By Joe Borders,
Marriage and Family Therapist
July 28, 2021
SacWellness Year 3:
A Look Back, Progress, and Plans.
SacWellness has been a thing for 3 years! It’s been a lot of work! A passion project that has been full of struggle, confusion, fun, learning, and lots of networking opportunities. To date I’ve spent almost 4,000 hours working on SacWellness and continue to work on improving it on an almost daily basis. Its been a lot of work, but it’s growing and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people.
Every year I like to make a journal entry of sorts to document the year for the site. This article talks about the growth the site has seen over the year, statistics, the top 5 blog articles for the year, struggles for the year, and plans going forward.
When I first started out to create SacWellness, I wanted to just make use of my experience in web design and SEO to make a therapist directory for the greater Sacramento area, but over time it has evolved into much more.
SacWellness is now home to:
- A therapist directory for the greater Sacramento area.
- An ongoing curation of mental health crisis resources.
- A monthly newsletter going out to over 535 current SacWellness members.
- A mental health blog composed of articles written by therapists in the greater Sacramento area.
- Reports on currently circulating scams targeting therapists.
- The classifieds for therapists where people can advertise directly to mental health professionals in the area for free.
Looking back, maybe I should have kept the site simpler and stayed with something more closely resembling craigslist. But it’s my dream to really create something good and useful for the community. I really want SacWellness to become a go to resource for all things mental health in the greater Sacramento area…..at the same time I have to temper my expectations and recognize that its just me doing all of this and I have a full time private practice to maintain :-p. Thank you for your patience and continued support of the site!
This year saw the addition of the classifieds for therapists section and the beginning of our monthly newsletter.
The classifieds for therapists (maybe a temporary placeholder name :-p) is a place where you can advertise directly to mental health professionals in the greater Sacramento area. For now I have chosen to make this part of the site free. I’m not sure if I will ever charge for it, but like I did with offering therapist listings free for 2 years, I want to make sure the classifieds are established and useful before I even consider charging people for them. In the classifieds you can advertise services, events, groups, trainings/seminars/workshops, announcements, office space, jobs, and things for sale. I’ve got a really good system set up that allows you to add lots of pictures too. Check it out sometime! ^_^
The SacWellness newsletter is a new addition that I started sending out in early 2021. It goes out to all registered members of the site (currently 533) and includes a summary of currently published classifieds, mental health awareness dates for the month, SacWellness news, and anything of significance that might be going on in the community.
Top 5 Articles of Year 3
The following are our top 5 most viewed articles over the last year and how many views they got this year. The SacWellness mental health blog is made up entirely of articles written by local professionals. If you’re interested in writing something check out our page about writing for the mental health blog.
2021 Mental Health Awareness Calendar
Culture Bound Syndromes
Pure “O” OCD
Is Your Gut Bacteria Making You Anxious? 5 Important Steps to Eat Your Way to Less Anxiety and More Peace
Breaking Free of OCD
This is the juicy part! I’m kind of a stats nerd :-p
This year SacWellness got
- 164,599 site visitors
- 311,653 pageviews
- 19,946 therapist listing views
- 1,684 views of the new classifieds for therapists
The site generated
- 3,243 visits to therapists’ websites through their listings
- 659 emails to therapists
- 341 calls to therapists
Over the last year we had an average of around 85 published therapist listings each month. This means that each therapist saw on average
- 38 visits to their website
- 7 emails
- 4 calls
If SacWellness has been helpful or beneficial to you in some way, please consider creating a listing, continuing with a paid subscription, linking to the site on your own site, or spreading the word through social media by sharing the site, one of our articles, or inviting your friends to like our facebook page.
I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the site from people, but I experienced a weird mix of events when I started charging for the site that ultimately led to many therapists leaving the site.
The Exodus of 2020
You may know this, but I offered therapist listings on SacWellness for free for 2 years. I did this so that I could build up the site, show search engines that I had content, and I didn’t feel right charging people for listings before the site was established and useful to them.
In the beginning of 2020, right before I started charging people for listings, there were 220 therapist listings on the site, by the end of the summer, after having ended the free period and started charging, there were only 40 left.
There are 3 big reasons this happened.
- A global pandemic
- I began charging for therapist listings
- Therapists in general were super busy in 2020/2021
1) The pandemic negatively effected everyone in some way….and I had the misfortune of moving my site from free to paid in the beginning of it. The pandemic began a couple of months after I started charging and no one could have anticipated how big it would be. I thought about extending the free period again, but had already done so 3 times before and didn’t want to pull away from it again. I extended the free period for a dozen or so therapists who I knew were struggling in the pandemic, but moved on with the transition to paid listings with the rest of the site.
2) Offering free listings for 2 years allowed me to get a bunch of therapists on the site, which was good. It really helped get the site ranking in search engines and show the community that the site could be useful to them…but on the negative side, it meant that the number of leads generated by the site were being distributed amongst a greater number of therapists. Because of this, those who left saw far fewer leads in general than those who stuck around or have listings on the site now.
Even still, over the course of the 2 years when therapist listings were free, the site generated over 500 calls and 700 emails to therapists who had listings on the site. I expected more people to stick around after having received free referrals, advertising, and traffic to their websites for up to 2 years, but in the end that didn’t turn out to be the case. It was a bit of a blow to my momentum with the site, but it’s continuing to grow and I’m in it for the long haul.
3) At some point or another in 2020 I personally called every single therapist of the 220 who were listed on the site. A good portion of the people I talked to said they didn’t need the site because they were full. In general 2020/2021 has been a busy time for therapists. I think the pandemic has definitely contributed to this.
My current plans for SacWellness year 4 are
- getting the classifieds for therapists section of the site established by continuing to talk with people about it and look for content to feed into it until it gets more established
- Right now I’m working on optimizing a bunch of stuff so that the site will load quicker and more optimally please the Google.
- The groups section of the site has not gotten much traction since I created it in 2019. I’m thinking I may get rid of it and replace it with the groups section of the classifieds for therapists, which seems to be getting more traction and is easier for therapists to add listings to.
- Currently all new listings on the site get 6 months free. I’m 90% sure I’m going to end this in 2022 and instead offer a guarantee of a certain number of leads every year. I have become aware over the last 3 years that some people sign up for the site never intending to stay past the free period. This was actually ok in the beginning because it gave the site content, but now it only pulls potential leads away from paying users.
- For my own sanity and to reclaim some of my time, I have changed the blog publishing schedule to once every other week as opposed to weekly.
- I’ve done a lot of work on updating things on the site recently and right now I’m working on polishing some things and generally making the site look better….little things, like recently adding insurance logos to the insurances page.
- Soon I will be switching into working more on advertising and getting the word out now that the site is stable and relatively developed.
Turns out it takes a butt load of time and money to create a good website like SacWellness. Sometimes it gets lonely and there are times when its hard that people can’t see exactly how much work goes into this thing. Sometimes I look back and ask myself if I would have spared myself this voyage if I had known how much work it was going to be. There are times when the answer has come close to yes. But this is truly a passion project and whenever I’m not stressed or overwhelmed in some other aspect of life I generally really enjoy it. SacWellness is my baby and I’m here for the long haul. I’m going to keep working on it and my dream is for the site to be around in 30 years and to have people know it and have a connection with it.
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