I was speaking with a therapist today who specializes in PPD and she was lamenting her online presence. The conversation inspired me to give all of you a few tips, since it happens I know a thing or two about the internet world. Herewith, my recommendations to all of you:
1) If you don’t have a website, you need to fix that problem ASAP. It’s not hard. There are plenty of free and low-cost website providers. There’s just no excuse in this day and age to not have a website. This is where women are. This is where they search for help. And they prefer to be able to get to know you a little, in private, online, before they call you. Get a website. DO. IT.
2) Don’t worry about making your site especially fancy or expensive. It doesn’t have to be professionally designed or high end. I started Postpartum Progress in 2004 for 25 bucks. The point of your site is to let the pregnant or new mom know who you are, where your office is located, if you’re taking patients, what kind of insurance you take, if you have a sliding scale, what kinds of services you offer and if you hold support groups. Most importantly, she needs to see your bio. You need to explain to her what your specific training is related to PPD. Have you trained with Karen Kleiman at the Postpartum Stress Center? Say so. Have you taken PSI’s 2-day certification training, or other specific training? Say so. Have you done a residency with a women’s mental health program, or some sort of reproductive psychiatry continuing ed? Say so. Make it clear what your real and true experience with PPD is.
P.S. If you haven’t done specialized training of any sort, I highly suggest you get to it. PPD advocates like me always prefer to send moms to people we know have made the effort to get special training and who have treated more than a handful of women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
3) Don’t cram your homepage with too much information. If you have 400 links and a gazillion words with no paragraph breaks and 15 different tabs, you’ve overdone it. Try and crank it back a notch.
4) Do NOT play music on your website. People despise websites that auto-play music. I promise you this is true, so don’t do it. It’s an internet no-no.
5) Don’t use silly clip art. It doesn’t help anyone. And don’t copy and paste (read: steal) pictures from other people’s websites, including mine. That can get you into big trouble because it violates copyright law. I pay for every image on my site. Do use photography if you can; well done and relevant images can always make a website look better. If you don’t want to pay, there are some places you can find free or very low cost photography to download like MorgueFile, stock.xchng and iStockPhoto.
6) Show your mug. If you’re willing, put your own picture on your website. Let them see your face. It makes you human.
7) Link to Postpartum Progress. In your resources section, if you have one, be sure you’re linking to Postpartum Progress at http://www.postpartumprogress.com. Seriously. She knows and trusts us, so if she sees you know us too, that can only help.
8) Don’t start and abandon a blog. Do not start a blog on your website if you’re only going to write in it 4 times a year. Four times a year does not a blog make. If you plan to be consistent and share great information, go for it. Otherwise, it doesn’t look good to have a blog on your site that hasn’t been updated since 2010.
9) Check your website every so often and make sure it’s up to date. I was doing a review of treatment programs around the country, and more than a few of their websites had problems, including broken links and incorrect contact info. I know it’s hard to always keep everything correct, believe me, but just try your best.
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