Build Your Own Therapist Website
Is this a Project that I should or Need
To Undertake?


The best Therapist Web Site will make you money even when your're not doing a thing let alone a massage.  How does that sound? So the short answer is YES BUILD A WEBSITE or have one built for you!  It is extremely important to have a website that works and better yet works for you.  In the best of all possible worlds the World Wide Web will deliver your site on the first page of a Google key word search. 

This key word search will often be "best massage" in "your area, were ever that is".  Knowing what the best key word combinations are for your particular set of therapeutic strengths and the area in which you live can make all the difference.  A good website has solid key word optimization built in, yet a great site has much more.

Your therapist website will need to be on the top of the first page of results, whether it is Google or any other search engine most commonly used in your region.  Individuals looking to find a licensed massage therapist in your area will search for "massage, your city" and will only scan the top of the page.  Your site description will need to draw them in for a click to check out what you have to offer.

Before you build your site, you will have to decide how you want to build it.  WordPress is an open source that offers free site templates, you can find a style that fits the feel that you are looking for.  You will still need a hosting company and a domain name.

Wordpress.org is very popular and their framework is flexible and scalable for the website developer who has the knowledge to manipulate it.  Today learning the skills to build your own website is easier than ever before.

A well-positioned massage website is the most important practice builder.  Want to do more massage and spend less time developing a clientele?  That is exactly what a well thought out and developed therapist website will do for you.  It will generate a flow of clientele and keep them coming back for a great therapeutic massage from you, over and over again.

A great website will be a key player in building your referral network.  Over 84% of a massage therapist's clientele will come to them via word of mouth marketing and networking.  Today mobile media and social media are key components of a therapists website as word of mouth has gone digital.  LinkedIn, Twitter, Pintrest and Facebook along with a fantastic therapist website will drive your word of mouth marketing, while developing an email client list with monthly, quarterly, holiday or seasonal email blasts. 

Email Blasts, have been overdone yet are still a real time method of marketing your specific services.  A key mindset is education.  Think of your potential clients as curious individuals looking to fulfill a need or solve a perceived problem.  Imagine a network of individuals directing others who are looking for services that you can provide to you.

The key components of a Great Website that Works for your practice is the massage client who will be your reader.  Your well-developed content will be directed to the massage client and be written for them.  The thought of writing your own content may seem a little overwhelming at first thought.  Just remember that you educate your clients every day.  So you will begin educating them from their first contact with you via your content rich website or through the satisfied client that directed them to your web site.  

A Great Therapist Website Will not only Work but will Work for You

Take your time figuring out what your website domain will be, it may or may not be the name you have given your massage clinic or spa. It is not usually the domain name that will bring your prospective massage clients to your site, it will be your industry specific content. Your website will be more successful with a minimum of 10 to 25 pages each with at least 600 words of quality content.   

Are you finding yourself a little overwhelmed and not sure if creating your own website is for you?  Let's slow down for a moment and take a look at a reasonable method of developing an online presence for yourself as an individual massage professional that comes with years of Massage Community Dedication and Industry Experience.

National Organizations Offer Free Web Sites to their Members

Get Massage Smart is on a mission to expand the world view of touch and touch related therapies.  We understand that finances are often very tight for an individual with a personal clientele.  Like all industries supply and demand are always in flux.  We offer the following information on professional massage organizations and their membership web site development programs.

Like many professional organizations the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) offers its members a free hosted promotional website.  The program allows you to choose from 54 web site design templates and build up to 5 pages of content.  It is often a good idea to get your feet wet with a free website if you have never constructed a blog or web page by yourself before.  The great thing about membership websites is that they have a great authoritative presence and can give weight to your personal practice or clinic as a member using the AMTA logo and marketing tools.

In addition, you can always expand your online presence by building your own separately hosted site and linking them together via text links on both or either site.  To see what The American Massage Therapy Association has to offer go to their create your own web page.     It is always valuable to be a member of industry specific national organizations.

If you are not already a member of AMTA or any national massage membership organization, you may want to take a look at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).  The ABMP has grown significantly in the last 10 years to out number the membership of the AMTA.  Both organizations offer their members significant advantages as professional massage therapists.  In addition to a listing in their national therapist directories they provide free marketing tools, liability insurance for a reliable cost and online marketing training courses and workshops.

In recent years they have upgraded their services to include web site development.  We here at Get Massage Smart have been members of both organizations and see them as positive forces within our community.  We have to point out a significant advantage that the ABMP has to offer.  A member web site with UNLIMITED PAGES and beautiful design templates to choose from. 

Go to the ABMP practitioner's page to learn more about how their site builder can assist you in developing a crucial online presence.  As an independent or small business owner having a receptionist to answer all incoming calls can be cost prohibitive, we give a second thumbs up to ABMP for its integrated online scheduling application.  One last point to be made about the ABMP program is that it is all done in house, no third party vendor to deal with. In addition, if you do have html skills you can upload your own pages. 

 Another option is the National Association of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  We see them as primarily a re-seller of liability insurance, but they do offer a free website. To see what the NACAMS has to offer go to their members benefits page.

If you are a member of a Massage Industry Association or you have considered becoming a member of an association they are a known commodity and offer great resources for learning the business end of massage.  They also offer avenues to continue to build your hands on skill set.  It can boost your presence in your local community by utilizing their logo's and marketing tools.  Die hard massage fans will already recognize their logo's and see you as an experienced professional from first glance.

If you have limited funds and sub zero internet experience start your marketing and web site education with one of these organizations.  Our first choice vote goes to the ABMP for their website builder followed up closely by the AMTA for the breadth of their other marketing tools and community involvement.  We added the Hands on Trade association for comparison and if you are simply looking for less expensive liability insurance they may be for you.


How to Connect the Dots from Practitioner to
Business Owner

Take the leap from therapist to business owner!  The path to business ownership is different for each individual.  The reality is that you can have a thriving Massage, Day Spa or Salon business without being a Massage Therapist, Skin Care Specialist, Nail Technician or Cosmetologist.  You can also have a thriving Clinic without being a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Acupuncturist, Exercise Physiologist, Chiropractor, Physical Therapist or Physician.  

Wow!  Many, if not most, successful beauty industry or clinical businesses are not owned and operated by practitioners.  They are operated by successful business minded individuals or partnerships and the big ones by multilevel corporations.  Where exactly does that leave us?  Reminding you that you can be both.  As many of the best service industry businesses are built from the ground up, starting with an Open Minded Service Provider that is looking for a little more out of their lives. 

So just what does one need to know in order to think linearly while having a complete three dimensional image of how to proceed in the business of offering individual services.  Step one, ask yourself is it possible?  Now if you said yes, then the next step is to get out of your own way.  In other words know that it is possible for you to succeed as a business owner as well as an educated and licensed practitioner.  Get out of your own way, let go of doubts and negative thought patterns that keep you stationary. 

As a Professional Massage Therapist it's time to take control of your business future and take action. The order is not always as important as the end results.  Pick a direction and move, then take a moment from time to time and evaluate your progress. 

Top Considerations to Act on First

  • Build Your Own Therapist Website
  • Build Your Referral Network
  • Build an Ethical Business Foundation with a written Plan that includes Policies and Procedures
  • Build Your Insurance Knowledge (The Affordable Care Act has provisions for all Health Care Providers)
  • Build an Image and be a Leader in the Massage Community with Professional Membership Associations

Be a Leader in the Community

To demonstrate that order of action is not as specifically important as the action itself, we will start with "Be a Leader" in the massage community.  Take the time to decide which national, state, regional, or international massage therapy organization will best fit your personal and business goals.  Then join it and take the time to attend the local chapter meetings.  Being a part of a real world 3D community far outweighs what an online forum or website can provide you.  A face to face conversation with someone who is doing what you want to do will provide the greatest guidance and motivation.

Continue to build your image as a leader in the community by taking as many courses as you can during your first few years as a licensed professional.  It is important to be certified within the modality of massage that you feel best suits you as a practitioner.  We highly recommend practice building, business and insurance billing courses as well.   

Brand yourself by becoming an expert in your field and utilizing the logos and marketing materials that can be supplied to you by those associations and organizations.  The bottom line is that you are responsible for positioning yourself within your community as an experienced therapist with an expert skill set.  To do that it takes the time and financial investment to gain the documentation and certifications.  

Build Your Insurance Knowledge

It is possible and many massage businesses operate without utilizing insurance billing.  As a leader within the community you will see how important massage therapists are as health care providers.  The Affordable Care Act has made broad statements providing for all modalities of health care and licensed providers to be covered by the Bill.  Many states provide this terminology for the massage therapists within their state massage acts and other supportive legislation.

We know that both the state of Florida and the state of Washington provide this terminology to be included as health care providers within the state run health care exchanges.  Not all states have established state run exchanges, although there are provisions for individual citizens within states that have not set up exchanges to take advantage of health care coverage via the Federal Health Care Exchange on healthcare.gov.  There is also language that indicates that all subsidies must come through at the state level.  Where does that leave the individual who signed up for coverage on healthcare.gov, honestly we do not know. 

The Affordable Care Act signed into law on March 23, 2010.  The act is provisioned to insure that every US citizen is covered by health insurance by 2016.  There are those dedicated to seeing this act repealed.  In the meantime, we point out the language within the act that may provide an avenue for massage therapy to be included as a health care modality in every state.  An excerpt from the bill reads:

"A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law." 

This is clearly a large issue for all health care providers.  As professionals within our communities, it is important that we remain as informed as we can and be willing to speak out via or professional organizations for our rights as health care providers.  Where does that leave one on the road to developing a successful massage practice and business? 

With your eyes wide open and paying attention to the changes in insurance billing and practices over the next two years.  Our country is pioneering a new vision of health care and we need to be ready to make sure our industry is covered in this new vision.  As of today in 2015 states that provide for massage therapists to be covered by insurance are still receiving payments from clients with doctor prescriptions for massage related billing codes.

The billing and coding methodology will fundamentally stay the same, therefore it is still valuable today to learn as much about insurance billing and modality coding as you can.  The nature of claim forms will stay the same.  So the more you know now the easier it will be in the months ahead as the Affordable Care Act shakes its way down to reveal to us who is covered and who is not and what is covered and what is not. 

Build an Ethical Business Foundation

A successful business has a functional business plan to guide and organize business related activities.  It is true that a business plan is used as a tool to secure a business loan or to attract investors.  If these are goals for you, this may very well be step one.  Business plans are crucial and they should cover considerations for at least a five year window.  They are written and amended and changed as many times as they need to be as the business gets off the ground and begins to grow. 

Business relationships can be as fulfilling as personal relationships but they are not to be taken lightly.  Make sure you take the time to outline in detail your businesses policies and procedures.  If a partnership is under consideration, it can be very favorable to outline in detail all individual responsibilities and agree upon them from the very beginning.   Taking a business and practice building course that includes ethical considerations can help ground your project on a firm foundation.

A business plan should be well organized and goals should be worded as action steps that will guide the development and growth of your service oriented business.  It will pay off big to spend time visualizing the working environment, responsibilities, business procedures and office policies from the beginning.  Playing catch up can be hard, but will be worth the effort if you already have an office functioning without established practice procedures. 

Build Your Referral Network

A major goal is to develop a referral networking engine that will deliver massage clients to your massage table and ongoing residual cash flow.  So you're off line and online marketing content will revolve around your specific therapeutic services and specialties.  Remember, we said at the beginning of this article that 84% of a massage therapist's clientele will come to them via word of mouth marketing and networking.

We also said that step one was asking yourself if building a massage practice and business was possible.  To be reading this paragraph you must have answered yes.  So now we offer our take on step two.  Know that you are not what you do.  It is valuable to understand in this moment that the saleable assets are the benefits that massage therapy in its many forms can provide a client or patient.   

Let us point out again one does not need to be a licensed service provider to own a service oriented business.  We believe that it can and does make a difference in the quality of the overall experiences for both the clients/patients and the licensed health care practitioner.  Taking a step back from the image of pure self-promotion, while understanding that your promotable assets are the benefits your service has to offer, can offset the fear factor and open one up to success. 


Build Your Own Therapist Website

This article began with a question.  Build your own therapist website, is this a project I should or need to undertake? Have you decided on your own answer to the question?  Our answer is a resounding Yes!  Yours is the one that counts.

So how does one have a live website?

  1. Pay to have one built for you.
  2. Learn HTML coding and build your own site with a host provider that offers the ability to upload HTML coding into their integrated system, giving you an amazing amount of control over the look, feel and functionality of your site.  Now wordpress.org is recommended as your foundational framework (no need to purchase expensive software). 
  3. Use an all in one hosting option.  In other words, use a hosting provider that allows you to purchase and own a unique domain name. Or gives you one free as long as you own the domain name.  Offers an intuitive (i.e. easy to learn) web building platform with a wide selection of responsive (smart phone & tablet ready) templates to build from.  Provides unlimited pages, bandwidth, mail boxes, domains hosted and offers a free integrated shopping cart.  The web is abuzz with Wordpress so make sure that Wordpress, phpBB, and/or Joomla are supported on their platform (this can help when you have developed an html5 skill set).  Note: using one of the free website options, form a National Association, is an all in one option; but does not offer the full flexibility we have described here.

Many students and practicing therapists have asked if they should build their website with WordPress.  As its popularity has grown over the last decade, we used to give it a thumbs up.  Today we caution massage students and therapist.  Their is a large learning curve and a great amount of time will not only be needed to set up a WordPress site, but to maintain its growth and security.  If you have HTML coding skills then you may decide that WordPress is for you, your next step would be to choose a website host.  WordPress provides clean, responsive, and interactive templates.  Make no mistake you will still need to take the time to develop an online publishing education. 

That leads us to option 4 an online publishing education, that is an all-in-one option that guides you through the process of building a profitable online business that supports your offline massage practice.  Imagine a system that supports you in doing what you love, while allowing you to spend plenty of free time with family and friends.  Cash flow when your not providing massage, as well as when you are actively working with clients and helps to keep them coming back for more massage appointments with you.    

Our goal at getmassagesmart.com has been to expand the world view of the positive benefits of touch and massage through body wise smart massage therapy.  We formed as a supportive massage therapy instructor group many years ago.  A core characteristic of individuals drawn to practice the ancient art of massage is a fundamental desire to give of the self and exchange the touch of life with others.  Each practitioner of massage brings a unique view and talent in touch therapy to the world.

We see this industry as a passion, a way of life, our personal meaning of the profession and yes, we acknowledge its intimate value and its ability to support us through the journey of our lives.  Its powerful strength of the community has brought together individuals from all reaches of the world and walks of life.  We invite you to take a step toward self fulfillment and the ability to support yourself in your journey.

With an education the student may eventually outgrow the educational institution or teacher and possibly want to become a teacher and innovator themselves.  We hope that becomes the case over and over again.  We believe that every practitioner of individual human services is themselves educators.   We invite you to take the next step in your personal therapist's journey.

By becoming a business owner online.  Your online presence can do more for your career than promote your specific style, therapeutic or massage strengths.  All therapists and individual practitioners need and online presence.  It can open the door to providing for your ongoing financial resources 24-7.  Allowing you to spend time with family, traveling and simply living life.

That brings us back to linear thinking, working in the real 3D world and how to connect the dots from "Massage Therapist", to "Business Owner".  Step one is to ask your true self if you believe that you can own your own massage based business.  Step two, know that you are not what you do, and that the saleable assets in any service profession are the benefits provided to the clients. Step three, choose a path to having your own therapist website taking the time necessary to make the best choice for you. 

The last thought on linear thinking bringing those three steps back around to the understanding that 84% of a massage therapists clientele comes to them through word of mouth.  This statistic is not based on whether they work for themselves, with partners or for another massage therapy related business owner.  It does not matter if you work with or for a Massage Clinic, Day Spa, Destination Spa, Salon & Spa, Barbershop, Gym, Physicians office, Physical Therapy office, or Medical Clinic; 84% of a massage therapists returning clientele/patients will have come to them via word of mouth.  SO, if you are working for yourself, with partners or for a massage therapy related business owner and have not developed a word of mouth referral network, then today is a very good day to begin.  Take the leap from massage therapist to (soloprenuer) as an online business owner


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