By Joe Borders,
Marriage and Family Therapist
December 13, 2018
SacWellness Is “Done”!
You read that right! SacWellness is “done”! After 1300 plus hours of work, 16,000 plus dollars, and 14 pounds gained, I have “finished” SacWellness!
Why The Quotation Marks?
Because SacWellness will never truly be “done”. This is an ongoing project that I am hoping to spend the rest of my career working on. I am going to continue working on marketing, improvements to the site, and getting the community involved with SacWellness.
So Then What Do You Mean By “Done”!?
When I say it is “done” I mean that all of the general structure of the site is set up and nothing (that I am aware of) is currently broken or buggy. It has been 5 months since we launched SacWellness, and I have been working 30 plus hours a week on improving the site, marketing, and finding and fixing bugs. There have been a lot of things I have wanted to add to the site, and as of this point, all of them are deployed and working! If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the site, you should check it out some time. I’ve done a lot of work on it and made lots of changes/upgrades.
Improvements/Additions Since We Launched
Since I started working on SacWellness I’ve made lots of changes and improvements to the site. You can find a comprehensive list of all of this on our updates and changes page. The following are a few of the major changes.
We’re Ranking In Search Engines!
It’s really hard to get a site ranking in search engines when it is new. There have been lots of studies that show that the majority of sites that show up on page one of Google searches are at least 1 year old. Getting our site to rank is going to be an ongoing process, but we’re doing pretty well! At the time of writing this post, SacWellness was showing up in the first 2 pages of google search results for 331 of the 900 keywords/keyphrases that we’re tracking. That’s really good! We’re especially happy with the fact that we’ve been showing up as the first result for “Sacramento therapist directory” for several months now.
We recently made some changes to the site that allow people to create listings for therapy and process groups. When using the search bar, users can select to search for groups or therapists. Group listings are free with any paid (or within a trial period) therapist listing. Click here to read more about group listings.
Added Multiple Office Locations
In the very beginning we did not have the ability for therapists to put multiple office locations on their listings. We fixed this and now they can add all of their locations and have them all appear on their listing.
Improved The Speed Of The Site
There are a lot of things you can do to improve your site speed. Search engines like fast sites. So we upgraded to a faster hosting option. You can test the speed of your site using gtmetrix.com. When we first launched, our home page had an average load time of 9.4 seconds….not good. After upgrading our hosting we have been at a pretty consistent 3.4 seconds. Much better! ^_^. Our next big project is going to be overhauling the site’s code in a way that will speed things up even more.
Added A “Near Me” Function To The Search Map
After searching for something on the site, users can now click a “near me” button to see listings within a certain radius of the location they are searching from.
Fixed Image Thumbnails
Our system expects featured images to be a certain size. When they aren’t it crops them in a way that sometimes looks weird. We made an upgrade that enables us to individually customize image thumbnails without changing the image that gets shown on a therapist’s listing. This was needed because lots of people have been uploading pictures with beautiful backgrounds and we didn’t want to cut them out.
Fixed Sign Up Error
Ugh! This was a nightmare! When we first launched, there was an error that was preventing people from creating listings on some Apple devices. It took a good month, but we figured it out and fixed it!….and then had a related problem pop up. After fixing the Apple problem, we found that people were getting an error message that just said “error” if they tried to create a listing with large image files. We have fixed this so that people aren’t getting the error message unless they upload REALLY large image files. Large image files are still making the listing submission process slow down, but we’re working on finding a fix for this too.
***We still have a good 10 or 15 users who signed up during this time and have not created a listing. If you ran into this error back in the days please contact us and we will help you set up your listing and give you an extended free period.***
Added Text Notifications
We recently made an addition to the site that notifies therapists via text when someone calls or emails them through their listing. This helps therapists know when someone is contacting them and gives them a better idea of how SacWellness is helping them. Read more about this and other ways to see if/how SacWellness is helping you get clients.
Groups And Guest Blog Posts Now Appear On Listings
We have had a lot of good responses from therapists in the area who are interested in guest blogging for SacWellness. We’ve had several guest bloggers already. We recently made some changes to the site so that all groups and guest blog posts written by therapists get displayed on their therapist listings. If you’re interested writing something check out our page about writing a guest blog post. We feature all guest blog posts on our front page for 15 days and include them in our social media advertising for 5 days. At the time of this writing we are averaging around 185 views per guest blog in the first 5 days of them being published.
Added “Remote Services”
Several therapists asked for the ability to specify that they offer remote services like phone sessions, video sessions, and in-home sessions. We recently added that to the site. Check out this part of our FAQ for therapists to read more about this.
A month or so ago we did some programming that allowed for us to track statistics about the site. We can now see how many listings were viewed, calls and emails sent, and websites visited from listings in any given time period. This helps us to better track our performance and improvement over time. In the month of November, 2018, we had 54 visits to websites from therapist listings, 13 phone calls, 6 emails sent to therapists, and 2,987 listing views. This is a good amount, given that we’ve only been live for 5 months! Theoretically that means SacWellness generated 19 to 73 leads for therapist members in November!
We also recently made some changes to the statistics that therapists have access to on their dashboards. Now therapists can visit their dashboards to see how many people have called or emailed them and how many people have viewed their listing and visited their website from their listing. Click the following link to read more about these statistics and how to find them in your dashboard
Pretty soon we’re going to start working on a coding overhaul that will significantly improve the speed of the site. So far our site speed seems good, but I was at my dad’s house the other day and it was going kind of slow on his IPad so yeah….We’re going to make it better!
Now that the site is “done” we can divert the money we’ve been spending on coding to advertising instead. Starting in January we are planning on initiating an AdWords campaign and tripling our advertising budget. We’ve been looking at other ways to advertise the site and are weighing some options.
We were in talks with Capital Public Radio for a while and spent some time looking at billboards in the area….turns out it costs around $11,000 a month to rent a billboard at the I80 business split in Sacramento near Watt! So yeah…..we likely won’t be doing that anytime soon.
Blog! Blog! Blog! If you are on this page you have likely been following SacWellness over the past several months. We have been posting blog posts just about every five days since we launched. This is an important part of our strategy to get the site ranking in search engines. We intend to blog about mental health related issues and topics that concern our area. We will be featuring guest bloggers that will primarily be mental health professionals, but may occasionally include people who work in other fields related to mental health. We are currently working with someone who runs a local fitness group for moms for example.
We are planning on keeping an eye out for local mental health related events that we can attend and represent SacWellness at. Keep an eye out for us at these events!….and let us know if you find any coming up….because they can be easy to miss sometimes.
How Can You Help?
If you’ve made it to the bottom of this page then you must be really interested in SacWellness and how all of this is happening! SacWellness is intended to be a resource for our community in the greater Sacramento area. As such we are open to and welcome contributions/help from anyone in the mental health community. You can help by:
- sharing SacWellness with people you know!
- When you get someone looking for services you don’t provide, or you’re full and need a quick way to help people find a therapist, send them our way!
- Like our Facebook page and invite your friends to like it!
- Link to us on your website! We need links from local pages to get search engines to recognize us as a valuable local resource.
- Guest blogging. If you have something you’d like to write about, let us know! We’re open to you writing about just about anything as long as its mental health related or something to do with the greater Sacramento area. If you write a blog for SacWellness we will feature it on our front page for 15 days and include it in our social media advertising for 5 days. Free advertising! ^_^
- Let us know if there is anything you would like to see added to the site or if you find anything that doesn’t seem to be working right.
- Create a listing! You can list your practice on SacWellness for free till April 1, 2019 and for only $17/month after that!
Thank you for your interest in SacWellness! Its been a lot of work and an interesting ride. I’ve learned a lot and grown as a therapist, and I look forward to continuing to work on improving and growing the site.
If you ever have any questions or need any help with anything on the site let me know! I’m (almost always) available to help, and will get back to you ASAP.
About the Author
Joe Borders is a marriage and family therapist located in Roseville and Sacramento. He is primarily a sex positive gender therapist, but also specializes in working with couples, teens, addiction, and the LGBTQ community. Joe is also the owner and founder of SacWellness. You can find out more about him by visiting his sacwellness listing or by visiting his website: therapy and counseling in Roseville and Sacramento