2 Steps to Confidently Building Professional Counseling Websites

Kathleen Mills of PracticeMentors.us

This Week's Poll

I wanna talk about counseling websites today. Only 10% of all SMB owners are "Very Good" business people. The rest of us fall somewhere else on the scale and are working towards that status. One of many things that elite group does well is offer an outstanding website to the public. They are able to do so because they understand what their next customer is looking for, what questions they're asking, and they give it to them in an easily discoverable, easy-to-consume format. They build a rich resource for their future client groups, not a monument to their own egos. Yes, I said it.

Top Counseling Websites Include:

Get these two factors right and your website will be head and shoulders above every one of your competitors. It's a lot of work and most of them simply won't do it. That's blunt but it applies to any industry including ours. This is your opportunity to best your competition in the 5-Mile Radius from your office.

1. The site has to look like a professional did it.

The very fist thing your next client wants to know about you is "can I trust them and their professionalism?". Their very first taste of your credibility is going to be that website of yours. Does it scream class and trustworthiness or is the message much less flattering and cast crippling doubt in the minds of your visitors?

Remember, it doesn't matter what you think about your website, it matters what your client groups think about how you run your business that matters and that starts with your online presence. Your opinion only matters after the clients like it. A lot. So ask a lot of people what they think and give them permission to tell you what they really think. They will if they feel safe about doing so.

2. The site has to answer the visitors' questions.

Ok, let's be fair. Most of us have never taken a "how to build a perfect counseling website" course so how would we know how to do it right? If you boil it all down a website is really a giant FAQ page. It only exists to answer questions that your visitors have about unique areas of interest, to build enough trust in you to take the next step and make that call.

"But I already get a lot of calls, Kathleen. My site must be good."

How do you know that you're not supposed to be getting twice as many calls as you get now? "Good" is better than "OK", but it's not "Great" and Great is what we're after.

Who Are Your Client Groups?

Let's talk about your client groups. You have as many as 3: Future Clients, Future Counselors (if you hire others), and Future Associates (if you're a supervisor). Each of those groups has it's own unique set of interests and questions when they visit your site. Know what they are?

Future Client Areas of Interest

  • Insurance You Accept
  • EAP Providers You Work With
  • Services and Modalities Offered
  • Your Location
  • Your Professionalism Exhibited
  • Information About You (Your Story)
  • Contact Information
  • Online Appointment Scheduling
  • Your Intake Forms
  • Practice History

Future Counselor/Employees Areas of Interest

  • Their Hiring Questions

Future Associates Areas of Interest

What's Next?

So how do you know if you have an "OK" site, a "Good" site, or maybe already have a "Great" site?

Step 1: Using the above list of question categories, write down every possible question anyone has ever asked you about each category topic. This is going to take you at least an hour and 2 margaritas but you only have to do it once.

Step 2: Then, write a clear, concise answer to each question.

Step 3: Go look at your website and make sure that each answer in Step 2 is on your website, and make sure it's easy to find.

Now that you know what makes a GREAT website in the eyes of your client groups, grade yourself and see how your current site fares. If you come up with 100 questions (and their respective answers) then all 100 answers should be on your site and easy to find. If only 70 of those answers are on your site you just scored a 70 and have some work to do!

Summary

No, this is not easy, it's a lot of work, but that's why this exercise will put you at the top of your profession. Most of your competitors won't do it. But, you, you got this!

See you at the top.

Plan Smart. Be Safe. Serve Others.

Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP

Counseling Websites | PracticeMentors

Got An Opinion?

These posts are my beliefs based on my a) 32 years of practice as a mental health provider and b) my own research. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave your civil, constructive comments below. I try very hard to back up my liberty-based statements with my own experience and/or verifiable facts and I would ask you to do the same. You do not need to be logged in to leave a comment.

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About Kathleen Mills

Kathleen Mills is a fire-breathing, 30+ year veteran of the counseling world. A tireless warrior for the profession, her goal with PracticeMentors.us is to bullet-proof the counseling profession so that what happened to her doesn't happen to you!

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