There’s no getting around it, a website is a must have for any business in today’s world but if you know nothing about building a website it could be scary and frustrating. You could hire a website designer and pay several grand or maybe you could workout a trade or barter but that’s could be a lot of massages to cover the cost which would take time away from paying clients.
What if I told you that you could build your own website in a weekend and have it fine-tuned in less than a month. With WordPress you don’t need to understanding complicated coding, if you can handle using a mouse and drag and drop system then you can build your very own website. The first thing you need to decide is where you want your website to live.
Websites need a hosting company, a hosting company is a large network that runs 24/7, keeping track of all the websites. Having the best hosting for your website is so important. You need a hosting company that is high speed and has a great customer rating. It is inevitable that at some point you will mess up your website and you can’t fix it on your own.
If you contact your hosting company like Siteground they can reset your website and undo your silly mistakes. I had this happen to me and I thought I lost my entire website, I was in tears when I called Sitegound and I told them I had no idea what I did but my pages weregone.
It was no problem at all, the rep simply reset my site to how it was the day before and all was well again but it was scary in the moment when you think all your hard work just went out the window!
Sign up for hosting
Once you sign up with a hosting company Siteground you then can install WordPress, pick a theme that you like, and start playing with it till you figure it out, that’s what I did. Some of the best massage websites out there are simple and elegant, you do not need to overly complicate things when creating your massage website. Here is a list of templates that are responsive and perfect for any massage therapy website:
- Spa and Salon
- Beauty and Salon
- Delight Spa
- VW Spa Lite
- Medi Spa
- Dream Spay
- Sauna Lite
- Wellness (my favorite)
- Spa Salon
What about free websites?
Another option, you can take advantage of the free website your massage liability insurance offers. Both AMTA and ABMP offer a free website. Now if you use a free website there will be limitations but it’s free so you should at least see what it offers. I suggest every massage therapy student take a few minutes and just create a website.
When I made mine through AMTA it took me 6 hours to do the whole thing, it was basic but it was a good start. There is a lot you will not be able to do with the free site, for instance:
- You can not properly SEO each page,
- You can not link anything to your site
- You can not upload your own photos
- You can not change the theme at all
- You are only allowed 5 pages
- Look generic and out dated
- Long domain that Google won’t find
Here is the domain name I was given with my free site, http://kellyelliott.amtamembers.com if you want to check it out and see what I’m talking about as far as lack of design and it’s just plain and not professional. AMTA and ABMP will try to sell you the website upgrade which includes a customer domain, online scheduling, online gift card option, and you can customize your templates. The upgrade cost $50 a month and in my opinion the cost to value ratio is not there.
For instance a customer domain name from Siteground will run you $14.95 a year and hosting for the year starts at $3.95 a month. With Siteground you choose your theme and you can create links, have as many pages and pictures as you like, create buttons to link to any scheduling software of our choice, and add online payment to your massage business website through Square.
Altogether hosting, domain, and the cost of online scheduling (schedulicity for example) your total cost for the year will be $302.35, that’s half the cost of the upgrade and you get so much more. That one thing that really bugs me about AMTA and ABMP is that they pray on the unknowing.
In the end a free website isn’t free at all, it could cost you your business!
If you still go the free route:
If you go the free route that is totally fine but you will still need to purchase a domain name since the domain AMTA and ABMP gives you is to long and Google will not recognize it. For the time being, if you do not want to start a website that cost, you can still purchase your domain from Siteground.
Siteground has the highest ratings on the internet for there speed, customer service, and they’re straight forward pricing.
Do not use GoDaddy, I used GoDaddy for 2 years and had a terrible experience with the customer service and every time I tried to log into my account GoDaddy’s main page was always locking up. Godaddy kills you with price spikes, I had my first domain with Godaddy first year $9.99 second year $24.99 and the third year would have been $49.00
Final thoughts on free websites
For massage therapy students and professionals, I would play around with the free websites AMTA and ABMP give you since it’s free. When you are ready to start your own massage business, it’s important that you have a professional, responsive (website can be viewed on all devices) website that you have full access to and can make any modifications you want.
Going forward with Siteground
If you decided to take the leap toward starting a successful massage business then let me introduce you to Siteground
Once you have WordPress installed it’s time to find a theme
From you dashboard click on appearance then themes from there you can type in the search engine spa and health. You will have a wide variety of free WordPress themes to choose from. Free themes are just fine but if you want something unique then you will need to purchase what is called a premium theme.
This is how you find themes from the back office of your new WordPress website, it’s OK to feel intimidated just remember learning is fun.
The click Themes:
Once in themes type in spa or health, or health and spa (doesn’t really matter)
Then you will see thousands of themes to choose from, go with something that speaks to your just make sure it is responsive! You could potentially loose business if your site does not show up on phones. This is why I’m not a fan of the free sites AMTA and ABMP provide. The majority of people will be using a phone to search so you better make sure your massage website will compress for any size device.
Free themes are perfectly fine and easy but if you want to stand out, you may want to invest in a premium theme. With the purchase of a premium theme you can customize everything so you know your massage business website will not look anything like your competitors.
There are advantages to having a premium theme:
- Tech support
- Free updates
- Your site will stand out
- You will have the ability to modify the theme more to your taste
If you want a great premium theme I would check out Elegant Themes and look at the theme Divi.
Keep it simple
I keep saying it over and over but truly for your sanity, keep it simple in the beginning all you need to get your site up and ready for business is:
- Home page
- Services page
- Blog page
- About me page
- Contact page
These 5 pages will give you all the fuel you’ll need to get your massage business up and running. I suggest once you find a theme you like, see if there are any YouTube videos walking you through how to customize it. Each theme is slightly different and if it’s all new to you, watching a video wouldn’t hurt.
My first website I built from scratch and it took awhile but it was really cool once I was done and I felt proud of what I had accomplished. You do not need any experience when creating a website with WordPress but I would watch a few YouTube videos to help you out.
Once you have your initial pages up, it’s time to start applying SEO and optimize each page. Please enjoy this free keyword list you should incorporate in your massage website to help it rank fast.Your home page is where you will see your latest post like your blog page. Your services page need to to be clear and to the point:
- What modalities do you offer
- What do you charge
- What type of payment do you except
- Do you take insurance/HSA/FSA
- Do you have online booking
- Hours of operation
This sounds like a lot but you can easily fit this onto one page, if you prefer you can have you office location on the contact page. It’s all up to your preference. If you offer online booking I would make that bottom visible on all the pages, you would do this with a widget. You want to make it as easy as possible for a client to see exactly where they need to book.
I also think it is a good idea to have all your forms available online so new clients can print and have them ready ahead of time. I would either make a separate page with all your forms or add it to the bottom of your service page.
Forms you will want to include:
- New client release form
- Prenatal form
- Minor form
- Medical release form
- Cancellation policy
- Off-site event forms
About me page
This is your time to shine, tell the world who you are and why your business rocks! Talk about your education background, talk about anything relevant to your career as a massage therapist. You want to be personal but it needs to be professional, the about me page is the second most viewed page on anyone’s website so make it a good one and include a photo of yourself. One photo is just fine, it could be a head shot or a action shot of you massaging, something just not Instagram selfies.
You can make the contact page a simple collect email page or you can have all your business information on it as well. You could include a Google map to your location, hours of operation, and your office phone number. I find the maps are helpful so I always include one on my sites.
To get a template for a Google map section for your business I would visit Tyler.com this is a free site and you can download as many templates as you like to make your own customize massage website. Tyler also has dozens of YouTube video’s with step by step institutions if you want to make your own custom website. This is time consuming but it’s really cool to have a killer website you created, it’s something to be proud of.
Growing a massage business is work but it is so worth the effort! The steps you need to be successful in your massage therapy career are laid out like this:
- Specialize in something
- Make a killer website
- Create a brand
- Market to your audience
- Know your worth and price accordingly
Be sure to check out my other pages to find some useful tips on marketing, finding the right client, and the best equipment to get you started! Good luck on your journey to a rewarding career as a Massage Therapist!