The Top 5 Requirements for a Therapist Website
As every industry is different, the requirements or must-have features for a website differ considerably. The site for a plumbing company will not look or “feel” like that of a clothing website or a hardware store. This is nowhere more pronounced than when it comes to the websites of therapists;
Why is this? There are a variety of reasons but the main ones are that the visitor (1) needs to really feel they can trust the people behind the site and (2) they are more likely to be ready to buy or contact the therapist – very few people visit a therapist’s site to browse or to pass the time. With these in mind, there are ways we can ensure that the site visitor gets the right impression straight away and is brought to the contact or booking section in their own time and at their own pace. This is called the User Path and it is one of the key components of any good site. To create an effective User Path for site visitors takes more than just a bit of website design ability – it needs careful planning, knowledge of the industry and understanding of both the visitor and site owner. Here are the top 5 requirements for a successful therapist website.
1. Eye-Catching but Suitable Site Design
Many site creators get the “eye-catching” part right but not always in the right way. As we mentioned, a visitor is looking to buy or book an appointment with a therapist – they don’t need to see flashy lights, too much visual stimulation, noisy backgrounds etc. A clear, concise and comfortable design which clearly shows the company behind the site, their expertise, the services offered and the manner in which appointments are made and carried out is key to engaging a visitor.
Google suggests that a site has less than 3 seconds to convince the visitor that this site can meet their requirements. This may vary from visitor to visitor but it is worth thinking about when designing the site. What will a visitor see in the first 3 seconds of their visit? If the answer is not – a therapist who can meet their requirements – then the likelihood is that the visitor will leave. First impressions not only last when it comes to websites; they usually decide whether the visitor will ever visit again!
“Google suggests that a site has less than 3 seconds to convince the visitor that this site can meet their requirements.”
2. The Importance of Layout in a Therapist Site
When we speak of site layout, we are talking about the way content is laid out, how the menu works and everything to do with the overall visual appearance of the site. Should your video be shown at the top or the bottom of a page, how much text and images should appear, can the visitor get from page to page easily. It is often said that a user should be able to get to the page they want within 3 clicks. The easier the user can get to where they want to be, the more likely they are to find what they want and crucially, continue along the User Path.
When a site is cluttered, it gives a bad impression but similarly, too little content will make the site look unfinished or unprofessional. Every good site has a neat mix of images and text along with other media where relevant. Carefully choosing where things go, in what order and on what pages will dictate the ease a user can find what they want and engage with the site.
3. The Content of the Site is a Reflection of the Business
Websites are often referred to as being like a shop window where people can gauge whether the business behind the site is capable of delivering what they are looking for. That is a good way of looking at it and when you look at your site content, it is worth considering what people are thinking when they see and read it. Do you come across as professional? Knowledgeable? Trustworthy?
The content you include will either entice people or scare them away. Content which entices visitors along the User Path includes clear communication of relevant material which is easy to find. Similar to the layout discussed above, the actual content must inform the visitor and reflect the company values and processes. In addition, having pages which show expertise along with testimonials from happy clients will go a long way towards convincing the visitor that you are right for them. However, it is vital to note that just having some good content is not enough – it is crucial that the site content is up to date and fresh which brings us to the next point.
4. The Importance of an Active Site
The days when a company could just create a site and forget about it are long gone. Visitors expect to see a company site being active and regularly updated. It is now standard for every business to have Social Media profiles, a regular blog and other material which shows that the company is active and up to date. Companies which fail to do this not only miss the opportunity to provide additional value to their clients but will also miss out on marketing potential and in fact, the lack of these standard site components may put visitors off!
As we said above, your site is your shop window. Would you go into a shop which shows no activity, whose window display is dated and has not changed since your last visit? Not Likely! In the same way, showing regular activity and a commitment to modern communication methods can be an extremely effective method of converting visitors to clients. A well written blog, engaging social media posts and generally showing attention to detail are all received very positively by the modern consumer. Once you have convinced them of your relevance and suitability for their requirements, they need to see a Call to Action so they can complete their User Path journey.
5. Calls to Action – The End of the User Path
A call-to-action is a marketing term for anything which gives the user a choice. In general, we refer to calls to action when we are at the decision-making stage, i.e. where the user is to decide whether or not to book, call or email the company. This is the crucial last step in the User Path and if not done well could mean that all of the work that went into the rest of the site was for nothing.
The placement and wording of a call to action will always have an effect on whether the visitor proceeds or simply clicks away from the site. Just having a phone number at the end of the page is not a call to action. It should be clear in two ways.
– How they should proceed
– What happens then
Saying something like “To make an appointment or discuss your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us on 555-12345” is an extremely effective call to action. It tells them what to do and what to expect when they do it. It allows them to call even if they are not sure they want to commit to an appointment or if they just have a question. On the other hand, saying “Call us on 555-12345 to make an appointment” means that those who are not sure may not actually call. For some, that is how the company wants it but for most personal services, such as those offered by therapists, it is better to have a system where people can call without any pressure to make an appointment.
So there you have it, the 5 key components of a successful therapist website. Be sure to check out our other related posts below or contact us to discuss your needs by clicking [here].
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