Every element on your website comes at a price. I’m not talking about the cost of building your website. I’m not talking about the price of purchasing stock images. I’m talking about the cost of the attention of your website visitors.
Every font, color, graphic, image.
Every heading, sub-heading paragraph.
All of these things are vying for the attention of your website visitor. They all say, “Hey, look at me, process this information, this might be important!”
Every website visitor has a limit to how much attention they can spend and each element will cost some of that attention.
A good website strategy can help you optimize all of the website things to where the things that are actually important get your website visitors attention more. All of the other things should be there to help that one thing be the central thing.
It’s like having a thesis statement and supporting paragraphs. What is your website’s thesis statement? And are the other paragraphs actually supportive or distracting and confusing? It might be the case that some paragraphs are not even necessary at all and are just fluff.
Too Many Choices Are A Bad Thing
A mistake I see on psychotherapy websites all the time is not having enough clarity around what they would like their website visitors to do on their website. Instead of having one or maybe two priority calls to actions (aka CTAs) for their website visitors to take, they put all types of actions on a page and force their website visitor to make a choice.
Although it feels counter-intuitive, giving your website visitor a lot of choices is a bad thing. Too many choices leads to:
- Confusion – Client’s won’t know how to proceed to get the help they need. They also may be confused about what exactly it is you offer them.
- Distracting visitors – instead of handing a visitor what it is they could do next to get the information they need, you are handing them a set of things, some of which take them away from getting the information they need.
- Paralysis – faced with a lot of options, some visitors don’t know what to choose and will just not choose anything. This is called bounce rate and called ineffective design.
Think of it like a competition. If you place an optin form for your newsletter right next to social media sharing buttons, and with equal design emphasis, you are asking your visitor to choose. You are saying, “Hey, would you like to get onto my email list OR would you rather share this page to social media?”
People don’t have the bandwidth for multitasking on your website.
I can’t speak to the website strategy of all psychotherapy practices but most of the times getting someone on your email list, getting the honor to market your services to them through their email, should be higher priority than having them share something to their friends on social media.
Why are so Many Therapists Struggling with This?
After seeing this mistake on many psychotherapy websites, you start to wonder why. Why is it so difficult to just offer a few, strategic actions to a website visitor instead of all of the choices in the rainbow.
I think it comes down to these three things:
- You don’t have a clear website strategy – Having crystal clear clarity around your primary and secondary CTAs will help you know what is important and what is just a distraction.
- You suffer from shiny object syndrome – Some of the too many choices thing is therapists wanting to have all of the cool things that are out there on their website. I agree that it can be hard to resist. But cool things aren’t effective things.
- You aren’t staying client-focused – Your website visitor wants to get to their destination of healing. And you want to get them there too. Because they are coming from a place of suffering, you should be asking, “Is my valuable optin gift with actionable steps to help ease their suffering more or less useful to them than checking out my Psychotherapy Today profile?”
- You’re forgetting that you’re the expert – If you are an expert at helping people heal, which you are, then you should know what your website visitors need. You shouldn’t throw a bunch of choices at the wall to see what sticks. What do your clients really need and how can you get them there?
Your Website Visitors Need Help Not Choices
Spending some time thinking about your website strategy can really help your website stay focused. A clear strategy will lead to getting you clients, selling your products, filling your stadiums, and getting you to that place where you’re just doing awesome online.
People think they love to have a lot of choices but it’s actually not what they need a lot of the times. In the case of a psychotherapy website, when a visitor is visiting a website in a state of pain, too many choices can make a visitor feel overwhelmed. In addition to struggling with depression, infidelity, or their child’s autism, they also have to sort through multiple choices to get to what they actually need which is help!
I encourage you to go back and evaluate your website. What choices does a website visitor need to make on each page? Do they help accelerate a visitor towards the help they need? Are some choices given too much priority? What do you think? How does your website do in terms of limiting choices to the effective choices?