Before and After: Educated Heart Website Makeover

Your website represents you and your practice. If your website looks bad, you will be judged accordingly. Visitors will think that your service is  cheap, outdated, disorganized or unprofessional. I know that seems so superficial, but that’s the way it works.  Massage is intangible after all. So people can only judge you by the tangible things that surround you, like your website. 

Recently, I recreated Laura Allen’s Educated Heart website.

The Educated Heart is a fantastic book and in my opinion has one of the best (and most readable) approaches to the topic of ethics. It was originally written by Nina McIntosh, but taken over by Laura Allen when Nina passed away.

Take a look at her original site. At a glance, what are you initial impressions? Is this book a credible book on the topic of ethics? Does it look unique? Is the book engaging and easy to read? How knowledgeable is the author? Does this website inspire confidence that the author knows what she’s talking about? Is it even clear at first glance that the site is promoting a book?

Here’s the “before”…

Educated Heart Website Before 1

Your impression is likely that this book is nothing special. Probably written by a lonely person in their basement. And if you go into the site it gets worse..

Educated Heart Website Before 2

The disorder and lack of attention to detail (even look at the frames around the images) indicates that this is not a professional book that deserves my attention. If the writing or thoughts in the book are half as cluttered as this page, there is no way I’m picking it up.

Laura, of course, inherited this existing site and was very aware of the issues. I love the book that Nina’s written and felt it deserved to be showcased better, so I offered to help Laura recreate the site. Here’s the “after”:

Educated Heart Website After 1

Educated Heart Website After 2

With this makeover, it’s clear that the site is about a book. The professional look of the site immediately changes your perception about the quality of the book and the value of the information it contains. The book in this new site is credible and deserves your attention.

I didn’t take a before shot on mobile, but it was unreadable. Now when anyone accesses the site from a smart phone or tablet, the site detects whatever device they are using and shows a mobile-friendly version of the site that displays beautifully.

I’ve created well over 100 websites for massage therapists, as well as sites for software developers, educators, restaurants, industrial manufacturers, consultants and more.

Would you like me to know some of the elements that go into making an effective massage website – one that works to get more clients through your doors? If so, Like or Share this page. Or if you have specific questions or topic areas you’d like to know more about, post them in the comments section below. If I see that there’s enough interest, I’ll share what I know about making your website work for your massage practice through this blog.

Thanks to Laura Allen for allowing me to share this makeover with you.

And because I know some people will ask… I’m sorry to say that I no longer create simple sites for massage therapists, but if you have a bigger web project you need help with, feel free to contact me and we can chat.

This post can now be found at: http://upsidebrown.net/before-and-after-educated-heart-website-makeover/

Six Google Myths Debunked

bigstock-friends-confide-secrets-45069928The blog ‘State of Search’ has been hosting a series of search engine optimization (SEO) workshops with four ex-Googlers. They dispelled many common myths about getting your site ranked in Google. Here are six takeaways that you need to consider when building your own massage website.

1. Google loves SEO

Google actually loves when website owners SEO their sites appropriately. This means having relevant titles and descriptions; having each page focus on one topic; getting backlinks from relevant sites; etc. This helps Google better understand your site so that it knows how it should rank your pages for various searches. Google wants to deliver relevant results to users and anything you can do to help them do that is rewarded.

2. Quality content is more important than fresh content

Personally I get tired of hearing web marketing people saying you have to create heaps of new content regularly (through a blog, for example) in order to rank. It’s simply not true. Google will rank relevant content over new content. So for your massage website, don’t worry about writing about every condition under the sun and how massage can help. Instead give visitors who are shopping around for a massage therapist in their area all the relevant information they need to make a decision.

3. Internal link anchor text is important

Internal link anchor text is hyperlinked text leading to another page on your site. For example, if I link to another post on my blog I would refer to it like this: “Many people think that email is dead….”  instead of linking like this: Click here for my last blog post.” In the first case, internal linking with optimized anchor text makes it easier for Google to understand your website navigation and the content of the pages I’m linking to. So always use meaningful anchor text on your web pages when it make sense to do so.

4. Overusing ads on your site can hurt your rankings

Although it is okay to display ads on your website, overloading a website with ads can influence your website’s visibility in Google’s search results. Not to mention you will not likely generate any significant revenue with ads given the small levels of targeted traffic you get to your massage website. My advice: Leave ads off your page entirely. You’ve worked hard to get them to visit your page, why would send them off somewhere else?

5. Being a Google AdWords customer does not help your organic rankings

Some people believe that if you carry Google ads on your site (Adsense), you’ll get ranked better. According to the ex-Googlers, Google AdWords and organic search are completely separated from each other. Having Google AdWords on your site has absolutely no impact on the ranking of your website.

6. Linking to other websites is important

Some marketers discourage you from linking to other websites. The ex-Googlers recommend to link out to sources you trust. Linking to pages that are relevant to the content of your website is normal. Just be sure you have those links open in a new window so that when the visitor closes up that page, your site is still there and they can continue on where they left off.

Be sure to sign up for the BodyworkBiz massage marketing tips newsletter to have great business building ideas sent straight to your inbox.

Great Example of a Massage Blog

Take a look at this massage blog as an example of what’s possible even if using a third party service like blogger: http://blog.mendinghands.com/

Note that this is actually a Blogger blog that Melissa has integrated into her site.

Melissa has posted some terrific content for her blog. She posts approximately once per week. Some of the posts she has written herself and others come from other sources and are acknowledged as such with an active backlink. You can also see that she occasionally mentions special offers.

I asked Melissa about her blogging experience and here’s what she had to say:

I actually started my blog while I was still in massage training. I wanted a place to discuss my training, share articles and information I was coming across and to connect with those already in the profession. Another main reason I started my blog so early was I knew that I wanted to build a private practice when I graduated and I understand the importance of building a strong and positive web presence. Having a strong web presence takes time and commitment, so I knew I had to put in the work in to make sure I was starting on a good foot! At this point the Mending Hands Blog is being read in over 35 countries – something I am very proud of. [Note from Eric: That number has now gone up to 50 countries since she dropped me this note.]

It has been a great tool for many more reasons than just web presence. I live in Park Slope – an awesome neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’ve been trying to think of my neighborhood as a town by itself. So I use my blog to cross promote with other local Brooklyn companies. For example, Jenni’s Cookies is offering my clients some beautiful homemade cookies for Valentine’s day. The blog is a way for us to share our local partnership. The Mending Hands Blog also helps me set a tone for my company and gives potential clients a way to get a feel for my style, commitment and mind frame before we even make contact. It’s a great way to keep current clients connected with massage news, info and Mending Hands deals and events. I’m trying to educate my clients and also believe in being an advocate for massage in general!

You can see that it doesn’t have to be time consuming or complex to create content for your blog. Take ten minutes right now to brainstorm possible posts for your blog. I bet you could up with a couple dozen easily before time runs out.

I’ll meet you back here tomorrow and we’ll look at getting traffic to your blog.

Set Up Your Massage Blog On Your Website

Yesterday, when we talked about setting up a blog on your own massage website, I promised you I’d tell you how to do it. So I’m back…

There are two options for installing a blog on your own hosting account as part of your existing website . Again, you’ll likely need help doing this and may have to hire someone.

  1. Use the admin panel (like cPanel) provided to you by your hosting company. Almost all website hosts give you the ability to install the blog software with the click of your mouse.
  2. Download blog software and manually install it on your server.

If you are installing software on your server, I would suggest that you download WordPress as your blogging software. It is the most widely used blogging software and has thousands of plugins that are available to enhance your blog.

Set the software up on a subdomain of your site, for example, blog.yourmassagesite.com.

Once your blog is installed, use the blog’s admin panel to change the look and feel of the site to match your own website as much as possible. If you want the blog to match your website exactly, you may need help from the designer that created your site.

Then decide what functionality you want to have on your blog and download any necessary WordPress plugins.

Plugins are little programs that integrate with your blog. Each of these plugins has a specific function. If you can think of something you want to do on your blog, there is likely a plugin for it.

For example, you can download the Facebook plugin to put a Facebook Like button at the bottom of each post or you can download an SEO plugin that can assist with the ranking of your blog pages in Google.

Although I’ve set up blogs in the past through the my hosting account control panel, I’m not technically inclined so I’d personally hire someone to do this. I’d rather spend my time writing or doing massage than trying to learn all this stuff that I’d only ever do once. Especially when coders will install your blog so cheaply.

Integrating a Blog Into Your Massage Website

As discussed in yesterday’s post you can use a third party service to host your massage blog or you can install a blog program (or script) on your own server or hosting account.

With this second option the blog resides on your own website. This allows you to have full control over the design of your blog and the way it functions.

To do this you will need to have your own hosting account on a server. Then you’ll need to install and set up the blogging software. Most hosting admin panels have a” one click install” for a number of blog programs. The most popular blogging software is WordPress.

This route is requires a certain amount of technical knowhow. You may have to hire someone to set this up for you. However, what you end up with is a blog that is fully integrated into your site and that can be customized to match the look and feel of your existing massage website.

Pros to Installing a Blog on Your Own Massage Website

  • The software is free.
  • You have complete control over the look and feel of your blog as well as complete control over functionality.
  • Thousands of “plugins” are available, both free and paid, to enhance your blogs functionality. You can download these plugins to do anything from improving the SEO of your blog posts to adding interactive elements like polls or reviews.
  • Blog posts are on your site and can therefore enhance your search engine ranking and improve the odds of someone finding your website.
  • You can have the URL match your site, i.e. http://blog.yourmassagesite.com.

Cons to an Installed Massage Blog

  • It requires some technical knowledge to install and customize your blog. You’ll likely need to hire someone to set it up for you.
  • You may want to have a graphic designer create a template that matches the look and feel of your site.
  • More features mean a bigger learning curve.

How do you do this?

I’m approaching my limit of 350 words, so you’ll have to come back tomorrow and I’ll give you the scoop.