I love WordPress. It’s such a versatile platform for hosting a counselling website and an enjoyable user experience for the therapist that wants to have complete control over the content on their site. But let me back up here, you may be asking what is WordPress? If so, I’ve compiled a few of the most frequently asked questions by counsellors about WordPress so you can decide if it’s right for you.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a type of content management system, also known as CMS. In essence, you control and manage the content on your website, as opposed to telling your webmaster what to do. In the early days of the Internet, you had a static site written in HTML code and every change you wanted to make to that site, you would have to email your webmaster and ask (and pay) him to make the changes.

WordPress and other blogging platforms are templates that allow you to make frequent updates to your blog (known as posts), and then allow people to comment on your posts.

When blogs first emerged on the Internet, they were online journals, so people would regularly write about topics or aspects of their life and the reader would be able to make comments. Blogging was one of the first forms of social media, because it encouraged people to be social and interact with your content online.

Today, WordPress is the most used platform for hosting a website with just under 5 million sites in existence. There are 2 types of WordPress sites: WordPress.com and WordPress.org The type of WordPress I am recommending is WordPress.org and for the purposes of this post, I will be referring to WordPress.org

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

The main difference is wordpress.org means that the website is fully owned by you and hosted on your server, as opposed to wordpress.com, where your content is on the WordPress servers.

Hosting your content on the WordPress servers may not be the best strategy for your business, as you may not have total control over the platform. If WordPress.com make changes  to their terms and conditions of using their site you may potentially find out that you don’t own your content or have any say in what they do to/with your content. I prefer to have complete control over my own content.

Do I use WordPress.com or WordPress.org for my therapy website?

You may have noticed some blogs have ‘wordpress.com’ in the URL like mytherapypractice.wordpress.com. This address indicates that the blog is hosted on WordPress.com. I encourage you to use WordPress.org, because you will also have your own domain name such as mytherapypractice.com which makes your business look more professional.

So while blogs started out as online journals, they are now commonly used to look like static websites. Many of the therapy websites you visit today are built using a CMS, but you may not be aware, as they are made to look like static sites. The only difference is you can log into the dashboard of your WordPress counselling site and change the look, content, images, video and audio on your site. You can also choose to have an integrated blog page for your articles.

What are the advantages of using WordPress for my counselling website?

As I mentioned before, the old days of the Internet and having a website were tedious. You had to make every small change through your webmaster, who charged you for their time and this was time-consuming, expensive and sometimes a very slow process. So simply put, using WordPress allows you to save money and time by managing your own content. It’s quick and easy to create the essential pages of your website.

The Internet today, commonly known as web 2.0 is a social Internet. The rise of social networks and the importance of interaction between people online through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media platforms has meant that the web is constantly changing and dynamic. This also means that static websites that don’t change are a thing of the past.

WordPress is very well suited for the web 2.0 as it has a lot of functionality that allows you to integrate your site with social media networks, as well as adding the functions that facilitate your visitors having greater interaction with your content.

What are the features of a WordPress therapy website?

How does this relate to you as a therapist or counsellor? Well you want to make sure that your website is versed in the culture of web 2.0.

The most important features of a counselling website that is 2.0 ready include:

  • the ability to have a blog with current and relevant information for visitors to access and interact with
  • the ability to connect Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin with your website
  • the ability for readers to share your information on social networks through using share and like buttons on your content
  • the ability to post video and audio content that visitors can interact with and share
  • the ability to add pages to your site over time so that your website grows in content and size
  • the ability to change your content on your site so that it is always current and relevant
  • the ability to sell products like ebooks, audios and e-courses through your website and accept payments
  • the ability to add functionality like taking online bookings, pro-forma forms, download links for PDFs and audios
  • the ability to track your website traffic and visitor sources over time

Does this list sound daunting? It might if you don’t have a website or only a very basic one, but the good news is that using WordPress makes all this possible. And best of all, WordPress is user friendly, so that even if you only have limited computer knowledge, you can learn how to use this platform to manage your own content.

In my next post, I will be taking you through some of the best and most important features of WordPress and why you want to consider using it for your therapy or counselling website.

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