Creating a well designed website for your private practice is very important in marketing your practice online. It is the business card and face of your business.
I have many years of experience browsing websites but zero experience creating one. As therapists, we aren’t trained in website building. Creating a website from scratch can be confusing. If you are overwhelmed you are not alone. I had no idea how to start the process of creating a website from scratch. What are the basic things I need to start a website? I had to do a lot of research to figure out the difference between a website domain, website hosting, and website platforms.
If building a website is like constructing a building then your website domain is like your street address. For example, the website domain for this website is www.practiceofthepractice.com and people get to this website through this website domain address. You want it to end in .com as that is more popular and reputable but .org or .net can also work.
What should your website domain be? Usually, your website domain should reflect the name of your private practice. Here are good articles related to creating your private practice name:
- How to name a private practice
- How to name a private practice – step by step
- Podcast on naming a private practice
Each website domain is unique so that if someone else has the one you want then you cannot have it unless you buy it from them. If you don’t want to spend the extra money purchasing a domain that is already taken you can change the domain name slightly. For example, rootedhearts domain was unavailable so I chose rootedheartscounseling instead.
You can usually get your web domain through the web hosting that you choose.
If your website domain is the street address then your website hosting is the piece of land the address is directed to.
People can view your website because their browser downloads files filled with code from your site and converts it to what they actually see. These files on your site are stored by your web hosting company provides storage as well as an email address and software that help with your website.
You pay a monthly fee to the web host to provide those services. There are different packages and options that you can choose from depending on what type of web hosting you choose.
Different types of web hosting
There are three common types: shared hosting (an apartment), virtual private server (a townhouse), dedicated server hosting (a private home) with the first one being the cheapest and the last one being the most expensive. You get more space with the later options and potentially greater speed and more reliability but making a website for private practice is probably sufficient with the shared hosting option.
For example, I came up with the name Rooted Hearts Counseling LLC for my private practice name. Then I used SiteGround as the company to do my website hosting and I requested for that domain name after checking on their site if the url was still available. They also provided me with my email address with my website name at the end.
Some examples of common website hosts are:
A website platform contains all the starter files you need to build and launch your website. It is the foundation of your house. It is the program you use to create your website. A platform consists of all the program files you need to create your website. Some examples of website platforms:
You will need to pay monthly fee for their services. Note, some hosting companies are also platform companies so it can be a bit confusing.
Build your Own Website or Get Someone Else to Build the Website?
Creating my website was one of the most stressful time consuming experiences. I had to learn everything about how to make a website by spending hours watching videos, listening to podcasts, and reading articles.
Pros of building your own website
- You can save money if you have don’t have much clients currently and you have the time
- It can feel satisfying if you have a knack for technology and enjoy designing and building something
- You have more control in exactly what you want the website to look like
Cons of building your own website
- The time you use to build and maintain your website could be spent on other areas like marketing, seeing more clients, and self-care.
- If you are not good with technology than it can be stressful and frustrating building your own website
- Being able to build a website doesn’t mean it is a good quality website. There are a lot of things that you have to learn like copywriting (how to write you page to draw clients to contact you) and SEO (stands for Search Engine Optimization, it helps you go up in ranking with Google so you can be found near the top of Google searches).
Another option is to get a professional designer to build your website
There are two main options:
- Monthly based fee website option. You pay a monthly fee for the company to build and support your website. An example would be www.brightervision.com
- Custom website option. Pay a one time fee for someone to create a website that is customized just the way you want it. An example would be www.slapshotstudio.com
This article presents some choices for either option of a monthly based fee website or a custom website
This is a helpful article in helping you decide whether you should build your own website.
Creating a well designed website for your private practice can be challenging. The information and resources above can help you get started in either creating your own website or hiring someone else to do it for you. Good luck on your journey!
Casey is the owner of Rooted Hearts Counseling and specializes in Couples and Marriage Counseling with advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). He gets to the heart of the matter in issues of communication, conflict resolution, infidelity, and infertility. He helps couples heal wounds, grow together, and connect emotionally.