The Pros & Cons of Using Therapist Website Templates

When you use therapist website templates, you trade the flexibility that comes with a custom website for the lower price that comes with templates. Is it a worthwhile trade? Let's find out ...

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I’ll start by saying that I do not recommend therapist website templates.

As someone who has been making custom websites for 30 years, I believe that everyone deserves a beautiful website that is optimized for their dream client. It’s the key to standing out in a busy online crowd and an essential part of turning your dream client into a paying client. That said, my goal for this article is to provide a neutral overview (is that even possible, lol?) of the pros and cons of using a therapist website template.

As for the difference between custom and template websites:

  • Custom therapist websites are bespoke works of art: designed just for you. Every digital inch is optimized for your dream client. They are also expensive and probably more than you need when you are getting started.
  • Therapist website templates come in all shapes and sizes. While you are usually limited by the design provided, there often are ways to customize the template with your colors, fonts, and photos. On the plus side, therapist website templates are usually cheap — which leaves you with more money for running ads and doing SEO. Just make sure whatever template you choose is optimized for conversions. More on that later.


Understanding Web Design for Therapists

If you’re reading this, you know you need a website. There’s just no way around it anymore. Even if you’re relying on referrals and in-person networking, your potential clients still want to research and get to know you.

Web design for therapists is unlike any other type of website.

You’re not selling doodads – you’re offering a path to a better life. A successful therapist website is built on a foundation of compassion, trust, and empathy. It aims to solve problems rather than offer services. It makes someone’s life better … even if they never reach out and become a paying client.

From a design perspective, a therapist’s website should be easy to navigate and provide clear, concise information. It should be visually appealing, subconsciously speak to your dream client through colors and images, and also reflect your professional image and brand as a therapist. This is true whether you have a custom website or are using therapist website templates.


A sample of therapist website templates - Dr. Nicole Sucre

Template vs Custom Design

When it comes to designing a website for therapists, there are two options: using therapist website templates or opting for a custom design. Each option has its pros and cons, and it is essential to weigh them before making a decision.


The Concept of Templates

Website templates are pre-designed website layouts that are available for purchase or free download online. They are easy to set up and can be customized to fit the therapist’s brand. Templates are cost-effective and can save time, as they eliminate the need to build a website from scratch.

However, a template design can be limiting in terms of uniqueness and functionality. Templates are designed to cater to a broad audience, so they may not reflect the therapist’s brand or personality. Additionally, templates may not be optimized for search engines, which can hurt the website’s ranking on search engine results pages.


Custom Website Design

A custom-designed website is tailored to the therapist’s specific needs and requirements. This design option provides the flexibility to create a unique design that reflects the therapist’s brand and personality. A custom-designed website can also be optimized for search engines, which can improve the website’s ranking on search engine results pages.

However, custom website design can be expensive and time-consuming. It requires hiring a web designer or development team to create a design that meets the therapist’s requirements.

Additionally, it can take longer to launch a custom-designed website than a template website. For example, when we collaborate with a therapist to create a website, it takes an average of 4-6 months. Of course, a large part of that is spent doing foundational work like identifying your dream client and writing therapist website copy that transforms random Google visitors into paying clients.

In conclusion, both template and custom-designed websites have their pros and cons. Therapists should consider their budget, timeline, and branding requirements before deciding which option to choose.

Therapist website templates design - Sarah Murdoch, AMFT


Pros of Using Therapist Website Templates

Using therapist website templates can offer several advantages for therapists. Here are some of the pros of using templates:

Cost Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of using therapist website templates is cost efficiency. Custom website design can be expensive, and for therapists who are just starting, it may not be feasible to invest a lot of money in web design. Therapist website templates are a more affordable solution as they eliminate the need for hiring professional designers and website developers for the website design and development work. Therapists can select from a wide range of templates available online, many of which are free, and customize them to their specific needs and branding.


Speed and Ease of Use

Therapist website templates provide a starting point for web design, which can save time and effort. Therapists can select a template that closely matches their needs and customize it to their liking. This can be done without any technical knowledge or coding skills, as most templates come with drag-and-drop editors that make it easy to modify the design. This can save therapists a lot of time and effort, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business.


Variety of Layouts and Designs

Therapist website templates offer a wide variety of layouts and designs, making it easy for therapists to find one that matches their branding and style. There are templates available for different types of therapy practices, such as counseling, psychology, and psychiatry. Therapists can choose from a range of layouts, including one-page designs, multi-page designs, and landing pages. This variety of options allows therapists to find a template that best suits their needs.


Built-in Functionality

Many therapist website templates come with built-in functionality, such as contact forms, appointment scheduling, and social media integration. This can save therapists time and effort, as they don’t need to install additional plugins or widgets to add these features to their website. Some templates also come with pre-built pages, such as About Us, Services, and Testimonials, which can be customized to the therapist’s needs.

In conclusion, using templates for web design can be a cost-effective and time-saving solution for therapists. There are several options available, including WordPress themes such as Divi, Neve, and Flash, as well as website builders like Wix and Squarespace. Therapists can also use WordPress plugins such as Elementor Page Builder to customize their templates further.


A sample web Design for therapists template - Deborah Brewer, LCSW

Cons of Using Templates

While using templates for web design can have many benefits, there are also several drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some of the most common cons of using templates for web design for therapists:

Limited Customization

One major disadvantage of using website templates is the limited customization options available. While templates can be a great option for those who want to get a website up and running quickly, they may not be the best choice for those who want a highly customized website. Templates often come with pre-determined layouts, color schemes, and fonts, which can be difficult to change without knowledge of coding.


Lack of Originality

Another disadvantage of using website templates is the lack of originality they offer. Since templates are often used by many other websites, it can be difficult to create a unique website that stands out from the crowd. This can be especially important for therapists who want to create a branded website that reflects their unique personality and approach.


Potential Compatibility Issues

Using therapist website templates can also lead to potential compatibility issues. Since templates are often created by third-party developers, they may not be fully compatible with all web browsers or devices. This can lead to a poor user experience for visitors to the website, which can ultimately hurt the therapist’s online reputation.


Lack of SEO

Getting found on page 1 of Google is essential to the sustained growth of a therapy practice. However, some therapist website templates limit the amount of customization you can do with your SEO for therapists. This is not ideal. If you choose a template, make sure it has ample SEO built in and that you can control all of the SEO elements.


Limited Support

Finally, using website templates can also lead to limited support options. Since templates are often created by third-party developers, there may not be adequate support available when issues arise. This can be frustrating for therapists who want to ensure their website is running smoothly and efficiently.

Overall, while website templates can be a great option for those who want to get a website up and running quickly, they may not be the best choice for those who want a highly customized website that stands out from the crowd. Therapists should carefully consider their needs and goals before deciding whether to use a website template or invest in custom web design.


A sample of a custom therapist website design project for We Rise NYC Counseling


The Impact of Design on User Experience

Good design is critical to the success of any website, but it is especially important for therapists. The design of a therapist’s website can have a significant impact on the user experience (UX), which can ultimately determine whether or not potential clients choose to seek therapy with that therapist. Good design is also a key part of marketing for therapists. Without it, you are just wasting your marketing budget.

Importance of Navigation

One of the most critical aspects of web design for therapists is navigation. The navigation menu should be easy to use and understand, with clear labels that make it easy for users to find the information they need. A well-designed navigation menu can help users quickly find the information they need, which can help to build trust and confidence in the therapist.


Role of Colors and Graphics

Colors and graphics play an important role in web design for therapists. The use of appropriate colors and graphics can help to create a calming and welcoming atmosphere on the website, which can help to put potential clients at ease. It is important to choose colors that are appropriate for the therapist’s brand and target audience.


Significance of Layout and Content

The layout and content of a therapist’s website are also critical to the user experience. The layout should be clean and easy to read, with plenty of white space to make the content more readable. The content should be clear and concise, with an emphasis on providing useful information to potential clients.

Text should be easy to read, with appropriate font sizes and styles. It is important to avoid using jargon or technical language that potential clients may not understand. The content should be focused on the needs of the user, with an emphasis on how the therapist can help them.

In summary, good web design is critical to the success of a therapist’s website. The design of the website can have a significant impact on the user experience, which can ultimately determine whether or not potential clients choose to seek therapy with that therapist. The navigation, colors and graphics, layout, and content are all critical elements of web design for therapists, and should be carefully considered when designing a website for a therapist. This is just as true now as it was in 2006, when I started making therapist websites. Here’s a look back at the history of therapist web design.


Custom therapist website design

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular website builders for therapists?

There are several website builders that are popular among therapists, including Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and Weebly. Each of these builders has its own set of features and benefits, so it’s important to research each one to determine which is the best fit for your practice if you want more therapy clients.

What are the benefits of using a pre-made website template for therapists?

Using a pre-made website template can save time and money, as well as provide a professional-looking website without the need for advanced web design skills. Templates are often customizable, allowing therapists to add their own branding and content while still maintaining a cohesive design.

What are some of the drawbacks of using a pre-made website template for therapists?

One potential drawback of using a pre-made website template is that it may not be as unique or customized as a website designed from scratch. Additionally, some templates may not be optimized for search engines or may not meet HIPAA compliance standards, which is important for therapists who handle sensitive patient information.

What are some HIPAA compliant website builders for therapists?

Some website builders that offer HIPAA compliance include Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and Weebly. However, it’s important to note that simply using a HIPAA compliant website builder does not guarantee that a therapist’s website is fully compliant with HIPAA regulations. Therapists should still take steps to ensure that their website and patient data are secure.

What are some of the best Squarespace templates for therapist websites?

Squarespace offers several templates that are well-suited for therapy practices, including the Brine, Marta, and Tudor templates. These templates offer clean, professional designs that can be customized to fit a therapist’s individual needs.

What is the cost of building a therapy website using a pre-made template?

The cost of building a therapy website using a pre-made template can vary depending on the website builder and the specific template chosen. Some website builders offer free templates, while others may charge a one-time fee or a monthly subscription fee. It’s important to research the costs associated with each option before making a decision.

Got Questions?

Ask me anything about this article … or, reach out to see how I can help you get a steady, predictable stream of therapy clients you love with less effort and stress.

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About the Author:

Greg Goodman

As a therapist business coach, web designer, copywriter, and marketing expert, Greg has been helping mental health professionals get a steady stream of clients they love since 2006.

In his career, Greg has helped everyone from associates to established solo partners, group practices, and beyond. He even had a 6-year stint as the head of a large mental health clinic in San Francisco where he kept 43 caseloads full.

In addition to his work helping therapists, Greg is a passionate photographic storyteller, traveler, husband, father, and human being dedicated to personal growth and making the world a better place.

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