4 Ways to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

4 ways to make your website mobile friendly - Private Practice Toolbox

More and more people are using their phones to search the internet.  By optimizing your online content for mobile devices, your clients can more efficiently access the information and services your therapy practice provides.  

It has been said that 2014 is the year of the mobile.  People are increasingly accessing online material from their phone, so it’s important that providers are aware that their content is being viewed through multiple channels.  But there are unique challenges that come along with this trend:  a website or blog can appear dramatically different on an iPhone or Android than on a computer screen.  Different features can get warped or skewed on a mobile device.  Thankfully, there are ways to make online content more efficient and accessible for cell-phone users.

Here are 4 ways to optimize your website and online content for mobile devices:

1)  Make a Separate Mobile Site

If you own a smartphone, you are probably familiar with how certain sites offer a version specific for phones.  For example, Facebook has a separate application (a cell-phone app) for mobile users.  It has slight modifications to make it easier to use than the normal site would be from such a small screen, but the general capability is still there.  Creating a separate mobile site will certainly require some tech-savvy skills, so as your therapy practice develops, you may want to consider hiring a web-developer to help you navigate some of the trickier aspects of web design.

2)  Simplify

The mobile version of your site should be very, very simple.  Clean, white space will help viewers not get overwhelmed by too many features.  Not everyone on the main version of your site should be displayed for cell phones users.  Using drop-down menus can help eliminate unnecessary distractions.

3)  Emphasize Prominent Information

Once you’ve decided what to cut out, you need to decide what elements of your original site to keep for your mobile site.  The name of your therapy practice, contact information, and a photo or logo should be very clearly displayed.  If someone has to hunt to find key information, he/she will likely exit your site very soon.  Emphasize your most important message in a clear and concise way.

4)  Provide Links to the Full Site

Although someone may first come across your online content while using a phone, users are more likely to fully interact and take advantage of services through the original site.  Remember that the mobile version is meant to serve as a mini format of your main website or blog.  The full site is the main attraction and ultimately where you want your viewers to go. Make sure to provide a link to redirect viewers to your full site.  

Do you have a mobile version of your website or blog?

How can you use these tips to make your online content more accessible for mobile users?

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1)  Photo (c) Canstock Photo ID:  13124395

2)  "9 Tips for Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users"


4 Ways to Build a Thriving Practice in an Uncertain Economy

canstockphoto9071108Since the economic downturn of 2008, my practice has experienced significant growth. I attribute that growth to these four strategies.

Our economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, stock market crashed, and many companies were forced to downsize.  It was a hard time for many Americans, financially and emotionally. And yet, during this same time frame, my practice Wasatch Family Therapy experienced exponential growth. We steadily acquired new clients. opened two additional locations and grew from half a dozen therapists to over 20 therapists.

So how did I do it?  I put time and energy into creating and maintaining a strong online presence.

1) I used a website as a way to introduce myself and to serve my community

As an early technology adopter, I had a website (or webpage) in the early 2000's. As social networking expanded in the mid-2000's I saw the incredible possibilities for reaching out directly to potential clients. My website not only acts as an introduction to my clinic and my therapists, but also allows us to serve and educate through videos and articles about important issues related to mental and emotional health and well-being.

2) I used social media to have meaningful conversations with people

Social media has played an invaluable role in acquiring and retaining clients. I estimate that we gain about 80% of new customers through Google and the internet.  The importance of having an online presence cannot be overstated.  It changed my business forever, and Wasatch Family Therapy continues to thrive to this day. Here's a rough time frame of my social networking journey:

  • 2002 Started solo private practice Wasatch Family Therapy
  • 2004 Webpage
  • 2008 Joined Facebook
  • 2009 Joined Twitter
  • 2009 Started blogging on practice website
  • 2009 Employed 4-5 therapists
  • 2009 Joined LinkedIn
  • 2010 Started YouTube Channel
  • 2011-12 Joined Instagram, Pinterest
  • 2013 Joined Google+
  • 2014 Currently employ 20+ therapists with 3 locations

3) I created consistent and meaningful content on reputable websites

I  caught the vision of providing quality content to educate and serve the public.  My professional Facebook presence, blog, and other media projects were ways for us to get my name out there, establish trust and reliability, and connect with readers and potential clients. I started blogging for PsychCentral's Ask the Therapist in 2009, Private Practice Toolbox blog in 2011, Sharecare and Daily Strength in 2012, and became the Answers relationship expert blogger in 2013.

4) I sought out media interviews and learned to leverage them

Once I started creating content on larger websites, I started seeking local and national media interviews. As a result of my blogging and media interviews established news and lifestyle websites began quoting me and linking to my website.  This led to even more traffic (readers coming to our site), which in turn meant building trust with more people. It’s been very encouraging to see the fruits of my labor pay off in the growth of my clinic, and the ability to employ amazing therapists.

Never before have therapists been able to serve potential clients before ever meeting them and to educate our community without leaving the house. Through developing your strong online presence through an effective website, an engaged social media following, creating helpful content, and seeking media interviews, you can maintain viability and keep your practice strong, even when the economic climate is less than favorable.

What strategies have you used to survive and thrive in an uncertain economy? Please share your thoughts below!

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Therapist Blog Challenge #13: Mental Health and Parenting

Therapist Blog Challenge #13

The therapist blog challenge is back! I'm making it easy to blog regularly as a practice building strategy.

Rather than start a new challenge, I've decided to pick up where we left off last year -- with challenge #13. If you are new to the challenge, you can start with challenge #1 or you can start with this current challenge. The goal of the challenge is to make it easier for you to blog regularly on your private practice website. Blogging can boost SEO, provide valuable information on your specialty areas, lets potential clients get to know you better, and establishes you as an expert. These factors can lead to more clients choosing your practice.

A good way to select a blog topic is to break down broad topics into smaller chunks. For example, mental health is an enormous subject, so focus and expand an aspect of it for one blog post. You can also turn this broad topic into a series of posts. For this example, we'll choose how mental health affects parenting.

[Headline] Here are three title suggestions that you may use or come up with a clear and catchy blog post title

4 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health and Improve Your Parenting 

The Mental Health and Parenting Connection

Mind Your Mental Health: Your Children Will Thank You

[Strong intro] You can start with the paragraph below or customize it.

Like all other aspects of health, mental health can affect your parenting. For example, parents who suffer from Bipolar Disorder are 10 times more likely to overreact, which can lead to inappropriate punishments. Parents who are dealing with depression are often less responsive to their child's emotional cues. Here are some ways to mitigate the effect of mental health problems with regards to parenting:

[Scanable content] Make your content easy to quickly scan and find the main points.

1) Physical self-care

Write a paragraph about the importance of self-care for mental health treatment and prevention. You may want to include meditation, nutrition, rest, exercise.  Emphasize the connection between physical health, mental health, and relationships. Self-care is critical prevention for parenting "meltdowns."

2) Remain calm

Write a paragraph about a skill parents can use to calm themselves when their child's behavior is difficult. You may want to share counting to 10, putting yourself in "time out", the importance of modeling emotional regulation skills for the child. When parents remain calm, children will become less emotionally reactive.

3) Treatment compliance

Write a paragraph about the importance of remaining in treatment and of following recommendations. This might include medication compliance, group therapy, family therapy, bibliotherapy, etc.

4) Playtime

Write a paragraph about the importance of play and recreation (re-creation) with their child, how play promotes positive attachment, and the mental health benefits of play for adults.

Add as many additional suggestions on how parents can take care of their mental health in ways that support successful parenting.

[Strong ending paragraph] Final paragraph can include a summary of important points, additional resources, and a call to action like "Make an appointment with Julie today!"

That's it! Read on for tips on sharing your blog article.

Additional reminders about the blog challenge:

  • Write and post your blog article in the next 2 weeks. If you miss the deadline or you read this article months later, that’s OK too.
  • Post a link for this blog challenge in the comment section of this blog post.
  • Read, comment, and share other therapist’s articles.
  • Tweet your post using hashtag #therapistblog and tag @julie_hanks so I can retweet it.
  • Pin it on the challenge Pinterest Board. I’ve invited everyone who posted a comment on the initial blog challenge post as collaborators so you can pin onto the group board.
  • Spread the word and invite mental health colleagues to join the challenge. Articles can be added anytime throughout the year.
  • Write no more than 600 words, make it easy to read, use a conversational tone, and gear your articles toward your ideal client (not other professionals).
  • The goal of a professional blog is to provide value to your website visitors, help them get to know your professional perspective, increase traffic to your private practice website, and build your practice.

10 Ways Blogging Transformed My Private Practice

10 ways blogging has transformed my practice Jodie Gale MA built a thriving practice through online presence, blogging and social media. Read about her journey in this inspiring guest post.

When I returned home from the UK several years ago, I was shocked at the state of psychotherapy in Australia. There was, and still is, a lack of understanding about what psychotherapy is and a lack of promotion regarding the benefits of psychotherapy from our professional associations. Frustratingly, it is rare to find a psychotherapist (or a family/play/art therapist) working as part of a multidisciplinary team in private or public health.

There is also a deeply pervasive myth that it is impossible to fill a ‘full fee paying’ private practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist because of the mental health plan insurance system which only provides rebates to psychologists and a small number of social workers. Trying to persuade clients to engage in weekly, depth psychotherapy (without a rebate) literally felt like mission impossible. My private practice reflected this and was sporadic to say the least. Desperate and down hearted after 8 years of Master’s training to become a psychotherapist – I found myself smack bang in the middle of a major career crisis.

At the beginning of 2013, I built a strong online presence through blogging and by taking the Julie Hanks LCSW's Private Practice Toolbox Blog Challenge.  Since taking the blogging challenge I am now described by my colleagues as a prolific blogger and I credit creating online content as the foremost reason for my practice growth and success.

10 Benefits of Blogging Regularly on my Private Practice Website

1) I have more than enough clients

A great deal has changed since then! My practice is out of control busy and I have literally had to take my phone number off my website because I couldn’t keep up with the high level of phone inquiries. Last count, I have referred 50+ clients to other therapists in my local area and beyond.

2) Networking with colleagues

The initial benefit of blogging specifically through taking the blog challenge was networking with colleagues from around the world and building ongoing personal and professional relationships. Connections are crucial, especially when working from a home office, private practice as I do.

3) Keeping current on research

Writing one-two times a month has kept me up-to-date with the latest research and news within the therapy field.

4) Building writing confidence

Initially terrified of putting myself out there, I found that my confidence and writing improved with every blog post.

5) Increase in client inquiries

After about four – five months of blogging, I noticed a significant increase in client inquiries. One client specifically mentioned finding me through the ‘Top 10 Books’ blog challenge post. She had Googled one of the book titles, then ‘counsellor’ and I ranked first in the google search.

6) Provides resources for current clients

A blog is a great resource centre for my clients and I often send them links on a specific topic. Once my blog is written, I share it on Pinterest as my boards are the ultimate resource centre for clients and therapists alike. Whenever I choose an image for my blog, it is with Pinterest in mind as I find my articles are shared more frequently on Pinterest than on other social media pages.

7) Higher ranking on Google searches

Six months into the blog challenge, I started to rank on the front page of Google Australia and I often rank at number one for my local area, key word searches. My practice has been full since then. When I reply to inquiries, I let the prospective client know that my practice is full, I offer to make a referral and ask if they would like to go on my women’s workshop mailing list.

8) Professional credibility

Historically, psychology articles were limited to journals or written by journalists for popular magazines. As therapists, we have a wealth of knowledge to share. Blogging helps to raise the profile of our profession.

Blogging has raised my profile as an expert in the field and the go-to professional for women’s psycho-spiritual health and well-being. I have been interviewed, written guest posts and featured on Private Practice Toolbox, The World of Psychology ,, ABC Radio, Australia Counselling, The Manly Daily Newspaper, The Morning Show and Australian Well-being Magazine.

9) Job opportunities

Blogging helped me to land the job of my dreams. Late last year I attended a two-day workshop and I was approached by the two directors who offered me the position of Assistant Clinical Director of an eating disorder unit. Having written about eating disorders from a soulful and psycho-spiritual perspective, they loved my blog and felt that I would be a good fit for their team.

10) Sense of power and effectiveness

Finally, I have found a sense of personal power due to taking responsibility for the growth of my practice and career progression. I was filled with a sense of hopelessness regarding our field and often envied other therapists who appeared to have more clients and success than I did. When my practice was sporadic and slow, I was working from a place of lack. Now I work from a place of generosity and abundance. And… most importantly, I have realised that there are enough courageous, ideal (and full fee paying) clients out there for everyone!

Jodie Gale MAJodie Gale MA is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a qualified therapeutic counsellor, a psychosynthesis psychotherapist. Jodie lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney where she currently balances being a stay at home mother with her part-time position at EatFed and a part-time private practice.

How to Create and Sell Your First E-book (part 1)

How to write an E-bookIn this guest post counselor and consultant Clinton Power shares how to create your first E-Book

There's no doubt that creating and selling your own digital product is a great way to increase your online exposure, credibility, expertise, and earn some money while doing so.

And the creation of an e-book to sell through your own website or an online bookstore like Amazon or iBooks is the quickest and easiest product to create to get started.

I wrote my own e-book called 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship and published using the Kindle platform on Amazon. It's been a great way to increase my online presence and credibility as a specialist in relationships and has now been downloaded over 2000 times and received 19 five star reviews in Amazon.

With a $2.99 price tag, I didn't write it to make money (though the checks from Amazon are very nice), but more to reach thousands of people that I never could have on my own, through the power of the Amazon Marketplace.

Selling an e-book through your own website is also a very good idea, and the good news is you can charge much more than Amazon e-book prices.

So let's dive in and look at the steps you need to get started.

Select a topic that will sell

It's important to do some research at the beginning to check there’s a market for your e-book and people looking for the information you want to write about.

As a therapist you are well positioned to create an information product because you have years of training, knowledge and experience about good mental health, the change process, and self-improvement. These information products are often in high demand because they are providing a solution to a pain or problem.

So to get your research underway I suggest you start with Google and Amazon. Search for keywords that are related to the e-book you're considering writing.

For example, if you're a specialist in child ADD/ADHD, search for combinations of keywords in Amazon and Google such as "How to overcome child ADD", or "I think my child has ADHD", or "best ideas for dealing with ADD". The idea is you want to see how many people already have products for sale that are similar to your idea.

If you find similar products, but your idea has a particulate angle that is not covered by other e-books, then this is a good thing.

There are hundreds of books on relationships in the Amazon store, but I didn't find one that used my approach of a tip a day for 31 days, so I knew I was bringing in a different angle that might help with sales.

Create an outline

The next step in the creation process is to create an outline for your e-book.

Start by writing down the headline or theme for each chapter. This helps you organise your thinking and then you can flesh out the content later.

Here's a tip: 50% of my e-book used blog posts I had previously written, so if you have been already been writing on a regular basis, don't discount that you may have some of your e-book written already.

This was a huge time-saver that added 15,000 words to my e-book, and I then wrote the remaining 10,000 words in 10 days.

Choose a writing platform

One of the simplest ways to write your e-book is to write it directly into Microsoft Word. This is a good option if you're going to turn it into a PDF for your own website.

I used the free platform Press Books, which is like writing in WordPress, but it converts it into the .mobi file, which you need to upload to Amazon.

I found this software easy to use and enjoyable to write in. You can then make as many changes as you want and quickly upload the latest version to Amazon within minutes.

Write clearly and simply for your audience

It's important that you write in an informal and conversational way, so you can connect with you reader.

Try to avoid writing in an academic voice as it will turn off your readers. The challenge here is to let go of your college training and write as if you're speaking to a close friend.

Use calls to action and hyperlinks

The great thing about writing an e-book, either for Kindle or a PDF for your website, is you can use hyperlinks to link to websites and other online resources.

So take advantage of this and include hyperlinks to link to other websites, or your own. This makes your e-book and more valuable resource.

Also use clear calls to action, so you tell the reader what actions you want them to take.

My e-book had a tip at the end of each chapter, so I told the reader exactly what to do for the next 24 hours. This then helps the reader feel they are getting something from the e-book because they are taking action.

Watch for part 2 on how to sell your e-book!

Clinton Power is a Sydney-based Gestalt therapist and the owner of Clinton Power + Associates- a private practice dedicated to helping singles and couples move out of relationship pain. He is also the founder of Australia Counselling Directory, a free directory for find counsellors and psychologists in Australia. Clinton is also a passionate coach and consultant for healthcare professionals. Find him on Twitter or Google+.