Originally published on August 9, 2019. Updated on December 21, 2021
Your website design is your patient’s first impression of your mental health clinic. Referrals or word-of-mouth marketing may have been the primary way people found mental health providers in the past (and don’t forget the old-fashioned yellow pages). However, not surprisingly, the internet is now where a vast majority of people begin their search for a therapist.
In today’s constantly evolving digital world, it’s not enough to simply have a listing in a therapist directory. Potential clients want to know you’re qualified to help them with their mental health issues, and they want to feel like they can connect with you on a personal level.
Your mental health website should be the last place potential clients need to land before booking an appointment with you. It should house all the information they need to learn about your services, specialties, hours, testimonials, and therapist staff.
If you already have a website for your practice, that’s a great start. But when was the last time you updated your mental health clinic’s website? And does it meet today’s website design trends? Has your mental health clinic experienced any changes in recent years that haven’t been reflected on your website?
If you’re not sure if your website is up to industry best practice, here are a few key features your mental health website design should have.
At Beacon Media + Marketing, our website design services will help you represent your practice well and grow your mental health clinic. Today, we’ll walk you through five steps to designing a mental health website.
Need help reaching mental health clients in your area? Check out our full suite of mental health marketing services.
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Mental Health Website Goals
Before you get too deep into the creative process, the first step to identifying how your website design could improve is by re-evaluating your website’s goals. Consider what you like or don’t like about your current website design. Identify who your ideal client is and evaluate if your current website would appeal to them.
A good place to start brainstorming is by meeting with your mental health team and going through the website together. While people may have clashing ideas, at this stage in the process, it just helps to get your whole team’s perspective on what is and isn’t working.
For example, a front desk person can let you know if new clients often have issues scheduling appointments or finding new client paperwork. Other therapists on your team can help you identify any missing services or broken links.
When we start a new website design, we often ask clients the following questions:
- Do you have a plan for growth? Where would you like to see your mental health clinic in 5, 10, or even 20 years?
- What is the goal for this website design and how does it fit in with your plan for growth?
- What are the most important pieces of information you want front-and-center on your website?
- Do you have any examples of websites you like and what are they?
- Do you have a brand (logo, colors, fonts, and other visual assets) that can be used in this website design?
The goal of answering these questions is to come out with a list of must-have website features and objectives for your new website design.
Step 2: Outline Your Website Design
After discussing the big-picture vision for your website design, it is time to start getting into the nitty-gritty details.
There are two documents that you can create for your mental health team in order to guide the design process, a site map and a wireframe.
A site map is simply a flowchart or bullet point list that outlines the pages you would like to have in your website and where you would like them to go in your navigation menu.
We call this a “standard” site map for a mental health website with five main pages:
- Home Page
- About Us
- Service A
- Service B
- Service C
- Contact Us
It includes a home page, an “about us” page, three main services pages, a blog, and a contact page. From the site map, you can produce a wireframe to outline each page of your website.
According to Google, a wireframe is a “set of images which display the functional elements of a website or page, typically used for planning a site’s structure and functionality.”
“Wireframe” is a big, chunky, technical word, but what it stands for is no more than a draft sketch of how you want your website design to look. We have met website developers who draw wireframes on napkins.
Here’s an example:
For your wireframe to successfully guide the project, you will want to include headers, images, content boxes, buttons, and form fields at least. If you do not feel comfortable drawing, you may want to practice by attempting to wireframe an existing website.
You may also want to check out some of the free, online wireframing tools available. MockFlow is an excellent example, allowing you to drag-and-drop pre-designed elements.
Step 3: Write Your Mental Health Content
Your next step is to write the content for your mental health website. In your wireframe, locate all the headers and content boxes where you intended to include text.
Follow the three best practices listed below to produce attention-grabbing and engaging content for your website design!
1. Choose & Use SEO Keywords
No one is going to see your new website design if it doesn’t rank on Google.
One of the most important parts of writing website content is SEO keyword research and optimization.
For each of your website pages, you will want to identify one or two keywords that reflect the main topic of the page and key search terms potential clients are looking for.
As an example, our client Center for Grief and Trauma Therapy offers grief and trauma therapy in Deleware. On the home page, you can see we targeted the keyword phrase “grief and trauma therapy.” We also included the service location “Deleware” in a header to help boost this website’s local SEO.
If you search “grief therapy Deleware,” you’ll see that this website actually shows up on the first page of Google.
Keywords should be used in the title of the page and in several of the headers. They should be dispersed evenly throughout the content.
SEO can be complicated, and there’s a lot that goes into researching and choosing the best keywords for each page on your mental health website.
Here are some key tips for developing your SEO keyword strategy:
If you’re not sure where to start with researching the right keywords, there are several online tools we use here at Beacon to help us identify what keywords people are searching for in our client’s industry.
Some of these tools include:
If you utilize SEO keywords effectively, you can show up on the first page of Google for that search term in your area.
2. Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines
Most website users are skimmers, only glancing at headlines to get an idea of what the website is talking about and to navigate to where they want to go. For this reason, it is very, very important for website user experience that you get your headlines right. Using your keywords, write catchy headlines that grab attention and concisely communicate exactly what you want to say.
With mental health websites, you want to utilize headers that reach potential clients where they are, helping remove barriers and encouraging them to seek help. Here is an example from our client NYC Therapeutic Wellness of how headers can be used to start a conversation with potential patients, while still being SEO friendly and giving structure to the page.
3. Create Engaging Content
Think about the kind of website content that you enjoy reading. It’s likely easy to read, relatable, and genuinely helpful. Your goal is to start a conversation with potential clients and help them gain a clear picture of the services you offer.
Here’s what we’ve learned is effective from our experience developing successful mental health website designs for our clients:
- Engaging content is short and gets right to the point
- Engaging content is written in the second person, addressing the reader directly as “you”
- Engaging content is empathetic and speaks to the heart of the matter in the reader’s mind
- Engaging content recognized your answer has a need and offers effective solutions to this need
- Engaging content features the most important information first and easy to navigate
- Engaging content has a clear next step or call-to-action.
The main pages of your website should provide comprehensive information about your mental health services, but they should be more service-oriented than educational.
For example, website visitors will want to know how your mental health services can help with depression. However, they’re likely not interested in reading an in-depth description of what depression is.
Your mental health blog is the best spot to provide helpful, educational content to your readers. The main pages on your website should instead focus on your practice, how you help, and how people can make an appointment.
Throughout each page on your website, make sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) for readers to take the next step toward becoming patients at your clinic. Buttons that stand out on your website are a great way to draw attention and nudge people to make an appointment.
Step 4: Develop Your Website Design
Once all of the pieces are in place–your site map, wireframe, and website content–you have everything you need to seamlessly implement your website design!
Begin by deciding on the website software that you would like to use.
We use WordPress at Beacon.WordPress is arguably the best website content management system out there.
Although we use a robust version of WordPress that requires knowledge of code and other aspects of web development, there are simplified packages available for the beginner.
Do your research and find the package that is best for your needs.
Consider what you would like the end product to look like as indicated by your wireframe, as well as what features you would like to include.
When you have chosen and launched your package, you are taken into a customization process that includes selecting a website theme and adding your brand information. The theme you choose is the largest factor affecting the design of your website, so carefully compare the themes available with the wireframe you created.
Go through the full process of making your theme your own by adding colors, images, and the website content you wrote.
If you get stuck on any part of this, visit WPBeginner to get your questions answered!
Step 5: Launch Your New Mental Health Website!
Is your website design looking the way you want it to? When you are comfortable with how everything turned out, it is time to launch!
There are a few things you should check before hitting the final “go” button:
- Visit each page of your new mental health website and make sure all of the links are working
- Submit a test entry to any contact forms you have included in your website design
- Use all popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) to visit your website to make sure it looks great across the internet
- Try loading your website on your smartphone to ensure it is mobile optimized and displaying correctly
To set your new mental health website live, login to your hosting account and point your domain name to its new location.
Once your new website design is populating at the proper address, it is good to go!
Put Your Best Face Forward With a New Mental Health Website
If you’ve been neglecting your mental health website design, now is the time to give your site a new facelift. More people are using the internet to look for mental health services, and you need a professional, beautiful website that makes the best impression.
At Beacon Media + Marketing we’ve built an impressive portfolio of mental health websites that our clients loved and produced measurable results and conversions.
If your mental health website is outdated, we would love to help you achieve the website you’ve always dreamed of.
Ready to refresh your mental health website design? Schedule your free consultation!