Are you a massage therapist (or other health and wellness practitioner) wondering about building your own business website?
I’ve been there myself!
Back in 2006 when I graduated and started working as an RMT, one of the first things I did was build myself a website. You can read a bit more about my website ‘progression’ over on this post if you’re curious.
But let’s talk about you.
You need a website. You aren’t a web designer. And you’re wondering if you should use one of those website builders like Squarespace, WordPress or Wix.
You’re also on a budget.
Should you build your own website? Can you build your own website and have it turn out half decent?
I can’t straight up answer that question for you, but I can give you some guidance!
Five essential things you need to consider when building your own website.
- Technical Skill
- Way with Words
This is the one that people find the most difficult. But it’s also the most important – yes, even more important than budget or technical skill. That’s why I’ve put it first on the list.
Here’s the reality:
Have you ever gone to a website that says ‘coming soon!’ and then gone back months or even years later to find it still says ‘coming soon!’.
Assuming the business is still open, the reason this usually happens is because building a website takes more time than you think it will.
Drag and drop website builders do make the process go a lot more smoothly than it used to. But building a good website requires a lot more time than just dragging a few photos into a template. You need to take time to write content that appeals to your clients (more on that in a bit). You need to find or take some photos. You need to learn about the basics of SEO and make sure your website is compliant. Heck, even just choosing the design template you like can take hours! I’ve certainly spent hours of my own time looking at templates and trying to decide which one I liked the most.
So be realistic with yourself. Do you have time to do all the research and put together a website that will attract awesome clients and keep the bookings coming in? If so, the DIY option may work! But if not… you may want to consider hiring someone to help you.
I know most, if not all, small business owners are very budget-conscious. I am too! Which is why the DIY website builders are appealing.
If you truly have no budget, then doing it on your own is likely the best way to go.
However, there is another option to consider: Could you delay getting a full website up until you can hire someone to help you? Just like we save up for vacations or major purchases, you can also save up to have your website done by a professional.
Now I know what you might be thinking: don’t you need a website to promote your business? Well, one thing you can do is make use of social media instead, at least for the time being. You can also get your domain name purchased and put up a simple ‘Website coming soon!’ page. It would link to your social media accounts and list what you do and your contact info for bookings.
So lack of budget doesn’t have to mean DIY, unless you actually want to do it yourself.
Are you ok with the computer? You don’t mind having to sit for several hours at a time? You like learning new software and maybe even enjoy the challenge?
Or, do you really dislike being at the computer and would rather do something… anything else?
Website builders have made it easier than ever to get your own website done without a lot of technical skills. Even so, you need to be honest with yourself about your computer ability and willingness to spend time sitting behind a laptop.
Over the years I’ve met a lot of people who work as massage therapists or in other health and wellness careers who really hate sitting at the computer. Either they have no patience for it or they would rather do everything with their phone. If you’re one of them, it might be best to hire someone to help you get your website up and running.
Way with words:
Something many people don’t realize is the written content is actually more important than the design of your website.
That might be shocking to hear, especially since I’m a web designer! Am I writing myself out of a job, here?
Jokes aside, while the look and feel of your website is important, the most important part is the story that it tells. Who are you? What do you do? How did you get to this career? What makes you awesome?
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize winning author to craft great website content. But you do at least need to be willing to take the time to create something that gets people interested and is individual to you.
I know there is a lot of temptation to just cut and paste stuff from other websites: your association or regulatory college, a friend’s site, a website you like. But I can promise you that isn’t doing you any favours. And in this day and age of Googling everything people are going to notice.
Recently there was a Facebook discussion around a very strangely-worded massage therapy description on a website. When I Googled it, it turned out it was one marketing company using the same weird text on multiple websites they put together for clients.
Needless to say, this looks bad on everyone involved and isn’t something you want to do.
So when thinking about building your own website or having someone help you with it, do consider the written content aspect! Cut and paste doesn’t cut it (and don’t let a marketing firm do that either!).
Last but certainly not least is the timing aspect to building your website.
Are you in the middle of building a clinic space from the ground up, literally? Or are you in the middle of another big life change, like having a baby or helping an ageing parent with moving to a smaller apartment?
I think we’ve already established that it does take a lot of effort to build a website. So if you’re already in a time crunch due to other things, now may not be the best time.
Honestly, I strongly recommend not trying to build a website when you’ve got something major on your plate. Even if your life is always busy, major changes like babies or new clinic ownership take up a lot more mental time and space than many of us realize or care to admit.
Does this sound familiar? If so, put up a temporary ‘website coming soon’ page with basic contact info for now. Build your website – DIY or professionally done – when you have a bit more breathing room. You’ll be glad you did, as you’ll have more energy to put into your website, which in turn will make it that much more effective in helping you find and book clients.
I hope this has been helpful to you!
If you’ve decided to go ahead and build your own website, I’ve got a whole post about that to get you started.
Looking for help with your business? Hoping to book more clients or take your business online? I can help you! Sign up for my monthly newsletter with actionable advice on growing your health or wellness business. I’ll also send you a free guide on the one thing your website needs to attract new clients!