started building YOUR private practice website today.

GET THE FREE CHEAT SHEET

 

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I believe the blog on your counseling website DESERVES to be shared with the world. You’re probably sharing your posts on your social networks, but is your blog optimized to let OTHERS share your amazing content?

One way to increase your social footprint and drive more traffic to your therapy website is with the use of social sharing buttons. You’ve seen them. They’re those buttons on the top, bottom or floating on the side of most websites that let you share content on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media.

According to a past study of the 10,000 largest websites, those that featured Twitter share buttons were, on average, mentioned in 27 tweets containing a link back to the site, whereas those not featuring tweet buttons were mentioned, on average, in only four tweets that contain a link back to the site.

So, you might be wondering… Daniel, how do I install install these social sharing buttons on my website?

I’m glad you asked.

Installing Social Share Buttons on Your Private Practice Wordpress Website (for FREE!)

If your website is built on WordPress, you’re in luck. Social sharing plugins make it stupid easy to install social sharing features on your blog. You can do it in about 5 minutes.

The only issue I’ve run in with social sharing plugins on WordPress is that there are just SO many to choose from. Some of them are more easily to customize than others. And some have limitations on where the buttons can be placed.

I did some research when developing a few websites over the last year because I was not content with the plugins I used in the past. They didn’t look cool and I couldn’t get them to work how I wanted. I must have installed 5 and then un-installed them on my own blog. After searching for eons (ok, maybe not THAT long), I FINALLY found some great social share buttons from the company SumoMe. And I fell in love (is that weird?… to fall in love with social sharing buttons?… maybe.. I dunno).

Like I said, there are many plugins out there. You can use whatever one you like. I only recommend SumoMe because I’ve used them and it’s been the best plugin for me by far. But just like I did, test out a few and see what works for you.

What is SumoMe and Why I Love Them

installing social sharing plugin on your therapist website

SumoMe is a company that builds tools to help you grow your website traffic. Plain and simple. They are real online marketers and entrepreneurs that stand by and use the tools they produce. Heck, they even support you with tips on how to make your website a complete success. I’m really impressed with what they do, and that’s why I use them on my blogs today.

They have many tools you can add to your website, like pop-ups and ways to build your email list, but today we’ll focus on their Share Plugin.

Installing the SumoMe WordPress Plugin

1. Log into the WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins on the left navigation.

Then click “Add New”. From the Plugins search page, type “SumoMe” into the search bar:

search for social buttons plugin

 

2. Locate the SumoMe Plugin and Click on “Install Now”

Install the SumoMe plugin

 

3. Activate the Plugin

activate social buttons plugin

4. Set Up SumoMe

Once activated you’ll see some hand-drawn text asking you to set up SumoMe. Click on it to get started:

setup sumome social sharing buttons

5. Create Your SumoMe Account

You’ll see a popup to create your free account

Create SumoMe Account

6. Click on Sumo Store (don’t worry, we can use free versions of their social sharing tools 😉 )

social media buttons for therapy website

7. Scroll Down and Click on “Share”

social sharing

8. Click on “Free”

Sharing features will be installed. Close out of that screen and click on the crown icon at the top right. This area is where you can access the SumoMe settings in the future.

social media for private practice website

 

9. You’ll See that Share is Installed. Click on it to Access Options

SumoMe Share

 

SumoMe Settings and What You Need to Know

Ok, now that the share plugin is all installed and we’re feeling good, we have to make sure the plugin is set up how we want it to be. Let’s go through what each setting does. A few settings are paid features, so I’ve omitted them in the explanations below.

Clicks: Reveals Your Total Number of Clicks for the Week

Clicks shows you how many times people have clicked on share buttons

Clicks is the summary of how many times people have clicked on your share buttons. It should read zero when first installed (no one has clicked yet) but over time this will give you insight as to the total clicks and which of your pages is getting shared the most. If you stick with the free version, the data is limited to only the last 7 days.

Settings: Decide What Services to Include & How You Want the Buttons to Look

share settings

The settings screen is where we start to customize. You can choose which social media sites you want to allow your blog to be shared on. Drag from the “available services” to the “selected services” to add networks, and the other way to remove them. You can then re-order them by dragging and dropping them within the “selected services” view.

Go through each of the settings and choose your preference. One of the reasons why I love this plugin is you can really customize here. You can change how many services show, the size of your buttons, how they’re sorted, change the background color to match your brand, change the shape and decide at what screen size you want the share buttons to switch to mobile view.

Go through each setting, making changes and saving them as you go. You can have your blog open in another browser window to refresh the page and see how the changes look, until you arrive at something you like.

Layout: Decide Where on the Page You Want Your Share Buttons

social button layout

The layout panel lets you choose exactly where you want to place your social sharing buttons on your therapy website. Click on each gear to turn it blue and set where you think they’ll work best. You may want to test different locations to see if the difference leads to more shares or not. I’m more of a “set it and forget it” kinda guy here. I just like having them constantly visible so I opt for the left side floating share buttons.

Test it and do what works best for you your private practice website.

Display Rules: Decide on What Pages You Want Social Sharing

Displaying social share buttons

Using the Display Rules settings, you can choose what pages you want your share buttons to appear on. With the free version, you get a good amount of options for places to show or hide the buttons. Setting it to show on “All pages containing an article” will make the share buttons only visible on your blog. Add multiple rules to get really specific, if you want. You can even have them appear only on certain size screens. The combinations are endless!

Services: Include Your Twitter Name in Shared Tweets

setting up social sharing on your counseling website

The services tab lets you include your Twitter username, if you have one. This way, any time one of your amazing counseling blog posts is shared on twitter, it will automatically include a “via @YourTwitterName”. This is great because other people will not only see your link, they can follow you on Twitter as well. BONUS!

How to Install SumoMe Social Sharing on Non-WordPress Sites

Ok, so we talked in depth about installing the SumoMe WordPress plugin, but what about a site that isn’t built on WordPress? A valid question, and one that SumoMe has already thought of…

Go to http://sumome.com/instructions#step2 and you can grab a piece of HTML code and follow the instructions on that page to register your account and install the tools.

They also give instructions for these other website building platforms (links to the instructions):

  1. Squarespace
  2. Blogger
  3. Shopify
  4. Weebly
  5. Tumblr
  6. Google Tag Manager

A Note About the Free Version

I have to mention that with the free version of this plugin, there will be a visible SumoMe logo underneath your share buttons. Personally, it doesn’t bother me because I think the free version has tons of options and works great. Aside from that, there is a TINY blue line that will appear on the side of your site (you can see it at the bottom left of this post). This is for you to log in to SumoMe. You can change the location of this in the SumoMe settings box. Again, it’s the tradeoff for using the free version.

So now you’re site should be ready for sharing across the interwebs! Make sure to explore the SumoMe plugin and even try installing some of their other tools. You can use their Image Sharer tool to make all your images shareable. Great for marketing your counseling blog on Pinterest 😉

How has marketing your private practice on social media been going for you? Let me know in the comments.

Download my 4 steps to creating and marketing a therapist website

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It used to be very difficult and costly for someone to build a website for their therapy business.

Once upon a time, the only way to build a website was for you to find and hire a professional to develop it. Lots of time and lots of money. And even once it was complete, updating the site was a chore that required more time and a big learning curve. But fear not! In recent years, the rise of WordPress has made owning and building a professional looking website something that most people can do easily and quite affordably.

WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging and website framework. Think of it as the structure of your website, and the hub for creating all the pages and blog posts on your site. This “structure” is free for anyone to use. What is amazing is that you can then purchase professionally designed and developed themes to upgrade the look of your out-of-the-box WordPress website. Because this process is simple to do and cheap, I highly recommend it for building a website for your therapy practice (or anyone needing a website for that matter!).

For more info on buying a hosting account and installing WordPress themes, check out the post How to Start a Therapist Website in 10 Minutes (or less)

Because of the many beautiful WordPress themes out there today, building a great looking website is within the reach of any private practitioner. Here, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best options for therapist WordPress templates.

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Adelia($58)

Wordpress theme for therapists

 

Adelia is another clean and minimal WordPress template that would be great for any therapy business. It comes with a built in drag-and-drop page builder that lets you create custom layouts for your site. It looks great on any device and it’s also optimized for search engine optimization to help your practice be found more easily on Google. It also comes with Layer Slider, which lets your create animated galleries. Adelia also promises 100% support, should you have any questions.

Enfold($59)

Enfold is a great WordPress theme for therapists

I may be a bit partial to this WordPress theme, considering it’s the theme I’m currently using on this website. I’ve been using Enfold on a number of websites for years because I’ve been so impressed by it’s ease of use as well as it’s flexibility in creating beautiful layouts with the drag-and-drop page-builder. They even boast that it’s “the user-friendliest WordPress theme ever made”. With over 20 demo content packages to choose from, this theme is a great starting point for any therapist who wants to get a beautiful private practice website up quickly and then customize with their own content.

MentalPress – ($59)

Therapist wordpress theme

MentalPress is a WordPress theme built with the psychology, counseling and medical fields in mind. Because of this, it offers a layout that includes places for all the info any therapist would want to showcase. Phone number and “Make an Appointment” button are prominently displayed. Other features include video tutorials on using the theme, demo content to get you started, and a drag-and-drop page builder to create awesome layouts. I’ve also heard, from folks who have used this theme, that customer support is fantastic.

Psychologist($43)

Therapist WordPress Themes

 

The Psychologist WordPress theme has a bold look that will make any therapist stand out. It’s clean but it’s also colorful, has a drag-and-drop page builder and will look good across all devices. It also comes with an appointment and events calendar which could be useful for advertising group therapy sessions. It’s got more features than you’ll even need!

Seven($48)

Wordpress themes for counselors

Seven is super stylish WordPress theme and a great option for your private practice website. The photos are given prominence, so find some great stock photos and to make your practice stand out. It features video tutorials to help beginners, a layout that looks great on all devices, and a handy drag-and-drop page builder to help you create fresh layouts for your content. Also a great option for the counselor who likes to blog, as it’s clean and easy to read.

 

Extent($58)

Wordpress theme for counseling business

 

I think this one is my favorite. Extent is a truly versatile WordPress theme that has many options that would work great for creating a custom therapist website. It comes with 6 demo templates that you can install with one click, and then fill in your own info. These demos have different layouts so you can customize to your heart’s content. It’s optimized for search engines, has a drag-and-drop page builder, and fully responsive. The list of options is quite impressive, including multiple languages, making this a great option as a therapist WordPress theme.

Horizon($43)

Wordpress theme for private practitioners

The Horizon WordPress theme is set up to be a one page website. The site loads smoothly as you scroll down the page and elements animate in. Another great choice if you have some good stock photos for your therapy business. Key features include Visual Composer Page Builder, totally responsive, unlimited colors and hundreds of fonts.

Valise($48)

Therapy wordpress themes

 

Valise was built more as a portfolio for designers but could easily be adapted for any therapist’s website. It’s simple, clean and colorful, and comes with Revolution Slider in case you want to create some fancy animations. It’s also fully responsive, search engine optimized and comes with full demo content to help you get started. There’s also video tutorials to help you learn the features.

One WordPress($33)

create a website for your therapy business

 

One WordPress is described as a “flat, responsive resume and personal portfolio theme”. It places most of the information on one homepage with bold colors and a place for your headshot. This one is simple and straightforward, allowing you to focus on your counseling services and lead your potential clients right into the contact form.

WP Prohibition($43)

Wordpress themes for private practitioners

Like the last theme, WP Prohibition is another theme that is clean but bold. The design is fully responsive so it will look great on all devices. It features a powerful page builder, search engine optimization and a fully customizable, drag-and-drop homepage builder. You also get free updates for life, so you know the creators are working to constantly improve their theme.

UPDATE: More WordPress Themes for Therapists & Counselors

Since originally writing this post I’ve come across some other great WordPress themes that I can’t ignore. So any updates to this post will appear below as I find great themes you can use for your private practice website.

Divi – ($69/yr, $89/yr or $249 one-time)

Divi WordPress themes for therapists

Divi is my personal WordPress theme of choice when it comes to the one-on-one custom websites I create for my own clients. After researching which WordPress themes offered the most customization, ease of use for updating and best options – I landed on Divi. It costs a little more than the others (they have a few different packages) on the list, but the service, support and flexibility you get is well worth it. It comes with a visual builder with 20+ pre-designed layouts so you can lay out beautiful web pages in just seconds. Plus EVERYTHING is customizable and if you need help, there’s a huge support community out there to help you.  Check out Divi and some of the amazing things you can do with it here.

I even wrote a whole blog post about Divi, you can read that over here.

Well, There You Have It!

There are tons of WordPress themes to choose from when building your therapist website. It is by no means exhaustive, but I hope this list will save you some time as you create your own website to market your therapy business. If there are other themes that you’ve found that would be great for therapists, please let me know in the comments so I can add to the list!

For more info about finding a WordPress theme for your private practice, check out this post.

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Are you a therapist just starting your career? Or have you finally landed the job that will launch your private practice and now it’s time to start bringing in the clients? Either way, a professional looking website could be your next step to jump-starting your counseling business.

Long ago, having your own website was limited to either the few people who knew programming languages or the few people who could pay someone who did. The good news for you, though, is that those days are long gone. You don’t have to be technically minded to get a website up and running any more.

But I know the process can still seem daunting. You may want to set up a website but have no idea where to begin, so you go on without one. Well, we can’t have that any more! Below I’ll lay out the steps to get a website up and running, and it will only take 10 minutes or less of your time.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Purchasing a domain name & hosting account (for cheap)
  2. Setting up your hosting account
  3. Installing WordPress (I’ll explain what this is)

There are many different ways to set up a website, but I’ve found the easiest way (and the one with the most control and flexibility) is to use WordPress. WordPress is a blogging framework that gives you all the structure and features needed to create content and publish it to a website. It’s simple to use and it’s extremely popular, even the pros use it. The site you are on now is built on WordPress!

Step #1 – Purchasing a Domain Name & Hosting Account

Choosing your Domain Name

A domain name is the address that people will use to get to your website. The domain for this website is createmytherapistwebsite.com. Your domain name can be your own name, or if you have a brand for your therapy services, you can use that. You’ll also want to make sure that the domain name is available. I’ll show you how to do this in the steps below.

Setting up Your Hosting Account

A website is made up of a bunch of files and images and they need a place to “live”. That’s what a hosting account is. You need a place to “host” all the assets that make up your website and there are many services out there that let you do this. However, based on my own experience building sites as a freelance web designer, I recommend a service called iPage. Here’s why I think iPage works well for most people:

  1. They are affordable. Most hosting accounts start around $1.99 per month and come with a free domain name.
  2. They are easy to use. The control panel is laid out nicely and I’m easily able to find the settings I need.
  3. Easy Wordpress installation. Installing WordPress (the framework of your website) is achieved in just a couple clicks and iPage walk you through the entire process.
  4. Great customer service. They are there if you need them and pride themselves on helping people.

Get Started: Click here to buy a hosting account with iPage and get a free domain name. I’ll walk you through the process below.

iPage Step #1

Click on this link and then click the big “Sign Up Now” button. They often have introductory offers, and these can change from week to week. At the time of writing this blog, it’s at $1.99 a month which is a great deal.

After you click the button, you’ll be asked to choose the domain name you want to use. Check off “register a new domain”, enter your desired domain name in the field and click “Check Availability” to see whether that domain is available for you to use with your hosting account:

step 1 choose your domain name

If your domain name is available, you’ll get a message in bold saying something like “createmytherapistwebsite.com will be live on iPage in just a few minutes”. Victory! If the domain you want is not available, you can try some other options until you get the one you want.

iPage – Step #2

Enter your billing information to purchase an account

step 2 - set up your hosting account

TIP: I never purchase the “Domain Privacy”, “Website Essentials” or other extras listed on this page and the next. You can just stick with the simple hosting account without the extras, but it’s up to you!

iPage – Step #3

Set up a username and password for your account, log in, and your hosting account is all set up! You’ll see what’s called the “control panel”, which looks like this:

Step 3 - therapy website hosting control panel

 

iPage – Step #4

Install WordPress by clicking the logo in the “Website” section:

installing wordpress for your therapist site

iPage – Step #5

Click the “Install” button in the FREE section

install wordpress to build a therapist website

 

iPage – Step #6

Click on the “Check Domain” button

installing wordpress

 

iPage – Step #7

Click the “Continue” button on the next page

building a wordpress site

iPage – Step #8

Click on the “Advanced Options” checkbox and fill out the information. This will be your login for the WordPress dashboard.

TIP: Save this information somewhere because you will need it often!

Then click the terms & conditions checkbox and the “Install Now” button.

ipage-8

iPage – Step #9

Let the installation run. When complete, you’ll see a page that looks like this:

wordpress installation complete! website set up

 

iPage – Step #10

Click on the Admin URL to get to the log in screen for WordPress. Use the info you entered in step #8 to log in to the dashboard. Here’s what the WordPress dashboard looks like:

The wordpress dashboard

 

 

Final Step – Installing a WordPress Theme

This is where you get to make your website look like a professional, functioning site. WordPress allows you to change the “theme” of your site. There are many free themes out there, but in my experience, they have only lead to headaches. So I recommend purchasing a theme from Themeforest. These themes are designed and built by professionals and they come with many options to customize and even technical support, should you need it.

Go to Themeforest and click on WordPress.

Find a wordpress theme on theme forest

Choose the category of theme and then browse until you find one that fits your style. You can look at the live demo of the site to see if you think you can easily populate it with info for your private practice. Once you find a theme and purchase it, download it to your computer. Now it’s time to upload it WordPress.

In the WordPress dashboard, click on “Appearance” in the left navigation:

adding a wordpress theme

 

Click on “Add New”

add new wordpress theme for your therapist website

 

Click on “Upload Theme”

upload wordpress theme to create your therapist website

 

Follow the instructions and upload the zip file of the theme you bought from Themeforest. Once uploaded and activated, you’ll follow the instructions from the creators of the theme to customize it. This is where you’ll upload your logo, change the colors and fine tune it to your needs.

Having Trouble Uploading Your Theme? Watch This:

Congratulations! By now you should have a fully functioning website. Now the fun part can begin and you can add your own information about your therapy services and start bringing in the clients! 

Any questions or issues? Please leave a comment below.

 

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If you've tried using WordPress to build your private practice website, then you know how scary and overwhelming it can be.

That's why I created A Little Course About Wordpress.

This short online course is an introductory guide to using WordPress, where I teach you exactly how to use it and break down each section of the WordPress dashboard and settings.

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