Have you decided to take the leap and create a therapist website for your private practice?
Or perhaps you have a website but feel lost around making it work for your therapy practice?
Whatever your reasoning, your website serves as that place online where you have full say over how it looks, feels, and showcases your unique practice.
In this post, we explore twelve pieces your website needs to create a beautiful and functional website that showcases your therapy practice and helps visitors take that next step to get in touch with you.
If you’re the type to jump around, please feel free to click on the sections that pull your interest first:
- Easy to Navigate Menu
- Provide a Compelling First Impression
- Clear CTA
- Easy to Scan Headlines
- About Me Page
- Consistent Branding
- Updated Headshot
- High-quality Imagery
- Easy to Find Contact Info
- Effective Footer
1. An Easy to Navigate Top Menu
The navigation menu at the top of your website contains the main areas of your website. As a therapist, you want people to be able to easily explore if you’re the right therapist for them and know how to get in touch. The best way to help visitors is to make your menu as clean, simple, and straightforward as possible.
A few standard design guidelines for your top navigation are:
- Your logo is linked to your homepage. Almost any website you visit will have the company logo in the top left-hand corner. Visitors expect the logo to be the “home base” and link back to the Home page. Even if your logo is “Your Name, LFMT,” make sure it’s linked to the homepage.
- Keep your menu options minimal. Why is your ideal client coming to your site? Most likely, to find help and see if you’re the best therapist for them. By offering simple and straightforward menu options, you provide this person guidance and support before they even meet you! For example, your menu options could be “About Me, My Approach, Resources.” These options are clear, concise, and easy for someone to choose. If you offer classes, courses, or have a group therapy practice, your menu should still be strategic and provide practical information without being overwhelming. One way to do this is to create drop-down menus to organize your offerings.
- Have a “Contact Me” button. This button is often called a CTA (Call to Action) and lives on the top right side of your menu. Once someone is ready to work with you, they want to easily and quickly know how to get in touch. Using a button with text like “Contact Me,” “Get in Touch,” “Set Up a Consultation,” or “Reach Out Today” stands out and directs the visitor to how to best get in contact with you.
- No social media links in your navigation menu. The best place for social media icons is either in the footer or the contact page. When you put social media icons at the top of your website, you’re inviting people to click away from your site and into the black hole of social media. By keeping your main navigation linking to areas only within your website, you encourage the visitor to move around your website where you have complete control over your messaging, branding, and content.
2. Provide a Compelling First Impression
The first section someone sees when visiting your website is the Hero Section or Above the Fold. It’s the visible space on your website before someone scrolls down. You have around five seconds to explain who you are, what you do, how you help, and how to get in touch. That’s a lot of information in a short amount of time! The good news is that design standards take out some guesswork to make the therapy you provide easy to explain.
Your hero section should include:
- Impactful Imagery
- A Clear Call to Action
- A headline stating what you do or who you serve
- A well-organized navigation menu
I’ve written an in-depth post with three case studies to help explain how to design your most impactful therapist website hero section.
3. Clear Call to Action (CTA)
A “Call to Action” is how you direct someone visiting your site. In the example of the main navigation, your CTA was a button to contact you. Other CTAs may include:
- Signing up for a newsletter.
- Downloading a free resource.
- Reach out for more information about a course or class you have.
CTAs can be as simple as a button or more complex like a popup or a form. When designing your CTAs, keep the designs consistent throughout the site. For example, the button design for contacting you should be the same wherever someone is on the site. That way, they instantly know what it does when seeing that color, shape, and text. Do the same thing for a course sign-up or form. By keeping that branding consistent, your visitor can skim your site and already know what’s on the page.
4. Easy to Scan Headlines
Visitors learning about your therapy practice should be able to skim the headings on any page and get a good feel for what that page is about. In some ways, the headings act as an outline where each page has a story to tell, and the headings are the topic sentences. Someone can spend a few minutes reading the headers before deciding if they want or need to learn more. Your headings also allow you to speak in your brand voice and establish your tone of voice and personality. Finally, your headers offer an opportunity to use a keyword or two to help search engines better categorize the type of therapy you provide. Check out Greg Bodin and Abby Thompson’s websites for inspiration on easy-to-scan headlines.
5. About Me Page
Your “About Me” page showcases how your practice works and how you solve people’s problems. While visitors want to learn more about you, you want to explain how what you do is what they need. Writing an About page that isn’t focused directly on you may be counterintuitive! Your about page is where you build trust, showcase your process, and explain more about your therapy ethics and morals. It’s a great place to explain how clients will feel after working with you. Walk them through the transformation they receive by doing the work in therapy.
You can also add areas of your personal life if you want. If you have specific hobbies, life events, or personal experiences that help build trust and knowledge for people, put them on the About page.
6. Consistent Branding
Your brand identity as a therapist consists of your logo, colors, typography, imagery, and tone of voice. These combine to create the visual and written representation of your therapy practice. Develop your brand identity first before any website design starts. If you’re looking into the DIY route, Canva has Brand Presentation templates to get you started. Another option is to work with a company that helps develop your brand. And third, your website design may be able to help develop your brand identity as part of the website design process.
7. Updated Headshot
When someone comes to your website to learn more about the therapy you provide, they will want to know more about YOU. You are the face of your practice. Providing a professional and up-to-date headshot builds trust and credibility. Directories, networking groups, and social media can also use your headshot. While this isn’t directly tied to your website, your headshot helps build trust if someone learning about you sees that same professional photo across multiple platforms. Josephine Hughes has some terrific tips regarding headshots for therapists and counselors.
8. High-quality Imagery
Part of creating a professional-looking therapist website is to have impactful images and visuals. Your website can have a combination of professional headshots, pictures of your office, geographic pictures of where your practice is, and graphics or drawings that represent your brand. These should have a high resolution and proper sizing to display nicely on your website. When researching the best visuals for your therapist’s website, keep in mind copywriting laws. Some websites provide royalty-free images, such as Unsplash and Pexels. However, you risk the image you use showing up on other people’s websites and social media. Another option is to pay for images and graphics from places such as iStock, DepositPhotos, Creative Market, or Canva*.
*Canva has both paid and free options for commercial use.
9. Easy to Find Contact Info
What’s the primary goal of your website? My guess is it’s for people to get in touch with you. You may have a blog, resources for mental health, and even courses or a group practice to promote. These other pages work together to create a website that provides much-needed help and guidance. For the person visiting your site, it’s best to have one main goal that you are helping direct them to. And most often, that’s contacting you. The three best places for contact information are:
- A contact button in the header. This button can link to your contact page or your phone number.
- Put your address, phone number, and email in the footer. If you prefer to keep your direct contact information to clients only, you can always set up an answering service or create a contact form for people to fill out. In terms of your physical location, I recommend, at the minimum, putting the state you’re licensed to provide therapy.
- A contact page with the best ways for someone to reach out. Much of the information here may be the same as the footer. However, it doesn’t hurt to have it in two different places since we don’t know the order someone will be exploring your therapist’s website.
Creating an accessible site involves a more in-depth dive into a later blog post. Those who built and developed the internet did so to start without focusing on making it equitable for all. However, they are easy ways to create a website that gives those who are hard of sight, hearing, or mobility access to the information you provide. For example, creating typographical hierarchies (headings and paragraphs), descriptive alt text on images, and well contrasting text are simple ways to help people access your site. There are also plugins and applications such as UserWay, which offer free and paid versions of their product to add options such as screen readers, dyslexia text, contrast, and heading hierarchy to your site. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides much helpful information, including an accessibility introduction.
11. Responsive Therapist Website Design
Your therapy website is responsive when visitors can view it on any screen without losing functionality. From the smallest cell phone to tablet to large desktop monitor, your website needs to look correct and be easy to navigate. Most people use their phones to research and access the web. The design and functionality of your website will change and adjust depending on the screen size it’s designed for. Many platforms have responsiveness built into their templated designs. However, sharing your website with friends is always a good idea or using an online responsiveness checker to ensure it looks great everywhere!
12. Effective Footer
There are the twelve pieces every therapist website needs!
If you’re interested in chatting about these parts of your website or want to learn more about how we can work together, schedule a free 30-minute consultation!