Your website is a BIG deal.
Is it a big deal?
Do I even need one if I’m on the clinic’s website?
I’m just a solo practitioner, isn’t a Facebook page fine?
This is the inner struggle that my clients have on the regular. They’re not wrong to have this “should I should I not” battle when it comes to having a website. The vast majority of the 18+ billion websites are simply there collecting dust.
If that’s the case…some might say, why bother?
But that’s why they have me to give them guidance and you do too.
And I’m telling you (just as I tell them) that YES your website is a BIG deal. No matter how big or small you are, where else you might be promoted.
You are your brand and that brand needs to be represented where potential patients and clients are looking.
That’s online. People start their searches for nearly everything online these days. Practitioners are no exception. You need to be there with a professional presence that gets them excited about the opportunity to be seen by you!
Your website doesn’t have to complicated (in fact, better if its not) but it does need to be out there if you really want to build a practice that looks like something other than you’re operating out of your basement.
Here’s how with 10 Website Must Haves to Make your Website Worth the Investment.
(Or skip right to the bite sized version with this Website Checklist)
1) Have a Domain That Make Sense: One of the first things you need when you’re setting up a website is a domain name. That www. Name. With so many websites out there now it can be difficult to get the one you want, especially if its something like www.downtownwellness.com or www.lotusmassage.com
A few tips for choosing your domain:
– Try to have a .com name, or if you’re in Canada use .ca (or your country specific handle if outside of North America). These are the most searched, the most trusted and if someone tries to type in your website directly you don’t want them to get rerouted because they forgot you were a .net
– If the domain you really want is not available, consider adding a location to it. This works well for you as a practitioner because you are location based. Like this: www.lotusmassagetoronto.com – this is much more likely to be available
– Consider using your name or some play on your name. If you are branding yourself as the practitioner (rather than a whole clinic) it makes sense and allows people to remember you instantly. It is an added personal touch. Plus it is MUCH more likely to be an available domain. You can even add in a location or indication of what you do such as www.janesmithRMT.com or www.drdarcychiro.com (if you are branding yourself as Dr. Darcy)
HOW: This is an easy one. Simply go onto Godaddy.com and start searching for domains. This works best if you’re using a wordpress or Wix website. If you use Squarespace they include domain and hosting so just get it through them and save your money.
2) Keep your Branding Consistent: You may be saying brand whhatttt? Yes you, as a practitioner are a brand. You’re the talent. And your website is a visual representation of that brand (just like business cards, signage and brochures are). The sooner you can really nail down what that “brand” is the better as it drips into all aspects of your business.
This means fonts, colours, logos, imagery and even the messaging and way you speak all makes up your brand.
The more consistent and clear, the more professional you like but ALSO it makes it really easy for people to understand who you are and what you do (which is why they’re on your website in the first place)
HOW: Create a branding board, or some kind of clear concept of your brand based on who you want to attract and work with. If you work best and most with new moms, don’t be filling your page with black backgrounds and aggressive language. It needs to fit.
Nail down what main and accent colors you want to use, a few fonts you’ll carry through all your marketing and also a few of your main messages about 1) who you are 2) what you do 3) who you help and 4) the results they can expect.
3) Keep it SIMPLE: You don’t want to make your website some multi-phase scavenger hunt that will eventually potentially lead visitors to the information they’re seeking. You and I both know there is NOTHING more frustrating than trying to find a contact number only to be re-routed all over the site.
Make it super easy for the visitors to find the information they need (particularly contact info). I suggest keeping the main navigation bar near the top of the page because that’s where people are used to seeing it and to no more than 5-7 items. More than that and it gets confusing as to which category information might be hiding.
HOW: Here is a good base when building out the pages for your website: home, about, work with me/services, blog/free resources, press/testimonials/results, book in, contact.
Keep contact information in the footer and/or header as well.
4) A Killer About Section: This often becomes the ugly step sister of the website. The forgotten portion that gets some vanilla description about who you are and what you do.
FACT: The About page is the most visited page (aside from homepage) for practitioners. Why? Because people want to get to know who you are, what you’re about and what you do so they can see if it jives with them.
HOW: Create an about page that really speaks to who you are as a practitioner AND as a person. Clear and concise messaging that is consistent with your brand is key here.
Make it personable and authentic. Conversational versus technical is always better. Also try to incorporate a little bit about the results you help people achieve to get that visitor excited about working with you
Also include 1 or more great photos of you. Avoid anything reminiscent of a Sears photoshoot. Action shots or images that reflect your personality are best.
5) Make it Easy to Book with You: Growing in popularity (and demand) is online booking. This allows your prospective (or current) patients and clients to jump right into your calendar and book in when is convenient for them. This saves you or your reception a ton of time having to go back and forth figuring out schedules PLUS if you get people excited to see you while on your website you are more likely to get them booking in IF they can book right then and there.
HOW: I suggest Acuity or Jane (if you’re going for a whole Clinic Management Software) for scheduling your bookings. Both softwares have really easy integrations for adding buttons, bars and links to your booking page on your website.
Put it at the top of all pages (or a visible portion of the sidebar) as well as on your “Services” “Work with me” page and “Contact” page.
6) Make it Mobile-Friendly: This is an absolute must. A total non-negotiable. More than HALF of visits to all websites are from a phone. Google also gives a little preferential treatment in mobile searches to mobile-friendly websites.
HOW: Simple. Check out your site from your phone. See how it looks, how it performs. Make sure the mobile version isn’t taking a serious quality hit or your site visitors are going to notice.
If you haven’t started designing a site yet, this is even easier. Choose a mobile friendly web template (most are these days) and then just check the mobile version during the design process.
7) Have a Call to Action: If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. Your website is a vehicle for building relationships, generating leads and driving business so ASK FOR IT. A call to action (CTA) is some sort of direction to get your visitors to take action.
EX: Your online booking button is a call to action to get website visitors to book an appointment with you.
You can also have CTA’s for free things such as “Download this free e-book” (in exchange for their email), “Book your free 15 minute assessment” (if you do that) or “Come find us on Facebook”. These are ways to take people who land on your website and don’t know anything about you and build a relationship that can turn into business.
HOW: Add at least 1 additional type of call to action on your website (aside from your automatic booking). It can be as simple as some text with a link, an extra “Come see me” button on your about page.
8) Use Quality Images: I’m not blaming you for this one. This is on your ancient predecessors who are still stuck in the early days of the world wide web.
BUT WHAT IS WITH ALL THAT HORRIBLE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY ON PRACTITIONER WEBSITES?
People love images (hello Instagram). It helps tell a story and build out your brand’s vibe so people not only see what you’re all about but also feel it.
It’s really important that you use good quality, high res imagery that doesn’t have that boring, sterile stock photography vibe we see on the most basic beige of websites (can you tell I hate terrible stock photos)? This applies to photos of you as well. No one wants to see your hair blowing against a powder blue background.
HOW: Think of your brand and what you want it to say about you. Also consider who you are looking to attract and what types of imagery they like. Your photos don’t HAVE to show exactly what it is you do. They can instead showcase the results your patients and clients will have or how they’ll feel.
You CAN use stock photography. There are tons of great sites that have free and inexpensive images (see my blog post here for resources) but also consider taking a few nice shots yourself to really add a custom and personal feel. Have some fun shots taken of you in action or showing off your true, authentic self.
9) Connect your Social Media: If you’re active on social media make sure it’s really easy for your web visitors to find your profiles with links on your website to your accounts. We’re so used to social media these days that some people prefer to use that to learn about you.
If you have content on your site (like a blog, free resources, etc) make those easy for people to share on their own social media. This is an easy no brainer way to get more eyeballs on your valuable content!
HOW: There are social plugins you can add to your websites to allow for sharing. I like versions that hang out (unobtrusively) in the sidebar on every page OR are at the top and/or bottom of a post. Nice and easy to find.
Links to your accounts should be in the header and/or footer of your website so its on every page and then on your contact page as well as potentially your About page. Are you sensing a theme here?
Repetition of information is key on a website so people can find what they want in just a few clicks!
10) Add Value: Your website is not just for people who intentionally look you up to find your address or book in with you. It’s also a great place to direct traffic (from social media or live events) to show what you know and how valuable you are as a practitioner. Show them this with some free content that is interesting and right up their alley. This lets them know you really get what it is they need and are looking for while positioning you as a badass expert in your field.
HOW: Add a blog or “free resources” section to your website where you can post information, how-to’s, tutorials, recipes, etc. that your ideal client would find helpful and interesting.
If you don’t like the idea of a blog or would not post regularly (which you should really do if you’re going to have a blog) simply call it something else (ex: Free Resources like I do) and put up a few super juicy valuable tid bits visitors will love!
I know this was long (you know I like to be thorough) but these steps are SO small and simple compared to how HUGELY important they are.
Download my What’s on Your Website Checklist and double triple check your site is working for you!
P.S. – Have questions or want me to take a look at your site? I’d love to! Jump on over to my facebook page and shoot me a link (plus it’s a good plug for your biz on there).