Like many of you, I’m looking forward to a different 2021, but I am grateful for what we’ve learned about ourselves, our businesses, and our resilience. Today’s topic is more relevant than ever, as we all want to learn more about improving our private practice website. Join us to learn more!
Our Featured Guest
Daniel Fava, from Private Practice Elevation, is my friend and an expert in website design. I trust his insight and advice, and I rely heavily on him for everything website-related. Daniel is here to share what is working for private practice websites post-pandemic. Much of what we think about our private practice websites has shifted greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what used to serve us well may not be working now. As many of us are transitioning to full-time online counseling or at least some increased element of online therapy, Daniel’s advice is relevant and timely.
- What has changed about websites and online traffic since the pandemic began
- Three things that are working well for private practice websites:
- A professional website is more important than ever.
- People are searching online, so you need to have a presence there that stands out.
- Content is the foundation for getting found online.
- Foundational content includes your home page, service pages, and specialty pages.
- Online therapy has become an essential part of private practice.
- Your website audience is now expanded throughout your entire state, instead of just your local vicinity.
- How to incorporate non-written content, like videos and podcasts, into your website
- Why you should take this opportunity to view your website through new eyes
Hello, welcome to session 262 of Selling the Couch. I hope you are having a good start to the New Year. Man after the fun adventure that was 2020 I am really looking forward to a different 2021. At the same time, I feel like I'm so grateful. As hard as this has been that in some ways that we were able to go through this because I think it's definitely taught all of us just how resilient we are; especially if you have been able to manage a business and during a pandemic, you're pretty legit.
So today's podcast session is with my good friend Daniel Fava from Private Practice Elevation. Daniel is an expert when it comes to website design. It's someone I rely on for both STC and my private practice website. And Daniel is here to share three of the things that are working for private practice websites post-pandemic. I know that how we think about private practice and even how we think about our private practice websites has shifted in the midst of this pandemic.
There are just things that were working in the past that are not working as well now and we've learned a lot of insights and key things in terms of what could work and what will be working going forward. Especially as many of us transition either fully to online counseling or maintain some element of online counseling in our practices. I think there are just a lot of different things there. So we'll get right to today's conversation. Here is my conversation with Daniel Fava from privatepracticeelevation.com.
Hey, Daniel, welcome back to Selling the Couch.
Hey Melvin, how's it going? Thanks so much for having me back.
You're welcome. And Happy New Year, because by the time this releases, it'll be the New Year.
That's right. That's always the interesting and strange part of recording podcasts is the timing bit because we're recording before Christmas, but we're saying Happy New Year.
Yes, absolutely. We have to get it all in our mind.
I'm really excited for our conversation because this pandemic this past year has up ended so many things. Even I think about like just across but especially in the mental health field. Many of us have had to transition to telehealth, think differently about marketing, and think differently about our websites. Even as we record this right now, we've had one vaccine that's I guess been approved for emergency use, but looks like a second and potentially third and fourth ones on the way. So we see the dim light at the end of the tunnel.
But I do feel like this is definitely going to change our field and how we see private practice. And I'm grateful for this conversation because you're my friend, first of all, and second here, someone that I really trust when it comes to just learning about what's working for private practice websites and websites in general. So I’m grateful for this time together.
Yeah, thank you so much. I'm grateful for it too. I really appreciate you having me on and it's always fun to chat about this stuff. I know that we tend to geek out a bit and so you're kind of like an equal with me as we nerd out on some of this stuff and dig into it. It's a lot of fun.
Yeah, absolutely! About you, I would say you're probably a little bit more. I love websites, but when it comes to at least a website, I think you take it to a level that’s more than I can go. So perhaps you’re my nerdy friend.
We were thinking about the topic for this podcast conversation, and one of the things we just realized is, websites are changing, and how we think about websites are changing in the midst of this pandemic, and even afterwards, and what I asked Daniel to share was the three things that are working for private practice websites post-pandemic. So we'll just jump right in.
Daniel, what would you say is like-- well, I guess maybe even before we get into those three things, if you could sort of give a big picture overview, how did people look at websites pre-pandemic and what do you think has changed since the pandemic?
Yeah. Well, I think that for a while, I kind of noticed, and I've been doing websites for therapists and private practice owners for little over four years now. And so I have seen sort of a shift and it's been kind of slow going from people were like, “Oh, maybe I need a website, maybe I don't. I've got referral networks going on. Maybe just having really basic website is enough and it's just a place that I can send people to.”
But then over the years as platforms like Squarespace have evolved and they've become more popular People are starting to see really the importance or have been seeing the importance of having a website and how it can be really an asset in their business to get more clients. That shift has really been happening slowly over the years that I've been noticing.
I remember when I first began this work and kind of just talking to people and looking at in like social media and Facebook groups and stuff like that. A lot of people there are still in this mix of like, “Oh, I'm thinking about starting a website, do I really need a website?” That sort of thing, but I feel like people have kind of really grabbed hold of; yes. “Yes, I do. I do need a website.” And especially with the shift to more online therapy, and not being able to do in person marketing and networking and stuff like that; it's become more important than ever.
Yeah, absolutely! I forgot who mentioned this. But this phrase has always resonated with me that, website is the modern day business card and I feel like that that statement is true now more than ever. Like you said, because of like, so many restrictions and having a presence online is just really important, especially because telehealth was growing, and it's definitely not going away post-pandemics.
Yeah, absolutely, and that's really my point number one was kind of just starting at the beginning. And I wrote down in my notes here, a professional website is more important than ever, because so many people are turning to online, so many people are turning to searching- clients are searching for these services in Google and if you're not able to do in person networking, and you don't have a number of different streams for your marketing, you could be missing out on a lot of potential clients there.
Yeah, absolutely! So you said a professional website is more important than ever. So what's the difference between a regular website and a professional website?
Well, with the shift that's been happening is that a lot more people are as we said, getting smart to the fact that you need to have that presence online, especially if you're doing online therapy, you can reach more and more people and we'll talk a little bit more about that later on. So many people really hustled to get their online presence in order. And that was really what we saw a lot in my business was, I got all this influx of people who were like, “My website is just, it's really crappy, I haven't done anything with it. It's just kind of there. But now we are really in need of more clients especially with the uncertainty of COVID.”
When all that started a lot of people weren't investing in their online marketing or their website. So a number of therapists came running to us like, “Hey, I need help, I got to get this in order, we need to get this up, so our clients don't dry up.” That's great, but when you kind of look at the big picture for each of those individual therapists, that often lead to even more competition; more people are investing in their websites, more people are getting their SEO in order. So that means that there's more competition, especially if you're in a densely populated area or largest city.
So it's important not to only have a website, but you have to have one that really stands out, because people are going to be doing those searching, they're going to be researching who do they want to work with, who's the best person to help me with my challenges. So you want to make sure that your website stands out. So when I talk about professional, and this is not just because I am a web designer, yeah that can be a little bit of part of it.
But you want a website that does what it's meant to do. It's got to be clean; it's got to be modern and easy to use. And if you really want to stand out among that crowd of competition, you want your website to look stellar, you want it to be professional, you want it to work the way it's supposed to work to get you more clients.
Yeah, absolutely, and I think both with selling the couch as well as my private practice website, I felt like, especially with selling the couch, I felt like I was like a little bit naive to it. I just thought, what website is, I can kind of use a template and put my main sections up and put the words up. But I think what you're saying is a website in a way is kind of this living, breathing thing and evolving thing. So just because you post something or have a certain sections doesn't mean you stop tweaking it.
Yeah, absolutely, and I understand that there's certainly a starting point for everybody. Budgets are super important when it comes to should you invest or should you build it yourself? You want to make sure that no matter what stage you're at, you are investing whether that's time or money into your website to make it better and better and make it stand.
One client of ours comes to mind and she is in New York City and so there's a lot of competition in her location and she had a website that she put together herself on Wix, and there was a lot of just for me, as a designer, when I come to it, I can see all the things that are just kind of out of place, or it's missing the right content, or it's hard to schedule that first appointment or a consultation call. And so we worked on her website, and we redesigned it made it beautiful, professional, easy to use works on mobile, and then when her website went live in just three months, she went from about eight clients a week to 25 clients a week.
That project actually, funny thing, it didn't really have a lot of focus on SEO. But because she was getting a number of people searching through Psychology and landing on her website, because we focused on that conversion optimization, she was able to get more leads, have more phone calls with people, and then sign those people up.
So certainly investing in a website; it's my hope, it’s my desire and it's really our goal to make sure that we help our clients reach those goals and impact their business. Like I don't want to just create pretty websites to create pretty websites, and that's something that I’ve really been passionate about over the last year, is I want to dig in and be a partner with people in their private practices, in their business and how many more clients do they want in their business? What goals are they trying to achieve?
Yeah, I know. Absolutely, all are really good points. I wanted to come back to something you said a little bit earlier.
A professional website-- like this is can really be silly question; should there be like, especially in 2121, should there be like certain core elements in a professional website? Like, you should have a homepage, you should have a specialty page, like any of that kind of stuff? I'd be like, really interested to hear from you and pick your brain on that.
Yeah, absolutely, and we can actually go there. That's kind of part of my point number two here for things that are working post-pandemic.
It's so funny. Like I asked Daniel like to share these tips, but I haven't seen the tips, and it's funny how we're on the same wavelength. So yeah, let's jump into point two, then.
Yeah, you're tracking with me here. So number two is that content is still the foundation for getting found online. With the folks who have come to us over the last year who are really starting to focus in on their online marketing, I would hear time and again, “We're not getting found for these keywords, the right types of clients that we want to track aren't coming to the website.” And when I dig in and look at their current website, I can see just clear holes in their content.
I've really been working on really our process at Private Practice Elevation, like what do we do to elevate people's practices with their online presence, and I've been working on this diagram. I think we've spoken about this before. But I have these three circles, and in the first circle, the very first thing that we focus on really is the foundation, the foundational content for your website.
What I mean by that is yes, definitely having a homepage. Your homepage is super important, because it's often the most visited page on the website, and that homepage really serves to get people to the information that they're looking for as quickly as possible, and as easily as possible. So that could be an introduction to you and your private practice, followed by the services that you offer, and getting people to those services pages; and that's really the second most important thing, if not the most important.
It's kind of like a toss-up between the homepage and your service pages, because your service pages are so specific and that's really where the SEO piece comes in; and I encourage people to get creative, and it might sound like a lot of content. But this is something that you can develop over time, you can start with your initial services, might just look like individual therapy in Atlanta, or whatever the city is, couples counseling in Atlanta. But then over time, you want to build those things out to have subpages even under that and all of those really act as ways for Google to see those services.
Because people are more likely to search for anxiety therapy or counseling after divorce, something like that, and maybe not just couples counseling, but it's related to couples counseling, you understand what I'm saying?
You got to really dig into the services and the topics and the things that you help your clients with. And that's really the best way even before you start building links back to the website or doing other things that are off of your website, you really got to focus on that content.
Yeah, that's like really good stuff. So I wanted to just understand because you said like specialty pages. So would that be like I often get confused between these. Like it's a specialty page saying like, you do individual counseling versus couples counseling, those are separate pages or are the specialty pages like the niches that you serve?
I can even give like a practical example from my own private practice. So in general I think my niche is successful by overwhelmed entrepreneurs. But within that, like I have pages for entrepreneurs with what's called founder depression and then I have like specialty page for entrepreneur from a dysfunctional family or alcohol dysfunctional family. So I guess, are those the examples of the specialty pages?
Right, yeah. That's what I consider the specialty pages. And another example, just to kind of drive this home, we just worked on a website for a psychologist, Long Island, New York, which I'm super excited about, because that's where I grew up. So it's fun to look at their content and see all the towns nearby where I grew up at. So my Long Island accent kind of came out while I was working on that project. But anyway, so they have done a great job; their website was very outdated, but the content that they had was incredible. It was like 95 pages of content and I was like, “Oh, my goodness, they have done a really great job and they’re getting great traffic, because of all the different content that they have on there.”
So what it kind of looks like and how it's organized. And I just pulled it up just to get this right. So they've got services on their homepage, they