Finding an ethical website solution is super important.
If you are like many therapists, you simply don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to websites.
Even when you do their best to climb up the steep learning curve, there will still be things that are just unknowns.
It’s challenging to be sure of what website platform is right for you or who to hire for help and for which parts of a website project. It’s hard to even know what to put into a google search bar sometimes because you may not even know the words to google in the first place.
The struggle is real.
And the struggle means that you may be putting yourself in the hands of the sales team of the website solutions you are looking into.
This is why it’s super important that the solution you move ahead with be an ethical solution, one that cares about helping you. One that doesn’t just treat you like a number or doesn’t deliver on the results they promised. One that doesn’t try to fool you into purchasing stuff you don’t need or disappears without finishing the job.
So in favor of finding the good ones, here are my top 7 tips for finding an ethical therapist website design solution.
1. They Use Ethical Marketing Practices
Ethical website design solutions use ethical marketing practices to put themselves out there. Things like blogging, appearing on podcasts, and participating in the therapist community are all lovely and effective ways to market in the therapist space.
Some examples of unethical marketing practices include:
- Calling to sell to you without your consent – they visit your directory profile or website and start calling your business phone number trying to sell you on their services.
- Spamming your inbox without your consent – they start emailing you without you signing up for their sales or marketing materials.
- Bad mouthing or directly harming rival services – they go out of their way to say bad things about competing services or even take steps in an attempt to harm their rival’s business.
- Distorting facts – they over exaggerate the results, they write fictitious testimonials, or even will say that their service does something it doesn’t just to get the sale.
In addition to being unethical, these types of marketing practices are focused on things that make the world a worse off place. Instead of spending their time adding value to the world, they use harassment, harm, and lies to try and get ahead. Certainly something to look out for and steer clear of if you want to work with an ethical website solution.
2. They Are Experienced With Therapist Websites
Some website solutions have the best of intentions but because they are not experienced with marketing in mental health, they might suggest or implement things that are unethical for you to have on your site.
From using the incorrect type of email setup to using images that violate their usage license, there are a lot of things that a website solution could do wrong if they aren’t familiar with creating therapist websites.
The best way to ensure ethical decisions are being made is to select a website solution that has experience building websites for therapists.
The more experienced a solution is, the less trial and error and guesswork the solution is doing on your site. You don’t want to be someone’s first ever therapist website. Experience increases the likeliness they will be ethical to you and for you.
3. They Provide A Clear Scope Of Services
Having a clear scope of services means you know what they will do for you. For some design projects, a scope of services would be included in a project proposal or a contract or sometimes it is simply called a “scope of services.”
Whatever form it comes in, you should always be able to access a list of clearly stated services that your website solution is providing for you and what the cost will be.
It’s great when they say “everything’s included” or “we do it all” …but what does that actually mean? And do you actually need those things? They should also help you understand the why behind what they provide.
Not sure what “optimizing page titles” will do for you? Or how much impact that service will have? Ask! You should be able to get a clear answer on why you need it.
When you are unsure on the why, ask, “what’s the benefit?” Asking this simple question can help you get a more full understanding of if you need the service.
Transparency on what services you’ll be provided, at what price, and for which benefits are the foundation of an ethical solution.
4. There Is Proof
Anyone can put a website on the internet and say, “I’m the best therapist website designer in the world!”
So how can we determine if their claims are true? Well, we can look for proof.
Proof consists of great testimonials, a full and engaged social media following, and referrals from other therapists – hopefully their current clients.
You should also be able to visit sites that they have made. Visiting live websites will help you experience their work from a therapist client’s point of view.
You can also see some proof through who they collaborate with. Who do they hang out with and create content with? It’s risky to base proof on this alone but chances are if they are hanging out with other people that are on #TeamTherapistHelpers then they will be cool too.
5. They Support and Welcome Diversity
The best way to investigate if a solution supports and welcomes diversity is to look through the solution’s portfolio to make sure they have built websites for diversity.
First, you want to make sure they don’t discriminate against therapists themselves. Do they accept and support all types of therapists no matter the race, religion, gender, and other diversities?
Second, you want to make sure they don’t discriminate against the work you do or the clients you attract. This is particularly important for any therapists who also seek to work with diverse clients.
Can they build a muslim therapy website as enthusiastically as they would build christian therapy website? What about websites for the LGBTQIA+ community? What about websites for POC? What about websites for disabled people?
Looking for diversity in their clients and the work their client’s do can help you understand if they support diversity too.
6. They Provide Shame-Free Help
By its nature, creating a website can be a sensitive and emotional experience, it can just feel scary.
Part of an ethical solution then is also providing help without judgement or shaming.
This is not an easy one to identify from the outside but one measure may be to read over the website of a possible website solution and try and feel into how safe you feel with the way they put themselves out there and how they speak.
Do they seem to welcome and invite questions? Even “dumb” or “silly” ones? Or do you get the feeling that they are the know-it-all experts who might be condescending? Or worse yet, be super judge-y?
An ethical website solution helps without shaming any part of your emotional experience and without shaming what you know or don’t know about websites too. Shame causes harm and has no place in a solution that should be helping.
7. They Tell You If They Aren’t Your Best Fit
An ethical solution makes it clear if they are your best fit solution and will refer you elsewhere if they are not.
This means it is a major red flag when a website solution claims that they can help “all therapists.”
Just like a sports psychologist might not be the best fit for a sexual abuse survivor, some website solutions are not going to be the best fit for some therapists. It’s simply the way it works.
Whether it’s a therapist or a website solution, in both cases, it’s the experts responsibility to be clear about if they are a good fit.
If a website solution insists they are a good fit for all, then they are probably trying to squeeze you into fitting them vs. taking the time to discover who you are and what you need so they can guide you forward if they are a good fit.
Therapists refer out clients that don’t fit their service all the time! I love that and it should serve as inspiration to all businesses. Being in touch with how you help and referring clients out if they need help you don’t provide is the ethical thing to do.
Ethical Website Solutions Are Out There
My sincere wish is that you and every therapist finds their best fit website solution, gets themselves out there, and starts helping the clients who truly need their help.
The more therapists are out there, the more help we all can get and the more the mental health stigma breaks down. The day that we can all easily find and reach out for help will be an awesome day.
Luckily, there are website solutions out there that are helping therapists with their whole hearts.
These ethical solutions are clear about what they are doing and will help you determine if they are your best fit. They are solutions that are experienced at what they do and have the track record and reputation to prove it.
These solutions also welcome diversity and provide help without shame or judgement.
So whether you choose to look further into a solution like Empathysites, or decide to look into another one out there, ethical therapist website design solutions do exist. We’re here for you, ready to help you change the world.
I hope these 7 tips on how to find your ethical website designer helps.