Many counsellors and therapists are unsure how to create therapy websites that compel visitors to contact them and make an appointment. This is called a ‘conversion’ in marketing speak- the conversion is from visitor to paying client.
One important aspect of conversion is having an attractive and appealing website with a logical and easy to use menu system of pages.
I’ve lost count of the number of counselling websites I’ve seen of therapists where the menu is unclear, there’s no logic to the pages of the website and sometimes I can’t even find basic pages like contact details or an ‘about me’ page.
In this post I discuss the essential pages of a counselling or therapy website that are needed to give the visitor to your website the information they need to decide if you’re someone they want to work with. This list is not exhaustive, but rather a starting point where you can add extra pages yourself as your website develops.
The home page is the most important page of your website. It’s generally the first place that clients land when they arrive at your website.
There are several things you need to achieve on the home page. These include:
- making it crystal clear what your website is about and who it’s for i.e. establishing your niche or target market
- connecting with the client’s pain, suffering and distress through empathic copy
- establishing yourself as someone who understands their suffering or struggle
- providing hope through offering a possible solution to their distress
- establishing why you are someone who can help the client with their pain
- having a call-to-action that tells the visitor to do something e.g. call you for an appointment
The most common website mistake I see is therapists making the home page about them and all their experience and training.
Another common mistake is writing about yourself in the 3rd person. This makes the copy distant and impersonal. Always use first person language.
Finally, you need a compelling headline to capture the attention of your visitor. DO NOT have ‘Welcome to my site’.
The about page is the page on your website where you can talk about yourself to your heart’s content. This page is specifically for the visitor to read about your own journey, training, education, professional organisations you belong to and anything else relevant to your counselling training and education.
Make this page personal- to your own level of comfort- so that the visitor can connect with you on a personal level.
Again, don’t describe yourself in the 3rd person as this distances you from the person reading. Imagine yourself telling your story of how you became a counsellor to a close friend.
The about page can make or break your connection with the potential client- so put a lot of thought and effort into this page.
The services page is self-explanatory, but not to be overlooked.
This is where visitors go to read about the services you offer. They are also looking to see if what you offer fits for what they are looking for.
List all your services clearly in everyday language and avoid psycho-babble.
Describe the length of your services and what’s involved.
You may or may not choose to list your fees. There are differing opinions on this, but if you want to connect with the client first before discussing money, you won’t list your fees and state that you can discuss fees when they call.
For others that want to filter out those that can’t afford their fees on the website, you may choose to list your fees upfront. Choose what makes sense to you.
How I work page
The how I work page is where you descibe the methadology of your therapeutic approach.
It’s essential that you do this in layman’s terms, so that the reader can understand what you are writing about. Resist the urge to use therapy-speak or technical language. This is a quick way for the potential client to disconnect.
Most counsellors and therapists struggle with this page. And it makes sense that after all the years of training, case consultations and supervision, you naturally go to write about your therapeutic processes using therapeutic terminology. I have some simple advice:
I know it’s hard, but the best way I’ve found to this is imagine explaining what you do to a 10 or 11 year old person. This is the level of language that you need to use for writing about how you work.
If you must use a psychology term, then describe in easy to understand language what the term means.
Who I work with page
This page is optional, but you may want to be very clear about who you work with. By being clear about who you work with, you’re also eliminating the people you don’t want to work with.
I use this page as a filter, so that people who are not part of my niche or target market don’t contact me. For example, I’m a relationship therapist and not interested in seeing drug and alcohol clients. It’s very clear from reading my who I work with page, that I don’t work with AOD clients.
In the long run this saves time as you don’t have clients calling you who aren’t your ideal client.
This page can just consist of bullet point descriptions of the types of people and the types of issues you work with and doesn’t need to be too extensive. You can see an example of how I do this page on my relationship counselling website.
Client stories/case studies page
For the majority of therapists and counsellors, most ethical codes prohibit the solicitation of testimonials from clients- for good reason. Asking for an endorsement of your therapy practice is in essence a change of the therapeutic contract and potentially harmful to the person and the therapeutic relationship.
Check with your ethical and legal advisor as well as your professional board if you are allowed to use testimonials.
As the majority of therapists can’t, one way around this is to use therapuetic success stories.
Therapeutic success stories are stories of some of the journeys your clients have been through in their therapy with you.
One way to write these is to think of the clients that you have had the most success with and then write the story of their journey.
They way I do this is use an amalgam of different client to protect the confidentiality of my clients.
Choose the stories of the clients you most like to work with, as this is attracting your ideal client.
The client success stories give the visitor hope about what’s possible in therapy with you, as well as some understanding of how therapy works.
Once again, always use everyday language and avoid therapy terms at all costs.
This is probably the simplest page of the website, but also one of the most important.
Your contact page simply lists all the ways a visitor can contact you. You will want to include:
- phone number
- office address
- Google map of your office
- directions to your office
- parking information
All this information needs to be clearly laid out so that the visitor can access it quickly and easily.
I encourage you to have a call-to-action at the end of every page of your site that tells the visitor what action you want them to take. e.g. Please call me on 999 9999 to book an appoinment today. If you use an online appointment scheduler, this button will display here as well.
Most people don’t read your website from beginning to end and most visitors will jump from page to page in random order, so this is why it’s important to have a call to action at the end of every page so that your contact details can be easily accessed.
What do you think are the most important pages of your counselling or therapy website? Share your thoughts with us below.