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Why I DON'T Want My Website To Win A Beauty Pageant 
Written by Christine Walker, PT, DPT, PYT, PES
Do you have shiny object syndrome?
So I just got off an awesome conversation with one of my website clients and we were talking about the difference between pretty websites and websites that actually work…and how that can differ based on which industry you're in. So, here's the crazy thing: This owner had both a CrossFit gym and a PT practice. And we were talking about how in his CrossFit gym, he would have lots of clients come in and say, "Hey, you know, your website just looked awesome. I compared it to everybody else's and I just knew that's where I wanted to be. It just looked so cool."
This CrossFit website has all these big flashy pictures and hardly any information about the place. It's mostly just pictures where people look to be enjoying themselves, enjoying working out together, looking happy, looking strong, looking fit, looking good. 
And here's the really funny thing…since his CrossFit website was working so well for his gym business, he decided to "copy" the website and make a similar one for his cash PT practice. Turns out his physical therapy website isn't getting any traction. It's getting a lot of compliments, but it's not actually getting people in the door becoming patients. The website isn't working…
And you know what, that is not uncommon. I actually have a really similar story. When I first started out, I spent hours dragging and dropping, making the most beautiful website you've ever seen. It had this awesome big image at the beginning, it said, "Integrative Physical Therapy," and it just looked really cool. And, just like this client, so many people commented on my website saying, "your website is so awesome," and my response was, "thanks…" Deep down I was actually really embarrassed by my website because it wasn't working from a business standpoint - it wasn't bringing in new patient leads to grow and scale my practice. 
What you have to realize is that marketing your physical therapy services is completely different than marketing CrossFit.
In fact, I would argue that we shouldn't be marketing physical therapy at all. If you've consumed some of my other content then you've heard me talk about this idea. Ultimately, we really need to change our perspective. Our website should NOT be about some pretty visual experience. Patients are not going to come to your clinic because of beautiful pictures you put on your website (and slow down your load time…but that's another post!)…that's NOT how people make decisions about healthcare. They don't care how good-looking their heart surgeon is…just that he can perform successful heart surgery and extend their life! 
The biggest thing we need to realize when we're marketing our practice, other than the fact that we're not marketing physical therapy, is that we need to make sure that our website works - that our website actually bring in new patient leads into our business! ? Instead of being "pretty", you website needs to be functional. On your website people need to be able to get the information they need to make a decision about coming to see you. On the other hand, the CrossFitter may only need to see a cool picture of the facility. But for somebody seeking treatment for back pain that they've had for years, that's a little bit different. Don't you agree? 
So the lesson is this: just because a particular website design works in one industry doesn't mean it's going to work in physical therapy. And that's a really important lesson to learn as you're looking at either designing or redesigning your physical therapy practice's website. It's not always the best thing to just go look and see at what other people are doing, 
And so, while talking to my client, we discussed the changes that he's going to need to make in order to actually bring in leads off the internet.
Anytime someone calls my clinic and asks for more information I ask them why they chose to call us. Almost every time someone found us online, they said they decided to call us because our website "just spoke to them" more than the other PT clinics. 
That's what I want someone to feel when they land on my clinic's website. I want them to feel that I completely understand them, their problem, and that I am the right person to solve their problem and get them the outcome they desire.
So, remember the big lesson from this is that just because a website is successful in another industry does not mean the same design will be successful for a PT website. If you want to be average, then go do what everyone else is doing in the healthcare industry…but, you won't find me doing it. I want to provide a completely different healthcare experience for people that's less cold, less impersonal and way different than what they're going to get at my competitors next door.


Christine Walker is a physical therapist, cash PT practice owner, wife & mom of 2 in Charlotte, NC. She helps other PTs find financial and professional freedom by tackling the technology needed to build their business websites to bring in MORE new patient leads from the internet. She loves the Tar Heels, hot tea, and chasing her kids around the house as they dribble soccer balls.  Connect with her on Facebook by clicking HERE.

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