Starting a Practice

11 Must-Haves for Your Therapy Website: Tips from Experts

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May 2, 2024
May 2, 2024
Brandon Grill
Content Writer

Your therapy website is your most powerful marketing tool.

All of the other marketing you do—blogging, email marketing, paid ads—send traffic to your website. Even your Psychology Today profile links to your website.

So it only makes sense that your website should be amazing. But how do you go above and beyond on your website so that you attract new therapy clients with ease and consistency?

I asked five experts, all of whom specialize in websites for therapists, for their advice.

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11 key features every therapy website needs

Building an incredible and effective website for your therapy practice is very doable. 

Whether you decide to go it alone, or to seek help from an expert, be sure to use these eleven key features in your website.

Clear and accessible contact Info

Sarah Gershone, owner of Strong Roots Web Design, has helped dozens of therapy practices level up their websites over the years.

Placing contact info front and center is an essential feature of your website. “This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed by how many therapist websites I have seen where simple contact information—like phone number, email address, and location—are difficult to find or even missing altogether,” she said.

Without clear and accessible contact info, people can leave your site without reaching out.

“Remember that people are easily frustrated and if they have to search for your phone number, or if your phone number isn’t clickable on their mobile device, they may just move on to a different website,” Gershone added. “Your contact info should be at the top of your website, as well as on a clearly labeled contact page.”

Tell visitors who you work with

Another must-have for your website is a clear explanation of who you work with.

“The first question in the minds of many of your website visitors is whether or not you work with the specific struggle they are having,” Gershone said. 

So how can you tell them upfront that you’re the right therapist for them? Include “a clear list of the types of issues you help with,” recommended Gershone. “Bullet point lists are a great approach.”

But Gershone also advises therapists not to list every possible condition. 

“If your list looks like it includes everything but the kitchen sink, people will assume that you’re not really an expert in any one thing. Keep your list concise, and focus on your true areas of expertise,” she added.

A professional headshot

This one may seem obvious, but I’ve personally come across dozens of therapy websites that don’t have a great picture or headshot.

“Many therapists are not thrilled at the thought of having their photo taken and sharing it on their website,” Gershone explained. “However, being able to see your face and really have an idea of who you are is essential to helping people feel a connection with you, and imagine what it would be like to work with you.”

Building a connection with a new client begins before the first intake session. It starts when they’re viewing your website and learning more about you. “Including a photo of yourself is an absolute must,” Gershone concluded. 

As for where to put your picture, I recommend on the home page, about page, and contact page.

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A professional and trustworthy appearance

Alex Sandev is the co-founder of HiveSourced, a Chicago-based website design firm that caters specifically to therapists.

His first must-have that he recommends to all of his clients is to work towards a great website aesthetic. “A clean, well-designed website is the first impression people will have of your work, and it builds trust with potential clients,” he said.

If you believe in first impressions, this only makes sense. But what should therapists aim for when designing their site appearance? “It should be easy to use and create a welcoming and calming environment online, similar to your therapy office,” Sandev elaborated.

Going further, mobile optimization is a must. Research shows that most website visitors use their phones (59%), about 21% more than people using desktops (38%). If you want people to love your website and convert into paying clients, optimize for mobile experience and appearance overall.

Explain who you are, what you do, why you’re the perfect fit

The next must-have for your therapy website is explanations about who you are, what you do, and why you’re the perfect fit for potential therapy clients.

“People searching for a therapist want to know if you’re the right fit,” Sandev explained. So give them all of the necessary details they’ll need to feel comfortable reaching out.

“Clearly explain the therapy services you offer and the specific issues you specialize in without making it too complex. This helps them decide if your approach aligns with their needs,” Sandev added.

Go the extra step and explain who you’re a perfect fit for. Think of your favorite clients and what they have in common, then detail this in your website copy. New site visitors will read this and know if you’re the right therapist for them.

And don’t fall into the trap of trying to write to everyone. It can feel painful or awkward at first, but writing to a specific type of person will connect more deeply with your website readers.

Call-to-action (CTA) in the banner and bottom of the website

The point of having a website is to attract and convert clients. But if there’s no clear instruction for interested people to contact you, many will not.

That’s why having a clear call-to-action on your site is a must-have. “Therapists should use a clear call-to-action, like ‘Schedule an Appointment’ or ‘Contact Us’ with the button sending them to a contact form, phone number, or email,” Sandev recommended. 

The more specific, the better. For example, instead of “Contact Us,” you could say “Book a Free Call” so people know what action they’re taking next.

Put a phone call button and display your full phone number. This makes it easy for people to pick up the phone and call your practice without emailing back and forth.

Sandev also recommended putting CTAs in the top banner of your website and at the bottom. This makes sense as these are two areas people commonly look for information, so placing a CTA here can invite them to reach out for services.

Always include CTAs on your website, because without them, your visitors won’t reach out for your services and will “bounce” off of your site.

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Relevant, personable copy

The seventh must-have for your therapy website is great copy. 

Saya Des Marais, MSW is a content writer who works with mental health professionals to help them craft meaningful, empathetic, and warm mental health content.

Therapists need “relevant, personable copy that speaks to your target audience,” she said. “You want your copy to sound like you and give potential clients an idea of what it might be like to work with you.”

You have a unique style and an ideal type of client who would love to work with you. The only challenge is communicating this on your website in a way that connects with them.

And cliches aren’t going to work. “‘Helping individuals navigate life's challenges’ isn't going to cut it,” Marais explained. “Don't focus so much on things that all therapists, by definition, do. What makes you, specifically, a good therapist fit for them, specifically?”

Get detailed on what makes you stand out as an amazing therapist, and communicate this on your website. 

Lastly, put some personality into it! This isn’t technical writing, so add some personality and style —write like you talk, share your journey to therapy, perhaps add a few curse words if that’s your thing, and avoid passive voice.

Whatever you do, just don’t write bland.

SEO content and blogging

People need to be able to find your website. SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is how you make your site easier to find.

By creating website content that adds commonly searched phrases (called “keywords”), you can start appearing in the search results. Adding onto this, you must follow Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines: your content should signal Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

An example would be to create a blog for the keyword “best therapy for anxiety.” If the blog used the right structure, was genuinely helpful for readers, had basic SEO elements included, and followed EEAT, you could see that blog rank higher in Google’s search engine. 

But there’s more to it than blogging. You need to have service and specialty pages that use the right keywords, as these are where a lot of your conversions will happen. And your home page, about page, and location pages should have keywords added.

Blogging “also provides value for your existing clients and gives you lots of content to work with for social media posts and newsletters,” said Marais.

Ashley Darnall, LCSW is a copywriter for therapists. “The blog section of your website is a place for you to provide visitors to your site with valuable information about mental health topics,” she explained. 

Not only does this allow you to help past and present clients, but to attract future ones as well.

“Through regularly blogging, you'll boost your website's SEO by attracting organic traffic to your website and ultimately bringing in more potential clients to your therapy practice,” she added.

You can see why having SEO content and blogging is a must-have for all therapist websites hoping to attract clients.

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A robust FAQ section

Darnall added another great must-have for your therapy practice website: a robust FAQ section.

“Think about the most common objections to therapy and answer those questions in your FAQ section,” Darnall recommended. 

“By providing clear and comprehensive answers to common questions about therapy, a robust and inclusive FAQ section helps build trust and transparency—making it more likely that your ideal client will reach out,” she added. 

Adding an FAQ section helps you:

  • Rank for “long-tail keywords”
  • Answer questions and concerns
  • Give more detail about your services
  • Share location and contact information
  • Address common fears, such as “Will I cry in therapy?”
  • Show more personality and help clients feel connected with you

Add an FAQ section to each page of your website, including your home page, about page, contact page, each service or specialty page, location pages, and each blog. 

Service or conditions pages

Phil Rozek is a local SEO expert who has helped therapy practices rank their websites highly in searches and in Google’s map pack.

“Services, Conditions, or Challenges pages are critical to have,” he explained. These would be your pages like “Stress and Anxiety Counseling” and “Postpartum Depression Therapy,” as two examples. 

Why are these pages so important?

“Not only because they can rank with relative ease for terms that most therapists ignore, but also because they can show potential clients that you understand at least the basics of what's dogging them,” Phil said. 

I suggest starting by listing your top five specialties, then adding a few related conditions to the list, building your service pages over time.

And know that each condition will ideally have its own page on your website. The SEO rule here is “different pages for different intents.”

About or bio page

Phil said you also need an about or bio page to have an effective website. These pages can rank for terms where someone wants to find a specific type of therapist (e.g. Male Therapist, Spanish-Speaking Therapist). 

“They're your opportunity to make your case as to why the client should take a chance on you to provide help,” Phil advised.

What do you include in your bio page? There are a lot of options, and you can make this totally unique to you, but here are a few ideas:

  • What made you become a therapist
  • Your personal mission statement
  • Five values that guide your work
  • Credentials and special trainings
  • Your backstory as a human
  • Which clients should choose you to help them

It’s important to note that your About page isn’t your resume or CV.People are looking for an emotional connection with you on your About page. So emphasize your personality and how you can help clients, and show but don’t emphasize your credentials.

Additionally, Phil told me that the Services and Bio/About pages also are excellent spots to include internal links to relevant other pages, and those internal links are extremely important.

Internal links strengthen your site cohesion overall, and make it easier for Google to “index” your site to show it to potential therapy clients.

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Other Website Considerations

We’ve covered the “must-have” features for your therapy website. But what about the “nice-to-haves” and other features that fall into a personal preference grey area?

Pricing

Whether or not to show your session fee on your website can be a difficult decision.

Some therapists fear it will discourage clients who cannot afford the full fee. This can cause some therapist guilt, with some therapists thinking they’re not doing enough for accessibility.

They’d prefer to talk to the client and potentially work out an affordable rate, or refer to a colleague, rather than dissuade someone altogether.

Other therapists like to be upfront about their full fee. I know one therapist who charges a premium fee and openly advertises this on her website, and she doesn’t work with any clients who can’t afford it.

Therapists who show their full fee may think, “If I show my full fee on my website, I can save time on intake calls, and the clients who can’t afford my rate know to look for a different therapist.”

So this is largely a matter of personal preference and what you’re willing to work with in your practice.

Sliding scale

Then, there’s also the option to communicate your sliding scale policy on your website.

Some therapists refrain from showing their sliding scale on their website. They cite the belief that if a sliding scale is advertised, more clients will want to use it.

Other therapists like to show their sliding scale policy because it feels more transparent.

If you do offer a sliding scale, how you qualify your clients is another issue. Do you check their paystub? Or take their word for it when they say they need financial assistance?

Whether you decide to advertise your sliding scale policy or not, it’s important to know how many sliding scale clients you can take on while still earning a fair, sustainable living.

For some therapists, that means 2 sliding scale clients per week. For you, this number may be different. 

Just be clear that your sliding scale policy works for you, and adjust as needed.

Insurance

Another potential website feature is to say whether or not you take insurance, and which insurance companies you work with if you do.

Advertising your acceptance of insurance on your website makes sense. You want clients to know that they’re welcome to use their insurance to cover part of the cost of your services. In other words, your services are accessible to those needing to use their benefits.

At the same time, advertising that you don’t accept insurance on your website can be a great way to disqualify potential clients who must rely on insurance.

So whether you do or don’t accept insurance, I recommend being straightforward about your policy on your website. Transparency saves your potential clients time by letting them know you do or do not accept their insurance.

If you don’t accept insurance, acknowledge this and offer to help clients by providing a “superbill,” which they can submit to their insurance when seeking reimbursement.

Just be sure to explain out-of-network benefits to any clients who need it.

Implementing these must-haves into your therapy website

Now you know the 11 must-haves for your therapy practice website. How do you go about implementing them?

I suggest adding them one by one, or having your designer (if applicable) add them.

As you use each of these tips on your website, you can expect to connect better with potential clients and increase your new client intakes.

With that said, investing in your website as a marketing tool is a long-term process. Be patient with the process and know that your efforts will pay off in the end, as long as you stay consistent.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult their own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post.

Brandon Grill is a mental health copywriter and marketer based in Las Vegas, NV. He loves helping therapy practices attract more perfect-fit clients through SEO. Outside of work, you can find Brandon spending time with his nephews, reading self-help, and meditating.

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