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therapist websiteA website needs to present your practice professionally and stylishly. It needs to be able to expand with you, help you grow and change with the times. With years of experience working with private practitioners we know how the right website can attract new clients. Each site we design is structured to appeal to your viewers.

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  • Article:Website Makeover - Tips and tricks to make a great looking site. A runthrough of what to and what not to do with your website to make sure it's presenting your practice well.
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Terms used in this article
 

  • Vector Art - the use of geometrical primatives such as points, lines, curves and shapes which are all based on mathematical equations to create images and computer grapchics. All CGI in movies use vactor based art. Remember the movie Tron? Vectors have come along way since then.
  • Gradient Colors - A gradual blending of colors between two points. Think of the sky during a sunset, light blue closer to the sun and darker the further away.
Website Makeover
 
Over the years working in private practice marketing I've had many therapists come to me saying, "I don't understand why I don't get contacts from my website". They spend piles of money on advertising and therapy referral services to get traffic but nothing.  Many times all it takes is one look at their website to figure out the problem: An outdated, unappealing or even straight up ugly website.

Why is your websites design important?Please make a selection.

Let me give you a scenario:  Imagine for a moment you need to do some clothes shopping so you head over to the local mall.  As you enter you're confronted with two very different department stores: A newly renovated Nordstrom's and the last open Woolworth's on the planet.  You have a decision to make and remember; only the store you find appealing is likely to get your money so the first impression is very important. 

montgomery wardsNow the Nordstrom's store front consists of several floor to ceiling, crystal clear windows displaying mannequins around well placed scenery.  The Woolworth's front is one ominous, oppressive wall towering three stories over your head because it was designed in the 60's and hasn't been rebuilt since.  It could very well double as a prison (similar to the one in the picture).  Which store sounds more appealing? Which one is more likely to get your business, or for that matter, anyone else?

The company F.W. Woolworth actually went out of business in 1997, after being a leader in the retail business for most of the 20th century, for this very reason: Failing to stay up-to-date.  

Your website reflects your practice

It also greets each new potential client just like the two department stores.  It's important that it's well designed and functioning without errors.

It may be difficult to gage web standards given that they change in the blink of an eye but here's a few things to look for and a few to avoid.

What to do:

  • Use a well-coordinated color scheme.  Here are a few ideas to help you out .  Also, picking a theme can be helpful.
  • Present contact info, especially your address, clearly on every page. Make sure to include links to a contact page and forms for easy contact.
  • Get a professional headshot of yourself and put it on your website.  Therapy is an intimate practice and potential clients need to see you before they think about contacting you.  If you already have one make sure it's up to date and you're not sporting an 80's style haircut (even if it might be trendy again!).
  • When web surfing take notice and book mark sites that catch your eye or appeal to you. Do the same for color schemes
  • Don't be afraid to get creative, just don't over do it.
  • Think of a cool background to implement, like this site: jontremaine.com or exclusivereels.com

Here are a few design techniques that are popular at the moment:
  • Vector art for backgrounds and borders are very popular these days: this site makes great use of vectors.
  • Buttons, banners and graphics should always use gradient colors instead of one simple color.  This creates a much richer site with more depth.
  • Designs that appear three dimensional and create depth are very popular.  They draw viewers into the site and pop off the screen.
  • Textured backgrounds for content and margins add style and depth as well draw the eye.

What to avoid:

  • A site with too much going on like this one: sandandstarfish.com
  • Don't use depressing pictures. Your goal is to inspire potential clients and show them what your services can offer.
  • Don't use spiritual or religious icons, even if your clientele prescribe to those beliefs.  You want to avoid coming off as a pseudo-therapist or a new age nut.
  • Don't use loud, abrasive colors that are too "hot" like orange and red.  Color schemes like this can be unsettling.
  • Avoid sites made with Flash.  Flash sites make heavy use of animations and motion. They can be expensive, hard to change and slow to load.