I wanted to talk about this topic that may or may not be a little bit controversial: why I believe that building your own website is a mistake as a practice owner. I know that is a pretty bold statement and I will say that there's definitely an asterisk at the end of that, but I want to bring up a few different reasons why building your own practice website could be a mistake for you.
This is based on what I have seen from other practice owners and other therapists who are getting started on their own, and the biggest thing is that the websites that get built are either ineffective or they take way too much time away from the things that will actually drive and grow your business when you are first getting started.
As a new business owner, it's so important for you to be so effective and efficient, especially as a solo practice owner. Being a single person practice myself, I hate seeing people getting bogged down in these details and that's part of the reason why I've started working with practices, building websites, updating websites, and building out all of the digital marketing on the back end for them because it's just not the thing that the practice owner wants to spend their time on, needs to spend their time on, and not necessarily one of their strengths. Let's jump in to the 6 reasons, based on what I've seen, of why you may not be the best person to build your own website.
You need or want to get your practice up and running as quickly as possible
By "up and running" I mean seeing patients and making money from those services. If you are spending all of your time at the beginning trying to figure out how to build a website and what needs to go on it rather than actually building relationships with people letting your community know that you are available to hire, then it's going to hold you back that much more (time wise). I don't want to see that for you.
We're all doing this so that we can create a better career for ourselves, enjoy being therapists, and also be able to treat patients in a way that feels good to us. If you get really stuck on the website or any digital marketing and that's what you're spending all of your time on, it's not going to help you get anywhere. If you are in a place where you need or want to get your practice up and running within the next two or three months, your website needs to take less than five hours to put together if you're gonna take a crack at it. If it is taking much longer than that or you find you're going back to it over and over again after a week has passed of you working on it, it's not what you need to be spending your time on.
You're not technologically inclined
There are so many different options for building a website
There are so many different website builder options, and that's like not even including things like click funnels, kajabi, member vaults, podia, teachable, and thinkific. Those are just basic website builders. Let's say you do go with WordPress. Trying to find some kind of builder plugin, plus a theme, and being able to figure out how to use the platforms, not even just building the website, but trying to figure out how to even use WordPress and make it functioning. It takes so much time. If you have no previous experience, and you're trying to figure out a lot of that stuff, it leads us back to point one. You're going to end up spending so much extra time learning these things that are not the things that are going to directly make you money at the beginning. I would much rather see you either start your practice with mainly using social media and having your Facebook business page be your "website" at the beginning and see you getting out into the community to network. I would rather you do that than spend all your time trying to figure out how to use WordPress. It's just not a good use of time. I feel like this is the main theme throughout this blog: your time is much better spent elsewhere than trying to figure out how to build a website.
I think that it adds another to worry to your plate. If you are somebody who struggles to use Google Drive, not entirely sure how Gmail works, if you have no experience with web design/web development/web building, you haven't really built anything on an online platform before, then building your first practice website is probably not for you. I see so many people get bogged down with the technological details and how to do things that not only take the time, but it distracts you from the things that are going to really matter.
You tend to fall prey to analysis paralysis
With all of the different web building platforms that I mentioned, I've seen people stay stuck in this phase of trying to pick a website builder for literal months at a time because they're cross comparing different web builders, all the prices, and what you could possibly do with them. You end up getting really overwhelmed with all of the options that are there in front of you rather than working on the things that will really matter at the beginning.
Not only just picking a builder, but then if you throw in trying to add in themes or different aspects of your website, (like a blog, about page, a shop, the resources page, services page), and you aren't really sure what to put on the website (more on that later). Those things are going to cause you a lot of stress trying to figure it all out as well when you really need to be building relationships. If you feel like you're somebody who is vulnerable to analysis paralysis, if you feel like that's something that has stopped you before, building your own website might not be the best idea.
You don't know what needs to go on a website
If you spend your time building that website, but it doesn't have what it needs and it's ineffective that became a really inefficient use of your time. To give you an example, one of the number one things that I see missing from practice websites is their contact and location information. If that is not on your website, your website is no longer an effective marketing tool for your business. That contact information needs to include:
your business name
the owner's name
a phone number
an email address
any social media links (any ways that people can contact you, (such as email, phone number, any social media that you have, along with your name)
Your location information, (address, city, state, and zip). If you have a brick and mortar or a rented location, that needs to be on your website.
The location that you're somewhat in or the region that you serve, if you're online only.
That context information needs to be readily apparent because if somebody goes to your website and they can't figure out where you are or how to contact you then how are you going to expect to get patients? That's something that I know is a very common thought amongst us when we're first getting started in our practices: if I put up a website and sit by the phone then all of a sudden I will get a bunch of patients. It is not true at all! People need to know how to contact you and if you make it hard for them they're going to leave your website. It not only needs to be clear how to contact you and where you're located, but it also needs to be easy which is why I often suggest to put your phone number in the header of the website.
Make sure it's easy to see, easy to click on both the desktop and mobile versions of the site. Most website traffic now in general is on a mobile device so you do need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile and it's easy for people to contact you from that mobile platform. If they look for your website and they somehow make it there, but there's no way for them to contact you and they aren't even really sure how to get started they are going to leave your website and go somewhere else. That needs to be on there. There are quite a few other things that I always really recommend go on at least a home page of a website. I do have another video on what needs to be on your website and how to make what I call a "one-page website". Some things have changed since I made that video.
You don't have a good idea as to who you're trying to serve
If you aren't really sure...
what your services are
what the patient population is that you want to work with
what the problem is that you want to solve
what your ideal clients look like
what activities they do
how old they are
If you don't understand who it is that you are trying to market to, you're going to end up creating a digital brochure of sorts or a website that reflects your own professional accomplishments rather than representing the message of:
Here's our practice
This is who we serve
These are the problems that we solve
If that sounds like you here's how to contact us
That it's so important to have a clear representation of who it is you're trying to serve. Specifically visually, patients are going to click onto your website and you have literal seconds, if not a half second, to capture the attention span of the person who's on your website. You have such a short time period to capture the attention of somebody who's come to your website and if it visually does not create an experience where the visitor can relate to your practice in a way, then you're going to lose them. For example, with my practice I have a picture of a woman weightlifting because that's who I'm trying to work with.
However, if I had a picture of a man golfing, the woman who goes to my website looking for a therapist for weight lifters is going to visually see a man golfing and think, "I'm not in the right place". Then, she's going to click off of the website. Same thing for you in your practice. It needs to show people themselves almost in their dream state and where they really want to be in the future. If it doesn't do that then it's ineffective. I've seen quite a few websites over the past week or so that really don't do the best job of visually representing their patient population. If you were to work with a website designer or builder web developer, they would be able to catch these little things that otherwise might fall through the cracks. They are essentially a neutral, third party that would be able to look at your practice's website from the outside and share with you more about what that user experience is like.
You don't know what SEO is, how to do it, or how to improve it
SEO stands for "search engine optimization". It often goes along with SEM or "search engine marketing" and this is when you are able to take a look at the keywords and the structure of the website on a code level of the title tags, the meta description, the header tags, the body text, and make sure that all of those things contain the keywords and descriptions that you need in order to capture people who are searching for those particular keywords. If you don't know how to add those things in then it's going to make it really difficult for people to organically find your website on Google, which is what we ultimately want.
We want people to be able to search on Google for "PT/OT near me" and find your practice. However, if your website doesn't contain the necessary elements to help your SEO, your website's not going to be able to be that easily found. That would be one thing that if you don't have that experience already with SEO and you're not necessarily a super quick learner with that, it might not be great to build your own website. It would ultimately be more effective time, money, and marketing wise to work with somebody who builds websites, (or a web developer) who can help you with this stuff. There are even SEO specialists.
Say you're really happy with your website the way it is, you can get consulting where somebody can help you with SEO too. That's the cool thing about digital marketing stuff, you can usually find people who help with particular things, a niche if you will, and it doesn't have to be a full-on website build.
I hope that this topic isn't too hard, but I just see a lot of really honest, hard work going into practice websites and everybody trying. I always say, "done is better than perfect", but when it comes to your marketing tools you really need to be careful about how much time you're spending on them. If you fall into any of these categories that I mentioned and you are finding that you are spending a lot of time or energy on your website, it is probably not in your best interest to be handling that yourself.
For the DPT to CEO coaching program, I ended up hiring on Spencer, my website developer that I work with. He works with us now in the program so that all of the the new students who come into the program get their website built by Spencer because it was just taking so much time for the students in the program that it was a better use of everybody's time and money to have somebody else build it for them. They then didn't have to figure out how to use a website builder, what all the vocabulary means, and then build it. They could have somebody build it for them and also teach them how to use the platform. I believe that has become a lot more effective and helpful.
Remember, if you are building your own website something is better than nothing, but I also want to caution you with building your own practice website. If you don't really have any experience prior or going into it with the understanding that this website, (if it's a "something better than nothing" and it doesn't include everything), that it's probably not going to be the number one marketing tool that you have.
I would not bank on getting a billion patients from it right at the beginning. It takes time to grow a website and build the traffic to it. You're going to see results from that website a lot sooner if you're able to start it right at the beginning with somebody who already knows what they're doing and knows how to incorporate different SEO elements. Then people are able to find it organically through Google.
If any of these are ringing a bell for you and you're thinking that maybe you do need help building a website, let me know. Whether I end up doing it for you or not, I can at least give you some direction on what to pick, where to go, what I would suggest doing and why. Just so you don't have to spend your time on a bunch of this stuff. If you have any questions on anything website related or are interested in some help with your website, reach out to me here! I'd love to help you get your website and your business heading in the right direction!
Listen to this episode on my podcast!