Website Spotlight: Danielle Nowlan LCSW

 
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Danielle Nowlan, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Intuitive Eating Counselor in Chicago, Illinois, reached out to me when she was starting to transition to full-time private practice. She had purchased a website domain a year earlier, but hadn’t made any headway on her website since then.

She knew that if she wanted to make the most of her transition, she had to up her website game. Like many therapists, Danielle also knew that website tech is not in her zone of genius, so she took the courageous step of asking for help.

I was so excited when Danielle first contacted me and let me know she’s an Intuitive Eating Counselor and advocates for Health At Every Size, because I’ve found so much personal healing in practicing intuitive eating and body acceptance.

As she submitted her questionnaires, and I learned more and more about who she wanted to work with, and what her driving mission is, I began to see that I shared many characteristics with her ideal client. I found so much personal value in learning about her work, that I felt, on a very deep level, how her ideal client wanted to feel.

I have this experience with every website I create, but I felt really lucky to be creating from a place of personal experience with Danielle’s type of work, and I think that allowed me to bridge the gaps of ideal client / practitioner and ideas / design a bit quicker than I usually do.

The final result is a new website, complete with new branding and logos that emanate Danielle’s energy and validate her ideal client’s deepest needs and desires.

 

How to Choose the Right Squarespace Template for Your Therapy or Coaching Website

 
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Squarespace makes it so easy to get your private practice website up and running quickly, and with their predesigned templates, you can rest easy knowing that your website will look professional, even if you don’t have extensive knowledge of web design.

“But how do I choose a Squarespace template?”

I know the long list of templates can be overwhelming, but don’t worry. In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to narrow down your options and select the right Squarespace template for your business.


Step 1: Plan your website

While it might be tempting to just pick a template and dive in (no shame if you want to do it this way - heck, that’s what I did when I created my first website!), a little planning can save you a lot of time in the long run. Knowing how you want your pages to be laid out, for example, can help you narrow down your template choices.

To plan your website:

  1. Collect website inspo. Take note of the websites that you’re drawn to - what do you like about them? What do they have in common? (Note: copying websites is never okay. This is copyright infringement and is illegal. Be inspired, but do not copy.)

  2. Draw your website. I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person, and drawing out my vision always helps me clarify and define what I’m trying to create.

Once you have a clearer vision of what you want your website to look like, you can move on to the next step!


Step 2: Make a list of website features that you need

Squarespace templates are sorted by “template families.” Each family has a different set of features, so it’s really just about finding the template family that has the features that you need.

To search within a specific family, go to the Squarespace templates page, and type the family into the search bar.

Here are some common website features that you might be looking for, followed by the template families that can accommodate them:

Index Pages

Index pages organize multiple pages into a single collection. This could be a grid of images, with each image leading to a different page, like this:

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These templates have a Grid Index feature: Montauk Family, York Family, Flatiron, & Supply.

Index pages can also be laid out vertically (stacked) in a series of scrolling banner images, like this:

Website featured: Filtering Light Counseling (using the Hayden template).

These templates have a Banner (Stacked) Index feature: Bedford Family, Brine Family, & Pacific Family.

Parallax Scrolling

Some Squarespace templates use a visual effect on header and banner images called parallax scrolling. The banner image moves slower than the rest of the content on the page when scrolling, creating a feeling of depth. This is what it looks like:

Website featured: The Nest Creative Therapy Center (using the Rover template).

To include parallax scrolling on your site, choose a template within the Brine Family.

Blog Summary Page

Many of my clients like to format their blog landing page as a grid of thumbnail images, so their website visitors can browse through all of their posts in one place (as seen below). If you’d like the same feature, check out the Skye Family of templates.

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For additional features, like navigation formatting, footer content, and gallery pages, pay attention to each of these features on the templates you’re considering. Choose the template that has the specific features you want on your new site.

Step 3: Select a template

Once you know what features you want to include on your therapy or coaching website, you can select a template and get to work! As you’ve likely noticed, Squarespace creates demo sites to showcase their templates, so remember to pay attention to the features and design of each template, not the demo content.

For example, I used their Brine demo site (a website showcasing pickled vegetables) to create a client’s coaching website. The content can always be changed to suit your unique business.


Most of all, remember, you can always change your template on Squarespace. If you decide to change things up later on, you can. Just choose a template that meets your needs now, and adjust as you go. You’ve got this!

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If you need a little more direction, I created a free guide to my favorite Squarespace templates for therapy and coaching websites. Download it for free in my Members-Only Resource Vault.

Get the password and download your copy here:

 

How To Use Instagram For Private Practice

 
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Recently, I’ve received lots of questions from therapists and coaches about how to use Instagram for private practice. Here are some of the most common questions I get asked:

“How do I start using Instagram for my practice?”

“How often should I post?”

“How do I get more Instagram followers?”

“What types of things should I post?"

If you have these questions, too, you’re in the right place! In this blog post, I’m going to tell you how to get started, how to build your following, and how to grow your practice using Instagram.

First things first:

HOW TO GET STARTED ON INSTAGRAM

If you don’t have a business Instagram account, get one. A business account will give you access to valuable analytics that will help you grow your online presence.

You can either convert your personal account into a business account by following these steps:

Navigate to your profile > Edit Profile > “Try Instagram Business Tools”

Or create a new account specifically for your business.

The choice is totally up to you. Many Instagram experts say that if you already have a decent sized following, convert your personal profile to a business profile so you don’t have to build a following from scratch.

However, I created a separate business profile because I still wanted to have a place to share pictures of my personal life with close family and friends. So I have a public business profile, and a private personal one.

After you create a business profile, make sure your username matches your business name, and write a bio that clearly describes what you do, and who you do it for. Also, add your website URL in the “website” field, because the goal of all social media efforts should be to drive traffic back to your website.

With that, you’re ready to start building your following!

HOW TO BUILD YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING

In order to build the right community, you first have to know who you want to work with. If you don’t have a niche, figure it out here first. Then, identify your Ideal Client. 

When you know who you’re talking to, you don’t have to worry about appealing to everyone on social media. You can focus in on the topics and values that you love talking about, and your niche clients will naturally gravitate to you.

After you know your niche and your Ideal Client, start to use hashtags that either describe your Ideal Client or terms with which your Ideal Client might be searching. This is the Instagram version of leaving your business card in local coffee shops or yoga studios where potential clients might hang out; it’s about getting your posts seen in the right places.

When you post, talk about things that align with your values as a therapist or coach. Start conversations around the things you and your Ideal Client are passionate about. Make genuine connections with the folks who comment - they are real people, after all.

If you consistently post about the things you and your Ideal Client care about, your profile will quickly become a resource for members of your niche. And when members of your niche find value in your Instagram profile, they’re much more likely to click over to your website.

Which leads me to my last lesson:

HOW TO GROW YOUR PRACTICE USING INSTAGRAM

I’m going to tell you a secret: your follower count doesn’t matter. Let me repeat: your follower count doesn’t matter!

What I mean by that is a business’s follower count is not indicative of how well their business is doing. It’s relatively easy to gain as many followers as possible in a short amount of time. What’s not as easy is converting those followers into paying clients.

To actually gain clients from Instagram, you have to help them feel how they want to feel before they book a session with you. This is why it’s so important to develop your brand, because your brand communicates the feeling and energy of you and your practice without you having to do anything.

If a person can look at your feed and feel calm, or read a quote you posted and feel inspired, or watch your story and feel connected to you, you’ve made a positive impact. And regardless of if this person books with you, that’s a big deal.

The more positive impact you make on Instagram, the more chances you’ll have of attracting the right people to your practice. And soon, you’ll have a thriving practice, full of clients who are perfectly suited for your unique expertise.

Still have more questions? Book a Brand Strategy Audit with me, and I’ll take a look at your Instagram, website, and other social media channels and give you action steps you can take immediately to up your impact and grow your practice. Click here to book your strategy audit.

 

How to Build Your Own Website: A Free Guide for Therapists and Coaches

There's no shortage of DIY website builders available these days, so building a website for your therapy or coaching practice has never been easier. However, the task of figuring out what to include on your new website is a challenge, especially if you're just starting out.

From deciding what images to use, to figuring out what to say, building a website can be time-consuming, mystifying, and overwhelming.

To save you time, energy, and money, I created a guide to walk you through how to build a website that will reach the right people.

Read More

3 Steps to Effortless Marketing

It’s no secret that psychotherapy private practice owners, as well as other helpers and healers, are not usually fans of marketing themselves. Marketing your private practice can feel slimy, confusing, and daunting, especially when you’re first starting out.

In this blog post, I’m going to explain three simple steps that will not only reframe your concept of marketing, but also help make your marketing efforts streamlined and easy.

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What Is SEO? & How To Use SEO To Grow Your Private Practice

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and basically, it's the practice of optimizing your website to show up in search results (ideally at the top of the list).

Why does it matter if you show up in search results? Because the higher you appear in a search result list, the less work you have to do to get people onto your private practice's website.

Read More

How to Use Your Website to Grow Your Practice

 
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So you have a new website. Awesome! Now what?

Now it's time to put it to work.

A website is only as good as its' ability to convert visitors into prospective clients, no matter how pretty it is (and I'm a fan of pretty websites).

So. First thing's first. Your website needs traffic to be useful (traffic is the amount of people that visit your website). Just like a candle shop needs people walking through it to make sales, your website needs people visiting to get clients.

I know it may seem like everyone in the world can see your website, but unless you tell folks about it, your traffic is going to be reminiscent of a country road.

I want your website to have prime internet real-estate, so here are four things you can do today to boost your website traffic:

  1. Make sure you have basic SEO set up. Business and site descriptions go a long way.
  2. Blog consistently & share to social media. Okay, this is an ongoing thing, but if you have existing blog posts that you haven't shared in a while, share away!
  3. Put your website URL on your social profiles. Don't hide your website away. Keep it front and center so people know where to learn more.
  4. Guest blog & include your URL in your bio. Writing as a guest on someone's blog is a great way to boost your site traffic, especially if the blog gets more traffic than your website.

Generating traffic is great, but most therapists miss the most crucial key to using their website to grow their practices:

List building!

Once people are on your site, it's your job to give them a chance to stay connected. And the best way to stay connected is by opting in to your email list.

Keeping a list of people who are interested in learning more from you not only increases your ability to help a larger number of people, it gives you an automatic list of potential clients.

The best way to invite people onto your list is by offering a freebie (or opt-in offer) for joining your list. Your freebie should be relevant to your practice and niche, and should be relatively easy to digest and actionable.

For instance, if you specialize in High Functioning Anxiety, and you know your ideal client doesn't have a lot of time on her hands, you could create a freebie such as a five-minute meditation to reduce anxiety.

After you create the meditation, you would create an opt-in form on your website that encourages folks to join your list to receive the meditation.

Using a list management service like Mailchimp or ConvertKit will help you automate this process so that your freebie gets delivered automatically, as soon as someone opts in to your list. (Hello, ease!)

Sidenote: learn why I prefer ConvertKit over Mailchimp here.

Now, of course we want to make sure your subscribers (list members) stay on your list, so sticking to a communication schedule is really helpful. Communicating with your list on a regular basis with blog post updates, additional resources, and helpful anecdotes or stories are all great ways to build relationships and trust - before your prospective clients even walk through your door.

Building a list is about building your community. It's about helping more people - people who may not be able to work with you right now.

 Image: Unsplash.com

Image: Unsplash.com

Most of all, building an email list is about building relationships. Therapy and coaching are all about the relationship, and it's hard for folks to know whether or not they want to work with you if they don't know what the relationship will be like. The best way for them to know is to feel it.

Yes, we can build relationships through social media, but the followings we build there rest on algorithms that can change at any time.

When you have an email list, you can communicate with your community anytime. Plus, I know I usually spend more time reading a resource-filled email than I do a social media post. So if you've got something important to say, it's best to say it in an environment where people are likely to listen.

Bottom line: if you want your website to help your practice grow, it has to do three things:

  1. Connect. Your website should be designed to connect with your ideal clients.
  2. Hold. Your website should be a resource that holds space for your ideal client's current struggles and concerns.
  3. Transform. Your website should transform visitors into prospective clients, and it can do this if you set up an email list.

If you're ready to get started, and you want to use my favorite list management service, ConvertKit, sign up for my newsletter to get my free e-course that walks you through integrating your Squarespace website with ConvertKit.

I know list building can seem daunting at first, but it really is the best way to connect with your website visitors in a meaningful way.

There's more to be explored on the topic of list building, so leave a comment to let me know what questions you still have about building an email list!