Why a Web Site is Useless Unless You Know How to Position It Online
Yes it's essential to have a website to succeed as a psychotherapist in the 21st century. But, sadly, merely having a website that merely functions as an online brochure will accomplish little to help grow your business. The real power of websites and Internet marketing is to generate steady referrals for your practice.
I have worked with a number of psychotherapists who in their rush to say they have a website, create one quickly, with little knowledge of what are the key elements of design and content to a successful website, and when finished, wonder why the world is not beating a click to their Home page.
The reason is this: creating a website is one thing, knowing what to do with it is another. It's much like the design of a print advertisement: there are design and content issues that are essential to know before creating your ad. But even if you have the world's greatest ad, unless you know what to do with it, it will be of little value to you.
With a website, the most important thing is to know how to create a successful online presence: how to get ranked by search engines and social media sites. For many psychotherapists, this single skill can account for more business than any other business or marketing skill. This is a complex topic, however, and is beyond the scope of this article (there are other articles on this site which address some of these factors). While search engine submission and ranking is part art it is also part science. There are proven methods that greatly increase the likelihood that you will eventually receive a high ranking in the major search engines.
Local search will continue to be a major component of consumers' searching for psychotherapists in the 21st century, especially as broadband Internet becomes even more popular. The current generation of under 40 year olds have grown up with the Internet in their formative years, and much as the over-40 generation used the Yellow Pages, this cohort turns effortlessly to the Web to find all services of interest to them. A recent study found that over 80% of adults now use the Internet first when seeking out professional services, and more people under 40 use their cell phone browsers to seek out professional services and information.
If you do not have a website that is successfully capturing local searches, you are missing a golden opportunity to build a secure base of referrals that will only get larger as the digital revolution continues.
In addition to web searches, there are other ways of skillfully using your web site to enhance your other marketing efforts. Placing your domain name prominently in other media helps strengthen your brand identity and gives potential clients an easy way to learn about your services. Also, the skillful integration of ezines, email newsletters and Pay Per Click ads can also synchronistically work to enhance your presence on the Web.
In sum, yes create a great website, but also be sure to learn how to position it online. Avoid the disappointment and waste of people whose websites sit alone, unclicked in the vast wasteland of cyberspace, generating nothing.
To see how well your website is doing, enter it into alexa.com - for free, you will instantly see how many page views you are getting, and how that ranks against other sites. You'll also see how many sites are linking to your site, and how long visitors stay on your site. You can also get an instant evaluation of your site's search engine capabilities by going to www.website grader.com
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What to Do with a Web site?
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