10 Reasons Why I (still) Recommend WordPress and DIVI

10 Reasons Why I (still) Recommend WordPress and DIVI

Katie was so excited. As a personal trainer that works with women, and in particular busy mothers, she had this brilliant idea:

To start a program specifically for new moms. It would be based on specific needs and preferences. She came up with a quiz to sort each solution into an archetype. 

All she had to do now to get her idea out into the world is to put the quiz on her website, or at least have the website hook up to her email marketing service, so that each “type” could get their own personalized plan and a separate “track” or series of emails just for them. 

This would lead up to her class which focused on how to leverage their archetype to find the best fitness solution for them. She also found that she wanted to be even more specific and focused about who got certain emails and when, in order to follow up in the future in a respectful and relevant way. 

Some may get special offers, some may get more emails, and some may get less, or get re-directed to another track based on their behavior (purchases, clicks, opens, etc) 

She wasn’t thinking about solving a “tech” problem. She was thinking about how she wanted to get a specific result and the steps she wanted to take to get there. She had a plan! 

She was using SquareSpace and MailChimp. Whoops. She just ran into a MAJOR roadblock. 

Her email service didn’t have enough flexibility to do any of this. Neither did SquareSpace.

She also needed a “frictionless” way for participants to sign up for the program, but the process was clunky and although she didn’t know it, she was losing sales.

Her website also looked, shall we say, like a SquareSpace template managed by someone whose jam wasn’t really websites. It looked amateurish.

Why couldn’t she just keep using the tools she was using when she first started her business? 

After all, she was the “poster child” for SquareSpace: that bootstrapping entrepreneur who wanted a simple solution to solve her problem: Getting a website out into the world. 

Only now, she’s outgrown the platform. Now what? 

That’s what I’ll be talking about in this article. It’s not a usual piece for me to write. I’m addressing frustrations I’ve seen recently, and I know that not many want to dive into anything “technical.” 

But I do want to present a few cases that show what someone like Katie might want to do and why the “easiest and cheapest” solutions may fall short.

I find that too many review sites are too vague and don’t present specific examples that clearly illustrate what makes one platform a good choice, at a given time, and another that may be quite disappointing if it falls short of expectations. 

These very specific examples will be highlighted in a gray box, which you can choose to read or skip over. I think it’s important to include cases to support my conclusions. I’ll be including case studies from myself, other developers, and also “non tech” business owners who have reached their limits with platforms that are supposed to be “easy” for entrepreneurs, but fall short. 

Many of the people I help seem to appreciate it, because they want accurate data to base their decisions on. 

I’ve also noticed that many (mostly newbies) are choosing platforms and services SOLELY based on price and user experience. In fact this is how some make ALL their business decisions: it has to be free and take the absolute minimum of effort and/or time.

This is a mistake. Function and value are also important.. or you’ll be wasting your money and time.

Basing decisions SOLELY on whether or not it’s free or low cost, and always looking for ways to cut corners..  isn’t the greatest way to run a business.  It can actually backfire.

You may also be surprised to discover that the platforms and systems that you thought may be expensive or difficult to use are actually affordable and intuitive, and quite possibly cheaper and easier than the current systems you are struggling with. 

If you are reading this, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you first seek VALUE, and are ok with putting in a little bit of work up front in order to benefit later. I’m going to assume you are interested in business, making a profit, and growth, but not necessarily doing more hustling and manual work. 

If you are not, there’s no point in reading any further. 

The right tools for growth

Choosing the right platforms is especially important for business owners who are scaling to include services and products that will be sold as “one-to-many,” such as a class, course, or group offering. These are smart additions to your 1:1 treatments or coaching services, especially in the post-pandemic era as people will be looking for more online options, and practitioners may want to diversify their income.

Selling time slots is something health and wellness entrepreneurs are already familiar with. But selling digital products, or a combination of services, classes, or events and digital products, isn’t the same when it comes to how they are produced, marketed, and distributed.

Let’s start with websites.

Most wellness professionals today understand the importance of having a website. However, if asked WHY, many would say something along the lines of “to establish a professional online presence.” This is a great start.

Based on this criteria alone, I can understand why someone would want something that is “cheap and easy.”

But it ends there, and if I dig a little deeper, it actually comes down to nothing more than having a nice-looking brochure to refer people that ALREADY KNOW THEIR BUSINESS EXISTS so that they can showcase how great their business is, how many conditions they treat, and how cool their modality is (another mistake I’ll discuss on another blog)

It’s assumed that a potential client will also  call  to book an appointment the first time they land on a website. This is unlikely.

If this is the kind of website you want, ( an online brochure) then yes, you can definitely build one without having the slightest idea about marketing or how the website fits into an overall plan. For something like this, I WOULD suggest finding the cheapest option you can, because if this is all your website does, you are throwing money away. 

So does having a SquareSpace site means that you are throwing your money away? Not necessarily.

For those who are just getting started, it may make sense to start with, well, a starter site, but this isn’t by any means a complete plan for growth.  (more on this later)

For those who are a little more established and serious about their business and are taking intentional steps towards growth, whether that means getting more clients or patients or scaling with a repeatable process that allows you to become more “predictably profitable,” you are going to need a more functional website.

You can start off with a hosting plan. I recommend SiteGround.  Check in, as they often have special offers for first time users: (Yes, this is an affiliate link, which goes into my dog food fund) 

 (Heart-Centered Marketing and Modern Marketing work together

One thing I hear a lot, and agree with, is that marketing is about building trust and relationships. I also know, firsthand, that business can come from word of mouth as well as networking and collaborative efforts.

However..

If you are making it HARD for people  to find you, get to know you, SEE THEMSELVES in your message, branding, and content,  keep in touch with you, and eventually book with you, what’s the point? You’ll just have to hop back on the hamster wheel and start all over again as yet another prospect falls through the cracks. 

Modern marketing is simply about making it easy for the right people to FIND you, stay in touch, and buy from you. Don’t make it hard. Unless you like those awful lunchtime networking meetings and chasing down clients. 

Having the right systems in place doesn’t need to be expensive or even nearly as hard as you might think (Contrary to what SquareSpace marketers have indoctrinated in so many wellness entrepreneurs and coaches) 

These systems will do the “heavy lifting” for you so that you don’t have to keep hustling, chasing down, following up, and thinking of daily social media post content. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to spend my time and energy. I wouldn’t expect my network of friends, colleagues, and happy clients to work that hard either. 

Remember, people DO want to buy stuff from you.  But they are NOT going to hang out on social media all day waiting to hear from you, track you down in a Facebook group,  or spend 10 minutes trying to find a way to book with you online. If you are not regularly keeping in touch (with their permission, of course) you’ll likely also be forgotten about. 

Make it easy on everyone by making yourself visible/attracting your ideal clients,  inviting people to join or subscribe so that it’s easy to stay in touch and get the latest info, and by giving them value.. Including free, low-cost, and premium paid options. (Your 1:1 services should be considered premium offerings)

This is an entire process, or an automated/semi automated chain of events, not just a random set of tactics.

What does this have to do with SquareSpace?

Why SquareSpace isn’t the best option for this process

Unfortunately, SquareSpace doesn’t make this process easy. It’s great for creating a “brochure” site, only to find that you are pretty much in the same scenario as before. It’s also ok for selling time slots and physical products, but not for generating leads, keeping in touch,  or booking and delivering those one-to-many products that allow you to grow and greatly increase your earning potential since they are not based on selling time.

It doesn’t even “play well” with other apps and services you will likely want to add on later as you grow.

It’s set up so that daily workflows for content creation is clunky and more time-consuming, especially if you have a LOT of content.

It’s hard to see this when you first start out. Especially if you’ve been sold based on the premise that fewer options always = EASY.

I think that one of the reasons why SquareSpace has been successful not only in serving the niche they were meant to serve, but convincing EVERY small business owner that it’s the right choice is because of this:

Many practitioners are still not familiar with any other business model than the one they have been taught in school: Get more patients and fill your schedule in a clinic or office in your local area.  They are also overwhelmed, and tend not to trust marketers or think that marketing is “slimy” or manipulative. (This myth dies hard)

Because of this,  the platform is typically  underutilized. This means that they will still have to work hard/run in circles/hustle to get bookings manually, and/or spend waaay too much time on social media, as I mentioned before. These tactics are random, unpredictable, beyond our control (algorithms) and yes, disempowering. 

In this case, that “affordable” monthly subscription is no longer a good value.

For those who are becoming more proactive and empowered and want to start using the tools that will help them grow,  with SS they will eventually run into a frustrating obstacle that will end up costing them more in the long run.

I’m going to show you exactly why SquareSpace not as cheap or as easy as you might think, and what some of its limitations are. 

Note: I’ve used both WordPress and Squarespace. I don’t have any financial incentives for recommending one platform over another, since I’m not exclusively a WordPress developer. I can easily adapt to what is working, which means that if tomorrow, SquareSpace was the best choice, that’s what I would be focusing on. I periodically give it another chance, and each time, I just have to pass.

What IS Squarespace?

SquareSpace is  a website builder that aims to simplify the process of creating and designing a website so that anyone who wants to bring their business online can do so quickly – no coding required. (In theory, but not always in practice) It offers a wide range of pre-built website templates you can use for a monthly fee.  

If you’re someone who has minimal knowledge about building or designing a website, I get how enticing this sounds. However,  there’s more to creating a website that is truly effective because makes it easy for your ideal clients and patients to find you.  

So with that.. 

Reasons why I don’t use SS

1. It doesn’t provide you with what you REALLY need

Squarespace provides users with pre-designed website templates and drag-and-drop elements that allow them to easily create and modify their website.  

You may think that these tools are enough to help you develop a good website that attracts your ideal patient or client and “converts” them to happy, loyal buyers, but most new entrepreneurs simply “don’t yet know what they don’t know.”  I’m not talking about “bells and whistles” and “gee that’s cool but I don’t need that now” kinds of tools.

I’m talking about essentials. SS makes adding these basic features unnecessarily hard (yes!) and expensive.

This is an important concept to grasp. If you want to grow, you have to allow ROOM for it. I’m not talking about “one day” when you have that breakthrough month where you net 6 figures. I mean that each month, or at least every quarter, you are taking steps, no matter how small, to get to the next level.

You are making micro investments, and monitoring objective data and benchmarks, so that your business can start to grow and gain traction.

This is usually the pace most of us have to start off at, since we don’t have a ton of cash reserves to invest.


Exhibit A

Here’s an example, if you want one. Or you can skip this entire gray box. 

Let’s say I want to grow my list by 100 subscribers this quarter. (Q1)  I’m going to do that with a very specific but simple lead magnet: My 6 favorite low-sugar, healthy, holiday cookie recipes.  

In order to do this, I’m going to create a list (a container to put leads in, which resides in an email marketing service like Active campaign) This can be done with a click of a few buttons and answering a few very basic questions. 

I can create and organize lists in any way I want that makes sense for me.

So my list could be my master list, (all my clients and patients)  or a subset of my subscribers who would like to have the recipes, and may be a good fit for a health coaching program for women over 50 I’m launching later this year. I’m going to call my new list “hormone balancing clients and patients.”

I want to build that list so that I can start creating a buzz about the program.

I will also need an opt in form on my website, which resides on a page on my website. It has to look enticing and have great copywriting that convinces people to sign up to download the recipe booklet. (Short, sweet, and effective) Fortunately, a page like this is easy to create in WordPress using the DIVI theme/builder. 

This isn’t a “Bell and whistle.” It’s an integral part of a marketing “engine.”

At this stage, I am choosing to invest a minimum of cash, but set aside some time to create and connect these components of my email system. (or hire someone to do it, which will likely pay for itself in the first few months or sooner)

Now let’s say it’s Q2. My goal is to launch my new program. 

I want to be able to send specific emails to specific people at specific times, automatically: In this case, those who subscribed to the “hormone balancing clients and patients.” Hopefully that list is growing and I met my goal of 100 new and engaged subscribers. 

To do this, I’ve used my cookie lead magnet, but many of them got on the list via another lead magnet about “7 natural ways to get rid of bloating.” In other words, I have 2 opt in forms that are connected to my “hormone balancing clients and patients” list.  

I’ve taken time to send pure value once a week. (A “nurturing” sequence) including a link to a podcast about how to bounce back from a week of indulging in holiday treats without beating yourself up.

In this case, around the end of January, I want to send an email with a link to a landing page that explains the program in detail and provides a way to sign up. BUT I’m NOT sending this to ALL my patients. The email will go to only those who are on my hormone balancing list and who have NOT already purchased any 1:1 packages from me, AND indicated that they would like to hear about a cool program launching in February.

2 things must happen:

1. Since I am selling my program by sharing a page where people can click to buy on the spot, this MUST be done automatically, so that transaction emails can be sent immediately: A confirmation, a receipt, and a welcome email with next steps and login info. Not doing this would result in some pretty irate customers, and for good reason. This is somewhat handled by SquareSpace, but is designed more for delivering products rather than onboarding sequences, which are important.

2. I want to send only relevant emails, to the right people, at the right time.

Trust me. As  you grow, you will run into scenarios in which you will need this kind of flexibility, not just for the sake of functionality and effectiveness, but RESPECT.

What you are doing is making it easier for people to see what you are about, get helpful information, eventually solve their problem, and perhaps buy from you at some point. Some people will also unsubscribe and drop off, which is fine, and normal. And of course, you need to deliver on that promise, which MUST be automated.

MailChimp is not only underpowered for this, it’s also clunky, less intuitive, and actually more expensive.

SquareSpace is also very limited. Yet when you choose SS as your platform,  you only have 2 choices for email: SquareSpace or MailChimp. That’s pretty limited, in a world with so many powerful, flexible, easy-to-use, and inexpensive choices.

Can you see why a monthly newsletter that you send manually is going to seriously limit your income potential? And why sending ALL your stuff to EVERYONE is going to start to seem a little spammy, because most of what you sent isn’t relevant, tailored, or useful to most of your audience?

Or how a very, very basic automated series may not be enough if, or rather WHEN, you want to send an email only under a certain set of conditions?

If there’s even a slight chance that you may introduce memberships, courses, classes, or events, you don’t want to be limited to the most basic series of automated emails or be forced to pay more for subscribers that are on more than one list. 

I hope this example is proof that you will need a robust and flexible system at some point, and it doesn’t even have to be expensive. (As in $15 per month or even FREE)

 

Creative Types: Build Your DIY Website Without Overwhelm

Creative Types: Build Your DIY Website Without Overwhelm

More and more health and wellness brands and coaches are building their own DIY websites. Some enjoy the process, while others struggle.

Often, they are creative types that have unique gifts, but may be making some common mistakes when it comes to building their website. The result is overwhelm.

Let’s take a close look at that so that you can eliminate the overwhelm  when creating your website, starting with:

The 25 common challenges creative entrepreneurs face when building a DIY website

The 3 most important components of an effective health and wellness or coaching website

Your 3 best bests for “starting where you are at, but also focusing on where you want to go.”

For the record, I’m not “calling out” right-brained, creative types. Left-brain dominant logical types also tend to make common mistakes as well.

Make sure to check out my blog about the strengths and weaknesses “left brained types.”

Building a website isn’t just about clean coding or great design. In order to be effective and become one of your strongest marketing tools, we need to embrace both our creative and more linear, logical, step-by-step skills. We also need to know what is already proven to work, so that we’re not wasting our time or throwing money at something that won’t get us more leads, conversions, and help us grow and scale our businesses.

I build websites and templates for wellness entrepreneurs and creative entrepreneurs who are scaling their businesses with online offerings. Along the way,  I saw a real, tangible, practical need for some kind of system to help my clients, particularly the ones who describe themselves as being “non-techy.”

Many of my clients are DIYer’s who are diving into the world of building websites and landing pages. They are gaining confidence as they discover that they have the tools and capabilities to create their own digital infrastructure. I love helping DIYer’s. 

Others might prefer to have someone else do this kind of work.

Either way can work, and it’s about what’s right for YOU.  (Check out the bottom of this page for some great options)

This blog is for those who may feel a little frustrated by all the “tech” stuff, and are not sure how to get started.

Let’s talk about the creative mind and some of the advantages AND potential pitfalls a creative person can encounter.

Advantages creative entrepreneurs have when building a DIY website:

1. Your intuition. This is such a powerful tool that it may cover 1-10!

2. The ability to communicate well using both images and words.

3. Storytelling. This isn’t just a trend. The ability to tell a good story is becoming an essential marketing skill.

4. NOT getting caught up in the “back end” stuff. Spending too much time on this could slow you down. (I know, because I can be a nerd and need to focus only on what counts)

5. Speaking from the heart, using the perfect blend of EMPATHY and AUTHORITY.

Creative types tend to approach the process of building a website.. or any other digital marketing system.. differently than your average developer, and this is NOT a bad thing, at all!

In fact, some of the most successful projects I’ve worked on were the result of very CREATIVE ideas and processes.

24 reasons why many creative coaches and wellness businesses are struggling with their DIY website:

Some of these are unique to creative types, but some are things we all struggle with.

1. Previous negative experiences with “tech stuff.”

2. Fear of what might happen when your website.. actually goes LIVE.  You may be thinking: Will people like my site? Will it get no visitors? What happens if someone books a call or signs up and I can’t deliver what I promised? (Deep seated fear of failure and/or success)

3. Sabotage via “busy-ness”

4. Procrastination

5. Not understanding the value of having a website; making it low-priority

6. Not understanding the value of creating regular content and how it is used to attract leads at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and how it it contributes to a sustainable business

7. Thinking that SEO is a minor “technical adjustment” that you can “set and forget”

8. Getting overwhelmed by looking at the competition’s websites

9. Not even knowing where to start, so you never even begin

10. Trying to save time and money by taking shortcuts that end up costing more in the long run

11. No clarity about a niche, trying to appeal to everyone

12. No clarity about your target market

13.  No clarity about your competition or potential strategic partners

14.  No clarity or direction when it comes to how to put all of this on a website.  In other words, how to communicate your message verbally and visually. (It’s the job of your web designer to guide you through this process in the planning stages of creating your wellness website)

15. Shiny Object syndrome: This. No, wait.. that.. Hmm. I’m not in love with this one. Maybe that one..

16. Not having any structure to work within

17. Extreme writer’s block (on days when ideas are not flowing)

18. Taking months and months to deliver a blog or the content that goes on the “about” page

19. Thinking that everything is “written in stone” and can never, ever be changed without having to pay the developer to make changes

20. Good old fashioned mindset blocks

21. Not understanding how powerful a website can be for delivering content on a consistent basis: video, podcasting, blogging, photography.. those are JUST a START!

22. Not making data-driven decisions in addition to using your intuition

23. Not knowing what you don’t know, and/or not being willing to learn from an expert

24. Dreading the whole  process, thinking that there’s no way it could actually be FUN. (yes, it can be.. even for creative types. Marketing IS a creative process!)

25. Believing outdated hype about how “hard” it is to build a website in WordPress and how “easy” it is to build it on other platforms. I’ve had to use more code to customize a SquareSpace site more than I ever did a DIVI/WordPress site.

As you can see, there’s a lot more that goes into this whole process than coding, branding, and marketing functions. It’s a highly personal process too.

A good website isn’t about the cheapest, easiest, and prettiest option. Can you imagine if this was our only criteria for the PEOPLE we know? It has to be effective, functional, intelligent, and flexible enough to accommodate a growing business. For many of us, this means having an online product and scaling our practices to include more innovative offerings. 

Any of the above challenges could hinder the progress and the effectiveness of a finished site. Or sabotage it altogether. Let’s not let this happen to you. You can start where you are at, but I also want you to look at where you are headed in the next year, so that you don’t have to start all over again because you didn’t think the process of building your website through somewhat.

Creating a website isn’t difficult, but it’s not just about finding the latest SquareSpace template that looks nice and then filling in the blanks with whatever comes to mind.

Certain platforms may be more appropriate for your business at certain stages. For example, if you plan on scaling your business, I recommend a WordPress site. Time and time again I’ve seen clients run into a wall when their system (website, email, and other systems that all work together) isn’t able to do what they need it to do.

Note: I am not biased for financial reasons but ethical ones.. I cannot in good conscience take part in working with certain platforms that don’t end up being effective, create problems with workarounds,  and end up costing more in the long run.

Now that I’ve been transparent and honest with you, I just want to let you know that it’s possible to do on your own, WITHOUT the OVERWHELM, by knowing what you need, following a few steps and making a few choices: 

The first step in kicking OVERWHELM to the curb is having a solid foundation in place for your business. This will eliminate most of the 25 challenges I listed above.  I guide you through each step in creating this foundation in the Future Proof Your Business Toolkit, and in the planning stages of every client I work with.

The 3 components of an effective website

Technical:

A layperson doesn’t really need to learn HTML and CSS, but I believe they should have easy access to the backend of their site so they can blog regularly and make minor changes and updates to their website.

There is a persistent myth that working with WordPress means not having access to drag-and-drop builders. This isn’t true, and hasn’t been, for a number of years now. I offer training to all of my website and coaching clients on how to edit their sites using Divi.

I’m also adding another service/product that I’m really excited about: TEMPLATES designed in DIVI based on the StoryBrand framework, along with a course or guidance to show you how to easily create your own simple website.

Design

Good design isn’t just about choosing the right images, layout, and branding. Even branding isn’t just about your logo or even just colors or fonts.  It’s not just an arbitrary process.  Before the process of branding even begins, I need to gather information first.  A brand doesn’t arise from thin air, but is informed by getting SUPER specific about the ideal client avatar, niche, message, positioning, and more.

It’s all about how to deliver your message with strong visual and verbal communication. The two are linked, and don’t function as separate entities. This is why having someone who knows about copy, layout, design, AND the flow of a website that converts (via telling a story) is important.

Marketing

An effective website needs more than “good coding/best practices” or good design. It has a job to do, and at the end of the day, it’s about getting new leads and converting leads into actual sales.

It needs to be functional and have the basic tools needed in order work for a growing business. (NOT just what you want to do this month)

I firmly believe that the more educated my clients are about marketing their products and services, the more successful they will be. (on their OWN terms of success) They will be much less likely to burn out, and have more energy to exercise their unique gifts, including their creativity and intuition.

A good website developer or designer who works with creative businesses needs to know these 3 things. They need to have experience in communication, planning, and the entire process of creating a website tailored for a client. It’s not about having 2 choices: An expensive website that requires knowledge of coding, or a “cheap, easy, and pretty” site that does NOTHING for you or your business. (A cheap digital brochure is still a waste of time and money) 

This is why there is a thorough intake and prep process. There are many pieces, some technical, some creative, that go into a launch, and about 100 moving parts and details to attend to so that you get traffic to your site, capture leads (grow your email list) engage your audience, and get conversions (sales) on autopilot. In other words, your site will be more than just a “digital brochure.”

The next step, now that you know the 25 common pitfalls and the 3 components of an effective website, is to decide how to pace yourself. Luckily, you have more choices than you did even 5 years ago.  Here are the 3 best bets for starting where you are at, while keeping in mind, where you’re headed:

1. You can take in stages.  Much like how people build houses here in Europe. Rather than overextending themselves, they fund and build one thing at a time, whether it’s the roof or the plumbing or the interior work.

There are ways to build a system, whether it’s a website or a launch, that can evolve and grow with your business or a specific strategy or even a tactic.

This COULD mean starting with a “starter site” like Wix or SquareSpace, while building your permanent “home base” or website and laying the foundation for creating it.  I usually recommend this ONLY for those who have not yet done the foundational work. (Niche, market research, audience, ideal client avatar, etc)

For others, this could mean getting familiar with the WordPress ecosystem early on, perhaps with a “hobby site.” This is also a lower cost option than a subscription-based starter site, and for many, surprisingly do-able and easy. I recommend this step to anyone who has a solid concept of their offering, niche, etc. (the foundational work has been done) 

2. You can start with a template. I’m not talking about any old “clean and elegant” design that you can find on most of the “cheap and easy” platforms out there. I’m talking a template that is actually based on the StoryBrand framework, your industry, your branding, and the tools and extras you’ll need as your business grows.

All with guidance to show you how to complete your site. This is a new offering and I’m still putting together the details, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

This is a great affordable option. I wanted to bridge the often HUGE gap between a basic starter/subscription site and a full-blown, done-for-you WordPress site for my clients. This helps me too, because I can’t afford to set aside an entire week for a client to build a website for peanuts, like some designers are doing right now. As you know, I almost never recommend discounting your prices, but finding innovative and value-added solutions that don’t cost you more TIME. 

(A win/win!) 

3. You can have someone do it for you, and either show you how to edit and maintain your own site, or manage it for you. As your business grows, this could make a LOT of sense, not only because your time IS money, but that website will be making it possible for you to grow your business for years to come. 

There is no longer a reason to postpone the “home base” of your entire online business.

If you consider yourself a “right-brained creative” and thought that having a well-designed, functional site that will do what you NEED it to do, AND is affordable was out of your reach, I just want to let you know:

 

You have options.

Your choices:

1. Continue to struggle on your own. If you dislike building websites or “don’t know what you don’t know,”  this path usually leads to overwhelm and frustration.

2. Slowly build your own website, but without skipping important steps in laying the foundation. Get all the steps here.

3.  Consider a “Done for you” WordPress website using the Divi theme and builder. This option could save you a lot of time, energy, and money, depending on what stage of growth your business is in.

4. Get the best of both worlds with the new DIY Website Kit: You get a StoryBrand -based template, step-by-step guidance, and support at an affordable price for those just starting out.  (It’s in BETA and I’m truly excited about creating this option for my DIYer’s!)

Just click on the gold button below for a free 30 minute consultation.

What to Look For When Hiring A Web Developer For Your Wellness Website

What to Look For When Hiring A Web Developer For Your Wellness Website

You’ve outgrown your old website.

You need a beautiful, functional, and solid website that does what you need it to do. But you are totally overwhelmed by websites and technology, and even the thought of asking for help seems overwhelming.

Sound familiar?

Maybe you are feeling a bit of DREAD when it comes to creating, updating, or overhauling your wellness website.

Or you may be a tech whiz!  Either way, often there is a big gap between how real or perceived “tech-savvy” and “non-tech savvy” people communicate. Not to mention that the way health and wellness professionals are showing up online.. AND how they deliver their services.. has been changing at warp-speed over the last few years.  It’s easier than ever to enter the game, but the bar has been raised.

This means that web developers need to do a LOT more than they did even 5 years ago in order to serve the wellness market.

What should an acupuncturist, chiropractor, naturopath, coach, or other wellness entrepreneur look for when hiring or seeking help from a website expert? (even if they decide to go the DIY route) 

First, some quick background: As of this writing, I am focusing on creating websites that are based on solid marketing principles and the “Story Brand” framework. I believe that it’s no longer enough to rely on just good coding OR just good design and branding.

Today, I believe a good “website person” needs to be knowledgeable about everything from how to tweak CSS code to how to work with wellness professionals who are showing up more and more online… and who are even creating more of their offerings ONLINE.

Your website has to serve you and should be designed to do most of the “heavy lifting” for you.

As someone with both a “left brained, logical ” side AND a “right brained creative” side, I’m going to give you a little “insider’s glimpse” of the LEFT side of the gap. (More about the RIGHT side in my next blog)

How to communicate effectively with web developers and “tech” people when you are a creative type (and find a web developer who understands how important the “right brain” creative stuff IS!) 

In this blog, I hope you get some great insight about tech in general, how to communicate with tech professionals, and 3 things to look for when working with them.

Inside the mindset of a “Left Brained” Web Developer 

Let’s talk about web developers. Most are good at what they do, but there are also many who are terrible at communication. There  is often no onboarding, planning,  guidance, or process. clients are left completely on their own when it comes to envisioning and creating their website.

Although they are not off the hook for creating a poor customer experience, they are not TRYING to be difficult.

Being left-brained doesn’t always mean one is a rigid, socially-inept geek whose job it is to hinder the creative flow of creative types, drive them crazy, or arbitrarily put up roadblocks to creating a dream website.

To be fair, right-brained creative types can drive people crazy, too, by taking up a LOT of people’s time. I’ve been guilty of doing this myself.

Without some kind of structure, a developer could spend HOURS reacting to everyone’s whims, while still being confined to the restraints of the systems one is working with. This can create a LOT of stress. This still isn’t the client’s fault. It’s ours, or at least the people who are making the promises.

If you are a DIY’er who has some experience with “tech” you probably have been in at least one situation that made you want to smash your computer while screaming in frustration.  Or days when it took you MUCH longer than you though it would take to solve what seems like such a SMALL issue: “Why is does my text look like this on my phone?? Why isn’t this working??? Grrr)

It’s the nature of the beast. Even among those with experience in “tech,” one has to allow for the unexpected.. and factor it into overall costs.

Factor in the difficulty that web developers often face with getting the input they need from other humans on the team, and it can get to the point where I can see where the “typical nerd” mindset might come from.

I’ve worked as a prepress technician in the past. I learned that working with things like code, technology, and large projects with parts contingent upon OTHER pieces and functions  being properly built and executed… HAS to be exact and precise.

Otherwise  it simply won’t work.

As in, it won’t work AT ALL.

I’m going to let you in on our world, not to defend any kind of poor people skills, but to help YOU navigate it. whether you are hiring someone as a “non-techie” type or going the DIY route.

If a web developer doesn’t get the content he needs from a client,  or can’t create that dream opt in form because the client’s current email service won’t integrate well with a plugin or website platform.. his hands may be tied. The same is true for branding and integrating a marketing strategy.. it’s a team effort, with multiple “moving parts” to put into motion.

Most of us are compelled to make something work.  It’s kind of in our nature. This happens, and we’ll do our best to “make it so,” but we must also know that we have a business to run and there needs to be boundaries, just as in any coaching or holistic practice.  Sometimes we’ve had to learn the hard way about “scope creep.” 

It’s the nature of working with technology. Or with BOTH people and technology at the same time.

This is why websites can get expensive,  why many DIYer’s get frustrated, and why the bigger the project gets, and the more people involved, the more complex, time-consuming,  and costly a project can get.

But I don’t think it HAS to be this way anymore, (nor SHOULD be) especially for wellness entrepreneurs.

The solution: To me, taking as much of the risk out as possible for both the client and the developer via:

• A flat fee and clearly spelled out tasks and objectives that are mutually agreed upon.

• Working with systems and platforms that have a good track record for flexibility, functionality, and reliability (WordPress, DIVI, ActiveCampaign, etc) Adding services on later is not a problem!

We also don’t like to have to GUESS.  Many developers also don’t want to have to guess what a client wants. Neither do I. It’s frustrating and a waste of time and money for everyone.

Again, often it is the developer’s fault for not providing any kind of guidance or communication that can eliminate this problem, on the FRONT end of the project. This is mostly our responsibility.

So let’s talk about what makes it a pleasure to work with someone in getting a website built.

3 things to look for when hiring a developer or designer for your website

1. Knowledge of the following:

• The technical aspects of building a website

• A solid sense of design and aesthetics

• Branding

• Marketing specific to your industry. I dive deeper into these skills in this blog.

• If you are really lucky: Someone who is well-versed in verbal communication specific to websites. This includes:

1. Effective copywriting designed to inspire and motivate people to buy. (Particularly important for landing or sales pages)

2.  The “narrative flow” of a page or the entire  site. This flow takes us on a mini journey similar to the “Hero’s Journey” from the very top “Hero/Header” image with a headline that tells people exactly what you do.. to the “Hero has a problem and is called to action” to the climactic scene, to the “Happy Ending.”

You can find out more by reading the book “Building a Story Brand” or “Marketing Made Simple” by Donald Miller.

3. How to write effective blogs that will help your site get found in searches (This works for podcast and video transcripts as well)

2. A THOROUGH intake and COMPLETE planning process.

If there is no intake process or even questions asked, walk away.  Just as I wouldn’t even consider working with a patient when I was practicing acupuncture without a thorough intake, I won’t do this with a new website or marketing client.

A website is far more than just a fancy electronic brochure and some generic pictures and a few blogs to make it “look legit.”  Your branding, which is how your business is presented to the world, is “baked in” to the website.

It’s also far more than a collection of clean and elegant code.  This is also a vital component of any website, obviously, but great code is just a start.

For a small service-based business, it’s possible to build a site with only a bit of HTML and CSS knowledge. In other words, you don’t need to be a black belt coder.

The FUNCTION of the site is very important, and sometimes not well-thought out. It’s a team effort. This means that it is essential to determine the PURPOSE of the site, which is also done in the intake process.

If the intake only consists of you saying: I want my website to be the same shades of pink as my favorite coaching site and yeah, I guess I will need a blog, and the developer says “Ok, ” there is going to be a problem. They need to be asking waaay more questions. It’s not YOUR job to know the right questions to ask.. it’s THEIR JOB!

An EXCELLENT web developer/designer will also provide some coaching. They will understand the basic principles of marketing, including how to help you translate your message, positioning, and problems and desires of your ideal patient or client into the content/narrative of your website.

The StoryBranding framework is one of the best ways to accomplish this.

3. Good communication skills

Of course, if you encounter a web developer who has poor communication skills or doesn’t understand your wants or needs.. I recommend moving on. As a bit of a nerd with a strong left-brained side, I know we can be NOTORIOUS when it comes to speaking in jargon. We often forget that not everyone speaks our language.

Many developers and designers are also very, very good at what they do and have a great portfolio, but are not great when it comes to interacting with people.

In order to create a big project like a website, it’s essential to be able to communicate with real people.

• Look for testimonials or get referrals to find out if the developer is easy to work with. It’s also a good sign when the person or agency that is creating your website goes “beyond the portfolio” and presents some case studies that show the exact strategies, tactics, and results that were achieved.

• Look for developers who are able to provide insight and education during the process. I’m not suggesting that they spend extra time sitting down to teach you about digital marketing, but there should be resources like blogs, onboarding guides, training videos, and everyday encounters that make it easy to learn and NOT EVER  feel stupid for asking.

That’s why I like to have tools like the glossary of digital marketing terms you will find on this website, but as of this update.. I’ve got a LOT more resources I’ve been creating just for my clients.

• Look for developers and designers who can speak in plain English. Clients should be able to say “I like the big picture on the front page of my site, it’s striking. Can we change the color of the bar up top?” without feeling silly.

In fact, one of the things I like to do is have a client show me visually what they like.. and what they don’t like.

It’s also great when you can learn the lingo along the way so that you can say: “I love the HERO image, but can we change the font on the heading? The subtitle looks great. I like the navigation bar, but would it be a CSS nightmare to change the color and adjust the padding on the bottom, maybe 10 pixels or so? *wink* Actually, no. Just speak to us in English, and leave the pixel tweaking and nitpicking to us.

Bottom line: I want my clients to be.. to use an overused word.. Empowered clients. I love it when a client has a shift in their relationship with “tech” so that it no longer feels quite so much like a necessary evil.

Make sure that your designer/developer at LEAST understands how important design, branding, and verbal communication is, and is on top of what is working today when it comes to visual and verbal communication.

I believe that having a WordPress website built with the Divi theme/builder allows you to “have your cake and it too” as far as having a high-performing, beautiful and functional website that you can manage on your own without having to learn coding.

I also believe that a website based on a narrative or story, with enough “calls to action” is the key to making your website your best employee.. converting visitors into leads, and leads into paying clients and patients.

I hope this blog helped you navigate the “left side” of the gap. I’ll be talking about the “right side” in my next blog in this series! Meantime.. if you need some extra help and guidance from someone who knows BOTH sides of the gap and you need a bridge.. I’m here. You can book a call for a free 30 minute consultation by clicking on the gold button below.

Need help with your website?

Building a pretty website is getting easier.

Creating a website that actually gives you the results you are looking for (getting new patients and clients on autopilot) is another matter entirely, and is often overlooked by health and wellness professionals and coaches.

The truth is, most wellness professionals really don’t need a custom-coded website, but many are also wasting their money on “stunning” (pretty) but low-functioning websites, just because it’s the “cheap and easy” route. 

I help my clients create websites based on the StoryBrand framework and built usng the DIVI theme .

Each website I build is not only an essential marketing tool, but also customizable  unique to the wellness industry and to YOUR business. 

You don’t need to contact a developer in order to edit or make changes to your website, because you will OWN it. 

Because I’ve been a wellness professional running a practice on MY terms, I know the industry well and how marketing.. and even delivering our services, is changing VERY rapidly. 

Note: I no longer build websites as a “lever puller” or “order taker.” There is an entire process I guide you through so that we can co-create one of your best assets in your business. 

Get the ROI you deserve from  your website. 

Sound good? Lets’ talk.

Just click on the gold button below for a free 30 minute consultation.

Why I Chose WordPress for my Acupuncture Website

Why I Chose WordPress for my Acupuncture Website

Are you planning on building a new website?

You may be wondering: “Is WordPress the best option for my holistic practice? Should I use WordPress or SquareSpace or Wix?

I’m going to tell you the exact reasons why I chose WordPress for my acupuncture website over other platforms like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace.

As a digital marketer, I witness a lot of confusion about what hosting platforms (not to be confused with hosting plans, from hosting companies.) As an acupuncturist, I understand how cash flow can be an issue when you first start out.

Many choose to start out with the cheapest and “easiest” options. After doing a lot of research, and testing Weebly, Wix, and SquareSpace myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that my initial instinct was correct: WordPress can save  time, money, and energy in the long run, if we know how to set it up correctly as an entire marketing system.

I’m going to go even deeper than what most developers typically share, because many of them don’t know much about marketing, or the acupuncture and tourism businesses.

First, let’s talk about what a hosting PLATFORM is. 

Some examples of major platforms are:

Wix
Weebly
SquareSpace
Joomla
Drupal
WordPress
Kajabi
Kartra

From here on, I’ll be referring to WordPress as WP, and Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace as WWS platforms to spare myself having to type each one repeatedly.

I won’t be referring to Kajabi and Kartra in this blog. They can make sense for certain types of businesses, usually global sites, and I’ll be writing about them soon.

I also won’t be exploring other self-hosted platforms like Joomla or Drupal.

Many people tend to default to the first three because they think it will save them time and money. (WWS) In the vast majority of cases, I don’t think this is a great idea. Let’s talk about what might work for you, and why.

I’ll also give you some specific examples, not just dogma or theory.

An honest guide

Obviously I’m biased towards WP because it is my preference and I truly believe it is the best option for most small businesses. In addition to my opinion, my goal is to provide you with up to date and accurate information.

For example, many WP developers mislead readers by telling them that their Wix page will be doomed to SEO invisibility because of javascript or flash coding, which isn’t really true anymore. WWS has gotten better about that.

WWS bloggers also have their own bias and tend to manipulate data, stretch the truth, and leave out important considerations when it comes to writing about what WWS platforms are best for specific users.

Before we begin, it’s important to be familiar with a few key concepts:

Hosting: Self-hosting vs. Fully hosted

A lot of people get confused about this.

Self-hosting doesn’t mean that your laptop is a server. It simply means that you pay a fee, typically yearly, to  host your own site, but via a hosting service. When most North Americans think of web hosting, they probably think of the big, obvious companies like GoDaddy or HostGator.

This is a different scenario from paying a monthly fee for WWS services, which host the site for you.

What’s the big deal? Why is a self-hosted WP a better choice?

1. You own your own website. With a hosted platform, all of your site’s data and assets are stored on their servers and can’t be moved. With WP, you have control over your website.

2. Portability. All of your content and databases can be moved on a WP (self- hosted) platform. Most hosting companies support WP. If you are not satisfied with your current host, you can migrate the site to a new one.If you want to relocate a WWS site, you will have to build it from scratch.

Since eventually people discover that WP offers so much more in terms of building a powerful marketing website, migration and portability IS a major thing to consider. These 2 reasons alone are compelling enough to make the switch.

Themes

Themes control the overall look and navigation features of your website.

While WWS platforms give you a fairly decent selection of pretty and elegant themes to choose from there are a few rather significant caveats:

1. You can’t modify a WWS theme. This may not sound like a big deal, but once you start really getting into the nitty gritty of how your site will work and how it will need to evolve in order to grow your business, you may find yourself either becoming frustrated with the limitations of a WWS site or settling for a less than desirable option.

2. With WWS, once you choose a theme, you are stuck with it. You can’t go back and change it.

3. WWS sites tend to have a similar look and feel.

The other day I saw a beautiful site my friend just had built. It is unique and looks custom-made, and her branding is spot-on. You won’t get this from a WWS platform.

Limited Marketing Tools and Options

One of the biggest mistakes I see is when business owners focus solely on how a site looks, while overlooking how it actually works as a marketing tool.

I get it. It’s hard to predict and envision what you are not yet familiar with!

Marketing tools can mean added features, but also how the user experiences the site. Much has to do with the specific actions they can take as you guide them into your marketing funnel and begin a relationship with them.

I don’t generally recommend certain platforms for many essential marketing functions.

Specific example: Recently I had a client who wanted to create an opt-in form to collect leads on her SquareSpace site. In WordPress, the whole process would have been a matter of setting up from a choice of decent plugins.

As of the time I write this, in order to do this type of lead capture with forms that are attractive, professional looking and able to convert.. AND for her to have the choice of using her current email marketing service, we had to rely on ONE third party service (Privy). Yes, we made it work, but:

The problem with this: 

1. It was pretty much a “jury rigging” or stopgap solution.

2. 3rd party services can and DO go out of business. In fact, I had only one option simply because a guy named Seth was one of the few who were able to offer the service currently provided only by Privy.

This isn’t a great situation to be in.

I’ll be honest too: From a technical standpoint, it was a bit of a pain. WordPress would have been much easier in this case.

It’s also cheaper when you have the flexibility of using which ever email hosting service you prefer, rather than be locked into the whims of a freemium platform.

I don’t blame them for wanting you to buy their stuff, if it offers everything I need.

For the price, this is inching towards the cost of a more powerful platform like Kajabi or Kartra.

If you find that you need to rely on 3rd party apps and Zapier (Another 3rd party solution to make apps “talk” to each other) in order to perform some pretty basic marketing functions, it ends up being a bigger headache.

The solution is also often more expensive than having the flexibility that WordPress offers.

I must say that SquareSpace does have great customer service, which came in handy.

I highly recommend considering your needs not just for the coming months but for a few years out, and to sit down and crunch some numbers.

Often WordPress isn’t a bad option, evven for bootstrappers. It could be worth it for many to take the time to learn it.

WordPress Has More Powerful Tools

With WP, you have access to many more plugins. As they say in WP land: There is plugin for everything!

From creating clickable Twitter quotes to optimizing photos to setting up child themes to creating custom opt in forms, there are plugins to customize your site to make it work exactly the way you want it to.

A word of caution: Too many plugins can slow down the performance of your site, and the wrong plugins can actually harm your site. (more on this later)

This is important, especially once you start adding more and more content to your site,. Yes, you SHOULD be doing on a regular basis!

 If you want leverage your site as a true marketing tool, I highly recommend the power and flexibility that WP provides.

Here are some specific elements you may likely want to integrate into your website:

• The ability to connect to certain databases which may be an integral part of your services. Real estate and job recruiting comes to mind.

• More options for connecting to booking sites, reviewing sites, webinar platforms, and other widgets. Even for a simple sales funnel, it’s good to have customized options.

• Advanced ecommerce features. If you are selling a product, such as herbs, memberships with recurring monthly fees, or online courses, you may need some of the more advanced features WP can offer.

• Memberships

• The ability to create an email opt in form and customize it to work the way you want it to and connect to the services you want and need. The site should serve your funnel, not just sit there and look pretty, waiting to be discovered!

• Integrating your content and SEO in a seamless manner

• Themes with features and navigation options that work for your business and are not limited to the rigid structure of the WWS theme

(WWS platforms do offer a wide variety of “plugins” (or apps) as well, but not nearly as many as you can find in the WP environment.)

Another thing to consider is that in WP, you can have multiple accounts and administrative roles. Say for example you hire a blogger. You can limit their access to the vital functions of your site, while still allowing them to publish posts. You can’t do this with WWS services.

SEO

SEO best practices are more dependent on creating high quality content and on-page SEO than what any one platform can offer as far as features. In other words, it’s  the CONTENT of your site that matters the most. However, WP does have more features.. and plugins available to make SEO much easier. My favorite is Yoast.

It’s no longer true that WWS platforms are terrible for SEO. As I mentioned earlier: in the past, Wix was based on Flash and Javascript code, which Google robots can’t see. Since iOS stopped supporting Flash a few years back, it followed suit and bases its sites on HTML and CSS.

Still, WP has an edge. Since WP is a CMS and was originally created for blogging, and maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to improve SEO.

Potential drawbacks of using WP

These drawbacks are not to be considered risks if you take proper care of your site. A good web hosting service can also be very helpful when it comes to making sure you have easy options for backing up your site content AND database. The 2 main things to consider are:

• Hacking
• Plugin conflicts

Is it because WP is inherently inferior and “buggy? No. WP is an open source CMS. (content management system) This means that its code isn’t proprietary, as is the case with hosted platforms.

If you talk to a WP advocate, they will tell you that this is a GOOD thing.. and it IS!

But you do have to keep your site “healthy” by choosing only trusted plugins and keeping everything updated.. especially WP itself, in your dashboard.

Furthermore, since most websites are built using WP, the statistics don’t show that a site is more likely to get hacked just because it is a WP site. There are simply more WP sites that get hacked because there are more WP sites!

A blogger biased towards WWS will play this up as being a HUGE negative.. as if your site will likely get hacked unless you “lease” from a WWS platform.

The truth is, keeping your site healthy isn’t difficult. Every site owner should be spending a set amount of time each week on maintenance and adding new content anyway, just as you would with bookkeeping.

Here’s another analogy: You may have a high-performing custom made race car, but you DO have to change the oil and you DON’T want to hire a bad mechanic to do your maintenance or add sketchy performance-enhancing features.

The above points are important to be aware of, but not good reasons for avoiding WP. That would be like saying it’s not worth it to invest in a property that is likely to appreciate in value because a sink COULD get clogged.

I think we all need to get over it and stop seeing a website as something you set up and then ignore until it becomes so outdated that an overhaul is required. A website is a “living” entity and should be treated as such.

Having said that, hacking does happen. You do want to take whatever methods you can to prevent it. If the worst case scenario happens.. don’t panic. If you have a good hosting plan and do regular backups, it won’t be as devastating as you might think.

Finally, I will say this: If the choice of platforms for a serious business owner is based SOLELY on avoiding hacking and plugin conflicts, perhaps some re-thinking of priorities is in order.

Choosing WordPress can save you money in the long run.

Let’s continue with the leasing analogy. Sure, the $29 a month sounds more affordable, but if you do the math and factor in lost time and revenue, it could be that you are throwing money away in the long run.

As your business matures and begins to require a stronger market presence and tools in order to grow, the drag-and-drop environment will begin to lose its effectiveness.

And once you build it, you are stuck with it. You are leasing a site that very likely will be underperforming, if your plan is to grow your business.

WWS platforms are also classic “freemium” services. “Extras” that you need to run your website like a true marketing tool tend to require subscription upgrades.

Eventually, the hours you spent on your WWS site or that $29 per month that didn’t really do anything for you.. is simply wasted time and money.

There are WWS biased bloggers (affiliates) that inflate the actual costs of building a WP site, and make the monthly rates sound attractive. Lost revenue due to underperformance, site migration costs, and having to start from scratch are not surprisingly, also not factored in.

It makes no sense to “lease” a site that will probably need a major overhaul once your business gets to a certain point. And in today’s online world, that’s probably going to be sooner than you might think.

You built this.. but do you OWN it?

My favorite analogy is that using hosted WWS platforms is like renting a home that you can redecorate up to a point, but can’t customize. Anything you invest or put into the home also cannot be taken with you when you move. To me, it doesn’t make sense to put so much time and energy into something I can’t even take with me!

WP is like owning your home.. when it’s time to build an addition you will need, you can easily do it, change domains, switch hosting plans, and tweak your site to meet the demands of your growing and evolving business.

Hiring a professional also doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, especially for a simpler coaching or acupuncture site. As your business grows, you can pay for added features, content, marketing, and SEO as needed. It could be cheaper in the long run to pay a hosting company and up-front developer fees, and this doesn’t even factor in the ROI of having a better performing website.

It’s at least worth sitting down with a calculator as you investigate all your options, looking at not just your short-term goals, but the big, overall picture.

WordPress, honestly, isn’t that hard to learn.

Yes, it does have a learning curve. But it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it’s made out to be.

A lot of right brained types have shied away from WP because they think it will be too hard to learn. Honestly, it’s not THAT difficult to learn. Almost anyone can set up a basic site in under an hour, if they want to. (This doesn’t mean you need to, you can outsource it too, of course!) My point is that it’s not impossible.

Many WordPress themes don’t really require any HTML or CSS coding knowledge. This website is actually built using a theme/builder called Divi. I use it because it is easy for a client to manage on their own without having to rely on a developer or coding knowledge.

Other builders on the market included Elementor, WordPress Bakery (formerly VC or Visual composer) and Beaver Builder. Even Gutenburg is fairly intuitive for WWS builders who may be used to the block format.

The truth is, “drag and drop”  is no longer a valid argument for avoiding WordPress in favor of WWS.

It’s true that learning the basics is easy, but mastering WP does take more time. As you become more skilled, you can customize your site in order to take your business to the next level. With WWS platforms, you are limited.

If you are used to a certain platform, there may be a learning curve not necessarily because one is inherently more difficult, but just a different intuitive process. Much like driving a different type of car.

It could be entirely worth it to purchase a few domain names, purchase a starter hosting plan, (some companies now allow you to pay on a monthly basis) and explore WP.

I do get that it just isn’t something that everyone wants to spend time with.. whether it’s WP or WWS. It could also be entirely worth it to outsource to a developer (the RIGHT developer for YOU) who is willing to show you how to manage your own content and make modifications.

Bottom line:

WWS platforms are a placeholder option for those who just want to begin a website presence. Sometimes, it makes sense.

But if you are serious about leveraging your website as a marketing tool in the long run, WP is the way to go.

When clients work with me I have an onboarding and offboarding procedure I walk them through so they can feel confident about using their own site. Depending on your needs and budget, there are customized options available which can make having your very own self-hosted WordPress site entirely DO-ABLE.

Want to know more? Click on the nifty gold button below for a consultation.

 

 

Why Your Website Still Isn’t Finished Yet: Part 3

Why Your Website Still Isn’t Finished Yet: Part 3

If your wellness website or coaching website is not quite finished yet.. no need to worry.

Let’s say you’ve made it through all the mental roadblocks (see part 1 and part 2) and that you have a real health and wellness website.. but it’s not “really” done. Some perspective:

First.. Congratulations.. you have a live site!  This is NO small thing!  But something still doesn’t seem “right” just yet. Why?

The short answer is:

A website isn’t supposed to ever be done!

What? That doesn’t make sense, you say. Why am I paying for a website if it never gets done?

A website is what some would call a “living entity.” It is designed to be an evolving and dynamic process, rather than a digital thing that sits on a server somewhere while you hope it attracts clients.

Paradoxically, your site can save you a lot of work, but it also requires some work as well.

Fortunately, its the kind of work that feels productive, like creating a new video to educate your audience, or researching the keywords your new target audience is most likely to type in a Google search.

Nurturing your website also saves you from the work that feels unproductive and draining, such as dealing with answering the same old questions, “price shoppers and tire kickers,” and the wrong types of patients, guests, customers, or clients for you.

It puts a large chunk of your marketing on autopilot, even if much of your marketing is done offline.

A website is something you (and your clients, patients, customers, and guests) interact with.

A website should reflect your current story and philosophy. I’m not the same person I was a few years ago, and this reflects in my site.(s)

People don’t JUST buy “acupuncture” or “chiropractic services” or other services anymore unless it’s a super cheap commodity. Good luck with that. They are interested in YOU and what YOU have to offer, and how it benefits them, of course!

Which leads me into..

How to finally finish your website (kind of)

1.  Attract only your ideal client or patient to your wellness website 

This can also change, as you and your business evolves. For example. Perhaps previously you were seeing patients who were only interested in pain relief.

Including some patients who found you (or rather your generic acupuncture website that tells them only that acupuncture helps with pain, that you have been practicing for 10 years, and what your hourly rate is)  on Google. They walked through your door seeking a fast, cheap, and effective solution for the pain that is a result of years of bad habits or neglect.

(and this made you tired and frustrated..I get it!)

So you decided to change your focus to functional medicine to manage chronic pain, autoimmune conditions, and and hormone balancing. You are slowly creating great blogs and articles about all of this.

But that’s not the ONLY change you may need to make.

It’s not enough to make just the obvious changes in your services tab or blogs.

You will want to update your site to focus on making the entire site appeal to your ideal patient “avatar” and repel (yes, repel) those who are NOT your ideal patient.

Let’s say for you it looks like this:

Jenny is 45 years old, affluent, proactive about her health, educated, loves cycling, hiking, is into metaphyiscal concepts, lives in the mountains of Colorado etc.

You will want to make sure your entire site will attract the Jennys out there..

… and yes, via branding and content, actually REPEL 75 year old Joe who is grumpy and wants to know how much it will cost to “fix” his back today. (this isn’t age-ism, but about making specific decisions about the demographic you want to work with.. some may prefer working with older patients) I don’t know too many who want to work with grumpy patients who want a quick fix, though. This is draining. 

Another clinic may want to do the complete opposite and focus on being a high-volume low-cost pain clinic that doesn’t have time for lab testing, postural assessments, nutritional and lifestyle counseling, or individualized treatment plans. Perhaps with a specific focus on seniors.

It’s your choice. Yes, you want to be THAT specific. Of course, it is possible to have a few “avatars,” but … remember.

A generic website that appeals to everyone, attracts nobody.

The concept of attracting your ideal client should be built into every function of your site. (For most, the most functional thing about their site is their contact form and phone number!)

This means the way you come across, your writing and communication style, the images you choose, your branding. EVERYTHING.

It includes how you educate and screen out the kinds of people you don’t want to waste time with.. and have your ideal patient, guest, customer, or client say YES! This is the one I want to work with! She’s talking directly to ME, and it’s uncanny!

This work will inform just about every part of your marketing, from positioning to messaging to branding to the copy and content you create. (You can be guided through this journey by enrolling in the Future Proof Your Practice Toolkit, which is designed to get your first online offering out QUICKLY, even if you are starting from scratch.

This is what I did in my practice, and it works for acupuncturists, chiropractors, coaches, and holistic entrepreneurs.

What does your new “avatar” look like?

If you need some help, you can download my free version of the ideal client or patient avatar exercise. It’s a fun way to finally get some clarity on WHO it is that you are serving!

Finish Your Website

2. Add some new marketing tools to your website to get a steady and predictable stream of new clients or patients

So let’s say you start out with a basic site for your new practice or business. This is great! You have 8 pages, links to online booking, an about page, a blog, and a contact form.

This is just the beginning. A website is a powerful tool that can be used to build your email list, link to social media, house online courses or a membership site, and more.

Don’t just use your site as a “glorified brochure,” Which is what many, many business owners do.

Let’s take this a step further and talk about something called Conversions.

You want people to do DO something with your site once they get there, or to convert from a visitor to a subscriber, lead, or customer/client. 

Do you want them to book a consultation or discovery call?

To book an appointment?

To subscribe to your email list?

Download something? Make a purchase?

When you get to a site, you want something that is worth your time and offers something of benefit that only you can offer.

So if you are still using your old 2009 site with just your phone number and address and a list of conditions that acupuncture can treat, or the same ol’ same ol’ stock photos, you need to make some changes. “Give me a call” placed in one place on your site, even with a phone number at the top, isn’t very compelling. The odds of someone taking action are actually quite small in these circumstances. 

The content of your site needs to be relevant, of course. But it’s not enough. It’s absolutely essential these days to take advantage of a website’s ability to inspire a CALL TO ACTION.

You want to make it easy and compelling for visitors to your site to take the next step in your process (or sales funnel, in marketing-speak).. via many tools and plugins available today.

The first step? I always have my clients read the book “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. It explains everything in layman’s terms, including where to place these tools on your website. 

The second step is creating your first opt-in form (the lavender form above is an example) which is not as hard as it looks. I use the DIVI theme in WordPress and Active Campaign (email marketing service) to accomplish this. Once you get the hang of it, you may want to create several “lead magnets,” which are freebies you offer in exchange for an email address. They WORK.

Again, all tutorials on this can be found in the Tell Your Story DIY Website kit.

3. Data can give you some powerful insights about your wellness website. Start using analytic tools!

I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to pay attention to numbers and data. 

I wish I could tell you that branding and picking pretty colors, investing in professional photos of your clinic, and writing an article about how great acupuncture is will be all you ever need.

This is a great start! BUT..

How will you KNOW if all this stuff is paying off? Is it ALL just about bookings and sales calls? Is this the only “metric” one can use to know how much progress is being made?

Of course not.

Real marketing is also about defining objective goals, but also metrics, or data that can be tracked so that you can know if you are heading in the right direction, and what your next strategy for the next few months will be.

Analytics and data to track the performance of your website

Enter the left brain.

Analytics (Google is the most well known, but there is more) can give you insights about your site, what needs improvement such as traffic, where it’s coming from, and what people do once they land on your website.  You can also gain insights such as Google rankings, links, and even how “trustworthy” your site is.

Social media channels also have their own metrics you can begin to track. All this data will start to reveal patterns that allow you to stay on course and to take the steps you need to thrive.

This data will also help you “tweak” your site. I’m a fan of regular website audits, and we don’t just audit the look and function of your site. We dive into DATA.

I do know that many build a site and then just let it sit for years, without ever taking a peek at its performance. They are definitely missing out on an opportunity to use their website to build their business.

4. ADD some juicy content to your website! 

You MUST keep adding content and/or refreshing old content. 

This is one of the cornerstones of a good SEO strategy. SEO is a complex art and science. It’s quite involved. But when explaining it to laypeople in a nutshell, it comes down to starting with these basics:

1. Basic SEO setup: Your URL, title, keywords, website navigation, image alt tags, load speed, etc (There is a checklist)

2. Backlinks. This means having high quality sites link back to yours. This is also a bit tricky, but do-able. I always do this the same way I practiced acupuncture.. ethically and with no “quick fixes.”

3. Content. It’s not about all those great keywords.. it’s how they are USED in your content: Blogs, videos, articles, etc. Today, it’s all about focusing on the user experience, not about Google or algorithms or bots. Google is getting smarter and wants websites to be high quality and “human friendly.” No more of those junky 300 word blogs stuffed with keywords. Those sites were awful. Nobody misses them.

For acupuncturists, chiropractors, and other wellness professionals, case studies can be a great way to add high-quality, real human-friendly SEO content to your site. It highlights you as an expert.

5. SUBTRACT outdated content

Anything that is no longer relevant, is outdated, or clutters up your site needs to go.

Sites are becoming more streamlined as attention spans go down. There’s a lot of generic-looking sites out there with nothing new as far as content, especially with acupuncture and apartment rentals.

It’s more and more challenging to present the benefits you offer in a clear, easy to read, and uncluttered manner.

The trend of sites in the US built more than 8 years ago tends to be cluttered with too much info on the front page.

Which leads me to..

6. Check your website’s SPEED

This is often overlooked, but loading speed does make a difference.  More than a few seconds and visitors tend to bounce off the site.

There are ways to improve speed. Sometimes it’s a matter of bloated coding, images, too many plugins, or other page content. (hosting videos on your own site, for example) I’ve also had to audit my own site a few times due to slow page loading.. it’s a common issue.

I hope these tips will help you.

Remember that just like everything else on your business “to do” list.. your website is a work in progress.

If this is the main “takeaway” you get from this blog.. that’s a huge energy saver right there! 

If you have not read all the blogs in my series about Why Your Website Still Isn’t Done Yet make sure to check them out!

Need More?

Want to see where you stand so that you can start getting more traffic and more of your ideal clients and patients booking through your website?

Schedule a free consultation for a “quick audit” of your website by clicking the button below.

DIYers: Check out the Tell Your Story DIY Website Kit so that you can build a high-performing website that you OWN (no more monthly subscriptions for those “cheap and easy” platforms.) 

It will take you through every single step of the way, from zero to scaling with online offerings. All in one affordable, one-stop shop. It even comes with support. (It’s really a no brainer)