"Helping people who help people"

Posts tagged ‘web tip’

Forms On Your Website, Part 2

I have discussed why you should consider NOT having forms on your website.  I will now share reasons why forms can be good!

I’m finding lately that I don’t want to be “as intimate” with a company or person, by sending them an email.  Sometimes I just want to send a quick note.  Once I used a form because the email we had on file wasn’t working, so I was hopeful the form would at least get the message to the right person.  And yes, sometimes I’m in a hurry or just plain too lazy to “craft” an email or open my email program, so the form seems really easy to fill out basic info, find the right drop down, and slap a few lines of text and press “send.”  (Plus if I’m not at my computer, I don’t have my slick email program that sends from my regular email…it sends from a webmail version of my email which is a different address..)

I use forms on my Thomas Consultation website for a few reasons.  One – there is basic information I need for certain services, so I might as well get the information through a form rather than open-ended email, requiring a few back and forths.  Two – when you want to give something away, you usually hide it under a form, so you can at least collect the persons contact info.  I do this for my Introduction to search engine optimization download.  I used to just have the MP3 floating out there and then realized I had NO idea if people were listening.  The joke is I hate newsletters and am bad at maintaining customer databases, so when I say I won’t use your email, that’s an understatement.  That administrative stuff is not my forte…it’s a form of torture!

So back to the positives of using a form.  To me the best of both worlds is unless you’re having someone sign up for something SPECIFIC (a product or class with dates/times), I recommend having the form AND your email visible.  That way people who hate forms can still get in touch with you, and those who may be at work and have no access to their personal email can still email you.

You may just want to test your forms if they are new, if you’ve made even a tiny change, and perhaps even monthly (or as soon as you see a drop in expected email forms) to ensure they are working.  And do NOT assume your webmaster is good at testing changes.

Last paragraph here.  Ignore if this is too confusing, but another reason for a form is the information can actually be stored in a database, if set up that way, which automates customer lists.  Instead of getting an email in your inbox and having to copy and paste the contact information it’s already ready for you to use.

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.

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.

If you feel alone in the web universe

Try to join twitter.com.  I know, I know, everyone is telling you to do it and you have NO interest.  Or you’re like me who thought for a long time (ahem, til January) that it was a cell phone text message thing.

The reason, if nothing else, is to join other therapists or educators, see what they are saying, and build a little community, even if you just “lurk.”  The nicest part of twitter is you don’t ever have to post and people won’t think anything of it.  They’ll too busy following 100’s of people to notice.  Blogs, however, must be updated or else you’re telling people you don’t care so they shouldn’t either.

If you wanna jump on the Twitter bandwagon, go to www.twitter.com and think carefully about the name you want.  Some people do searches so you may want some great phrase in your name.  A lot of searches are by the things you my post (tweet) about, in which case your name may or may not matter much.

I’m on twitter, mostly as TheFirstDance, and I bridge the therapy, educator and wedding worlds.  It’s a bit nuts, but lots of fun.  Sign up, join me, and then look through my followers to see who else you can join.  I’m following quite a few psychologists and others.  You can follow them too.

There is no permissions, emails, or asking.  Twitter exists all on that one place, and it’s a great way to not feel so alone in the online universe.

Important Web Tip: Googling yourself

When you Google yourself, I want you to review:

All the websites , especially the ones you’ve never heard of (wellness dot com and others) that have you listed.  CONFIRM they have the right information including the latest email, your website, and the most updated phone and office.    A therapist I know has her HOME address listed on some of those sites – EEEEK!  My educated guess is these websites use the state licensing board data and if you have all that paperwork going to your house, those websites pick that up and list it.

See where you might want to add more information.  They often say, “is this you?”  And if you’re already  there, you might as well see what it takes to enhance your profile.  If it’s free.  But just remember those sites are not generally where people seeking mental health are looking.  Those websites only show up because they have your name listed.  The rarely show up for “marriage counseling” terms.

Remember, before you get “too excited”,  just because a ton of websites have your name, that it somehow proves marketing magic.  Unless you are Oprah, Madonna, or Cher, nobody knows you exist to even GOOGLE YOUR NAME  in the first place.  The reason people Google your name is they already FOUND you somewhere, and are wanting to learn more!  This is one of the biggest scams – people selling you their services to “rank high”.  You should be able to rank high for your name with MINIMAL effort.  If you have every website page listing your name, in a “header tag”, you should show up on the first page.  It doesn’t take much work because your competition on your name, unless you’re a celebrity, is pretty small. 

OK, stepping off my soap box.  I’m just in awe how many therapists move around and 1) dont’ have their mail forwarded, 2) I want everyone to know the web is “sticky”, meaning any mention of you from any period of time will stick forever.  So unless you keep up with your own web existance, you will find very old data that may mislead clients thinking you’re in one city but you’ve relocated two years ago.

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?

Web Tip of the Day

Always make time to research other websites.  Notice what you like and don’t like, pay attention to WHAT they say and HOW they say it.  You can get inspired for your own website and you can learn a lot from others just watching and noticing what they do.  If you ever wanted to start a blog it’s a good idea to follow a bunch for a while first.  Or Twitter for that matter.  I have a “fan page” on Facebook but I’m seriously so embarassed to even go in because I’ve ignored it ever since I set it up.  I’m embarassed to see if nobody is a “fan” and even more if it’s active and I’m MIA!  So don’t do what I did.  Wait until you know enough and will actually use the thing you sign up for.

I am not happy with the over-grown look of my premarital site but there is no way I can justify the thousands of dollars for a redesign.  But the current header (the top of the pages) was code I got from someone elses website.  My old header was nice images that did NOT FIT WHAT I AM ABOUT TODAY and my webmaster moved away years ago and is completely disappeared from contact to redo an image.  (And frankly one image may cost me $40 or more in labor.  Really not worth it.  And because I don’t have all the original files it would actually be a lot more for a NEW webmaster to have made all the original ones plus new ones I wanted.  So probably closer to $300.)

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