When did you last update your website?
Your website is your shop window. It gives your potential clients a first impression of you and the services you offer.
So if your website is your shop window, does yours have dust and dead flies on it? (Yeuck!) Or is it sparkly clean and tidy?
Take a look at yours - could it do with a little TLC?
When you look at your website, is it an accurate representation of you and your business?
Being on the high end of the nosey spectrum, I like to keep an eye on what's happening in the therapy business world and some of the websites I see are just plain depressing: starchy, old fashioned and devoid of all personality.
'But Jane', I hear you cry, 'I'm a psychodynamic counsellor, I shouldn't be sharing personal stuff!'.
Yes, I understand that. But you CAN share your qualities: your warmth, empathy and understanding.
There are so many private therapists out there and many more up and coming through the training process, you need to stand out from the crowd.
A warm, welcoming, professional and up to date website will get you noticed.
Also, Google favours 'active' sites, so sites that are updated often will be higher in search results.
It can be pretty simple to spring clean your website, and it doesn't have to take long.
The most simple and effective way to freshen up your website is to change or add images.
Clients like to have an idea of who they're seeing, so a photo of you, possibly in your therapy room is always a good idea.
Don't underestimate the power of a high quality photo on your website (and directory entry). A professionally taken photo makes a real difference, so if or when you can afford it, it's a very wise investment which doesn't have to cost a lot.
Now I hate having my photo taken as much as the next person - possibly more - so the thought of a photo shoot makes my blood run cold, but it really doesn't have to be anything scary.
If you're not in a position to have professionally done photos yet, don't worry. Get a friend to take lots of pics of you and you're bound to end up with something you can use.
Just make sure there's lots of light, natural is good and be aware of what colours you wear around your face. A top tip is to add a little colour by wearing a scarf - make it one of your brand colours.
Changing images on your website will give it an instant lift.
However, before you search the net for new pics, beware - using an image you find on Google images can get you into all kinds of trouble, including hefty fines.
You need to use non copyrighted images, available under 'creative commons' or CC0
The good news is, there are plenty around.
If you use WordPress, try a new theme. There are many beautiful free ones available so there's bound to be something that fits you and your style.
I use Thrive Themes for all my websites, and I love them - they're easy to use, highly customisable, have great customer support and look beautiful.
What style do you want your site to portray:
Yes, it needs to be professional, but it also needs to attract your ideal client.
Consider your colour scheme: does it portray what you want it to?
Stuck for ideas? Take a look at Design Seeds for some colour inspiration.
The font you use can also make a big difference to the style and feel of your website, but make sure they are easy to read.
There's nothing more off putting than a big block of text, especially if it's in a small font size, and personally I just wouldn't bother reading it.
There is an enormous amount of content on the web, and you need to help people to linger on your site and easily consume what you've written, so make it as easy as possible.
People consume content on the web by skim reading, so break up text with bullet points, images, boxes like this one (see how it stands out?)
This means people can easily find the information they're looking for.
'White space' simply means having lots of room around text so it is much more easy to read.
Look at this post, for example. Short paragraphs, sometimes only one sentence long, and lots of space between.
It wouldn't be right in a book, but for a website or blog it's easy on the eye and the more easy your site is to read, the more likely a potential client is to stay.
Is it easy for people to contact you?
Again, make it easy for people to get in touch with you, or they will get fed up and go elsewhere.
Have your phone number clearly visible, or a contact form easily accessible.
So there you are, 7 simple ways to give your therapy website a spring clean.
Which one will you tackle first?
For lots more hints, tips, resources and support from a friendly group of over 6,000 peers, come and join the Grow Your Private Practice FREE Facebook group. Just click the button below - but please remember to answer all 3 of the questions.
Jane lives in beautiful Lincoln with her 2 boys and rescue dog. When she's not talking about herself in the third person, she's usually found with her feet up and eating Maltesers. Sometimes she even shares them with friends.