Get This Crap Off Your Website

I like simple websites. That’s why I hired a minimalist designer for my Blue Streak site. That’s why Kelli Wise made my massage practice site so clean and crisp.

If you’ve got decent content, your website is clear and easy to navigate, you don’t need bullshit music or animation. And if you’ve got it? You may well be driving traffic away. I go apeshit when I hear chimes start up. I can’t close the window fast enough. I can’t stand fancy animations or PDFs of your menu of services. They’re hard to navigate through. If I have to squint to look for a litte magnifying glass icon to zoom in, you’ve lost me.

Please, take just one moment to think about this: what is the main reason people visit your website?

Does your website look like this?

It’s not “To listen to my choice of music.” Don’t include music or video that starts automatically. If you want people to know about the kind of music you use during your massage, write a blog post about it, and include an audio sample. But I don’t wish to hear the chime-y version of Pachelbel’s Cannon blare out when I’m browsing online in Panera. Hush up.

It’s not “To see ads.” Don’t include pop-ups or other intrusive advertisements, and especially not for products and services that you don’t personally offer. When you have Google ads on your site, it makes me think you’re a crappy therapist who can’t make a living doing massage so you sell space on your site for advertising. Ick.

It’s not “To read a paper brochure.” There’s no reason to include a PDF or fancy animation of your print materials. Not only does it make the information included in it more difficult to access, it also makes it useless from an SEO perspective.

It’s not “To look at all kinds of fancy fonts.” Don’t use such an elaborate font that I can’t read the words easily. And don’t use more than two fonts. It’s too distracting.

It’s not “To read flowery and totally subjective descriptions of how great your services are without learning anything about what you actually do.” Be clear. Use words non-therapists can understand.

So why do people come to your website?

  • To learn about your services.
  • To learn about you.
  • To find your location.
  • To schedule a massage.

Make this information the focus of your website, not the afterthought. Of course, you can show these things through words, images, forms, video, or even the colors you choose.

If you’ve got great content, you don’t need bells and whistles. Most aren’t impressed, and some will be actively turned off. Give the people what they want in a way that is clear and free of bullshit. Show them from the very beginning that you understand their needs.

Bonus tidbit:

I sure as fudge will never call a place to ask about pricing. I’ve got stuff to do, and there are 3 other massage places in town that DO have prices listed on their sites. I’m not looking for mystery, I want information from your site, that’s why I’m there. It’s not exclusive or intriguing. It’s annoying. Stop it.

Allissa Haines is a massage therapist with a full private practice in Massachusetts. She creates marketing and business resources for massage therapists at Writing A Blue Streak. She is also a marketing consultant, professional speaker, and a frequent snacker. 

Kat Mayerovitch also helped write this post. Give her high fives if you run into her, because she loves that shit.

photo credit: McBeth via photopin cc

8 thoughts on “Get This Crap Off Your Website

  1. Rock it, girl! I was designing websites on the side for a while and I always recommended keeping it simple and to the point. On my own massage webbie place, you can find everything you want right on the first page AND schedule a massage AND buy a gift certificate. My clients love that they don’t have to contact me for every little thing.

    Great post! Thank you!!

  2. I cannot STAND a website without a phone number or freaking NAME OF A PERSON. (Not just massage websites, but sites I actually search for info/services.) I know my website isn’t perfect, but I’m working on it. It is functional with the information people need. “I don’t list my prices because I want people to call.” “I don’t want to list my prices because I don’t want price shoppers. They will want my services because of who I am, it’s all right there on the site!” Do you know how many times I have seen a therapist write that? Why wouldn’t you want people to know your prices?! That’s why they are looking you up…

  3. “It’s not “To read a paper brochure.” There’s no reason to include a PDF or fancy animation of your print materials. Not only does it make the information included in it more difficult to access, it also makes it useless from an SEO perspective.”

    I’ve had SEO on the brain as of late. Excellent point about search enginability!

  4. I couldn’t agree more! I often find myself frustrated with exactly the type of site you are so eloquently descibing.

    I checked out your spartan site, and noticed that you are only accepting new clients on a limited basis because of your fortunate abundance of current clients. 4 years ago, I myself came to a similar place. Perhaps its time for you to consider adding some talented LMTs to your practice, rather than turning away/referring out clients.. If you are interested, I would be happy to chat with you about how I expanded my small private practice to its current state (over 5,000 happy clients in 4 years). Good luck, and keep up your awesome writing! Thanks again!

    Rachel Beider, LMT
    Owner, Massage Williamsburg

    • Hi Rachel,
      I made a very conscious decision a few years ago, when my practice started filling up, I do not wish to manage other massage therapists. That is, I do not wish to employ therapists or even have IC’s in my practice.

      Instead, I rent space in my office to therapists I trust. I charge flat rent and mentor generously to help them build their own practices. I also network and assist other local therapists. This allows me a certain freedom in my business that I strongly value and still provides me with a very trusted network of referral options for my clients.

      It’s a balance that works very well for me!

  5. Whole freaking heartedly agree! The same applies to bloggers. If you are a shameless attention whore with too many ads and random crap on your blog, ADIOS! I’m there to read content, not be sucked into mindless advertising nonsense.

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