You have a great therapy practice, but do you even exist without a website? Not in today’s world! Check out these free, relevant resources for mental health professionals. If you want to learn more about how we can help your therapy website rank higher in the search results, book a free consult. I’d love to talk with you about which services could help you help more people.
I am not new to WordPress. For years, I had the responsibility of keeping up with my office’s website on the our local University’s server. Y’all, it was the Wild, Wild West when we first set up that site! I am definitely a DIY-er on a lot of things, but this was overwhelming. Coding? Site navigation? Design? We weren’t even thinking about meta descriptions and SEO at that point! After supervising two huge redesigns, I learned a ton about site upkeep, plugins, widgets, themes and accessibility (more on that next month). But, I did not know how to launch a brand new, DIY website. In fact, I thought all you had to do was purchase a domain on Google and WordPress would magically make it happen.
Nope. Not so much.
Well…sort of. You can go through WordPress.com, which is what I did with my birth services site a few years ago. Whoops! Don’t do this, unless you want to spend a bunch of money to “rent” the space. I can’t even get Yoast SEO tools on the site without upgrading to a more expensive package! No, thank you.
So, how do I get started with my therapy website?
First, you need to have a clear vision and mission for your website. This will help make the decisions much easier to make while getting setup. You do not have to have a fancy brand kit, but you will need to make some aesthetic decisions eventually. Don’t worry, these can be changed! Having a budget for what you are able to spend on basic website setup now, and on an annual basis, would be helpful. This is especially important if you have “shiny object syndrome” like I do. There are a ton of people who would love to sell you a bunch of bells and whistles online. Of course.
Okay, great! I have time and money. What’s next?
Next, I HIGHLY recommend you block out a day to do the basic launch for your mental health or therapy website. Can it be done in a few hours, here and there? Sure. But, if you’re like me, focused time is way more productive than pieces. If you are able to immerse yourself in the training, and set up your site as you go, you’ll end your day of action with a live website! Celebrate your wins, folks. You deserve it.
Didn’t you say there was training involved?
Finally, get yourself registered for the FREE Yoast SEO Training on WordPress for Beginners. Like I said, I was not a beginner, but wanted to approach the process as a beginner would. This way, I could catch up on any features, tips and tricks that I didn’t already know. Let me tell you, I am so glad I did it this way! Was some of it a review of information I already knew? Sure. Of course. Here’s a hot tip for those modules that are more of a review for you:
Hot Tip: You can adjust the speed of each video! 1.25x was a decent pace for me to still listen for new concepts without feeling like I was “wasting” time. (Because NO ONE has extra time, amirite?)
For those of you who are less auditory, there are PDF pages with every module that provide more details than the videos. I started the training watching every video, then reading the PDF, then taking the quiz for that module before moving on to the next. After a couple of topics, I either just watched the videos or just read the PDF, depending on my comfort level with the action steps for the concept. Basically, you can do this however YOU learn best. Yes, this is the instructor in me talking now.
Wait…there’s a quiz?!?
Yes. Yes there is. Quite a few of them, actually. I was sort of hoping you wouldn’t notice that part, perhaps? In order to get your certificate at the end, you must score at least 80% overall. (Yes, you can re-take the quizzes after you’ve reviewed the answers and the concepts again…it’s really not that bad) Actually, this was a fun part of the training! As a high-achiever, you know I needed to do well on those quizzes and get that certificate.
Now, there were a few key takeaways from the training I would love to highlight! These are things that some of our clients have had questions about, so you might be curious too. I’d love to know what else you are curious about, so please leave a comment below with additional questions and/or topics you would like for us to cover.
Key Takeaways For Mental Health Professionals for Your Therapy Website
Module 4.2: Adding images, videos and embeds
Even those who know how to add images could benefit from this enhanced training. However, remember that with our Done For You Comprehensive SEO packages, we can do this for your counseling or therapy website.
- Notice that GIF I included up there? Yep, fancy right? I didn’t know how people did that until going through this module! AND, because I know how to optimize Alt Text for both SEO and accessibility, that fun little image is giving this post a nice boost in the rankings while ensuring that all who read this page are able to experience the content. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
- Maybe the GIF isn’t your thing. That’s okay. I also know that in order to captivate, connect and convert our potential (read: ideal) clients, we need to build the “Know, Like and Trust” factor. One great way to do this is to have more of you and your team featured. One way to do this is to spend a quick two minutes talking about a particular concept, on camera, and add it to a service page! (I know, it sounds scary…but you can do hard things, right?) Perhaps you could do a quick Facebook Live, download it to YouTube and embed the video on your site? If all of that sounds too scary, find a quality clip of Brené Brown for the time being.
Module 6.3 & 6.4: Common Mistakes and Security
Well, if that doesn’t entice you to watch this 3.5-minute video, I don’t know what will! Yes, please…just tell me the common mistakes. Not surprisingly, they are the type of things that we at Simplified SEO Consulting have a tendency to mention every month on Facebook, on consult calls and via e-mail. So, let’s review the top three for SEO, shall we?
- Improper Permalink Etiquette: Set them up in a smart, strategic, SEO-enhancing way (or let us) before hitting “Publish”, and don’t touch them once they are published!
- Avoiding the Updates: Be sure to update your website, plugins and theme regularly! At least twice a month is best practice. If you have a web developer, they may be doing this already but you should still ask to be sure.
- Create a CLU password! Passwords shouldn’t be simple, or easy to guess. Did you know, StarWars made the list of most popular passwords? Yep. We’re not quite as clever as we think we are, huh?
Get a CLU instead: Complex, Long and Unique!
Module 7.2: WordPress and the Yoast SEO Plugin
Before the training, I honestly didn’t know everything the Yoast plugin could do for therapy and other mental health websites. I’m still not positive I know the ins and outs of every piece (canonicals? crawlability? sure…) What I love most about the plugin is:
Bullet feedback –
Red. Orange. Green. I’ve been driving for over half of my life. I can certainly get on board with a basic stoplight system! Easy. Even as I’m typing this post, I check the real-time feedback every so often to be sure I’m optimizing this blog. (How Meta……get it?)
Readability analysis –
If you’ve been on a call with me, you know my oh-so-shameful secret already. Okay, it’s not really a secret, but it’s my biggest “growth edge” when it comes to SEO for therapy websites. Drumroll, please…I’m an academic. Yep. I have the horrible habit of making things WAY more complex than needed. In fact, I think I had that last sentence written three different ways before settling on its current form? (Checks readability color again)
Snippet editor –
What kind of magic is this?! I know we can’t actually dictate what the search engines choose to feature in search results. But, if we take the time to make it easier for the bots, they should reward us, right? I think so. This is that “secret sauce” that Jessica refers to, the meta description! In the past couple of months, I have learned a ton about meta descriptions. Way more than I knew was possible. If that sounds like a fun venture for you, definitely snag our free, 7-day SEO e-mail course.
To Wrap it All Up
In the final, “What Should You Do?” module, my favorite quote was “…of course, you could outsource this, but it remains a task that requires human effort.” Yes. Yes it does! That’s where we come in. If you are the DIY type, I totally understand. I am too. There are certainly some basics to know that will help you get set up, but ranking well on the search engines is a process that involves a surprising amount of trial and error. To make it easier, we are so excited to finally offer a live crash course in SEO via a weekend workshop! We would love to work with you online and/or in-person.
With affordable, accessible options for all sizes and scopes of clinics, we can help you maximize your online therapy website presence and attract more clients who are already looking for you. To get started, just schedule a free, 30-minute Zoom consultation by clicking here.
Happy helping, however you practice,
~Danica Wolf, MSW
Mental Health SEO Specialist