How Ice Skating Is A Perfect Analogy For Creating A Website

Today, I wanted to share something that many of the therapists that I’ve built websites for have experienced but never expected. Something that caught many of them completely off guard.

And I think it comes down to something like my experience ice skating.

I was a huge fan of watching ice skating on TV when I was growing up. Kristi Yamaguchi, Oksana Baiul, Surya Bonaly. These skaters epitomize grace on ice.

Strength, skill, beautiful costumes. What more could you ask for?

But when I put on my ice skates for the first time and stepped out into an ice rink, I fell. And I fell. And I fell again.

Frustrating! It’s not as easy as it looks. I could barely keep my balance, much less make any movement look graceful. Beyond frustrated, I thought perhaps there was something wrong with me. Why can other people do it and I can’t?

“It looks effortless, so why am I struggling so much?”

Part of Ice Skating Is Making It Look Effortless

Part of the enjoyment of watching ice skating is that it looks easy. Like when Surya does a backflip onto one leg while skating backwards on ice, it doesn’t look like an “oouf” moment. She makes it look like a piece of cake. Grace is part of the artform.

But when we really think about it, we know that there is more to it. Of course, behind the scenes, many things had to come together to make a backflip on ice happen. And these are all things that I was not doing: she had to practice for hours every day over years and years and she had people to help coach her and guide her along the way.

And what about all of the decorative parts too? She probably didn’t sew her own costume or compose her own music to skate to. She may or may not have done the choreography, but if she didn’t do it herself, she had a choreographer too.

One thing is for sure, Olympic-level and professional ice skaters put in many many hours of effort and surround themselves with a team of people that help them look their best. Between hard work and a supportive team, they make their performance shine.

Here Is What Many Website Design Clients Never Expect

In addition to building a team to support them, top level ice skaters also invest a lot of hard work, time, money, and energy into their performances.

Just beneath the effortless is effortfullness.

To make a website look effortless

  • You need to effort a bit more than you probably think.
  • You need support. You can’t do it alone.

This has been surprising to many therapists because it looks so easy and effortless when it’s done.

You can go through our portfolio right now and click on any of the websites and browse around. You’ll find each site is organized, the colors are consistent, the content is well written, the logos match the site, and each site inspires hope for the website visitor.

And it’s easy.

It’s easy for you, the website visitor, because you are browsing the site. Making a website easy for the visitor is a central part of making a website that is effective.

If Oksana Baiul made a tripple lutz look very difficult, then she would have never won the gold. If I created websites that were difficult to use or look at, they would be failed websites.

But it’s dangerous to go around looking at finished websites and think, “oh, that’s so easy! Let me put aside a weekend and create one too!”

Creating A Website Is Simple But Not Easy

Creating a therapist website is simple because it’s been done before. And unlike ice skating, it’s a lot more accessible too.

It’s simple because you can find help. You can find a designer and connect with them from our couch on your tablet. You can find a copywriter to help you craft the right words, you can find a graphic designer to create a complete visual identity, you can find a virtual assistant to help with inserting content. You can find all of these awesome people and form your team.

It’s also simple to create a website because you can learn. If you don’t have the money or interest in hiring someone for some of these things, you can also do them yourself. You can learn graphic design, web design, copywriting, and beyond. The resources are plentiful for a therapist with the drive to DIY.

What makes creating a website not easy though are the possibilities. The number of possible combinations of DIY and hiring something out alone is enough to make your mind spin. How do you even start to decide what to do yourself and what to hire out?

And that’s an example of a macro-level decision. There are also all the micro-decisions too, like selecting the one typography that is both readable and speaks to who you are or finding the best home page image that will capture and speak to the heart of your best fit client.

Because of the limitlessness, many therapists bite off more than they can chew, not realizing how many hours it actually will take them for each task or how many decisions will have to be made. It takes a lot of time to plan intuitive navigation, or to do visual design research to create a successful logo, or  to climb the learning curve of basically any DIY tool out there for creating a website.

Start Where You Are – Effortlessness Doesn’t Happen Overnight

My advice to any therapist creating or redesigning their website is not believe that websites that look effortless actually are effortless. If you do, for sure you will be disappointed by the amount of effort that yours is taking.

Don’t be the little Kat on ice sad that is super bummed they are always on their bum.

A finished website that looks effortless has actually had the most effort put into it in order for it to look effortless.

And effort takes time.

And energy.

And help.

A good website doesn’t happen overnight. Returning to the ice skating analogy: if someone doesn’t know how to ice skate, would they put their skates on and land a tripple salchow on day 1? Probably not.

But what they could do, is take small, wobbly steps, commit to consistent practice, surround themselves with people who can help and support them, and take risks by putting themselves out there on ice, even if they have fear that they’ll look silly in those beginning days.

I am wishing the same for you. That someday, you’ll be the one wearing the glittery outfit making the effortfull look effortless too because you put the effort in to get there.

What do you think? Are you among the therapists who believed a website was super easy and then surprised at how much work they can take? Websites are simple but not easy. Do you agree? As always, feel free to continue the conversation by reaching out anytime. I love hearing from you.

About Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! I'm the founder and lead designer here at Empathysites. Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse so now I help therapists with creating their websites. I write on topics like website design, strategy, and turning website visitors into clients. Reach out anytime if you'd like to say hi. PS. my pronouns are they/them/their. Thanks.