Recently, I published a blog on the importance of having a website for your private practice. Hopefully, that made some sense to you and you have gone ahead and started building your site. This blog will look at the next stage and focus on what type of things you should include on your counselling website.
The frontpage is more often than not, the first thing that potential clients will see so is obviously of great importance. The way that people browse websites has changed with the use of mobile phones and information being provided instantly.
For this reason, you need to firstly, make sure that your website works well on mobile phones, as well as computers and secondly, make sure that all the information someone needs is at the top of the page and easily accessible.
Yes, we can go into more depth about areas on specific pages (which I will cover below) but for the most part, when someone lands on your website, they will want to know a brief account about who you are, what you offer and how to get in touch. This needs to be provided in the first few paragraphs at the top of the website.
I also believe that it is of real importance to include a photo of yourself on the frontpage, ideally near the top. I understand that for many this can be quite a daunting process and can be hard to get the right photo or have a picture of yourself staring back at you. However, one of the most common pieces of feedback I receive from others is either how helpful a photo of the counsellor helped someone make a decision or how a lack of photo was off-putting.
Granted, this is not an easy process and can bring up all kinds of things for people, but I do believe that it is an important element to have as part of your website. Have a look through some other websites or directories and see which photos appeal to you (personal, professional, indoors, outdoors etc) or what impact they each have on you and use that to help make your decision about your own.
The rest of the frontpage
Underneath your photo and the information that clients will need, then you can add whatever you feel would be most helpful.
Most people will see the first part of your homepage and make a decision about whether they would like to work with you and whether to get in touch. The rest will spend some time looking around your website to make a decision. For this reason, it may be helpful to put links to other pages on your website in this section or maybe excerpts of blogs or links to your social media. Maybe pictures of your Counselling room, helpful information/resources/services or anything else that people may find helpful if they have scrolled down to find out more information.
If you would like to have a look at my own frontpage, this should be a live example of what I have explained above – Chris Molyneux Counselling
Any about me section is an opportunity to tell potential clients about yourself. This is just my personal preference, but I try to include a mixture of some personal details, like hobbies, interests and maybe a bit about your journey, as well as your professional experience and qualifications.
I think the about me section is an opportunity to get across your more personal side and be more relatable and ‘human’ as a Counsellor.
Often, clients will just see a professional and especially in the person-centred approach, I think it’s important to show your personal side and make you more relatable as a Counsellor. This will set the precedent of being more relatable as a person and hopefully begin to equal out the power dynamic. It can also make the process of getting in touch a little easier.
This page will be your opportunity to cover the practical details that all clients need to know in deciding if the practical elements of your services are fitting.
Clients will need to know how much you charge so that they can work out if they can afford Counselling with you. They will also need to know if your location is practically accessible. This might be a place that you state other accessibility features of your practice (e.g. stairs, is it accessible for disabled clients, what are the local bus routes etc.)
As well as this you will be able to list the services you offer and information about these. For example, how long are your sessions, do you offer discounted rates, how often do you see clients and any other information that would be helpful in clients deciding if your services are suitable.
This may not be something that is always an option, especially when you are starting out in private practice, but I think it is a really helpful area for clients.
Many clients will not know much about you or your services and to hear, first hand, from past clients, will help give them a trusted and more full picture of how you work as a counsellor and how people have experienced it. Sometimes, clients will trust these opinions most as they are separate, unbiased opinions that have been in the position of the client before.
Blogs are very important sections of websites for two main reasons.
Firstly, it gives an opportunity for you to write about areas that interest you and may be helpful to clients. Some clients may use these blog posts as helpful in their own right, even if they don’t come to see you as a client. Others will use it to get an idea of your interests and viewpoint in helping them decide if you are the right person to work with.
Secondly, and of great importance is how Google views your website. If you are frequently adding blogs (about once a month should be fine) then Google will view your website as relevant, frequently updated and with new content.
This means that Google will likely put more trust in your website, and as a result, move your webpage up its search rankings. This will result in clients finding your website more often and as a result, have more chance of getting new clients.
This does not need to be a long page, but I think it is important to link to and refer to your contact details regularly through the website.
This is obviously the vital step in getting new clients and the way that clients will arrange meeting you for the first time. The reason that we are providing all the above information on the website, is to help clients make the right decision about working with you and your contact details need to be easily accessible and featured throughout the website so that clients can easily make contact to arrange their first session.
Some websites advise including what are called “Calls to action” which are things such as “get in touch now” or “Book your first session here”. These will all link to your contact details. You can feature these as a part of other pages but also make sure that you have a separate page for these that can be easily accessed through the menu and links throughout your site.
The FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions section of the website is of real importance for clients. It is an opportunity for you to answer many of the questions that clients would need to know.
To help you write this section, think of questions you are often asked by clients or information that would be helpful or vital in potential clients making a decision about working with you.
Have a look at my own FAQ section to get an idea of what type of questions might be good to feature here.
Some examples might be – “How many sessions of Counselling will I need?”, “Is my information kept private?” or “What can I expect from our first session together?”.
Other areas to consider
Hopefully the above has given you an idea of the specific content and pages that you need include on your Counselling Website but to finish off, just some general things to consider throughout your website:
- Make the writing clear and easy to read
- Make information and pages easy to find throughout your website
- Include pictures and a variety of media for different client needs
- Include your location and contact details regularly
- Include Social Media or links to any other relevant sources of information
I hope this article has been helpful in knowing how to design a website and what to include on your counselling website.
If you have anything to add, please leave a comment below and equally, if you like to ask for any further help, please don’t hesitate to use the contact details provided.
Also, please don’t forget that you can get a free 2 week trial of building a website at Webhelaer, who specialise in making websites for Therapists. Also, as a reader of Chris The Counsellor, if you decide to go ahead with their services, you can use the referral code P5884T when signing up and you will get a Free Silver design worth £29.