How to write great private practice website copy
Less tell, more SHOW.
That was the consensus when I asked what you needed from me in 2021.
And I totally get it.
Examples are powerful. Not just for the visual learners among us, but for all of us.
They're what take a cool, abstract idea + catapult it from the distant universe of What Could Be to the realm of What Actually Is.
Examples are proof positive that actual, flesh-and-blood health + wellness professionals are out there making real-life magic happen on their websites.
And if they can do it, friend, you'd better believe YOU can, too.
Let's take a spin through some real health + wellness websites to see what we can learn:
Now, while the actual content of your site will be specific to you and the people you're trying to reach, I'm going to share 5 tips that can benefit any wellness niche.
And because we learn best by example, I'm going to be showing you real life examples of how some of my favorite health and wellness professionals are making their website copy shine on their private practice websites.
So, let's kick things off with...
Tip #1: A hospitable home page
Now, no matter how many different potential points of entry you have to your website, when people land there for the first time, most of them are going to be coming right through "the front door": Your Home page!
And that's exactly how I want you to think about your Home page:
Think about how you can welcome new site visitors and show them some hospitality!
When you have someone come over to your house for the first time, you wouldn't just leave them standing there in the entryway to fend for themselves and figure out where to go, right?
At the same time, you wouldn't want to bombard your guests by flinging open the door, launching right into a story, letting the dogs jump up on them while the kids come running through...
(Actually... I am, in fact, describing the experience of visiting my home, but we'll just set that aside for now...)
The point is:
This would be really overwhelming to guests of your home and yet that's what many of
us do on the home pages of our website!
We try to throw so much at website visitors that it totally floods them and they can't wait to get out of there.
What we want to do instead is invite them in and give them some gentle direction. You want to ease in and that's just being a good host.
So, you get the picture!
I'm going to hop behind the screen here and give you a little tour of some people that are pulling this off beautifully:
Carolyn Rubenstein, PhD, LP
When we worked together on her copy, it was really important that Carolyn maintain a Home page-- really a whole web presence-- that felt calming, inviting, and offered a lot of clarity to her prospective clients... many of whom are feeling really overwhelmed, pulled in a lot of different directions, and stressed out.
So, you see right away, she's got this very clear indication of who she is + what she offers.
She's got a navigation bar up top that is really pared down and then she moves right into her Home page copy.
Really, her website is designed to propel people in one clear direction. She wants them to see themselves in what she's shared here and then she wants them to take action.
So, she's got one call to action button right there on the Home page that moves to her Work with Me page, and everything about her Home page is designed to usher people toward this one clear action on her site.
I want to show you another example that's also quite simple and pared down but that includes more components and more options for how to navigate the website.
Cindy was a founding student in my copywriting course, Copy for Healers + Helpers, and right when you land on her site, you have this really clear navigation bar up top and a really striking visual depiction of what Cindy's all about.
She sits right at the intersection of reproductive rights + social justice, which she conceptualizes as reproductive justice.
So, right from the jump, you see who she's aiming at, what she's all about, why she's here, etc.
But, then, as you move down the page, you see she offers you a very clear, short list of options for actions to take: You can visit her store, you can join her community, you can book her for public speaking, and only when you get down to the very bottom do you have other options as far as connecting with her on social media.
She very deliberately has kept this really simple so that it's easy to navigate. It's a good experience on her website and that's very effective; it keeps people sticking around!
Dr. BethAnne K.W.
Okay, I want to show you one more example of a Home page. Here we are on my friend BethAnne's site.
BethAnne's been in business for a while. She offers a wide array of resources to members of her community and so I just want to show you how it's possible, even when you offer lots of different kinds of support and services, to lay it out on your Home page so it's not overwhelming and actually very clear and inviting!
So, right away, we have this beautiful hero image, but as soon as you move down the page, you see that the the prime real estate is speaking directly to the website visitor.
It's not about BethAnne, first and foremost, it's about you, the person visiting her site.
That's really effective no matter who you help or how you help them!
Then, you see she has a video embedded and she offers lots of other resources down below: You have an option to join her email list, some free resources, her books...
Again, she offers a lot, but importantly, she spells out-- clear as day-- two ways to work with her.
We often overlook this on our Home page. When someone lands there, they might see a picture of us, they might have a brief introduction, but it's not immediately apparent how we can actually engage with the owner of that website!
So, I really recommend making this as clear as possible. (That's a real theme in these examples I'm sharing, can you tell? ;)
You want it to be completely obvious, from the moment someone lands on your Home page, how they can take the next step to work with you. In BethAnne's case, she has live events and one-on-one services.
Tip #2: An About page that connects
Ever heard the saying "Your About page isn't really about you"?
That's partially true: We definitely don't want to use this page of our website to launch into a really boring monologue. (That's one of the top website mistakes out there, for sure!)
At the same time, the About page is not not about you!
This is a really important page of your site, and you and your story have a role to play there.
By "an About page that connects" I mean just that:
You're using the words on this page to connect the dots between where your dream client or patient is currently struggling + where they want to go.
And you position yourself as the bridge between the two!
It's a really important page and a very important goal-- it's central, really, to the whole goal of your website.
So, let me show you some people who are just knocking this out of the park:
Chalice Mathioudakis, LMHC
Chalice is another Copy for Healers + Helpers student, so everything you see here was written... by Chalice!
You'll see that, right away, there's this clear callout to the the very person that Chalice is trying to reach.
So, if I'm landing on this site and I struggle with feeling like I move through the world being too sensitive, like perhaps everything affects me too deeply, this is going to speak to me immediately.
And if it doesn't, that's helpful information, too! That's a signal to me as a website visitor that maybe this isn't aligned with what I'm needing right now. No big deal-- this will help me decide to move along and find something that is.
So, a really clear callout to resonate with website visitors, and then some copy that describes in detail what I might be dealing with.
Then we move down the page and see a picture of what the future could look like. We're being guided through kind of this visualization of what life could be like on the other side of what we're currently struggling with.
And then, right there positioned as the bridge between these two realities, is Chalice-- ready to help me, offering up a free consultation!
See how simple that structure is? But, it's incredibly effective.
Dr. Tracy Dalgleish
Tracy is another alum of Copy for Healers + Helpers, and so she has DIY'd her own About page copy, following a very similar structure to the one Chalice used.
She's got this very clear headline that's designed to speak to a very specific person.
And if that person sees themselves in this headline and they keep moving down the page, they're going to see validation of what they're currently grappling with, they're going to get encouragement that a different way is possible for them and then they're going to get a clear, brief introduction to Tracy as the bridge that's going to help move them from point A to point B!
What I also want to show you is that Tracy goes on to share some links to her writings, some fun facts about her, a preview of her social media, and some other options down here...
But, what I want you to note is that by the time you see all this down at the bottom of the page, you've already moved through this critical first piece.
If you can create that effective, simple bridge, it's going to be an incredibly compelling About page.
Want to learn the same strategies that Chalice and Tracy used to create their About pages?
Join the hundreds of health + wellness professionals who've completed my FREE #5DayAboutPage Challenge!
Tip #3: Contact instructions that support your workflow
When I say "contact instructions," I don't just mean the actual Contact page on your website... I also mean any place on the site where visitors are given guidance on how they should reach out to you.
What makes for great private practice website copy is not just copy that's beautiful or clever, but copy that really paves the way to working with you. That shapes expectations along the way and creates a smooth path from point A to point B.
So, for this piece, you really want to work backwards from whatever point of contact
you're eventually going to have with your clients and patients, and consider:
- How do you actually want them to reach out to you?
- What works best in terms of the overall workflow and strategy of your business?
I'm going to show you two different places on your website where you can be thinking about your contact process:
The first is on a dedicated contact page:
Dr. BethAnne K.W.
So, here we are back on BethAnne's site and you'll see up at the top she's got this really conversational headline ("Let's Talk") and then, beneath it, she very briefly orients you to how she wants you to contact her:
If you have a question, a collaborative thought, or an idea for a workshop, go ahead and use this form here, she's saying.
If you want to reach out with an inquiry for one of her services, she directs you to email her, and she also links her various offerings so you can go back and reference those.
It's a really simple way that she has helped triage incoming contacts, and you can see
she's also listed buttons for these other channels that people can use to get in touch with her.
Here we are on my client Jamillah's website, and Jamillah takes this idea of triaging contacts one step further:
We see, if we click over to her Contact page, it immediately loads a form where she gathers lots of information from the people who are contacting her.
And what's really interesting is this is all designed to give Jamillah the specific information she'd need to get on a 30-minute discovery call with them.
That is the goal: She's wanting to drive all visitors to her website in the direction of this discovery call. And so you see, she doesn't anywhere on her website give another option for a contact.
They all come through this form. So, by the time someone submits a form to Jamillah, they have provided her with a lot of really valuable information that she can use to serve them well!
In addition to your actual Contact page, you also can be thinking about places throughout your site where you can be shaping expectations and guiding visitors
to reach out and contact you...
Kerrie Mohr, LCSW
I'm going to show you one example from my client Kerrie's website. Kerrie has a button up in the top right corner that is accessible anywhere on the site, making it really easy to request an appointment.
However, she also has a large and growing team of providers. And so you'll see all of their bios are accessible on one page.
For example, if I click over to Kerrie's bio and I'm thinking that we may be a good fit and I'd like to schedule a consultation call with her, there's a button really conveniently located right below her profile picture that will take me to the contact form!
So, whether you have a large team like Kerrie or you're a team of one, making a clearly accessible button that'll take you to the Contact page is a great way to go.
Ann-Louise Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP
I've got one more example of this for you over on my friend Ann-Louise's website.
Similar to Kerrie's site, Ann-Louise has a team with individual bios and the option to request an appointment next to each provider.
What she also has done (which I think is so smart!) is include Sophie, her office assistant, and Arjumand, her medical biller.
And what's great about this is right there in Sophie's bio, she spells it right out: "I'm happy to help you with questions about services..." and then there's an email address for her, a phone number, and office hours.
Similarly, next to Arjumand's bio, she states clearly: "If you have any insurance or billing questions, I can help you. Contact me directly." And again, there's email, phone number, and office hours.
So, again, there's no right or wrong when it comes to handling contacts on your website. It's all about what works for you, your business, and your workflow.
You just want to think ahead to that inevitable point of contact, and work backwards to determine what strategy is going to serve you best!
Tip #4: Relationship building education
Now, education is a vital component of the words on your website. (It's part of the Communication Trifecta, after all!)
But, it's important you understand that-- whether it's on your Work with Me page, your
FAQs, or your blog-- you're never just sharing information. You're shaping prospective clients' and patients' expectations of you and your work.
This is vital.
It helps them fill in gaps of questions they might have, it helps them visualize the experience of working with you (super important!), and it helps them self-select-- or not-- into working with you, based on whether your style and approach is aligned with their needs.
And this is crucial to client- and patient-directed care:
You are providing essential information that they need, and then you're turning it over to them to make their own informed decision about whether or not to reach out to you.
So, let me show you what I'm talking about.
Now, no question, one of the most powerful ways to very quickly educate a website
visitor about who you are and what you offer is through your blog, your podcast,
or whatever free content you're creating on a regular basis.
But, because you probably already know that, I want to just give you a couple of other outside-the-box ideas of how you can be educating on your website... just to help stretch your brainstorming a bit:
Here we are on the website of one of my course students, Alyssa.
Alyssa has a page on her site where she spells out, very clearly and succinctly, the collective values of the community she's cultivated through her work.
And what's really effective about this is that visitors to her site are going to read through these values and either see themselves or not. They're either going to connect to them and resonate with them... or not.
This is called polarizing the visitors to her website. We're not for everyone-- we're not supposed to be! And so the goal is to attract the right people who are going to be supremely well served by what you have to share.
So, having a page like this on your website is a great way to distill down some of the nuances of what you're all about that don't necessarily fit in a program description or an offer breakdown.
Instead, you can put it on a page like this where you list out your values.
Barbara Barrett, RD
Another great place to educate website visitors on those qualities that set you apart from others in your field is on your Work with Me page.
My client Barbara is a registered dietitian, and she knows that for many of her dream clients, a primary barrier to accessing nutritional support is fear and stress around how weight will be handled.
So, right here on her Work with Me page, she has a simple, clear note designed to divide website visitors into two categories:
- Those who feel strongly connected to this idea of a weight-neutral approach to nutritional support
- Those who don't
That's the goal! We want people who are really connected to what we're all about and invested in what we do because those are the people who are going to benefit most from what we have to share!
Chalice Mathioudakis, LMHC
And, finally, you can create a standalone page on your website to help educate prospective clients about one of your offers or some aspect of how you work.
My student Chalice has created this page devoted to educating site visitors on one of several offerings here on the website, specific to Jungian tarot therapy.
Chalice understands that there might be some education that's necessary to bring website visitors up to speed and help them determine whether they might be interested.
So, it gives this explanation of how psychotherapy views tarot cards from a slightly different perspective, it gives some background on how tarot cards might be used in a session, it sheds some light on the process, and then offers up some helpful potential questions that might be useful to ask in a session using tarot cards.
Chalice finishes up with some fine print about who this modality is appropriate for and who it might not be as appropriate for, and then ends with a call to action button to give it a try for themselves!
This kind of page could function equally well as a blog post: You could create it as a blog post and then link to it somewhere on your site.
(On Chalice's Home page, we see that this modality is linked right alongside other services.)
Tip #5: A strategic re-engagement plan
Life is busy and the internet is a noisy place, we know this!
Sometimes a website visitor will leave your site not because they're uninterested in you and what you have to offer but because they got distracted or interrupted or just plain lost!
So, I'm going to show you two clever little places to help re-engage people before you lose them on your website:
Holding Hope Marriage and Family Therapy
Re-engagement option number one is with a pop-up.
Let's look at my client Mara's practice for example. The primary goal of Mara's site is to get visitors to book a consultation call with her. She wants to get them on the phone so that she can tell them about what she offers.
But, she recognizes not everyone is going to be ready for what she offers. Not everyone's going to be ready for therapy.
Some visitors will be earlier on in their journey. They're still gathering information and the timing's just not right, so it was important that we craft copy that would gently re engage folks without forcing their timeline of readiness for therapy.
We decided on an exit intent pop-up, so when people go to navigate away from her site, they see a message pop up that says, "Not up for therapy just yet? We get it. Let's stay in touch till the timing's right."
This is a really simple, respectful way to offer website visitors the option of staying in touch with Mara, so they can continue to learn about what she has to share, and she can serve them up lots of valuable content on an email list. And then, when the timing's right, they can decide to take the next step and reach out to her!
Craft Your Life Coaching
And my last re-engagement option is a fun one:
The Error/404 page of your website!
You've likely run into this when you're navigating other websites:
You take a wrong turn and suddenly you're hit with an error message.
This is the website equivalent of a dead end on a dark alley... we don't want this for the people on your site! We never want them feeling like they have to completely exit your website in order to find their way back.
So, the goal here is just to meet them there, let them know they took a wrong turn, and help get them back on track.
You can do this through a friendly, conversational headline. And don't be afraid to be funny (if that's your brand personality) or lighthearted about it.
For instance, my course student Jennifer created an error page for her website that's really funny. It's totally on brand (she coaches busy moms who are overwhelmed) with a picture of her and her son and a headline that says, "Doh! Sorry... we took a wrong turn! Let's get you back on track."
You can also link to other options. For example, Jen included her social buttons and gives the option to join her email list.
You just want it to not be a dead end. You want to keep the mood nice and light and you want to very quickly redirect people. That is what's going to re-engage them. Quite simply, it's going to keep them on your site, which is what we want!
Okay, by now you're likely falling into one of two categories:
- Feeling super inspired to get in there and make some magic happen with your website copy? My #5DayAboutPage Challenge is a fantastic place to get started.
- Thinking, "OK, I get that website words are important, but I cannot take on one more thing right now"? In that case, I'd love to help you out with some next level custom copywriting support.
Whatever your current sitch, I've got something up my sleeve that can help make your entrepreneurial life easier. So, check out these ways we can work together, and I'll meet you right back here for more communication tips to help you preach what you practice!
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