In 2003 I started a website for my massage practice. The site quickly became the main source for new clients until I closed my business in 2009. Today, not having a massage website to market your practice makes you invisible to many people who search the web to find what they want.
What does your website need to attract clients or patients into your business? Here are nine tips based on my experience and research.
Many business websites suffer from a condition that copywriter Karon Thackston calls “we-itis.” The sites talk about the business and what the business offers without answering the main question in the minds of most readers, “What’s in it for me?”
If your massage website starts with a sentence like the following, you’re on the wrong track: “At [name of business], we offer highly personalized massage services.” Probably the worse possible way to start a site is “Welcome to our site.” Instead, you want to start with a sentence that draws the visitor into reading more. Here are a few examples:
The purpose is to send a clear signal to the search engines about what you offer and where you offer it. For example, if you offer massage services in Portland, when someone types “Portland massage” or a similar term into Google or another search engine, your site is more likely to show up on the first page of results if you have mentioned Portland massage several times.
The caveat here is to do it in a way that’s natural, not forced, or you risk alienating visitors to your site. Also, don’t go overboard, or you risk the search engines thinking that you’re keyword stuffing.
You can find places (including many professional associations) that let you host a free massage website but give you a domain name with their business name included (for example, yourmassagebusiness.professionalassociation.com). However, owing your own domain name (yourmassagebusiness.com) presents you in a more professional light and gives you total control over the domain. Also, generally, the search engines favor stand-alone domain names.
You might want a domain name with your location and service (for example, www.portlandmassage.com) in the name. That can sometimes give you a slight edge in search engine rankings. The disadvantage is that if you move, you have to change your domain name.
Some people prefer to brand themselves by having a domain name that contains their name or business name (for example, www.janesmith.com or www.healingmassage.com). That’s fine, and may be a better choice if you don’t expect to stay in one location. However, it becomes even more important that your website clearly mentions your location and service.
A keyword is what someone types into a search engine, for example, “Portland massage” to find a massage therapist in Portland. Do a little keyword research to find out what your potential clients are looking for. While keywords are useful, don’t go overboard. If you use a keyword too frequently on a page, the search engines might think you’re keyword stuffing and penalize your site.
The worse thing you can have (other than no website) is a “brochure” website. That’s a site that contains maybe four or five pages of information that would typically appear in a printed brochure. Of course, you need the About page, Services Offered page, and Location page. But what you really want to do is show people you know your field by providing highly informative articles about your area of specialty.
For example, if you offer sports massage, a website filled with
articles about that topic, its uses, and similar information
demonstrates your knowledge to potential clients. If your specialty is
pregnancy massage, providing tips and resources for pregnant women can
build trust. This approach is called content marketing.
It should go without saying not to copy another website’s content without permission; it’s unethical and illegal. However, even if someone gives you permission to use content, you usually don’t want to do so.
Search engines, especially Google, don’t want to show a results page containing all the same content. What usually happens is that the search engine will display the earliest published version of the content and not display the version you published at a later date.
Updating your massage website keeps it fresh in the eyes of both potential clients and the search engines. Not only do you want to make sure all your information remains correct but you also can gradually add more content. Blogging is an option, but only do it if you can commit to a regular, consistent schedule.
Also make sure your social media profiles only include content you would want a client to see. Do not rely only on social media to build your massage practice—any social media platform could disappear at any time.
Offer visitors to your site a free report or a free subscription to a monthly newsletter. Once you have a person’s email address, you can stay in touch, providing useful, helpful information. Of course, always provide an option to unsubscribe, and don’t send email so often that it starts to feel like spam to people. Here’s the freebie I offer.
If you're serious about building a content-filled massage website for your business, I recommend SBI! from Sitesell. It’s what I use for this
website. SBI! guides you step-by-step through the process of building a
successful website. If you can follow directions and put in the time,
you can build a website.
Also, feel free to contact me with questions about SBI! or if you want to hire someone to write content for your massage website.