How to launch a website for your practice
If you want to stand out from your competition and grow your practice, you need to have an online presence. If you are not sure how to create a website then you are in the right place. Here’s what you need to do.
A website’s name is called a domain, which is the address that people will use to find your website (e.g., www.yourpractice.com). When thinking of a name for your site, keep in mind that incorporating keywords into your domain name can help improve your visibility with search engines, which drives more potential business to your site. Think of keywords as the words or terms that clients would search when looking for you. For example, drsmith.com doesn’t contain any keywords unless someone is specifically are searching for “Dr. Smith”. A better domain name would be www.drsmithfamilycounseling.com. You can also consider using your city or town in your site’s name. For example, if you live in Provo, Utah your domain name could be provopsychologist.com or provocounseling.com. You should try to come up with 3-5 names in the event that your first few choices aren’t available.
Determine if your name is available
Tip: Stay away from using dashes or hyphens in your name. Think of how it would sound if someone asks you the address of your website.
If your name is available, then move to the next step. If not, keep working through your list until you find something that is available.
Claim your name
Now that you have found a good name for your site, you need to claim or register it to prevent anyone else from taking it. There are many places that you could register your domain name such as hostgator, godaddy, register.com, namecheap, and 1and1 to name a few. When you register your site name you basically are claiming ownership of that website name for a specific period of time (for example, one to three years). This shouldn’t cost you anymore than $15 per year, but you can usually find good deals particularly for the first year (such as the ones listed below)
Give your site a home
Once you have the name of your site registered, you need to have it “hosted”. Think of this as giving it a place to live somewhere in cyberspace. Basically, hosting allows you to place your website, along with all of its associated files on a particular server (i.e., a big computer) online. There are many places that offer hosting, but I would recommend either Hostgator or 1&1. Pricing ranges from about $4 per month to $7 per month depending on the length of time you select. If you decide to go with Hostgator you can use the following coupon codes.
Coupon codes for Hostgator: successfulpractice ($9.94 OFF) or successful25 (25% OFF)
Disclaimer: I will receive a small affiliate commission if you use these codes, and you will get a discount so it’s a win-win situation.
Create content for your site
Now that you have your site registered and you have it hosted, you are ready to build the content of your site. Hosting companies like 1&1 and Hostgator have site building tools that are very easy to use, which are included with their hosting packages. These services allow you to use templates that you can customize with your practice information. Consider the following pages for your site: Home, About Me, Services, Specialties, and a Contact page. You can also consider having a resources page or a page that has your office paperwork available for clients to fill out prior to their first appointment. Again, think like a potential client. What information would you want to see on the website of a potential therapist or psychologist?
Publish your site
Once you have designed your pages and added your content you are ready to publish your website. Once published, your site will be live on the internet and discoverable by potential clients and referral sources. You may want to check to see what your site looks like in different web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc. so that you can make adjustments if necessary. Make sure that you keep your site updated if you have any changes in locations, phone numbers, providers, etc.
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