A few years ago, I teamed up with website consultant Sophie Wood to launch Pocket Site, a stylish, fast and secure website builder designed for busy therapists. In this post, Sophie’s going to share some of her knowledge and help you learn how to create a website for your private practice.
Why is Your Website Important?
Websites are an essential tool for businesses to establish their credibility and build trust with their customers. Your online presence can have a massive impact on the success of your private practice, your ability to attract clients and how much money you make.
How Much Should I Invest?
A good way to determine how much you should spend on your website is to figure out how much income you need it to generate. Imagine it’s your shop front. Do you want to be on the high street, or can your business survive on a side street where it’s cheaper and there’s less traffic?
It’s OK to start small, especially if you’re running your private practice on a part time basis. Equally, if you’re happy relying on referrals, your website won’t need to work as hard. Unless you’re very tech savvy, I don’t recommend the DIY approach. You may not need an expensive bespoke website when you’re just starting out, but you need something that works well and looks good.
Good Design & Great Functionality
Good design is about so much more than simply looking pretty. Just because a website looks nice doesn’t mean it works well and will be instantly successful. Sometimes it can mean the opposite, especially if the most important element has been forgotten – your customers. Although it’s important you choose a design that looks professional and trustworthy, your website also needs to be functional and easy to use.
Optimising your website so it works correctly on mobile devices is also important. This is known as making a website ‘responsive. This means the website responds to the screen sizes of different devices, automatically resizing content. Around half of all visitors to the average small business website use a smartphone or mobile device. For therapy practices, this can be even higher. A website that hasn’t been optimised for mobile devices will deliver a poor experience and visitors aren’t going to stay on your website if it’s hard to use.
Which Platform Should I Use?
To help you decide which website builder is best for your private practice, I’ve compared some of the most popular platforms – WordPress, Pocket Site, Wix and Squarespace.
Arguably the most popular website builder and blogging platform out there, WordPress is behind an impressive number of pages on the internet, powering over 40% of the web! This is the platform I use when a client needs a bespoke website for their Therapy practice.
Feel: professional, secure, customizable, high-ranking, versatile, scalable, user-friendly
– WordPress gives you full control over your website and you can structure the content to your needs.
– The vast collection of WordPress plugins allows you to create the functionality you need.
– When it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation), WordPress websites have a good chance of ranking higher than others. With its SEO-friendly themes and dedicated SEO tools, you can increase your visibility and reach more potential clients.
– As a healthcare practitioner, you deal with important patient data that needs to be accessed easily. WordPress stores data efficiently and allows you to download it anytime with just one click.
– As your practice grows, your website needs to grow too. Platforms powered by WordPress scale well and you can easily keep adding content and features.
– Even though the WordPress dashboard is meant to be user-friendly, some users find it takes time to master.
– With WordPress, you are responsible for your hosting needs. However, installing WordPress on hosting platforms like Bluehost or Dreamhost is an easy process that should only take a few minutes.
WordPress is free and open-source. You will need to purchase hosting, which can start from £3-4 per month. Free and paid themes and plugins are available. Bespoke design costs vary depending on your specific needs, but I charge £500 – £3000.
Pocket Site is a dedicated website builder for therapists. I may be a little biased, but it really does have all the functionality and flexibility of WordPress with the added bonus of personalised support. It’s fast, secure, and offers styles of websites for all tastes.
Feel: personal, bespoke, user-friendly, health care centred and secure.
– It’s easy to customise every aspect of the website. You can select a pre-built template and there’s a starter site included as standard.
– Pocket Site comes with a built-in image library which gives you access to 1000s of images.
– There’s no need to worry about keeping your site up-to-date, safe and secure as it’s all done for you.
– Step-by-step training videos to get you going quickly and personalised support from me if you find yourself struggling.
– SEO optimised as standard.
– More costly per month than most, but this includes excellent support and your site is hosted on one of the fastest, most secure and reliable hosting environments around – WP Engine.
– To get the most out of the platform, you need to spend time on it, so it’s not for everyone.
There’s no set-up charge, just a flat £30 per month. There’s no contract and you can terminate at any time. A design service is also available if you need a helping hand to get going.
With drag-and-drop customisation and a dedicated customer support team, Wix has gained popularity as a great website builder for beginners.
Feel: friendly interface, easy, customisable, user-friendly, suitable for beginners
– Joining the Wix platform and getting started is simple and easy from the start.
– After choosing your theme, the Wix editor gives you total freedom. You can drag-and-drop sections of text and media, you can resize, align, and reorder them quickly. There are also multiple Wix plugins to choose from, to add new features to your platform.
– The Wix editor shows you how your website looks on different devices and lets you customise the versions for PC, mobile, and tablet. You can also realign and customise different elements to fit smaller screens.
– Due to its clean structure and ease, the Wix website builder is great for portfolios and personal pages.
– Total freedom sounds great, but if you aren’t inclined towards web design or you’re short on time, the website might end up with poor visuals.
– Wix websites don’t scale well and, depending on the amount of content and features you add, the pages will load slower.
– Once you choose a theme and publish your therapy website, you cannot change it. This means any future rebrand or redesign will have to be done within the limits of the respective theme.
– There’s no personalised support.
– Even though they offer their own SEO tools, it seems that websites published with Wix are harder to optimise.
Wix has a free plan available you can use to try out the platform, along with multiple premium plans. The lower price tiers are perfect for a personal or portfolio website, but for a professional business website you will need a business or eCommerce plan that start from £8.50/month and can go up to £18 /month paid annually.
Known for a variety of great-looking themes, Squarespace is often used by designers and creative professionals to build visually appealing websites.
Feel: creative, professional, ready-made, good looking, secure, standardised
– Squarespace website builder is known for its creative themes and beautiful layouts.
– With Squarespace, you get everything you need by choosing the right template for your website. The Squarespace features are integrated with their layouts, which makes it friendly for beginners or people who don’t want to spend much time on design.
– Squarespace offers a set of features specifically designed for eCommerce so the user can add subscription pages, shopping carts, or catalogue sections. It also provides scheduling tools for booking appointments.
– Squarespace has a great customer service team and since they keep everything in-house, they will take care of any issues or inquiries.
– Since Squarespace works with templates, there is only so much you can customise when it comes to design. Squarespace websites can end up looking alike, which means you might lose brand recognition.
– When it comes to SEO, Squarespace can be difficult to optimise. The templates do not perform as well as other websites, their internal SEO tools can be hard to learn, and it doesn’t allow for third-party plugins that could help with a higher ranking.
– Even though they offer a great selection of possibilities, the features you can add to a Squarespace website are limited.
– Since Squarespace works with predetermined templates, it can be challenging to expand your website.
Squarespace offers four pricing options. For a personal plan, the price starts at £10/month when paid annually (or £14 on a monthly basis) and it goes up to £30/month annually for an advanced eCommerce platform.
Your private practice needs a website that looks professional and functions well. WordPress is an excellent choice for any business website, but for healthcare professionals, we obviously recommend Pocket Site. You’ll be able to create a website that suits your needs and Pocket Site will keep it running smoothly.
If you think Pocket Site might be right for you, get in touch today. We’ll arrange a video walk-through, or you can sign up with no obligation and take it for a spin covered by our 30-day money back guarantee. Visit the Pocket Site website.