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However, if you’re not quite sure how or even whether a website would help you, you are not alone. In fact, “do I need a website as a therapist?” is the most common question we get from therapists!
We know that it’s tough to decide whether you need a website for your practice, and we’re here to help. We’ll explain how a website can promote your practice, whether it makes sense for you to have a website, and how you can build one that works for you without breaking the bank.
Many people will tell you that you need a website no matter what. However, the answer is a bit more complicated. At MyWellbeing, we’ve used our website to help over 19,000 people find a therapist. We’ve also worked with therapists who filled their practices without ever building a website.
While you may not need a website as a therapist, there is one thing that you definitely need:
A web presence.
A web presence is a place on the internet where your business is represented. It could be a Google My Business listing, a MyWellbeing profile, a Psychology Today profile, or another site. You just want a way for potential clients to find you if they search for your name online.
You need a web presence because so many prospective clients look for more information about prospective therapists before signing up for a first appointment. Our culture has conditioned us to look for more information on the internet. 55% of people search online for reviews and recommendations before buying a product or service (according to KPMG). If a potential client can’t find you online when they go to learn more about you, they may choose to work with another therapist whose information they can find more easily.
You can check your web presence quickly and easily. When you search for your name on Google, does information about you and your practice come up? Would a prospective client be able to contact you easily?
If so, that’s fantastic! Keep on doing what you’re doing!
If not, there are a few ways that you can quickly build an online presence. Google My Business is free, and it’s easy to set up a profile. We will be sharing a step-by-step walkthrough on how to set it up shortly, and you can learn more at Google My Business.
At a minimum, you want to make sure that prospective clients who find out about you offline can easily find more information about you on the internet. Even clients who are referred to you might look for more information about your process to move forward. You want them to be able to find that information. You don’t need a therapy website to do this; a basic web presence is enough.
As to whether you need a website, the decision is more complicated. However, we’ll try to simplify it here: we think having your own therapist website is a good idea for the vast majority of therapists.
This is particularly true for therapists who specialize in working with young professionals, college students, adolescents, and other groups who are deeply comfortable with the internet. It is even more likely that younger potential clients will look for information about you and other therapists they’re considering on the internet, and it’s important to have a website that you can customize to your practice to provide more information.
It is also essential to have a therapist website if you plan to market your practice online. If you’re using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, SEO, email, or social media to promote your practice, you want to be able to send people back to your website to be able to nurture your relationship with them and measure how well your marketing is performing.
However, if you work mainly with referrals, you don’t plan to market your practice online, or you get most of your clients through insurance, you may not need a website to grow your practice at this time.
However, it is worth thinking through the benefits of websites before you decide not to build a website for your practice:
A website is a space on the internet that is entirely yours. You get to pick the content, the format, the color scheme, the number of pages, and every other detail to convey what your practice is like.
This artistic and creative liberty is freeing for some and stressful for others. If you feel more overwhelmed than excited by the idea of picking so many elements of your site, stick with us for ways that you can make site design much easier. We’ll discuss a few at the end of this article.
The customizability of your website isn’t just a creative project; it also helps you stand out.
Other web presences that you can build easily often have a common look. The Google My Business profile of a therapist looks much like the profile of a lawyer, a doctor, or even a restaurant, for example. Even in a Psychology Today profile, which is only for mental health practitioners, the profiles all look basically the same.
When your web presence looks the same as everyone else’s, it makes it hard for you to stand out as the best therapist for that particular person (unless you’re being personally recommended to the person, as you are at MyWellbeing). Seeing so many profiles that look the same also encourages prospective clients to filter through therapists based on who has the cheapest fee, or who takes their insurance, instead of who may be the best fit, since it’s so hard to get at fit when everyone looks the same.
Your website can really help set you apart and speak to your ideal client. If you work with artists, for example, you could focus your therapy website around the concerns that artists face, or even share artwork your clients have produced about therapy (with their permission, of course). If you work with stressed professionals, you could use a business website template and a quiz on recognizing the signs of burnout to stand out.
Just like a web presence, a website helps you get found online. However, unlike a web presence, your website can help you get found online for a broader range of specialties and topics.
Your website can also help provide more information about you (and how you stand out!) than a basic Psychology Today profile or Google My Business listing. Over and over, we see that people who want to start therapy feel more comfortable when they know more about what working with a therapist will be like. If a prospective client finds your website online instead of a simple business listing, they will learn more about your work and be more prepared to move forward.
One of the biggest immediate advantages of a website is that it can help prospective clients learn more about the logistics of working with you so you can spend more time in your first session exploring fit instead of getting down to brass tacks.
For instance, if you get a lot of questions about why you don’t take insurance in your initial consultation, you could add an FAQs section to your website and briefly explain why you don’t take insurance. If it is hard to find your office, you can explain how to get there.
You can also talk more about how specific techniques you use may help a client, and give them more of a sense of what the experience of working with you is like. The more you can reduce a client’s overwhelm and fear of the unknown when starting therapy, the more likely they are to move forward.
Practicing therapy in the room can be so rewarding, and you make a substantial impact on the lives of your clients. Sometimes, we hear from therapists that they want to use their skills and training to make an impact for more people, but they still love practicing therapy.
If that is the case, a website is a great way that you can reach more people who may not need therapy right now or may not be able to access care. We are not in any way saying that a website is a replacement for therapy. However, you could provide your readers with a few quick tips to help them reduce anxiety, guided meditation tapes, or other tools they can use to gain a bit more peace in their day-to-day lives. Some of the people you help may even become therapy clients in the future.
We want to note here that whether you write about your work on your site or not will depend on your individual comfort, your training, and your time, and it is completely okay if you want to focus on therapy. Supporting more people is an option that having a site opens, not an obligation.
As you can use your website to help others, you can also use it to grow your therapy practice and achieve your goals.
If you write new content (e.g., blog posts) for your website regularly and get links to your website from other sites on the internet, your content will start to appear in search results. Writing regularly and appearing in search results for topics around your work can help establish you as an expert in your niche and build your credibility. In turn, this credibility can bring you new clients, speaking opportunities, and other ways you can expand your impact.
Creating a steady stream of new inquiries for your practice can also support you if you want to create or grow a group practice without worrying about how to get clients for your associates.
There are so many different types of websites! But, again, our focus here is to simplify. There are two simple types of websites that you could set up quickly and easily as a therapist. We’ll go through each one briefly and include an example.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of setting up a website, a one-page site might be the best fit for you. A one-page site is the simplest site there is! It is a site that only has one page, and you could build a basic one-page site in under an hour if you have a clear sense of who you want to work with and what practice policies you want to include.
If you’re building a one-page site, you would usually include your headshot, a brief introduction to you and your practice that focuses on the needs of the clients you work with, your rates, any testimonials from clients/colleagues that you have, and a way to contact you.
If you want a site that can grow with you as your practice grows, a business website would likely be the right fit.
A simple business website can take 2-3 hours to build if you are using a website builder. The biggest challenge is determining what content to include and where it should go, but website templates are often very helpful in figuring that out.
A business website usually has a few core pages: a home page that focuses on what your ideal client may be experiencing that brings them to therapy, an about page with more information about you, and a location/contact page with information about how to move forward with you and where your practice is.
Your business website may or may not have a blog. A blog is an active page where you regularly add articles you have written about different subjects in therapy, mental health, or your niche. If you love writing, blogging is a way that you can both promote your practice and help more people outside of the therapy room. However, if you do not like writing, that is completely okay; there are many other ways you can promote your practice without needing to blog regularly.
You can see sample one-page and business websites that you can customize to your needs here:
This is a question that we get almost as often as “do I need a website?” Therapy website builders and designers can charge $1,000-$15,000 for custom site design, and many therapists wonder if they need to pay those fees to bring in new clients online.
We can answer unequivocally that you do not need to pay that much to get a website. Page builders like Squarespace, Wix, and Wordpress templates can help you set up a site easily for a fraction of the cost. In fact, we originally built MyWellbeing itself on Squarespace. We still use Squarespace to host our blog, and we highly recommend it for therapists who want to build a website without a significant upfront investment.
Even better, Squarespace is only $16/month or $144/year. You can also use our code to get 10% off your Squarespace subscription!
WordPress can be even cheaper than Squarespace up front if you limit the number of themes and plug-ins, but we still recommend Squarespace. Squarespace allows you to create a modern, professional-looking website easily, and they use a lot of the tools and techniques that marketers have spent years learning about to design your website to draw in potential clients. Squarespace also has more comprehensive support and a much smaller learning curve than WordPress, so it tends to be a better fit if you want to spend more time on therapy and less time on marketing.
However, if even thinking about working on your own website stresses you out and you would really prefer to focus on therapy over marketing, working with a website designer can help you build a strong web presence with less stress. If you’re a MyWellbeing member, head over to our member page for exclusive discounts on our recommended designers.
The question of whether you need a website as a therapist can be really stressful, but there are tools and support you can access to help reduce the stress. The benefits of a website can also help reduce the stress and overwhelm.
In the next few weeks, we will be sharing more tips on how to build and improve your website. If you’re interested, sign up below to be the first people to get them!
Match with the *right* clients for your practice while growing your professional community.
Mariah was Head of Growth at MyWellbeing. She is a marketing expert in the areas of content strategy, digital advertising, business growth, and anything related to helping therapists grow their practice.