I’m surprised by how many massage therapists I know (online or in person) who don’t have a website. In today’s world, consumers are using online searches to find service providers more than any other method. If you don’t have a website, people looking for a massage online will never find you and your practice may be perceived as less professional by those who learn about you otherwise. If you’re afraid you don’t have what it takes to build your own website, let me reassure you (you learned anatomy, right?).
Self-hosted websites have come a long way. Most are quite inexpensive (ABMP offers a free website as a member benefit), fairly easy to set up and provide support so you have someone to help when you get stuck.
Not only is a self-hosted website more cost effective than having someone else do it for you, you have complete control of what goes where and how it looks. You also have the flexibility to change things whenever you want to without waiting for your site manager to get around to it. Do a little research and ask other massage therapists what they use to guide your decision.
If building your own website feels overwhelming, start with just one page that includes:
- What you do and who you can help.
- Where you practice and how much you charge.
- When you’re available and how to book an appointment.
- A testimonial from a happy client.
As you get more comfortable with your hosting program, you can expand. There’s no magic number of pages but too many may be confusing for visitors. Less text per page means less scrolling on a desktop computer.
Have testimonials on every page rather than just one so no matter which page a prospect sees first, they’ll be able to read about how amazing you are from someone besides you. Client testimonials are the equivalent of online word-of-mouth. To make them even more appealing, ask clients who submit them for a photo of themselves, too. This makes the writer more real and persuasive. Have links to any other reviews for your practice (Yelp, Facebook fan page, etc.) to increase credibility.
Break up text with photos or videos to make your site more visually interesting. A picture of yourself, the outside of your office and your treatment room lets people know what to expect. Actual photos and videos of massage can give an erotic impression, so choose these wisely.
Create a content purpose map* by linking text to other pages on your site. Consider the top three actions you want visitors to take on each page and create links to those pages to make your site easier to navigate. This keeps visitors on your site longer which improves SEO.
Go to your website on different devices to be sure it’s mobile friendly. I used to have a short version of my Twitter feed in my sidebar until I saw it was the first thing visible on a smartphone. As cool as I thought this feature was, no one looking for a massage on their phone wants to know what I posted on Twitter more than what I do and how I can help them.
Have links to policies rather than posting them in plain sight (with hidden active pages). Our cancellation policy may be important to us but can be a turnoff to potential clients. I include this link in the confirmation and reminder emails clients receive as well as on my scheduling page.
Be sure to back it up! Once you get your website pages completed, copy and paste each page into a document that you can save in case it ever crashes. This will only take a few minutes and make rebuilding so much faster and easier should the unthinkable happen.
Having a website is essential for being accessible to those who are looking for us. I knew nothing about building mine when I started and I hope what took me years to learn streamlines the process for you. Taking the leap into something new to benefit my practice strengthened my confidence as a business owner and was a key step to having a practice that I love!
If you don’t have a website, why not? If you do, what tips do you have? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment link to share. Thank you!
*For a detailed description of the content purpose mapping process, click here.