July 18, 2023

Episode 21:

How to Choose the Right Website Platform for Your Therapy Practice with Courtney Vickery

In this episode, Courtney will share with us the advantages and disadvantages of the most common website platforms: Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress.

Episode 21: How to Choose the Right Website Platform for Your Therapy Practice with Courtney Vickery

Show Notes

Kayla: Welcome back everyone to The Designer Practice Podcast. I’m your host, Kayla Das.

In today’s episode, we’ll be diving deep into the differences between the three most common website platforms and how to choose which one best fits your private practice goals and vision. If you’re at the beginning of your private practice journey and you want to choose a website platform for your practice website, but you have no idea where to start. Or your current website platform just isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you will definitely find some valuable insights in this episode.

Today I’m sitting down with Courtney Vickery, dietician, website designer and owner of Declet Designs, who’s going to share with us the advantages and disadvantages of the three most common platforms Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.

Hi Courtney. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad that you’re here today with us.

Courtney: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Kayla: Yeah, and you know, I love talking about websites and I know that not everyone shares that same excitement as I do, but it’s definitely one of my favourite topics. And as a WordPress user myself, I’m quite biased for the platform. But in all fairness, I’ve never used anything but. So, I’m super excited to learn more about the differences between the platforms and how they can support listeners with their private practice goals and vision.

Courtney: Yeah. I am also probably a little biased, but at the same time I started out on Wix, so I’m happy to help people. I’m actually helping a client this Monday with their Wix site. So, I’m open to helping people where they are.


Kayla: Amazing. So, before we dive in, please tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, a little bit about what you do, your services and basically your own private practice journey as a dietician.

Courtney: Yeah. So, I’m in Athens, Georgia in the US and I have a little bit of a different story because my first degree is not in nutrition. It’s actually political science because I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I worked in the political science field for a year doing, basically FEC, campaign reporting every quarter, so basically just financial data all the time. And I didn’t study nutrition to begin with because I am an eating disorder survivor myself, and I was actually in treatment at the time and didn’t want to study nutrition. At the time I was in treatment. So, after I was in recovery, I decided to go back and I got my dietetics degree. I stayed for my master’s in internship to become a dietician.

So since then, I’ve worked inpatient neurosurg floors and med surg were my main floors. And then I worked outpatient as a wellness dietician, and then I was promoted to director of corporate health services. So it was over three departments in a wellness center at the hospital. And then I left in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic because I needed to protect my mental health and because I have just always wanted to have my own business. My whole family is full of entrepreneurs. I have worked since I was a kid basically, and even as a kid, I had my own lemonade stand and other little businesses. So, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

So, I opened my private practice in 2020 and I work mostly with eating disorders and intuitive eating, weight inclusive approach. And through all of these things I’ve always dabbled in websites. We mentioned Wix earlier. I remember when Wix was just like a portfolio website. I can still picture my portfolio website I created for grad school and the teachers were just amazed that I made a website. And so, I’ve just always been interested in that side of things and I’ve always helped with the marketing and whatever position I’ve been in and designing every aspect of that.

And so, when I started my private practice, I started getting people asking me for help with their websites and their designs and their logos. And so, I started taking courses to learn more about it and I opened my studio in 2021 actually. And ever since then I’ve just been helping weight inclusive dieticians and body image coaches and some therapists with their websites and branding, and it’s been a lot of fun.

Kayla: That’s fabulous and I love that you shared your experience of when you created a Wix website. I remember back, I don’t even know, I might have been like 15 at the time, and just for the sake of creating one, I created one with Weebly. I don’t even know if Weebly–

Courtney: Oh yeah.

Kayla: –Is still around.

Courtney: I think it is, yeah.

Kayla: Oh. Okay. Yeah. But it was something that, again, very similar to you, more that portfolio website. And I remember putting all of my pictures, for listeners who don’t know, I used to be a wrestler actually–

Courtney: Oh wow.

Kayla: — in high school and one year in university. And anyway, yeah, all of my wrestling pictures went up on my portfolio website on my Weebly. So very similar to you, I’ve dabbled into the website world, really earlier in life. So maybe that’s why we love websites so much.

Courtney: Yes, definitely.

Why It’s Important to Have a Website

Kayla: So, for our listeners, tell us a little bit about why it’s important to have a website for their private practice?

Courtney: Yeah, so I talked to obviously a lot of private practice owners about this topic because I think especially when you are so used to getting referrals, if you’re very referral based, you probably might think, “Why would I need a website? I’m doing okay.” But today in this world, we just all need that online presence. And on the other side of things, if you aren’t referral based and you really focus heavily on social media, then the thing I always tell clients is you have no control over that. For example, you know you could have a thousand, 2000, 3000 followers and 10 people might see your post or your story.

Whereas if you have a website that is working for you 24/7, it’s always there. You can always improve your SEO. You can always build an email list where you’re going to send an email to people and you know they’re going to get it, whereas you don’t know if they’re going to see your social media post. And I also like to say that you own a little corner of the internet. That’s your street cred. It’s your real estate. It’s where you refer people when you tell them about your business. And it also helps people trust you more and they trust your brand more when they see that you have a professional website that explains exactly what you do, who you work with, and it saves you time and money. Because you aren’t having to explain all of that on a phone call every day. You’re not having to sit and answer phone calls all day, or even emails all day, because you can say, check out my website, or they can already have done that, and they have the answer to their question.

And then even beyond that, having the scheduler embedded or a contact form, that saves you time too, because again, you’re not having to do the phone tag or emailing back and forth. They can just immediately contact you, tell you what they need or what they need help with, and also schedule a call with you if that’s how you want to do your process.

Kayla: Yeah. And I love that you connected it back to having street credibility. Because when it comes to private practices, sometimes we think, “Do I need to have a website?” But the truth is that even though registering your business is the credibility you need for the government. A website is the credibility you need for your clients because clients view the website as almost your virtual office is what I call it.

Courtney: Mm-hmm.

Kayla: Because they look, they see what services you offer. They learn a little bit about you. They learn a little bit about your approaches. They might see some images of your therapy practice or whatnot. I know for me as a consumer myself, if someone doesn’t have a website I think, are these people legitimate? Even though it doesn’t take a lot to buy a website domain. It just creates that initial credibility.

Courtney: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It makes you question whether or not it’s a real person almost. Because before maybe people could go and call someone and talk to someone on the phone, and that may not be the case these days. And if you are busy in your practice, it just depends on how you have things set up. You may not have that ability.

So again, it just saves you so much time and it makes you start to develop that trust because they already start to know you and they learn about your story and how you work with people. And like you said, including pictures of your space is so important because going to a therapist or any healthcare professional can cause a lot of anxiety. And I know I like to see where I’m going before I go. So that can also help with that.

I have an example, I was looking recently for an equine or horse therapy program in my area, and someone had posted in a Facebook group that they did that, but they had no website, not even a Facebook page. And I wanted to know what were their credentials, what was the program like? How much did it cost? Where is it? And I then went and found someone who had a website and had pictures and showed people that work there and explained their process. And I was able to email them and they reached out immediately. So, it’s that part where you don’t almost seem like a legitimate practice or a real person if we aren’t able to see and understand and know what you do.

3 Most Common Website Platforms

Kayla: A hundred percent. I agree completely. So now can you give us a little overview about the three most common platforms?

Courtney: Yeah, so we were talking about Wix, WordPress and Squarespace.


So, I’ll start with Wix because that seems to be the one that people start out with the most because it is the easiest for the most part. It’s cloud-based. It’s very intuitive, drag and drop interface. You don’t have to do any code or anything like that. It has a lot of customizable templates and features. So, you can have a blog, you can have a contact form, you can have an email list. But the part where it kind of lacks a little bit is the fact that it’s all in one. So, if it’s all in one, it can’t be great at everything. And the biggest thing is the responsiveness. So even if it looks responsive on your screen, it may not be responsive on someone else’s device. And that’s a common thing I see with Wix and you can’t really have the ability to change that as much as you could on other platforms.


So, speaking of that WordPress is most of the websites on the internet, I think it’s over 40 to 50% actually are on WordPress because it offers so much flexibility and control over the design and function of the website. I mean, if you can dream it, you can do it pretty much on WordPress. And this is for people who want really highly customizable websites and have a little bit of technical knowledge or if they want to hire it out. But I think that scares people because they think, I don’t need all of that. And you may not, and that’s why I was saying earlier, I don’t discriminate against other platforms because if Wix is working for you and you feel comfortable there and your practice is growing, then continue what you’re doing until you need something different. But a lot of the times people do need something different. So, for example, the client that is on Wix that I’m helping this week, wanted a particular feature that they saw on one of my WordPress websites, and I had to explain, well, this was a special plugin and code that I did on this site to make this happen. I can’t necessarily make it happen on your site exactly the same way I can try. So, there are limitations to what it can do and how it can look.


And then Squarespace is kind of a mixture of the two really to me. It has the drag and drop, but you do need to know a little bit of code to be able to make it do what you want it to do. But it is drag and drop for the most part, a little bit less customization. You can blog on it. I’ve seen some beautiful Squarespace websites, but always joke, I can tell as soon as I land on a website what it was built with. And then I play this game where I inspect the code myself in the browser and I see if I’m right.

But I can tell if it’s Wix. There’s been one time where a Wix website tripped me up. It did not look like one and it was really well done, so bravo to that person. But I can usually just kind of tell based on the spacing and the responsiveness, especially if it’s Wix.

Using Wordpress Themes

WordPress it doesn’t have to be all code, doesn’t have to be complicated. I love using Divi as a builder that I like. I love using Elementor. Beaver Builder is a really good and simple one. So, you don’t have to use straight code to make a site. And then the last thing I want to point out about WordPress is that when we talk about WordPress, we’re talking about wordpress.org. I’ve had so many clients come to me and they’re like, I’m already on WordPress. I just need you to edit my site. But they’re on wordpress.com and they’re not the same. You don’t have the same flexibility and customization on wordpress.com as you do wordpress.org. So just a little note by that one.

Kayla: That’s good to know. I actually don’t know if mine is on .com or .org because I have it hosted with a hosting platform. But I want to go back to where you mentioned about Divi and Elementor. Sometimes people find that when they start with WordPress, it’s really complicated because of the code and because of just the way it looks. But if you buy a theme that goes with it, whether it’s Elementor or Divi, those can really make the drag and drop aspects to it, that makes it super easy. And I don’t try to overcomplicate it. I’m sure I could if I wanted to, but I just, you know, bought Divi and went to town.

Courtney: And the great thing about Divi is it has a lifetime license. So you don’t ever have to pay for it again. And you can use it on as many sites as you want. Elementor’s great and I actually used it before I used Divi, but you do have to pay like a yearly fee. And if you design sites for other people, then that’s a whole other discussion of how it works.

Considerations when Choosing a Website Platform

Kayla: When you think of these three platforms, are there any specific considerations that listeners should factor into their decision when they choose a specific platform for their private practice?

Courtney: Yes, so I think. You need to consider obviously, money and time. Those are the top two things because these are all different when it comes to how much money and time it’s going to take you. So, for example, Wix, it’s going to be easier, so it might save you time in the short run. But again, if you plan to blog or want to do better with your SEO and helping people find you on Google search. Then if you’re going to eventually move to WordPress, I do tell people, just go ahead and start on WordPress. It doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be the most amazing website ever. It just needs to work, and you can grow from there if you’re just getting started. So again, because Wix isn’t as customizable, we’ve already said all those things. And then the only other part to think about is the HIPAA compliant part, for the US people, not sure if Canada has a version of HIPAA?

Kayla: We do it’s PIPEDA.

Courtney: Okay, gotcha. So, you just want to make sure that what you’re doing and with the way you’re communicating is compliant for that. So, for example, on my WordPress websites for clients, I have them use their EMR or their EHR. So, for example, Practice Better or Simple Practice for their contact or their scheduler if they can, just because you have that extra layer of security. So you can do that much more easily on Squarespace and WordPress than Wix because Wix wants you to use everything that’s in Wix. It’s all in one, and it’s kind of like that saying of putting all your eggs in one basket. It’s not necessarily the best approach. You want to kind of have things separated out a bit so that you can find the software that is best at what it does because you can’t be good at everything.

Then for Squarespace, it is a little more expensive in my opinion. And again, to get some of the features that you want, you’re going to have to pay more. So, for example, if you want to use their Squarespace or Acuity, I think is the other name for their appointment scheduling, you have to pay more for that. So unless you’re using Acuity for your notes as well. Then you may be paying for multiple platforms and it’s going to end up costing you more in the long run.

And then coming back to WordPress again, you can make that however you want it because you can literally integrate anything that you want with it. But there is a steep learning curve. If software makes your brain hurt and you don’t want to do this at all, then you have to decide do I have enough time or do I have enough money? Because if I have enough time, I can learn it. If I have enough money, I can hire it out. If I don’t have either, then I probably need to start with something like Wix or Squarespace.

Website Platform and Blogging

Kayla: Yeah, that makes complete sense. The one thing that I’ve heard, and I would love to hear your feedback on it, was that certain platforms are better for blogging than others. I am someone who loves blogging and actually teaches therapists how to blog so that they can build their SEO. So, if you were to think about the blogging capabilities, what would be each of these platforms strengths and weaknesses in connection to that?

Courtney: Mm-hmm. I’m going to sound like a WordPress cheerleader. So, if you were in WordPress and you are writing a blog post and you’re using a plugin like Yost or Rank Math, you are able to plug in the keyword that you want after you’ve done some keyword research and it will tell you how well you’re doing as far as the structure of that blog post, the headings that you’re using. Do you have the keyword enough times or too many times. Did you add the alt description to your images? And then do you have enough internal and external links that are relevant to the keyword that you’re doing?

And Wix, as far as I know in Squarespace, can’t do that. They don’t have those plugins. So, you could do that on your own, I guess, if you really wanted to. But the plugins and things make it so much easier and makes it so much more efficient so that you’re saving time and you’re able to write more content and when you write more content than you’re going to be able to rank higher, faster.

Kayla: Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard too, that WordPress is, at least for the blogging world, the golden platform. But I’ve also heard that Squarespace has improved some of their capabilities. Now they’re not to the level of WordPress yet. But I heard Squarespace is–

Courtney: I’ve heard that too. Yeah.

Kayla: –It’s trying to improve its capabilities.

Courtney: Yeah. And when people were trying to choose, again, we talked about time and money. But I also encourage people go to a free trial and log in to these platforms. I do that all the time with any kind of software. I was doing it this weekend, I was looking for an editing software and I just did the free trial with all of them. Because it doesn’t matter if I make a spreadsheet and one has a feature I like better than the other, if I’d go in and the entire user-interface is not intuitive to me, I’m going to hate it. So, play around with all of them and see which one feels the best to you.

What to Consider when Outsourcing Your Website Design

Kayla: That makes sense. Are there any considerations that if therapists know they want to outsource their website, so they know they want to get a designer like you or someone in their community that they would like to have designed their websites. Are there any considerations that they should think about when they choose a platform for the purpose of outsourcing it?

Courtney: Yes. So again, I think they need to decide are they wanting to maintain it or do they want someone else to maintain it? And there’s a lot of different ways to do that, but I’ll explain kind of how I maintain it for my clients. They can maintain it themselves. I think sometimes people, like for example, will look at the hosting piece of WordPress and be like, “Well, I can get a flywheel hosting plan for $15, and that’s much cheaper than what you’re charging.” But I’m not charging you for the hosting necessarily. I’m charging you for my time to update the plugins. Because if you don’t update the plugins, you’re at a risk of being hacked. And if you’re hacked, it is not fun to be able to get your site back up and running. So, maintaining the website is very important for the security and the functionality of the website. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m running reports, making sure it’s functioning properly. I send you a monthly report and tell you everything I did like, what plugins did I update? What updates did I make to the design if you asked for those things. And just making sure that the performance of the website is going well. And with Wix you don’t have to do that, right? It’s all integrated into it. So, there are those pros and cons of, if I don’t want to have to worry about maintaining the website and I don’t want to necessarily pay someone more to maintain it for me. Then Wix would be good for that. But again, you come back to the limitations of the platform. And it’s the same for Squarespace because you can’t have like outside hosting for Squarespace. So, it’s hosted through Squarespace and you have to use what they provide for you.

Creating and Transferring Your Website to a New Platform

Kayla: Do you have any advice or insights for any listener who’s considering creating a website or maybe even transferring a website to a different platform, but they just don’t know where to start or what to do?

Courtney: Yeah. So first I would say think about what the purpose of your website is and what your goals are. Because if you aren’t sure what you’re trying to do with the website, it’s going to be a little bit chaotic. But you want to make sure that you know the purpose, the goals, and who your target audience is. Who are you talking to?

And once you do that and then you think about all the other factors we discussed about time and money and deciding what platform you want to do, because you do want to try to find a designer that works on the platform that you want to work with. Because most of us don’t work with all of them. Like, I’m not going to build a Squarespace website. I’ll do WordPress and I’ll do Wix if you want me to. But most of us aren’t going to do all of those things.

So, finding the designer and researching what platforms they use and who you would like to work with, who is in alignment with your values. That’s especially important for the clients I work with because I do only work with weight-inclusive businesses and private practices. So, if someone came to me and they’re like, I’m a weight loss dietician, then I would refer them out to someone else because it’s just not in alignment with my mission.

Then your domain name, of course. If you don’t already have one, thinking about what you want it to be. You want it to be memorable, easy to spell and relevant. And then if you aren’t doing an all-in-one web source, like Wix or Squarespace, thinking about your hosting provider, if your designer doesn’t already tell you this is who I used. So for example, like I said, I use Flywheel, but there’s some other good ones out there. And if you decided that you’re going to maintain it yourself and you want to use that hosting, then you could talk to the designer about it.

And then the content piece is the piece that’s probably the hardest for people. Is the copy and the photos. I spend so many hours looking at photos because I want to find the ones that are just right for their branding and the way that they want their website to feel. So just kind of really thinking about your content and how you want that to flow on the website and how to make it speak to the audience that you want to work with so that those people will be naturally drawn to you and your services.

And then of course we talked about SEO in thinking about how do I want people to find me? What keywords do I want them to search to find me? So for example, like I ranked number one for my private practice for the keyword Athens, Georgia nutritionist or Athens, Georgia dietician, because that is where I am. And I think sometimes people get overwhelmed because they’re like, “Well, I don’t just work in this one area I also work in…” for me in the US, like I could work with someone in New York or Pennsylvania or whatever if I’m telehealth, but you can’t kind of just throw things out into the wind. You kind of got to start somewhere and have a strategy. So, I encourage people to start locally and then expand out as you can continue to grow.

And then of course promote your website. How are you going to do that? How are you going to tell people that you exist? I know when I started my private practice, the first thing I did was email everybody in my personal email list and say, “Hey, I started a private practice. Here’s my website. If you need help or if you have anyone that you want to refer to me, I would love that.”

Kayla: You had a couple really great points there. The first one I want to talk about is you mentioned that it’s important to know which platform you want to go with and then choose a designer based on your choice, because I see a lot of therapists go out there and pick a designer and say, Hey, I’ll go with whatever they use because they found the designer. And although if that works for you, that’s fine. But if that’s a platform that ongoing, you always have to be paying out to do very small edits. That’s going to become really costly overall. Whereas if you find the platform that fits you best and your private practice vision best, and then find someone who can help you build within that platform, that way you are not outsourcing every little thing, every little edit.

Courtney: Yes.

Website and SEO

Kayla: So, I love that you talked about that point. The other point that I thought was really interesting and very relatable is, narrowing down to specific keywords because again, sometimes we want to serve everybody and get all of these clients. But what happens is we’re so broad, and this comes even down to the language, not even the SEO keyword piece. Is that because we’re so broad, nobody is relating. No one is understanding who you serve. And who you want to contact you.

And then going with that SEO piece, it’s, yeah, you have bots that are looking for specific keywords, and if you are a telehealth therapist or a virtual coach, you want to narrow down and have a strategy. And even if you do work in these other areas, it’s okay to still advertise in those areas. But, like what you said, it’s important to be number one in a specific area, because that way you’re going to get a lot of clients and then you can spend more time focusing on the other areas outside of the keywords.

Courtney: Yeah. I always tell clients, if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one.

Free Website Content Planner

Kayla: A hundred percent agree. So, I know you have a free website content planner that you would love our listeners to have access to. Can you tell us a little bit about this free resource and how it can help our listeners when they’re creating content for their website?

Courtney: Yeah, so it walks you through what we just talked about, but it also helps you to kind of think of your website as a tree a little bit, because it is, right. So, we have a site map and we want to think about where we want to put what content, the homepage, the about page, the service page, the contact page. And the planner helps you do exactly that. It helps you to figure out how do I want to structure this website so that it makes the most sense to the people that are visiting and the clients that I want to eventually reach out to me. And once you put all that together, it’s just going to make the process so much more easy and simple for you and less stressful.

Kayla: Perfect. That sounds so helpful. So to sign up for Courtney’s free Website Content Planner, please check out kayladas.com/courtneywebsiteplanner and Courtney is spelled with a U.

Or you can simply scroll down to the show notes and click on the link.

Courtney, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to join us. It was great to have you on the show and to share with us the difference between the three most common website platforms. I’ve certainly enjoyed it a lot because I love talking about websites.

Courtney: Yes, me too. Thank you so much for having me.

Kayla: Thank you everyone for tuning into today’s episode, and I hope you join me again soon on The Designer Practice Podcast.

Until next time, bye for now.

Podcast Links

Courtney’s Free Website Content Planner: kayladas.com/courtneywebsiteplanner

Free Boosting Business Community: facebook.com/groups/exclusiveprivatepracticecommunity

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