Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast!
I’m your host, Cindy Norton.
Here in Episode 30 I talk about websites and help to demystify all the website options that are available to you. I’ll review DIY websites, subscription website services, and custom web design.
Let’s get started.
Podcasts are growing in popularity and there are already so many great private practice podcasts out there. If you join the Trailblazer community via my seasonal newsletter you will receive a free A-Z download that includes a list of my favorite private practice podcasts.
I hope that the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast will earn its spot in your regular podcast listens.
See below for the episode show notes links and transcript…
Episode 30 Show Notes Links
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Episode 30 Transcript
Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast! I’m your host, Cindy Norton. Here in Episode 30 I’m going to talk about websites and help to demystify all the website options that are available to you.
Let’s get started.
Have you been wanting to start your private practice, but you can’t seem to take that first step? Maybe you’re afraid of failure or lack confidence, or maybe the idea of running your own practice is overwhelming. I’m Cindy Norton, owner of Mountain Practice Journeys and I help therapists and counselors to love the business side of private practice. I’ll share with you practical skills and advice along with a healthy dose of inspiration so that you can be on your way to the practice of your dreams. Put on your hiking boots, and let’s get going.
If you haven’t yet listened to Episode 29, I urge you to do that. In that episode I chat with Melissa Zawisza of Reilly Counseling in Texas. We talk about all the reasons that self-care isn’t selfish, and the lessons she learned when switching roles from social worker to patient.
Now let’s get on to today’s episode.
Your website can be a really huge asset to your private practice. Your website is out there marketing for you 24/7 – that is, if people can find it. But that’s a topic for another episode.
In my opinion you have three options when deciding on a website: you can do it yourself, pay for a subscription service, or hire a custom designer. As you know, when a choice is involved, there are pros and cons to each.
Let’s begin with the do it yourself route. This option can save you a lot of money, but it also comes with its own source of frustration. If you’re not tech savvy, or you don’t really have an interest in web design, this probably isn’t the best option for you.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn though. If you’re someone who has an interest in learning, has quite a bit of patience, and can learn new skills from watching video tutorials, then you can definitely build your own website.
But you will need to be aware of the time commitment needed to design a website, especially if you are just learning. When I learned to design websites, something that initially took me an hour to figure out how to do now takes me 5 minutes – but that has come from years and years of repetition – and I still have to look things up if it’s been more than a few weeks since I’ve done the task. So if you have more time than money, a DIY website is a great option.
There are also website templates that you can buy where you just plug in your content, which takes away some of the frustrating design aspects.
If you plan to DIY your website, my recommendation is Squarespace. I believe that Squarespace is currently the best do it yourself website option out there.
Moving on to the next option: a website subscription service. This is where you pay a monthly fee for someone to build, update, and maintain your site. This is a good option for those who are hands off and want someone to build and care for their website. It’s also beneficial if you are someone who has frequent updates, as some plans will include this in the subscription.
The main downside to subscription sites is that the monthly fee you pay (which can be anywhere from $60-$120) never ends as long as you have the site. So, if you’re in practice for 20 years and stick with this subscription service you could end up paying upwards of $14,000 for your website. However, you may not be in practice that long or plan on having a website for 20 years, but it’s something to think about.
One other small downside to subscription sites is that they can look very similar to other sites because similar templates and website copy are used across sites.
However, the convenience of being able to have someone to manage your website and make updates when needed can make the monthly fee worth it to many therapists.
I don’t know enough about subscription services to make a solid recommendation, but there are a couple of companies who provide this service specifically for therapists and they are TherapySites and Brighter Vision.
I also recommend that you do your due diligence when paying for any type of service, especially from larger companies. This can be in regards to services for your business or personally. You’ll want to see how the treat their employees and customers, what other companies or corporations they are affiliated with, and you’ll want to ask people you trust for their recommendations.
The reason I mention this is that there has been an uptick in companies marketing their services to therapists who have no connection to the mental health field and are making millions off the backs of therapists because they see a great business opportunity. So my recommendation is to go with smaller businesses that are created and ran by therapists – or at least have therapists as consultants or staff members.
And finally, there’s custom designed websites. Many of you know that I design custom websites for therapists so I’ll do my best to remain unbiased. And I think I’ll do a good job at it because I don’t believe that everyone should opt for a custom designed site. In fact, I believe that the DIY and subscription options will be a better fit for some therapists and practices depending on their needs.
Most fully custom websites for therapists are in the range of $3,000 – $7,000 or more, depending on the features included. This may sound expensive to most therapists, and it is. Especially when you are just starting out. But it does need to be put into perspective. Remember that you can end up spending upwards of $14,000 or more over the life of a subscription site. For less than that amount you could have a fully custom website that has been completely re-designed and re-branded three times over.
As a custom website designer myself, I know first hand the time and attention that I put into a site – all down to the minute details. Many people comment about my designs being aesthetically pleasing and not too busy. You’d be surprised at how much work and thought goes into making a simple and clean design.
If any of you are familiar with computer programming – it takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make technology user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing.
For my custom designed websites, there’s a lot of work and planning that goes into them. I chat with the client about their practice and what look and feel they want to convey to their clients. We work together on a font selection, color palette, and a logo design that really represents the heart and soul of their business.
I love that this custom branding process allows their practice to become unique and really stand out. The website is then designed with this brand and message in mind. Everything from the organization of the website and the spacing between elements, all the way down to the selection of website photos has been carefully thought out.
A custom website is a good choice for therapists who want to have a unique website that represents the spirit of their practice, but would like someone else to design it for them. With a custom site you are paying to save yourself the time and frustration that comes along with doing everything yourself.
Personally, for a custom designed site, I can easily spend 40+ hours on the project. So if you would rather spend your 40 hours seeing clients that could be about $6,000 of your time spent being a therapist instead of figuring out how to design a website. It all depends on your personal preference and what you’d rather spend your time and money on.
So I hope this episode has been helpful as you are considering your website options. DIY, subscription, and custom websites are all great options and the best choice will be dependent upon your specific needs.
I also want to take a moment to say that I am so grateful to all of the amazing therapists who have given me the privilege of designing your website. It has been an absolute joy to work with each and every one of you.
And a special note: I have recently made the decision to begin only offering my custom web design services to members of Forestmind, which I’ll introduce at the end of this episode. So stay tuned to learn more.
During each episode I’ll be giving you one small take away, action step, or mindset shift. I call these acorns. Listen to Episode 0 to get the scoop on what the acorns are all about.
The acorn from this episode is a recommendation to not delay launching your website. Just get something out there. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Your website is a work in progress – or at least mine have tended to be. I’m not saying to just throw something out there without having put any thought into it, because a really horrid website may deter clients from reaching out. However, I see way too many therapists procrastinating on launching their website because they are still working on the perfect copy, or they’re just afraid to put themselves out there. Do your best and launch the damn thing. You can revise expand as needed.
I know that there’s a million things that go into having good SEO, but the length of time your website has been live is one of the many factors. The longer your website has been active, the better your SEO will be. So don’t delay. Even if you can only get a landing page up for now with your picture, a brief message, and contact info – that’s better than nothing.
As I outlined in Episode 0, I’ll be alternating between a fun fact and ‘what I’m digging’ segment with each new episode.
The fun fact for this episode is that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person – as if you didn’t know that already. But I haven’t expressly mentioned it in the fun fact section yet, so here it is – officially.
For those of you who are Highly Sensitive Persons as well, you truly understand the unique challenges that present themselves in our work as therapists and solo business owners. We also have amazing gifts as a result of our highly sensitive traits.
I want to send a big dose of love and compassion to those of you listening that are like me. To those of you who felt as if something was wrong with you when you began your career as a therapist, especially in the agency setting. I don’t know about you, but I’m not built for seeing 30 clients a week. Hell, I’m not even built for seeing 15 or 20 clients a week.
It’s something I felt guilty about as I began my journey as a therapist. I wondered what was wrong with me that I was so exhausted after having a 5 client day. I eventually found my people, the Highly Sensitive Therapists, and realized that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and that I have a multitude of other gifts to bring to the table.
This is honestly one of the main reasons I’m creating Forestmind, my membership mastermind program for introverted and highly sensitive solo business owners. I want us to feel connected, supported, and immensely thrilled about the amazing gifts we bring to the world through our lives and our businesses.
Thank you so much for joining me today on your private practice journey.
This episode concludes Season 3 of the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast. I’ll be taking a 3 week break and will be back before you know it with a wonderful Season 4 filled with helpful topics and inspiring guests.
And for continued inspiration for your private practice during this seasonal break, join me over on instagram @mountainpracticejourneys
Continuing on with tradition, I’ll be sharing a seasonal bonus episode during the break for some Autumn inspiration.
Next week, I’ll also have a very special bonus episode that I am beyond excited about! It’s all about Forestmind – my new membership mastermind program for private practice introverts and highly sensitive therapists.
In this bonus episode I’ll share all the details about Forestmind, as well as my thoughts on why a mastermind like this is needed now more than ever. Even if you’re not looking to join a small, supportive group at this time, I still believe there will be some helpful nuggets of wisdom in this bonus episode, as well as some mindset shifts and some new perspectives to ponder on that will be especially thought-provoking for introverts and highly sensitive persons living in America today.
In the episode I’ll talk about a new term I’ve coined called the Slow Practice Movement and stress the importance of empowerment over dependency. Be sure to tune in to get all the juicy details.
There’s no way you can know how much it means to me that you choose to join me here as I share all things related to private practice. Please subscribe so you don’t miss a step. For more information about this episode, please visit the show notes page at mountainpracticejourneys.com/podcast I truly appreciate you Trailblazers. Your mountain is within reach. Journey on.
I Want You To Be Successful In Private Practice!
Happy Climbing, Cindy