"Helping people who help people"

Posts tagged ‘Content ideas’

The single biggest scam

I was on Twitter and found a marketing firm that specializing in weddings.  This is perfect if you’re in the industry!  (Self-serving note: just like I’m a web marketer with proven success in the therapy/educator world.)

Here’s the problem though… they listed a few of their websites they’ve worked on, and their number one proof of success was making the business RANK WELL on Google for its OWN business name!  Here are the problems with that.

1 – When your website is your business name, as these examples were, there is NO reason why you should not show up top for a Google search with your name.  (Excluding if there are 9,000 “wellness therapy” type websites….)  All therapists listed on Marriage Friendly Therapists also rank high for their profile on our site.  It is NOT HARD folks.  If I can do it within MY therapy website, for hundreds of therapists, you can do it on your own.

2 – This firm should know better than to attempt to sell themselves on an angle of search engine work that really is not the purpose of search engine work. 

Search engine work is not about ranking high for your name or business (those people already know you exist and are just trying to relocate you…) the point of search engine work is FINDING BRAND NEW PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW YOU EXIST!  You want to show up on the billboard super highway to those zipping by.  The people who already know you will eventually find you, or find your business card.

I used to have 14 people a day for The First Dance premarital counseling website.  I now average 400 people a day.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  The daily average goes up the more thought and work I put into the site!

The question then is how to get from here to there?  This is where I was untrusting of the search engine firms, who I had, and still see, not doing a great job with colleagues.  Not only that, they don’t know your industry, and they don’t TEACH YOU a darn thing.  This leaves you completely in the dark.  It drives me nuts and instead of whining, I invested a ton of time into explaining to non-technical therapists/educators, what you can and should do for your website traffic.  The entire batch of trainings is almost everything about a website I think you should know but likely weren’t told, or only told bits, without a bigger context.  It is broken up by logical categories.  This blog is about my content building CD/MP3.  This will give you the insider track on how to think about your own website, how to do some research, and what exactly you should say.  And the sad reality is even if you have a webmaster, they do not know this stuff.  A webmaster is either a designer (think artist), or a crunchy programmer (think loves code more than marketing.)  It’s a difficult place to get help because most of this knowledge is from highly paid firms and in our industry, we don’t have that kind of money.  (A local firm has on their contact form that projects START at $18,000.)

My entire store is now on Mp3  – check it out!  Elizabeth Website Training CD or MP3’s.  I am offering a 100% money back guarentee.  I know how disappointing it is to buy “fluff.”  (A word used to testify to my trainings…as in what they AREN’T.)   Someone recently misplaced one of the CD’s (she bought the bundle) and was desperate for a new copy she loved it so much.  It was the “least sexy” one, on website organization, so that bodes well! 🙂  I have always had little patience for stuff that was inspirational but completely unusuable.  Or a lot of talking about stories that didn’t really give much of a point…or perhaps just shared a cliche.  I am also not a fan of someone spending most of their time on how great they are.  Or not able to admit mistakes. These are all my personality, and these are all things the sound recording people said about my trainings and why they loved them.  My undying passion is to connect educators and therapists with the people seeking their services online.  It gives me tremendous joy to do this with my own websites, and it gives me great joy to see others do the same.  My expertise is buried and fewer people get help if I don’t help spread the word.

Find out for yourself!  Elizabeth’s website trainings.

Recent News and being a “local expert”

As I’m sure everyone has heard, an 11 year old was kidnapped and just discovered at age 29.  The story can be found on CNN and likely anywhere.  I’m chilled, haunted, horrified, and deeply saddened, as the country is.  It is a bonfire for media with coverage likely to continue for many months.

I am  hoping this tragic story helps articulate WHY I’m so passionate about mental health websites!  I grew up with a therapist father and have always been a curious person.  My father has always been able to answer questions I had (answer may be philosophical, psychological, spiritiual, etc), as well as share insights into the world of psychology.  Most people don’t have someone like that in their life, so they rely on friends, television, magazines, radio, and websites.  Often the filter is either journalists and who they decide talk to, what their editors cut down, or it’s just “pop psych” stuff.  It’s a very natural to have intense anger and want the man and his wife in this situation to burn in hell.  But… that kind of dialogue doesn’t HELP ANYONE.  This woman and her daughters tragedy should, in some small way, have a light of hope, insight, new understanding.

My hope is to inspire therapists (and marriage educators) to use their knowledge and insights to FURTHER the dialogue and understanding.  This can be easily done on your website for those who read it.  And while some of you may not have a lot of website traffic, even if someone TOMORROW happens upon your website, sees a really interesting response from you on this current event, it may move them to call you for therapy, sign up for your class…or, gasp, FORWARD your article to their friends and family!  That will not only help others learn psychological insights, but may even get you new clients.  Many experts have something to say on this story: child psychologists, family therapists, trauma experts, parenting experts, social workers, kidnapping experts, therapists who work with famous clients (these women have unwanted fame now), educational psychologists, and I’m sure I’m missing others.

If you’re wondering what you could talk about in this story, here are a ton of questions I have  for the very difficult emotional, physical, and logistical adjustments of this woman and her two daughters (and the family.)  In no particular order, these are ideas that could prompt you for your own blog, or website, or heck, call a local journalist to say you’ve got some new insights to further the local dialogue of this case.  Don’t let your training go to waste if it can help strengthen the cultural dialogue on new understandings.  The best conversations START with a specific case, like this, but expand OUTWARD to generalities.  Wrapping too deep into details of this case doesn’t help the overall potential to learn “as a country”, because the details are unique and not likely to happen the same way ever again.

  • Is it healthy or unhealthy for the victim and her daughters to ever see the man again (the childrens father?)  What extra pain and suffering will they experience if this man is now vanished from their lives? 
  • Is the 29 year old capable of “quick” emotional attachment to her mother or is she likely distant and will take time?
  • How will these girls adjust to the “outside world” labeling the only man they have known, their father, to be an evil person?
  • Can these girls have good emotional attachment with a teenage mother locked away from the world?  If she was raised pretty well herself, would her strong emotional stability from her earliest days help her be a good mother?
  • What is the likely outcome of the intellectual abilities of these girls who were never in school?  Those early years are so crucial.  If their mother was extremely interactive with them, are they likely to not have lost a lot of their “capacity” the way a child locked in a closet for a decade with zero human interaction would be permanently brain damanged?
  • How does the first mother (of the 29 year old victim) manage her own emotions so she doesn’t further harm her daughter and granddaughters, unintentionally, by not understanding the huge trauma and transition they’re about to go through?
  • We have only heard from the stepfather, who seems to be divorced because of the kidnapping stress.  What could the mother of the victim do to regroup psychologically and come to understand he never committed the crime she believed he did?  That must be one of the countless shocks she is going through emotionally.
  • How does the stepfather not take over the spotlight, as a way to share with the world that for 18 years he was never the evil man people thought he was?  How does he handle his own emotions and keep them in check for the more important matters of the 3 victims re-entering the world?
  • What can be going on with the wife of this perpetrator that she is capable of kidnapping a girl and then letting her husband rape and raise children with her?  Was she likely brainwashed in some way or is she likely to be an equal player in this twisted story?
  • How does the defense lawyer in this case handle the intense emotional and societal backlash he or she will experience defending a man like this, nevermind it’s a constitutional right given to all Americans to have a lawyers defense in the court of law.  If this lawyer has family, especially children, how does s/he help them understand this case and why it is important to represent the perpetrator?  And then how does this lawyer explain this in a way that her/his children don’t get attacked at school for having a parent who can defend such an evil person?
  • What are some likely side affects of the re-entry for these three females?  What would their best shot at success be in terms of when and how to re-enter life, where to live, school, jobs?
  • What is likely early experiences of the perpetrator to be capable of doing all this?  Is it likely he was severely abused or could this be a situation of pure mental illness?  And what kind of mental illness can translate into such a long-term situation?  We hear more of “fast-acting” crimes but 18 years is a very long time, not to mention all the moments in those 18 years that might get someone to “snap out of it” and seek outside help.
  • Can a perpetrator like this be trusted at all with his stories?  How much does the truth come out with sincerity and how much is still masked inside the mental illness?
  • For parents whose children are hearing about this story, how do they help explain this to their children?  How do parents discuss kidnapping, but just as important, how does a parent help their children not get overly traumatized by the story?

If you do write something for your website, COMMENT on this blog and send us a link!

I always love myth busting

Growing up with someone like my father, with his hands heavily in research, journals of all kinds, science, therapy, teaching and academic life, I know a lot of weird things.  Some of those things aren’t really discussable because of what I’ll call the “baggage” our culture has around hot topics.  So in that vein, I’m thrilled to see a mainstream website blog discuss the fact that women are 50% of the domestic violence perpetrators, and for one-sided violence, 70% of it is from women.  The data has been there for years, maybe decades, but the political forces have made it silenced.

I recognize I’m not of “the baby boomer generation” with a lot of baggage from the racial and gender cultural wars.  But because I’m not, I’m always most interested in what can only try to describe as “reality-based, non-politically research-based” information.  Women are not angels.  Men are not evil.  On, and on.  Anyway, here is the blog that gets me thrilled that someone opened the crack a little more on such an IMPORTANT topic.  It makes me think about a good family friend, Jim Maddock, a sex therapist, professor,  and pioneer in many ways, who recently passed away.  He and his wife Noel Larson have really fascinating, important perspectives on “hot topic” issues like violence.

And back to my website passion.  This is the kind of article, the kind of topic, the “unique” stuff that I want everyone to write about, both for your passerby readers, for search engines to find you because you aren’t saying the same thing as the other 200,000 therapists and educators, and because you may just open that window for someone to seek help…because they feel heard.  And that, my blog friends, is powerful stuff.

A mental health blog

This is a very powerful blog by someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.  It demonstrates not just the pain and hell these folks go through, but the way the internet connect people and let us talk to each other, let people with special diagnosis talk to each other.

It makes me ponder whether therapists should find more blogs like this, link to them, use them to help their clients or the “passerbys” as I like to call those folks who will never become clients but who still deserve help, information, education, resources.  It’s part of my personal mission to help all of you see your website as more than a sales page for your services, books, classes.  There are powerful stories out there waiting for a broader audience.  Clients helping other clients is extremely powerful stuff.

I am adding another “Category” for my blog, called Mental Health by Real Sufferers.  If and when I find more blogs or websites, I will pass them along.  If you know of any, let me know.

When Your Words Really Say: Blah, Blah, Blah

This is a perfect example of a therapist profile:

“I have been a practicing psychotherapist for almost 30 years. I enjoy my work and am usually successful at helping clients achieve their therapy goals. Most of my clients tell me I am very easy to talk to and feel comfortable with quickly. I use a holistic and integrated approach considering all aspects of the individual-mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. My primary modality is cognitive-behavioral therapy, but I like to incorporate some of the latest methods for rapid symptom relief in my practice, in order to provide services with maximum benefits in as brief a time as possible.

Therefore, although my method is primarily cognitive-behavioral therapy, my approach is humanistic and I usually tailor my approach/modality of treatment to the specific needs of the client.”

Now read this one!

“”Attachment” ….. just more psychobabble, right? Well, no, not really. Since the 1950’s, people have been interested in what “attachment” means when we’re thinking about how to have relationships, of all kinds. Our very first relationship(s) are the ones that really form a foundation for our ability to relate to others, so the theory goes. Only now, there’s a lot more research using brain-imaging techniques that help us “shrinks” know we’re on the right track when we think about attachment as an important part of helping people learn and re-learn how to develop, maintain and thrive in their relationships.

That’s what I do…. Help people with their relationships, because that’s what really makes life worth living, right? If you’re not getting along with your spouse, or the zest has gone out of your sex life, well, that’s depressing and not a lot of fun.

If you can’t seem to get along with your kids, and you can’t figure out how to motivate them, you feel bad. Or mad, or sad, or some unpleasant emotion. I help people with these and a lot of other problems, like depression, anxiety and trauma.”

______________________________________________

Now you tell me me which profile your neighbor, your spouses coworker, your hair stylist would resonate with more.

’nuff said.  Stop the therapy babble!  I kid you not, I have asked my husband at least 5 times what EMDR stands for and what it means.  I think it’s some rapid eye movement thing that sounds cool, flakey, or “cutting edge” depending on how you view the brain and therapy.  But therapists are all buzzing and use these terms in their profiles.  If I’m the DAUGHTER of a therapist, a WIFE of a therapist, run a THERAPY DIRECTORY, read a lot of the therapy magazines, newsletters, and journals, and I still can’t tell you what EMDR, I guarantee your neighbor, spouses coworkers, and hair stylist won’t know either.  You might as well say blah, blah, blah.  Blah. 

Good luck!  Go back to all the therapy directories you’re advertising in, take note of any “theory”, any “treatment name”, and either get RID of it completely, or tell your reader 1) how it will directly help their pain, 2) why you find it exciting, 3)  the success rate stats.

What to Know About Websites

Hello blog readers.  I apologize in advance for being self promoting, but every ONCE in a while I will discuss what I SELL and why I spend so much time doing this blog, website, and why I spent hundreds of hours developing my trainings.

There is a lot to know about a website.  This isn’t even the “techie stuff” for which webmasters go to school, buy expensive software programs, and get ongoing education on various computer programs.  Those folks can be busy, full time, forever doing that stuff.

No, I’m talking about the you and me’s of the world.  The average folks trying to make a living and give back.  Whether you’ve got a website now, and ESPECIALLY if you don’t yet have a website, my trainings will walk you through stuff nobody told me, or they told me way too late, or I learned through agonizing, time and money draining ways.  It’s not rocket science stuff.  It’s some small things and a few big things that add up to “Elizabeth is a website guru.”  I’m not a guru, really, but I seem to have picked up a ton along the way.  And anything I learn, I filter through my own experiences, my life, my gut, and my “systems orientation” that I grew up with having a marriage and family therapist father.  Everything I learn, without trying, I start chewing on how it can be translated to different personality types, or how it can impact therapists, or educators, or ME.

My entire bundle of trainings is something I would have died to have four years ago.  It would have prevented so much wasted money, so much wasted time and effort.  My domain CD involves a lot more than just ‘find a name.’  There is a lot of mythology about domain names out there, and there are some really important, long term things to consider with your name.  And the great news for most of you is you are not heavily marketing and it is NOT TOO LATE to redo your website name!  It’s never too late, but this training will walk you through things to consider in a name, and the important steps to take if you DO CHANGE your name.

Then we move into my marketing your domain name.  This is one of the three pillars of “search engine optimization”.  Ignoring that fancy phrase, it’s just plain IMPORTANT that you don’t have an idle website.  Put it to use, get it out there.  But how? Where? Why?  Did you know you can see where your competitors advertise??  Did you know there are really cool, unique ways to advertise that you probably don’t know about now?  This CD is going to open your eyes.

Next is the dual-team of website content and website organization.  Content is all about why it’s important, how to generate NEW ideas, how to research things you want to write about, how to study your competition, and how to get you inspired to write.  But all that writing is for naught if you don’t organize your website well.  It would be like having your fanciest furniture and art inside the guest bathroom, downstairs in your unused basement.  Nobody is going to see it and nobody will even want to go down there to see it.  The opposite problem is like walking into a house and you have not a bare space of floor or wall.  There is art, furniture, plants, and pets EVERYWHERE.  You get instantly panicked, having no idea where to look and no idea where to step.  Some websites are like that and they always make me gasp.

It’s been a few weeks and I’m STILL getting fabulous, unsolicited emails from people who heard my workshop on website traffic at the annual Smart Marriages conference.  I’m still glowing from how fun it was and the great feedback.  It really keeps me going even more strongly on this blog.  I have a message.  It isn’t unique, except that it’s delivered by ME, and I’m unique.  I have a unique story, background, and passion that I try to infect people with.  Websites don’t have to be scary or boring.  I promise!

The entire CD bundle, organized into bite sized “chapters” for you to listen to over and over, is just $250!  If  you have done any research, you’ll find 1) nobody is doing what I’m doing.  Even if they offer you free stuff, it’s highly confusing, technical, and doesn’t actually teach you anything.  More often it freaks you out so you hire the report-giver!  2) you can pay people to do stuff, but then you have no idea what they did, why they did it, or how to ever translate that to your next website, or blog, or even how to help a colleague.

Listen to the free introduction to search engine optimization, and consider buying the CD trainings here or even the one hour personalized website review.

If you don’t say it, someone else will!

This post, because I feel like I should say something even though I’m exhausted, is brought to you by the idea:

If you don’t share your wisdom, someone else will!

One of the best ways for me to get content ideas is to find advice I dislike, or find unhelpful, or that I found downright wrong or offensive.  (And oddly people on my side of the politcal and religious spectrum can tick me off the most!)

The origin of the wedding website, The First Dance, came out of the lack of “family systems thinking” in wedding planning.  Every dilemma anyone faces comes down to the trite “it’s your day, do what you want.”  Unfortunately that’s not helpful.  For starters, if you REALLY believed that, you wouldn’t be asking people for advice, or frankly you wouldn’t even have any stress!  You’d plow over everyone in your life and get to your wedding without any stress… because you just would not care at all what your loved ones thought.

Our second overarching theme is that the engagement is the start of the marriage and that EVERY thing in wedding planning comes back to your values.

With those two notions, I have over 400 pages on my website (granted many are premarital counselors) and feel I have maybe 30% of what I want to say on the website.  Seriously!  Four years ago I had about 15 pages on my website..  Now I have somewhere around 500 or so and have a ton I want to say.

So, what do YOU believe?  And what ticks you off?  What do you find lacking that you feel you could help someone with?

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