Samantha [00:00:02] If you’re going to invest in something and you’re going to invest in the copy and the messaging that is going to resonate with the people you want to work with. If you’re going to create a design that is going to feel really welcoming and kind and communicate what you do, you are going to see those clients come in as a return on investment.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills for Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Today’s guest is Samantha Mabe. She is a website creator developer who specializes in supporting therapists and health practitioners, folks in the wellness space. And today, not surprisingly, Samantha and I talk about websites. Websites are not, you know, a direct part of finances. And yet we talk today about how they’re so important to private practice, how we really can’t get away without having a website – and a good website – these days in terms of how clients find us. And obviously the right people finding us and wanting to pay us is pretty financially essential. We talk about thinking about your website and making sure that folks are actually getting directed towards where they need to go. Talked about how so many things that therapists we can just take for granted can end up being obstacles to people who come across our website, stopping them from actually completing that contact form and letting us know that they want to meet with us. And we also talked about when to DIY your website and when to pay someone else. I had some definite learnings today in this conversation with Samantha and I think you will too. Here’s my conversation with Samantha Mabe. Samantha, welcome to the podcast.
Samantha [00:02:14] Thank you so much for having me.
Linzy [00:02:15] Yeah. So you are a website designer, you are a marketer, and I’m always grateful for marketers because I find personally, as you know, like therapist, coach, teacher, marketing is something that I’ve never really been able to get that excited about, but it’s a kind of non-negotiable part of having people find you. I’m curious, like what led you to focus on therapists and health practitioners? Who are your folks that you serve as a website designer?
Samantha [00:02:41] When I started website design, I was focusing on pretty much anybody who came my way and then narrowed into online businesses. But what I found was that I had a couple of clients who were in the health and wellness space, and I loved seeing how they were able to serve their clients and really get a transformation. And at the same time that actually one of my clients inspired me to go on this journey to get some fatigue and anxiety issues fixed. So I was seeing a naturopathic doctor, I was seeing a counselor to help with some things, and I was able to experience kind of what they did on the client. And I loved the idea of working with people who were serving clients in the real world who are making a difference in these people’s lives and helping those businesses to thrive by giving them a place to show up online, to showcase their expertise, to start building trust with the people that they wanted to work with. And I found that it was also a need in that space for website expertise, which is what I love to do.
Linzy [00:03:57] That’s right. Yes. And, you know, I think you’re so right that therapists and health practitioners, like we have such specialized skills that are also really complicated and kind of hard sometimes to explain. And so sometimes it’s hard to translate what you do with your clients and like the transformations that you give them and like the meaning of the relationship and everything that goes into it. Sometimes it’s hard to translate that into the nice digestible page where you’re sharing the right information with somebody who’s coming across you without showing the wrong information that might be overwhelming, but giving them enough. Like I know when I started in my private practice, it was before trauma therapy was really something that made sense to anybody. So even as I would just be like at a dinner party chatting with friends and they were like, Oh, so what are you doing now? I’m like, Well, I’m an I’m in private practice and I do trauma therapy. And then I’d have to try to figure out how to explain trauma therapy in two sentences, which was like really, really hard. And I think most therapists have the equivalent of that kind of experience. How do you distill this big, complicated thing that you do into something digestible that people are like, Oh, I get it. I know somebody who needs that, or, Oh, I need that. How do you make the complex, simple and easy to understand?
Samantha [00:05:04] Yeah, especially when you specialize in something. So if you’re doing trauma therapy, you’re not going to take just any client. And so, saying I’m a therapist is not going to be helpful to people.
Linzy [00:05:15] Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So something that I hear sometimes from therapists, especially those starting out in private practice when they’re trying to figure out what do you do first, what do you have to do? What can you get away with? Sometimes folks will ask me like, do I need a website? Or they only have like a Psychology Today profile, but it’s like, isn’t that enough? What is your argument for why therapists actually need websites? Even at the beginning of private practice?
Samantha [00:05:42] The best thing that you can do when you start your website, and the reason why I tell people to do this, is get it online, because Google is going to start seeing what you do. And so you are starting from the very beginning of your business or wherever you’re at. When you start, you are creating that profile, you’re building trust, you’re building kind of that sort of that juice with Google to help people find you. And then you are also really showing up as a professional, reliable, trustworthy source for people who stumble across you on search or get referred to you by somebody that they know. We are pretty much all going to type in somebody’s name when we hear a referral or we hear about what they do. And so we want to have an online space that’s going to highlight what we do, highlight our expertise, really connect with people and make it look like we’re professional. We know what we’re doing. We’re still in business. We didn’t close down. All of those things. Because what a website can do for you that other profiles are not going to be able to give the whole picture on.
Linzy [00:07:00] Yes. And something else I’ve also noticed, even just in myself, is if I do a search for somebody like, say, specifically a therapist, even like a colleague of mine, like, you know, I’ll be talking to somebody who is looking for a therapist. I’m like, Oh, you should really connect with this colleague of mine that I used to work with. When they don’t have a website, sometimes it feels like a bit sus, like you’re like they’re really real. I think we have, for better or worse, reached this time in society where, like the internet is so real to us that if you don’t have a presence on the internet, I think there is this question that comes up in people’s mind of like for who they really are. They really feel like, are they real? Yeah, it’s going to be much easier, I think, for somebody to assess and make a decision about somebody who has an actual website, a presence to look through. Then somebody they’re like, Yeah, I read their like two paragraphs on Psychology Today, but like, it doesn’t look serious. And I do think it does raise little flags in us if someone is not truly searchable, if there’s not actually like a website to land on rather than little like bits and pieces scattered over the internet.
Samantha [00:08:01] Absolutely. When I was talking to my mom about some of my clients, you know, she goes to her chiropractor and she’s like, Yeah, I Googled my chiropractor and they didn’t have a website and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to call them. And I’m like, If this is just like these older generations and they are Googling people, we know that we need it, like.
Linzy [00:08:18] The boomers, the boomers, things like that. Everybody below is going to think like that too. Yeah, there is like a legitimacy that a website gives you, unfortunately, in a way, because I’m like, it seems kind of arbitrary, but people are really looking for that and when they don’t find that, it plants seeds of doubt. Yeah. So for people then who are starting a website or they, they have a website, but they’re like, I don’t know if this is actually working for me, not seeing the returns on it. How can you make a website actually get folks in the door? What needs to go into that?
Samantha [00:08:49] I really like to keep it simple. So when you are taking a look at your website, if you’ve already built it, what I like to start with is looking at some of the data. Are you getting traffic to your website? Because if you don’t have any traffic, right, then the design isn’t going to matter, right? But if you are getting that traffic to your site, what the data can tell you is which pages they’re coming to and kind of how long they’re staying there. And that’s going to give you a good picture of if you’re capturing people’s attention. And then if you get lots of people on there, but you’re not getting them to call in or book an appointment, you know, there’s kind of a disconnect in the way that it’s laid out for them to then take that next step with you. So you’re kind of a detective. You’re figuring out where is the problem and then what do we need to do about it?
Linzy [00:09:47] Yeah. Yeah. Because I think, you know, one way that I think about it is it’s like they’re in the house of your website. Like, what window are they jumping out of instead of getting to the end and, like, contacting you, which is the goal, right? And so that’s information. You know, if folks are listening now and they’re like, Oh, I don’t know that about my website, is that information that they’re already going to have available to them if they go look in the back end of the website? Or is that something that they’re going to have to specifically add some text to do that? How easy is it for folks to find that information?
Samantha [00:10:17] Depends on your platform. So any platform you can add Google Analytics, it’s going to give you the most information, probably too much information, but you can install that, give it 30 days and you’ll get data. If you’re on a website platform like Kajabi, Squarespace, I think Wix even has some analytics. If you’re on a paid plan, you can go in and see some basic information. As far as how many people, how many visitors do you have, which pages are they looking at, that kind of stuff. Yeah, and that’s always a good place to start.
Linzy [00:10:55] Okay. Yeah, but will those platforms tell you where people left? Like what page they were on when they exited your website?
Samantha [00:11:04] Most of them don’t, you just kind of have to dig in. What I have always seen is a correlation between the most popular pages and the pages people leave from that, which make sense. If you have the most people on your home page, the most people are going to leave from your home page.
Linzy [00:11:22] Right. Okay. Yeah. So that’s not necessarily something to look for to be like, you know this when people left this page, this page is my weakest link.
Samantha [00:11:30] Yeah, you have definitely have to have something like Google Analytics that’s going to go more in-depth with that.
Linzy [00:11:36] Yes. Yeah. And I think that’s really helpful for folks listening, because most therapists, if they are established in private practice, do have a website, right? But it’s like, I love your point of like, is your website even getting traffic right? Like, where are people going? Because something I can think of is like if you have a website that’s getting traffic, but nobody’s making it to your contacts page. That shows you there’s a problem there, right? In a situation like that, what would you- how do you solve that? What do you know to do if you discover that for folks who are listening?
Samantha [00:12:07] What I always start with is I tell people that we need to look at what your number one goal of your website is. So that’s going to be getting to your contact page, filling out the form, actually getting the submit button. And then we work backwards. So we want to make sure that every page of our website is a journey to move them there. Mhm. So your first call to action on your home page under your headline where you’re talking about what you do should send them to the contact page to get in touch. Yeah. Action on your services page where you’re talking about these are the people that I work with, That’s kind of how we lay everything out. That button should send them to the contact page, so we want them to have a really easy time getting the information they need and getting over to where they need to be without getting distracted by everything else.
Linzy [00:12:59] Yes. Yes. Okay. That’s a great point. So for people listening, if you feel like you’re not getting enough to your contact page, make sure it’s easy for them to get there. Like using that house metaphor, which may or may not be helpful at all. But I’m thinking like you’re going to be able to see kind of who’s going to what room in the house. It’s like every house should have a portal to the place you actually want them to end up. Yeah. Which for therapists is going to be their contact page where they fill out the form because something else that occurs to me, so the like, I’m just thinking about all the friction points for folks who reach out, especially to mental health therapists because there’s so much vulnerability there. This probably also applies to folks who are looking more for like physical or, you know, health supports, but especially mental health. There’s like so much shame there and there’s so many feelings that I would think that like any friction that you can remove is a good idea. To remove anything that might get in their way could lead to them just jumping off and being like I’ll just contact her later instead. Or like, No, I’m just going to keep. Like, does that, is that accurate? Like, should we really be trying to, like, make it as easy as possible?
Samantha [00:13:57] Yes, You need to make it as easy as possible. And some easy ways to do that is make your contact form as simple as possible. So only ask the questions you absolutely have to do. It’s not an entire intake questionnaire. Let them fill out a contact form or schedule in an appointment scheduler directly instead of having to call your office. I will not schedule somebody if I have to talk to them on the phone.
Linzy [00:14:24] Yes. You’re not the only person below the boomer generation who feels that way. Yeah.
Samantha [00:14:29] And then if you are sending them offsite to some kind of scheduling software that you use, try to make that as clear as possible too. So don’t have them go there and then have to choose which appointment type that they want, for how long it’s supposed to be or which issue you’re dealing with. Like all they need to do is get on your schedule or get that form in your inbox.
Linzy [00:14:55] That is so true. I sat with someone recently supporting them to reach out to a therapist, and so I got to see all the points where there was friction that if I, if I had not been there, like literally for the purpose of just supporting this person in submitting the form, and it was like, why are you reaching out for help? And like, even that is a hard question for someone to answer if they’re really in distress. And so, yeah, it makes me think about how again, it’s like as therapists and practitioners, we’re so used to what we do that it’s like, Oh, just, just put on the form that you were sexually abused as a child. That’s- I hear that every day. It’s like for them, it’s not every day, right? It’s- we get- we can really forget how hard it is for folks to even name the reasons that they’re coming to see us. So if you’re asking folks to do that before they even meet you, you’re asking a lot and you’re possibly losing people because of that friction. Yes, absolutely. So for a website, then, if somebody is maybe in a place where they’re going to be building their own website or they’re thinking like, okay, is my website actually doing this stuff, what pages and information actually need to be part of a good therapist website?
Samantha [00:16:02] I always start with four pages, so you have your home page where you’re basically giving an overview of what you do, who you work with, all of kind of the ways people can connect with you. Yeah, you have an about page that’s going to address your credentials. If you have a team, you’re going to include that. Kind of give them all of the things that are going to make you trustworthy, that they’re going to know you were the right person for them and that you have the expertise that they’re looking for. You want a services page, and I like to keep this as simple as possible without a whole bunch of dropdowns and extra links where you’re going to talk about kind of the overall thing that you help people with. And then you can list out, you know, these are some of the issues that we might address. These are the types of therapy that we might use. Because when people come to your services page, they’re not going to know what all of that means necessarily. You as a therapist are going to be working with them to figure out, here’s what we need to do in your specific situation. So people just kind of need to hit these keywords that apply. These are some things I’ve heard of. Want to make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you can include testimonials from clients, even if they’re anonymous, that can be really helpful. And then you’ve got at the end of that, you’ve got your contact page where they’re actually getting in touch to set up an appointment with you.
Linzy [00:17:30] In a very simple way where you’re not asking too much for them. Yes, yes. Yeah. And the testimonials piece like I know for me, I’m in Ontario, registered as a social worker. Like we’re not allowed to use testimonials at all, which is a, you know, a bummer. The business part of me knows that’s a bummer. The other parts of me know like, No, it’s so complicated. So that’s definitely something that, you know, folks should be checking with their own college to see what you’re allowed to do in the state you are, with a specific licensing body that you’re part of. So how much does a good website cost? I have had friends do $20,000 website overhauls. I’ve heard people do $500 websites. Like it’s such a massive range when folks are looking to like make this investment in their business, how much should they actually expect to pay for a decent website or a good website?
Samantha [00:18:23] Yeah, it’s, I mean, it’s going to be a range. It’s going to depend, I would say you can if you want to work with a design agency that’s going to do kind of start to finish, everything is going to be 10,000 plus. If you’re willing to do a little bit more work and work with somebody like me, I have my own small business. I am going to be working with you one-on-one. We’re going to design the website, get it launched. So my process is 3500. That’s about what other designers who do what I do charge. Yeah, and then you can add on additional pieces. So if you don’t want to write the copy for your website, I have copywriters who are about that same price range that I refer you to, so it could definitely be under 10,000 depending on what you want to take on and what you want to hand off to somebody else. Yeah.
Linzy [00:19:14] Yeah.
Samantha [00:19:15] Yeah. The other cost you have to consider is you’ve got a domain that’s going to be $15, $20 a year. That’s like the URL they type in. Yes, Yes. And then you’ve got your website hosting and that can, that can vary a lot depending on the platform you’re using. But I would expect to spend probably no more than $300 a year on that unless you’re on something like Kajabi that’s also a course hosting platform and that is a lot more expensive.
Linzy [00:19:46] Yes, yes, yes, yes. Okay. So I’m hearing then, like unless folks are going like premium, which is like the 10,000 plus. A typical website overdo will be a few thousand dollars. And if you add copywriting on top, that’s another like few thousand dollars. So we’re looking like somewhere around $7,000 for a good website. Yeah. And as folks are thinking about this because some people are listening now would be like, Oh, I did not want to spend $7,000 on a website. What would be your argument as to why it’s this is a worthwhile investment for all the things that therapists could be investing in in their business.
Samantha [00:20:20] What I have seen – and I have looked at a lot of websites – is that most websites in any of the health and wellness fields are pretty outdated. They look like they were designed, you know, 20 years ago.
Linzy [00:20:33] And so you’re saying they’re bad? Yeah.
Samantha [00:20:37] But if you’re going to invest in something and you’re going to invest in the copy and the messaging that is going to resonate with the people you want to work with, if you’re going to create a design that is going to feel really welcoming and kind and communicate what you do, you are going to see those clients come in as a return of investment because A, you’re going to jump up in the search results. You’re going to see more of your referrals convert because people are going to see, Oh yeah, you’re a legitimate business. I feel like you’re trustworthy and I want to work with you and you’re just going to start building all of that. And I think everybody is going to be moving in that direction. So if you can get in ahead of everybody else, it’s definitely going to build momentum in your business.
Linzy [00:21:25] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, I know. For me, when I started out, I had a website built by somebody else because web design is one of the few things that makes me feel smashy. It brings out the rage. I have very little rage in my body. But there is something for me about, like, I used to do HTML back in the day in various admin capacities and something about like an HTML script that is not working, and it looks right to me, but it’s not working, just makes me want to smash my computer. So I learned that the emotional value of outsourcing is also really high. But I will say like having made that investment in my practice at the beginning, you know, I used to be the top of Google like, you know, the very top if you searched like trauma therapy Guelph, or therapist Guelph, like I was front page and that probably got me dozens of referrals over the years that I was practicing. So there is like a return on investment piece there. Is there ever a time when you would tell somebody that it’s not the right time to invest in a website?
Samantha [00:22:24] I encourage people who are just starting out. If you are not seeing a ton of clients yet, feel like that time in your schedule to figure some of this out. If you’re not exactly sure who you want to work with and you’re narrowing down on that, yeah, it’s a great time to just find a platform or find a template, get it up and out there as a DIY solution and know that you can come back to it later. Once you have all those answers and who exactly you want to work with and what your messaging is going to be, right? Instead of putting in that big investment upfront and then having to change a lot of things down the road.
Linzy [00:23:04] Yeah, and that’s actually, you know, that’s such a great point. Sometimes I think that it’s tempting to want to invest in those things when you first start your business because it feels like a way you’re going to figure that stuff out. Like it’s like a shortcut where it’s like, But if I make a website, then it’s solid and then I’m going to know who I serve and I’m going to know how I talk about what I do. But it doesn’t actually replace that time, though sometimes it takes to like, really, like hone in your niche and be like, Oh, actually I don’t really want to serve folks with like intense anxiety like I used to in my my agency job. I’m actually getting really excited about working with parents, and that’s going to be my niche. Sometimes it does take a time to feel your way through that niche. And so yeah, you wouldn’t want to get a website built that’s all about anxiety when you’re three weeks away from pivoting to being like a parent coach. Yeah, that would not be a great investment. Samantha For folks who are listening, where can they find you if they’re interested in learning more about what you do?
Samantha [00:23:57] So my business is lemon and the sea, which makes it pretty easy. So my website is lemonandthesea.com . I am on Instagram and LinkedIn. So Instagram is lemonandthesea LinkedIn is Samantha Mabe, just my name and that is mostly where I am hanging out. I also have a podcast that I talk business and website design on, and that’s process to profitability.
Linzy [00:24:19] Well, great. Thank you so much for joining me today, Samantha.
Samantha [00:24:22] Yeah, thank you for having me and chatting about this.
Linzy [00:24:39] Marketing is one of those things that, as therapists, most of us don’t tend to love. I don’t love it. And yet it is such an important part of the business. And I like this framing of your website as being part of, you know, giving your potential clients an experience of you before they even meet you, thinking about what is their experience coming onto this website? Where does this website lead them to? Is there language that makes sense to them? Does it feel overwhelming? Are you asking them questions in order for them to just get a consultation with you that are actually really difficult questions for them to answer? And you don’t realize that because you’re so used to talking about these hard things every single day. These are great things to reflect on, thinking about our own websites and ultimately making sure that we have websites that represent us really well and get the right folks in the door and allow us to thrive in private practice. So thank you to Samantha for coming on the podcast today. You can follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I would so appreciate if you’d head over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. It’s the best way for other folks to find us and be part of these conversations. Thanks for listening today.