When people search for something online they are looking for information. The internet is all about information. People may have a problem or issue and they are looking for a solution. Content is what drives search engines. The more pages you have on your website, the more opportunities search engines have to find you. Search engines are in the business of finding the information that people want. It is also what builds trust with the reader/potential client especially online. When people find that information on your website, they will trust you from the start. Because massage is such a personal experience, trust is essential in building a relationship with your clients. The visitor will have more respect for you. You will look like the expert when you give them what they are looking for! That is all done with writing content!
Creating quality content is key to creating a ‘website that works’ and finding your ideal client. You don’t need to be a writer, but you do need to be able to write down what you say to people all the time anyway. It is just what you tell people on the phone or on the massage table.
Since people are searching for a service that will help them with whatever problem they have, they want to know if you can help them. There are many reasons why people come for massage, and there are many different styles and techniques that you know. Most people don’t know about the different styles of massage and the different styles mean nothing if it isn’t connected to how it can help them.
Creating in-depth content that tells a story of who you are, what you do and how you and massage are going to help solve their problem is what will help build trust.
To build a ‘website that works’ you need to have at least 30 pages of content to start with and it is also necessary to always be adding more. You are probably feeling overwhelmed right now about what you are going to write. Be comforted that the writing doesn’t have to be perfect,
text book edited information. Just think about the things that you say every day to clients and start writing it all down. It does have to be grammatically correct and typo free. Start thinking about what it is that you really do with clients, something beyond what classes you have taken and techniques that you know. Just write the way you talk to people. Keep it simple. The first few pages might be difficult to put together but the more you do, the easier it gets – honest!
Here are some ideas for your first few pages. With the first three suggestions, go back to the previous chapter where there is a whole section to help you with each page:
- Home Page
- ‘About Me’ Page
- List of services, prices, office hours, contact information
- Forms – intake forms, insurance verification forms etc.
- Policies and Procedures – late fees, cancellation fees, policy on tipping
- Frequently asked questions page – Do I have to get undressed for a massage? What do I wear? What do I need to bring?
- Suggestions for getting the most out of your massage
- Gift certificates
- The address, phone number and contact info should be on every page, preferably on the top or bottom
Writing articles (pages) on your website is about attracting search engines and also potential clients. Here is a list of some suggested topics for pages:
- Fibromyalgia and massage
- Massage and headaches
- Massage and muscle strains/sprains
- What to do if you are in a Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC)
- Beyond touch – what massage is really doing (not the typical benefits of massage)
- Back pain and massage
- Neck pain and massage
- Tendonitis and massage
- Plantar fasciitis and massage
- Pain – the message from our bodies
- Water for health
- Stretches for everyday health
- Healthy computing
- Write pages about the various types of massage that you do yourself and explain how you use them and why you use them.
- Taking time for yourself
- Stress – what it really is, and how to deal with it more effectively.
- What to do before and after a massage for continued benefits.
Here’s a really big list of more ideas for website content.
Take some of your most frequently asked questions or comments and start writing about them.
- How do muscles work
- What is a knot?
- Stretches for different conditions
- Guides for setting up desks for best posture and the least amount of strain
- Exercise and massage
- Yoga and massage
- Breathing exercises
- Sports and massage
- Stress and what it Really means
- What really happens when you are injured and when scar tissue begins to form.
- What are the different types of massage that you don’t do but people often ask about
- Craniosacral, Rolfing always make people curious.
- Have a page on music and how music can help the process of relaxation and find affiliate programs through amazon.com and make money selling music to clients through your website.
- Create a page on various massage tools that you might recommend to clients and sell those also. Talk about how to use them or why you find them helpful.
- Write about doing couples massage and sell a DVD on it to people there who are interested. You don’t even need to have your own classes on this but it can also be another service you offer. See Couples massage info on my website.
- Write about the meaning of touch and what touch can do for people.
- Have a section for other massage therapists. Get involved in your community. If you are reading this, you are already a leader in your community so share what you know and have learned. You can find products to sell to other massage therapists in your area.
- Share what you know about essential oils and aromatherapy even if you don’t offer that service, but particularly if you do! Sell oils and lotions through amazon.com so you don’t have to carry products. You will also get sales from people out of state who aren’t clients.
- Become informed on the latest research but be sure you know how to interpret research. Just because there is a study done, does not make it so. Find the section on research and resources on my site www.massageschoolnotes.com
- Create a self massage page for clients.
- Have stretches for various ailments that you work with if it is within your scope of practice.
Writing about yourself and massage will also help educate the public as to what massage can and can’t do. Educating people is not just about spewing out information – it is about making a connection with people to find out what they really need. It will help your readers make a more informed decision about choosing you and will also help you find clients who are compatible with your beliefs and values. Doing so will help you create a practice that is congruent with who you are and increase your chance of success. It will help you attract new clients and keep clients coming more often. That really is how the so called “Law of Attraction” works. It is being in integrity with who you are.
With all the recent changes with Google search, it is now more important than ever to create rich content. Google made four major changes and many other changes to their search parameters which affected many websites in 2011/2012. You can see all the updates to the Google Algorithms here: www.moz.com The big change back in early 2011 was the first Panda update. Panda is about the quality of content on your website. It was named after one of their engineers – not the cute, cuddly Panda in the zoo! They are always trying to find the highest quality content for their users. If you just keep that in mind it will keep you out of the zoo!
Overwhelmed by Content
The process of building content can feel overwhelming so just remember – it is done gradually over time. Each page should have at least 300- 500 words, more is better. There is more evidence that Google likes even longer content. Search engines look for more recent content. One of the tricks in writing content is to write just the way you talk to people in person. It is more personable and readable too. It is very important that your content be original and not copy pasted from other online sources. Never copy even a sentence or two from another site. Don’t even try to get away with paraphrasing. Google in particular does not like duplicate content. They only want the best original information.
The other part of writing content is about search engines and getting them to come to your website and to list your site in their listings. Every time you create a page, you need to tell the search engines that you just added a new page or updated a page. When you create your first page, you need to tell Google and Bing that your site is out there and the best way to do that is by creating an xml sitemap and ‘pinging’ them with that information when you build a page.
A ‘ping’ is like a little dinner bell saying come and get it! That is why it is better to create as much content as you can to keep the dinner bell ringing! You will learn about xml sitemaps in the next chapter so don’t worry!
So now the technical part of writing content which I touched on already in the section on meta tags is worth bringing up again because it is SO important.
Your headline of your page needs to be the right combination of keywords and attraction getting words. So your basic pages (about me, services/fees, etc.) are usually pretty straight forward but be sure to use the word massage (the main keyword or if it is a specific technique or whatever) and then use a descriptive word if you can. Sometimes you just can’t. This is more important for other informational based pages, like on the different kinds of diseases or conditions that you work with, or particularly important if you are blogging.
So start with an idea for your page – say your services page. When people land on the page, the first thing they will see is the headline of the page. It will have a big impact on who goes on to actually read the page or find out more about your services. So it will say something like
‘Massage Services’ or ‘Therapeutic Massage’. You can’t really embellish that much.
Let’s try other pages like one on fibromyalgia and massage. Start with the keywords
‘Fibromyalgia Massage’ and then think of something descriptive that will really make them want to read the page….
- You don’t have to live in pain
- Your answer to pain and fatigue
- Breaking the pain cycles
- Becoming human again
- How to live a more pain free life (using how to is really about telling them the benefits of massage.)
The headline should always be done in the H1 tag. The H1 tag is <h1>Your Headline Here</h1>. You will have to figure out how to make that happen in whatever website system you are using. It is usually already done for you in some of them. This is one part of search engine optimization.
Some other things about the headline:
- Keep the headline less than 80 characters, 40 is best. (Spaces and punctuation count as characters.)
- If your headline is longer than one line, “break it” so that the two (or more) lines are about equal length, especially if you choose the “centered” alignment. Use the <br> tag.
- Include your Specific Keyword once, not more than twice
- Do not use all CAPS. Use a combination of Caps and lower case for more impact.
- Normally headlines do not contain periods, as they are not complete sentences.
However, they may have commas, dashes, question marks or exclamation marks to make people want to keep reading!
The body of your page will be a combination of keywords and compelling copy. Try to use your keyword a few times throughout the page. You can also use it too much so be careful. If you are using WordPress there is a plugin called SEO by Yoast that will help you analyze your meta tags and the body of your article for keywords. SBI! has that feature too.
Using links in your page is also a part of SEO. You need to make sure that all of your pages are linked together. You can link out to a few other resources if you really want to, but remember that takes people away from your website. Getting other websites to link to you is the last part of getting the search engines attention and is talked about more in the next chapter!
If you are intimidated by writing content, just take one topic at a time and start writing. Get feedback on my Fan page on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MassagePracticeBuilder and look at what other people are writing about. Just step back when it gets to be too much and do something you like until you feel more connected and relaxed.