Where to start?
Part of your Professional Counselling Practice will involve completing tasks that you wouldn't normally do and then up-skilling. For many counsellors it is true to say that building a counselling business is like any other. It is key to your success that as a counsellor you involve yourself at the heart of everything you do, grow your counselling business mind.
Having a web designer create a website for you can be expensive, and it really is a whole new world of language if you're not tech minded. If you go down this route, find someone you know to speak with them about your requirements as you may end up paying thousands for a website, when potentially you need not have.
Before embarking on website creation ask yourself some basic questions.
What am I selling?
What is my online identity?
What information will potential clients ask?
What information do I need to provide?
If you start asking these questions to yourself you can start to hone in on what it is that you will present on line.
Where to start?
A Counselling website that you're about to begin building will generally serve as a 'front of house' to provide general information about your Private Practice. You can make this a simple website that tells the most important aspect of what and who you are. The most important thing you must do is what your company does on the home page. Make the UX (User Experience) as simple as possible. They will not want to have to look for the information.
There are a few website building platforms that will allow you to be able to drag and drop information using normal computer techniques, no coding required.
The top 5 are:
Have a look at them and decide for yourself what works for you.
Decide your domain name
This means, decide your company name, what the website will be called. A domain name should be something like www.maggiebrowncounselling.co.uk for example.
Deciding your own name for your Private Practice should be relatively easy, but just make sure it is available by searching on google, domain names, there are various companies who sell them. If you decide to build your website using Wix then buy the domain name with Wix.
Your website 'host'
A host just means a company that has your website on their hard drive. Wix is a host of the site that you build whilst using Wix. There are other ways of having your website hosted, but keep it simple, if you use Wix for your domain name, use Wix to build your website, then Wix will be your host.
Building your pages
A good website is not just a rigid home page. Creating multiple pages for your website is an obvious task, every website you go on has a variety of pages as it make it easy to find information for your potential clients. Do yourself a favour and look at other counsellors websites and build your own idea in your mind about what is right for you and your identity.
Your Home Page. Make this your Shop Front, attract your customers using clear current content. This is the window into who you are as a counsellor. Again, you can get ideas of how other counsellors present themselves by looking at their websites.
Create a Contact Page, this is a way for clients to be directly linked to you. This page is important for obvious reasons.
The About Page, keep is simple, to the point. Who you are, what you believe, and what your values are is a good place to start. Include a picture of yourself and your qualifications.
One thing to keep in mind is the Headings (titles) of your pages. They should relate to the SEO keywords you are aiming to compete for on Google. Have at look at this description of how to lay out your headings.
There are various website building tools within each platform (wix), have a play with them and have fun. It can become a little grounding when designing your own website for the first time, but fear not. Save what you have done, come back to it when you're in a better frame of mind.
Please check out www.swarmingbee.co.uk who design websites, they also have lots of useful information on their site to help beginners. Check out this page to learn more about common web design mistakes.
Be concise and clear about what your business does
Potential clients should be able to recognise what you do within seconds of finding their way on your home page. A few great web pages are better than a dozen poorly presented ones. Remember, this is your counselling image at stake. Take your time, and have fun.
Place strategic calls to action
A call to action button is a way that customers get directly told what to do, such as 'BUY NOW'. In counselling this isn't really the approach to take but the idea is the same. 'CONTACT ME' is a great call to action. These buttons are already created in the self build platforms.
Avoiding stock photos
This will be quite difficult unless you are a natural creative. If you have no photos of your own that display the feel and environment that you want to create, then using stock photos is your only choice.
This can get expensive if you use 'pay for' stock photos companies. There are free photos available all over the web to use, just be mindful of legal ownership rights. If you use someone else's photos you could face a legal battle that you don't really need.
Our advise is to use your phone or a camera, take photos throughout your journey to work, or out on your walks...build up your own library of images, take your time, build up your own image in your mind of the types of photos that are relevant to you. If you take the photo, you own it.
Social media/search engines
One of the best ways to increase your target audience is to reach out and alert potential clients about what's going on with your company. Create genuine content and keep your audience up to date with what you are doing.
Including links to your social media on your website is a must. The most common places are the header and footer. Google loves a good link and the more of them that you have on and off your website the better. It creates a spiders web of 'you' showing google just how big you are becoming. Google will move you up the ranks.
Submit your new company and website onto major search engines as this help potential clients find you. This is an easy process! Just google it.
Search Engine Optimisation. All this means is the information on your website should be relevant and up to date. You choose 'key words' that you want google to pick up, these key words you add into the web building platform in their SEO section. Google will look for these initial key words, and then crawl your website and show up in the search.
We advise that you stay away from companies that sell you a £300 a month SEO package as it can be simple to do yourself. However, that being said, if you know a friend or family member that can help you then great. If you really are lost try searching google for more information. You can also use the website building platform to find more information on their specific instructions. Read through it.
If you would like to know more about SEO please visit improve-your-seo.
Maintain your site
Keep your website up to date and current. Add a blog, add new photos, add client reviews if they're willing.
Or you could use an independent web designer such as Swarming Bee Web Design who will build and manage all of your website needs.
Take your time, stay positive, have fun.
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The Beginning of your Journey in Counselling
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Self Development and
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