The Best OT Websites of 2018!
We all know that a great occupational therapy website can completely transform your business—but let’s be real: creating and maintaining a website can be intimidating.
Many of us set a plan to create or upgrade our websites, but then another year goes by before we know it.
Inspiration goes a long way, though, and I firmly believe that seeing how others have showcased occupational therapy on their own websites can motivate us to make improvements on our own end!
That’s why I decided to create the annual Best OT Website Contest.
Each year, I ask OT businesses across the world to submit their websites for consideration—and for the chance to win a prize!
Then, in November, I enlist the help of the fantastic marketing team at WebPT, who graciously help select the best OT website submission.
Each year, I update this article to feature the contest’s most recent winner, while also showcasing runners up and previous years’ winners.
My goals for creating the Best OT Website Contest are to reward innovative OT businesses around the globe for investing in their marketing, and also to help inspire us all, and help us learn more about goes into making a great OT website—so we can hopefully learn some tips for improving our own sites!
If you’re looking for tips on how to make the best OT Website for your business, you can scroll down to the bottom to learn more!
Without further ado...let’s see who won in the Best OT Website of 2018!
The 2018 Best OT Website Contest winner: Karen Gilbert
The judges at WebPT chose Karen Gilbert Occupational Therapy and Consulting as the top occupational therapy practice website of 2018!
I love how clear and compelling the copy is on this website, and hope you find inspiration from it as well!
Karen was nice enough to answer some questions about the website creation process for us:
How much time and effort went into building your site?
I spent about a month fine-tuning the copy using work I had done during a 12-week “How to Build a Private Practice” course a year prior. The course had covered branding basics, writing in a way that speaks to potential clients, and developing a web presence, so I had laid the foundation for the website on paper before pulling it all together online. Reading copywriting articles about how to ruthlessly edit for better quality content and online readability was also really helpful.
I worked together with a talented web designer and brand strategist, mostly through email and phone calls, over another four to six weeks before launching the website. She made the copy come alive on the page and up-leveled the presentation of ideas into something I couldn’t have envisioned on my own.
She had given me direction about which pages to include on the website before I finalized the copy as well. Having guidance from someone who not only has knowledge of current website design practices—and also was committed to designing a site that visually represented my practice and spoke to the people I work with—was invaluable.
What ongoing maintenance does the site require?
My website is built on Wordpress, so I regularly log in to update plug-ins, themes, and Wordpress itself so my site stays up-to-date and secure. (This is less complicated than it sounds! You, too, can learn to do this.)
I edit existing pages as needed, such as updating details of upcoming groups/workshops, my own continuing education, new social media links, and ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) updates. (For example, last year, Sarah Lyon recommended that I add my location and name/address/phone number on the front page of my site so people could find me more easily.)
I also add new pages and posts, such as “The Art and Science of Everyday Living: an Interview Series with Innovative Occupational Therapists,” when I have time and inspiration strikes, or when there is an evolution in a service I offer. A website is definitely an ever-changing work in progress, but you can start with the basic information people want to know about you and your practice and build beyond that at your own pace.
How has having a great website impacted your therapy practice?
The website essentially acts as a self-selection tool. My practice is mainly based on self-referrals. When someone calls and tells me the website really resonated with them, the problems they are seeking support around are usually things I can help with and my approach is a good fit for. It serves as an initial point of connection and allows people to better understand how occupational therapy and the services I offer may be of benefit to them.
Here are the 2018 runners up:
And here are previous winners:
What makes a great OT website?
Location is one of the first things patients look for on a website. They want to know if it is realistic for them to drive to you on a regular basis.
Google also really wants to know where you are located, so it can connect you with the right searchers.
If possible, try to include your location throughout your site. Ideally, you should have it in your copy above the fold (meaning the part of your website that appears in the browser window without the user needing to scroll).
One way to ensure your location appears on all pages, without being intrusive, is to put your your Name, Address, and Phone (your “NAP”) in your footer.
Here’s an example of how our 2017 contest winner did this:
Clear practice area
Most people searching for OTs are aware that there are different types of therapy practices, so they’ll often try to self-filter their search engine results by searching for “Pediatric OT” or “OT for Kids” or “Hand Therapy.”
I know this is simple, but don’t forget to clearly identify your practice area on your website. You want your ideal customers to arrive to your site and be able to tell within seconds that you provide the services they need. Here’s another spot where our 2017 contest winner shines.
Clear presentation of problems they solve
It is so important to communicate the value of your services without using jargon. I think many of us are great at doing this in person, but when it comes to writing copy for our websites, we tend to sound academic.
When you create your own site, be sure clearly describe your different therapy offerings in language that is clear and easy to understand.
Check out how Karen Gilbert’s site mentions how she can help clients.
I’ve also created a checklist for a great OT website!
Make sure your website is “secure”
Before a customer does any scrolling, make sure can they tell:
What type of therapy you provide
Where you are located
How to contact you
Ensure your images aren’t too massive. Search engines penalize slow webpages, and sites large image file sizes load slowly
Include an “about” section where people can learn more about you and your business. Clients like to know the people who care for them. Include pictures of you and your staff if possible!
Keep your website fresh! Make it a goal to work on your website once a month. Google loves to see that you are actively making it better and your clients will appreciate the up-to-date information!
Be sure to incorporate these practices into your site, then enter the Best Occupational Therapy Website Contest in 2019!
The 2019 Best Website Contest
I hope you will consider submitting your website to our contest! It doesn’t have to be a perfect website; this contest is all about learning from one another!
Even if you submitted your website during 2017 or 2018, feel free to re-submit!
Rules and procedures for 2019
Website must be submitted by Nov. 1st, 2019.
The therapy practice DOES NOT have to be solely an OT practice (for example, your practice may also offer PT and SLP), but OT must be among its offered services.
This contest is for therapy practices only. (No OT resource sites.)
International submissions are welcome! However, the website must be able to be translated into English.
Websites will be filtered into the top five by Sarah Lyon at OT Potential, and then the top website will be chosen by WebPT.
Winner will be contacted by Nov. 15th, 2018.
In order to claim your title and prize, you must be willing to answer some basic questions about your website (how you built it, who wrote your copy, etc.) by Nov. 30th.
The winner will be made public on Dec. 9th.
What the winner will receive
GLORY: Be featured on the OT Potential website (and hopefully receive an uptick in clicks to your website!)
MONEY: $500 from OT Potential!
The SATISFACTION of helping fellow therapists who are looking for inspiration in keeping their own websites current and effective!
The JOY of knowing that you will make the patient experience better for clients across the country as your site raises the bar for countless websites!
Submit your website today!
One more shout out to our judges!
I quickly realized in the first year that I am too biased to be the final judge. After all, I know many of you from our OT Entrepreneurs FB Group, and found myself rooting for you to win!
Thank you again to the WebPT Marketing Team for being willing to jump in and lend their expertise to the final judging!
I love talking about websites! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!