When you’re dealing with starting your own private practice and all that goes with it – leasing an office, hiring staff, setting up phone and internet services, advertising and figuring out the many zoning, business and legal regulations you have to adhere to – building your website might not be too high on your priority list.
You know you need one, of course – but is it really all that important? As long as your clients can find your phone number and address and make an appointment, isn’t that enough? Why not make it easy on yourself, and use one of those easy website builders that do everything for you? They even have ones especially designed for therapists.
The truth is, your website is one of the most important pieces of your marketing – and therefore, your business.
These mass produced website builders make your site look just like everyone else’s, but even worse, they’re bad for your SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the absolutely best way to get people on your site – and into your office.
Not All Websites Are Created Equal
There are many different ways to build a website and each platform is going to offer you something a little different – a higher quality site, a lower cost, an easier setup, etc. Some of these platforms are harder to learn, and some will give you the tools you need to make a very simple site that will get the job done, if all you need is to get some basic information online.
When we say that website builders are bad for your business, we specifically mean those website builder companies you’ll find online that offer a package (typically hosting + builder + “SEO”) for specific industries – like TherapySites, SimplePractice, CPA Site Solutions, LawLytics, etc. They may seem nice and easy, but what are you really getting? These sites offer a quick and easy setup, but your site will look like everyone else’s, have poor SEO performance, and because you’re not offering any unique content, visitors will quickly leave – resulting in a high bounce rate.
Why is SEO So Important?
SEO is important because it’s what gets people to your site, which is the first step for people to become actual clients. SEO is basically the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website – this traffic has the potential to turn into leads. SEO is how Google and other search engines decide which sites should get what traffic. Generally, if your website is high-quality and easy-to-use, and people are searching for the things you put on your website, you will get high-quality traffic to your site. Basically, SEO is so important because it makes your website easier for people to find and land on, which means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into clients.
Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Journey
Why Pre-Built Websites Aren’t Good for Your Business
Pre-Done Websites = Inauthentic and Just Not That Interesting
We signed up for a free trial of TherapySites to see what it was all about. It came preloaded with all the typical pages you might see on a therapist’s web page and it was even pre-loaded with text! Now, this may sound great to you, since you’re busy and want to save time wherever you can, but duplicate content is bad for SEO. Not only that, but you can imagine that if your site has the exact same text as someone else’s, you’ll appear pretty inauthentic to your audience!
The website also came preloaded with the “best keywords for searches related to the therapy industry,” but Google is actually more likely to show unique and specific content in its search results. Google also doesn’t like to direct searchers to a bad user experience. So if your website is unorganized, has links that don’t work, or blank pages, you take another major hit. Prewritten web sites not only look boring and offer little in the realm of SEO – they also don’t sound like you! Using your “voice” in your marketing is really important. People want to know what you’re really like before they commit to making an appointment.
Hosting might seem like one of those things that actually don’t matter. You might think it’s all one and the same, but not all hosting is created equal. You definitely get what you pay for! Website builders, even the big name ones like Squarespace, are crammed into shared hosting platforms with very little bandwidth available. This means a slower website for you (and all their other users, too). This will make browsing your site a bad experience for people – and make your SEO even worse. Other complications include results not being shown because of URL structure issues, sub domain hosting issues, the inability to customize your URL structure, and results being “hidden” inside a sub domain.
No Blogging Allowed?
SimplePractice and Therapy Sites, two of the most popular website builders for therapists, don’t offer blogging tools! How can you get ahead of the game without the ability to blog, podcast, or introduce any type of content on your own website? Content marketing – creating blogs, podcasts, etc. – is really important. Just putting up a new blog or two every month can improve your SEO score. This happens because of the industry or service specific keywords you use in your content, and also simply because Google prefers new content when deciding what websites to show people!
SEO Basics Cost Extra
With many website builders, many features cost extra – or aren’t available at all.
This includes SEO basics including:
- The ability to integrate with analytics
- The ability to integrate with Search consoles for Bing and Google
- XML sitemap
- Schema markups
Extra Features Are Off the Table
Want to host events at your private practice and add them to a website calendar? You’re out of luck with those website builders for therapists. We couldn’t even embed a YouTube video on our trial website with TherapySites. They did say they have some embed solutions, but you’d have to call their customer support to do them – a less than ideal solution for a busy practice owner.
Other Extra Features Not Available:
- Email Marketing Integrations
- Appointment Solution Integrations
- Embedding Forms
It Isn’t All About SEO
While SEO is really important, it’s not the only thing that matters when it comes to your site. Your website is YOU to your potential clients – it’s their first impression of you! Do you want people to think you’re boring, outdated, sloppy or unprofessional?
With website builders:
Your Voice is Lost
Therapists are in high demand right now. How are you standing out? The inability to customize your content, imaging, text, etc. – and a website that looks exactly like everyone else’s – simply will not cut it.
Outdated Styling Options
Most of the website themes and designs that come with website builders seem like they were designed ten years ago – complete with boxed layouts, big sliders and other elements that are no longer current. An outdated website is a turnoff to most people and can lead to users leaving quickly.
Inability to Edit Code
This is a big one. Even if you don’t know anything about website design or building and don’t plan to touch it, you will probably have to at some point. Not being able to edit the code also means you can’t change the little things that make your site yours – like the color scheme.
No Room for Growth
What happens if you grow? Open another location? Want to offer webinars? Want to expand and hire new team members? There are so many ways the limited features and poor performance of a website builder will limit your potential for growth.
Your Website is the Face of Your Business
We hope that this helped you to understand why your website, and how it’s built, matters.
If you take anything away from this blog post, please remember these two things:
SEO is what turns prospects into leads.
Your website is the face of your business!
Is Your Website All That It Can Be?
Are your website and digital marketing an authentic reflection of you and your practice?
Do you have someone in your corner to help you navigate all things digital? Schedule a free planning session below to see how we can help you!