• Quick Summary: So you're just starting out with your acupuncture practice. And obviously you want a professional looking website to go with it. But where to start? Trying to build a website for your acupuncture practice can be an overwhelming process. Especially when you're in the midst of wrapping up your education. Don't worry, this article has got you covered. From domain names, to hosting, to website builders, themes, and what content to create that'll actually drive new clients. We're going to cover it all. When you're finished with this article you'll be in the best position to get your own acupuncture website going.

    Screenshots we're taken from the Acupuncture WordPress Theme

  • Choosing a domain name for your acupuncture website

    The first step for almost everyone is choosing the right domain name. There's an excellent article called " How to Choose a Domain Name" that covers all the basics of how to choose the correct domain name. I'm going to quickly cover a couple of them in the context of building an acupuncture website.

    But before I continue let me quickly explain the concept of search engine optimization or SEO. This concept will be used when considering a certain domain name. For a full explain of SEO please consider reading the article " What is SEO. As that article states: "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of driving targeted website traffic to your website from search engines." And with search engine we mean Google.

    So in more plain terms; somebody types something in the Google search engine (this is called a "key phrase"). Your acupuncture website might show up in the first search engine results page, because Google deems your site relevant enough based on all kinds of factors. And yes, one of those factors is your domain name.

    So now we've got that out of the way, what are other important factors to consider?

    Your domain name should be short

    At least short enough to remember in the first place. The last thing you want is for people to actually forget the name because of it's length. Shorter is better.

    Choose the correct domain extension

    Basically this means it's best to use your country code top level domain (ccTLD). Like .de for Germany or .nl for Dutch sites. Or if you're operating globally (probably not the case for an acupuncture practice) or located in the United States a .com would be the best bet. Avoid any other fancy domain extensions.

    Using "acupuncture" in your domain name

    It's a good thing to actually include "acupuncture" in the domain name. Acupuncture is universally understood for what it is. A frivolous nonsensical domain name that sounds fun and brandable isn't. If acupuncture is in your domain name it's instantly clear about what you have to offer.

    And from an SEO standpoint the word "acupuncture" is the most important word you can use to optimize any content, including your domain name. If you want to best chance to be found in the search results, found for your acupuncture services because that what's going to pay the bills, really consider including it in your domain name.

    Using your location in your domain name

    Think about when you want to be shown in the search results? Either when people look for an acupuncture practice. Or they're looking for information for a certain ailment for which acupuncture is a viable treatment: skin problems, headaches, digestive disorders. Well you know this better than I do.

    Let's delve into the first one: location. The location and a business type has always been a rocksolid keyphrase to use for a domain name. And since an acupuncture practice is very locally oriented including the location in your domain name is a SEO best practice as well. In combination with the rule above you can think about a domain name like "maplewoodacupunture.com" or "acupuncturebayfield.com"

    Hosting

    Your acupuncture website need to be placed somewhere to be shown to the world. Just like a house can exist without a piece of land a website cannot exist with something we call hosting. That means that, besides a domain name, you will need hosting.

    Hosting is never free. Let's get that out of the way. Having your own acupuncture website is not the same as a social media account (where you pay with your attention to watch advertisements). Having full control over your own little piece of internet means you have to pay for that piece of real estate.

    That being said, there are two roads to travel when choosing hosting. It's either an integral part of an online website builder tool or it's bought separately from the tool you're going to use to build the final website. The latter option is called self-hosting. Make sense right? Let's compare the two.

    Online website builders

    Online website builders are companies that have created a piece of software to build a website. Each company creates their own standard. This means that a website build with the tool from company A cannot be maintained with the tool from company B, C etc. So once you've chosen for a certain company, you're kind of locked-in with that company for as long as that website will be online.

    The most reputable providers of online website builders are Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Jimdo. They all kind of offer exactly the same. Which is a combination the tool to build the website, online access to this tool, a variety of starter templates to choose from, ecommerce functionality and the necessary added components like a domain and hosting. They also always offer this type of package for a subscription, either monthly or yearly.

    Word of warning! When you see a type of subscription promoted as free, this means that you will not get your own domain name, but your website will be on a sub-domain which falls under the domain name of the provider. It could also mean that your website will be used to advertise the provider's brand. Never choose this free option! Your marketing efforts will be wasted.

    The biggest benefit of an online website builder is that you can focus on building the site rather than dealing with the more technical aspects of site building. Aspect like software installation, software updates, backups, server configurations. That's a huge deal and the core reason why choosing a site builder is definitly a very viable option for any (starting) acupuncturist.

    WordPress

    Online website builders are mostly used by end clients (you and other acupuncturists) whereas WordPress is used by both end clients and web designers. The reason for this is that the WordPress software is open source (free) and can be used with any hosting provider. Also because it's used by almost 30 percent of the world's websites you can always find somebody who's proficient with WordPress, whereas you'd have a hard time finding someone who's proficient with one of the website builders.

    Strictly speaking it's also cheaper (in the short term). Whereas you pay a premium for website builders, besides hosting and the domain name WordPress is free. This amounts to about 10 to 20 USD per month, which for many people is a financial dealbreaker to go for site builder.

    On the other side with website builders, the templates will be free, where you can opt to buy a premium template or "theme" with wordpress. With the average price hovering around 50 to 60 USD.

    The biggest reason why WordPress is as popular as it is, is because it could be extended by anyone. It's not a closed proprietary system (it's open source), so anyone who wants to can build upon the WordPress foundation. Either creating WordPress themes like we do, which creates the layout and overal look-and-feel of a website. Or with WordPress plugins, which are small pieces of functionality that can be integrated into your acupuncture site. Things like forms, pricing tables, SEO optimizers, caching etc.

    There are literally tens of thousands of themes and plugins, from providers with varying reputations, both free and premium.

    When you're going to use WordPress, you're going to use the tool that's being used by almost every web designer on the planet. It also means that you'll have to take responsibility to take care of all the parts that make up a WordPress website: hosting, theme, plugins, and WordPress itself. Common sense dictates that most people are fine with building a cheap site, but are not as keen on maintaining it in a way that ensures the site's longevity. A worst case scenario could be a site either being hacked or otherwise being compromised, resulting in partial if not the loss of the entire site.

    Obviously I'm biased towards WordPress. I based my entire livelihood around it. That also means than I know almost everything that can go wrong with it, including the aforementioned hacking. With that out of the way, naturally I'm a great proponent. The sheer amount of options, the community and the fact that almost every hosting provider offers pre-installed WordPress packages makes it much easier than, let's say, a decade ago to enjoy everything WordPress has to offer. Just don't forget to backup (because I know you will).

    DIY versus web designer

    I already mentioned that if you choose to go for an online website builder, chances are slim you'll find a web designer who's specialised in the particular builder of your choice. All of them will feel limited with what the builder has to offer and will want to push you towards WordPress.

    With that out of the way, who then should build your acupuncture website? Should you do it yourself or should you hire someone. Maybe somebody you already know, a relative or a friend. Or somebody who offers premium web design services. The choice between the two comes down to how much you are going to do with your website. Do you see yourself refreshing your website's content, maybe posting a couple of articles per month. Or do you strictly see the site as an online business card?

    When you should want to build the acupuncture website yourself

    If the answer is the first half, the one of active usage, you lean towards building the site yourself. Because building a site yourself provides you with the best experience of what's possible with web design in general. It forces you to learn the necessary basics and gives you a better perspective on how to utilize a site after its initial build: the going live moment.

    When you should want to outsource site building

    If the answer is the latter half, you're not going to participate in expanding the site after going live, outsourcing is your best bet. Since you have no desire to expand upon the initial content of the acupuncture website, there really is no return on investment in learning the tool to create content. That time is better spend on something else.

    The majority of business owners lean towards this answer. Consider this, even if you have the initial desire to go all out with your website, life has a tendency to catch up with people's ambitions. Family, friends, work, your partner, your children, your "me" time, your health, all vy for your attention. This plain and simple fact causes about 40 percent of business owners doing next to nothing with the site after they've purchased it (while the site is still unfinished). A number based on an entire year of hosting sales in our company.

    Since this article is not about what to look out for when hiring a web designer, we'll continue with another important aspect of a website: the domain name.

    Choosing the right acupuncture template as your website's foundation

    One of the reasons I choose WordPress as the go-to platform to build a site is that there's such a wealth of options to choose from. And that also goes for your starter template. You'll definitely going to need one. Where WordPress is used to create content mostly, a WordPress theme is used to create the overall layout and look-and-feel. Things that don't have much to do with the content (text, images, videos) itself, but how they look on your site (size, fonts, colors, colums).

    Traditionally the WordPress editor, the tool where you place your content, was seen as a little rigid. Hence the reason WordPress is moving more into the direction of being a site builder itself. And a lot of providers, ourselves included, have tried to bridge the gap between using the flexibility of WordPress and adding a site builder on top of it (either in a WordPress theme or WordPress plugins). Examples of such providers are we ( Nexus Themes), Divi (theme) and Elementor (plugin).

    A template is nothing else but a template. As I mentioned earlier in this article is that a huge percentage of people fail with their website right out of the gate. They never ever do more than upload their logo and maybe a single image. That's because content creation is really incredibly difficult. So you can have the best tools in the world, be it WordPress or some fancy site builder tool, but you still have to be in the driver's seat doing the driving. You still have to actually use the tool to your advantage and BUILD your site.

    And that's where a great many providers in the web design fall flat, with a singular focus on the tool and how good it, totally forgetting that the real issue is the content, NOT the tool. So when you start looking for a template. Besides the fact that you choose one from a reputable provider, please make sure that you really like the initial setup. Because it'll prove to be difficult to drastically alter it once you get started. And a lot of times you cannot even change the initial look-and-feel beyond a couple of hardcoded layouts, because that's just how templates work.

    Realizing this pitfall in WordPress web design, our themes come with a theme activation that include a turnkey content installation. That means that when you look at one of our templates and you activate a particular one to start building your site, the entire structure and layout and content of the site will be activated as well. This is a huge time-saver besides the fact you can reuse professionally designed building blocks.

    Theme providers

    Individual theme suppliers are not as omni-present as they used to be. The competition is extremely fierce. So much so that almost every theme author (the one designing the template) doesn't try to market their own product, but offers them on marketplaces like Themeforest and Templatemonster. The fact that there's so little money to be made in the theme business has diluted the quality, with themes not being updated to reflect current coding standards, or providing dismal support.

    The only way to counter this, as with many products, is to look out for signs of professionalism. This usually is reflected in the number of sales, but even better how long the author has been around. Just as with people in other professions, there's a strong correlations between "years in business" and "knowing what you're doing".

    Creating content for your acupuncture website

    So let's move into the area of content creation. What should actually be on your site? How do you go about creating that content. And what can you expect from your content creation efforts from a marketing perspective. You can roughly divide the type of content in two categories: text and the rest (images, audio and videos).

    The process of writing is easy, anyone can do it. Doesn't mean the piece of text will have great marketing and sales appeal, but that's another story. Not everybody can snap a decent picture, shoot a video or record an audio file, much less knows how to integrate it on a site.

    On an acupuncture website the bulk of the content will be text and will usually be created by the site owner him- or herself. Unless of course you hire a professional copywriter. But what's the use of building your own site and then hiring a copy writer. They're not cheaper than web designers. Images usually have a more design aspect to them and serve to support the textual content. Videos have a much more immersive effect since they are far more content-rich than both text and images combined. I don't really see acupuncturists using audio files unless you decide to host a podcast.

    How to get acupuncture specific images for your website

    Images are very important to establish to overall feel of your acupuncture website. Even a single image can be an exceptionally powerful in establishing both a trustworthy and professional look-and-feel. There are three ways of obtaining images for your website. I don't include simply downloading images from the search engine or another website. That would constitute copyright infringement.

    You can create the pictures yourself. Which has the benefits that they are your to use for whatever purpose you had in mind.

    You could also use public domain pictures where the creates has explicitly states that they are free for commercial use. Commercial means anything involving money. Since you operate or want to operate an acupuncture practice for obvious financial gains, this is a commercial activity. An acupuncture website driving sales for your practice is also a commercial activity. The best source of public domain pictures I can think of is Pixabay. Just don't expect to find a whole bunch of images related to acupuncture. In general public domain image providers are devoid of images with people on them, since those images infringe on people's privacy (against the law) unless as the creator of the image you've obtained a "model release". But model releases, a statement where the person in picture states the picture can be used for certain projects, are the domain of premium image providers (you pay the model for the model release).

    Premium providers are better known as "stockphoto providers". They are not as cheap as you might like, with even the lowest resolution images already costing you upwards of a dollar a piece. This might not sound like much, but if you're talking about high resolution images, it can become a drain on the wallet. Also you can't just use a stockphoto for any purpose. Photos with icons are excluded for logo usage, and when you use the photos for your website, you cannot use them outside that website, for instance for a magazine or flyer. Examples of these type of providers are 123RF, Shutterstock and iStock.

    Blogging

    Besides all the content necessary a lot of people are familiar with the concept of blogging: magazine like articles covering a wide variety of topics. While blogging has gone a bit out of fashion lately (versus video), it still is a great content marketing tool at your disposal. Starting with blogging seems much less daunting, complex and scary than vlogging (the video counterpart).

    Unless you really like writing articles. You might have done it in the past of have a list of ideas ready. I would not recommend starting with blogging when you want to build up a client base for your acupuncture practice. The reasons are pretty simple.

    The first reason is that blogging is a different beast from building a website. Blogging requires continuous effort to stay relevant and up-to-date, whereas once you're finished with your acupuncture website that's basically it.

    The second one is that blogging in of itself will not be effective in attracting traffic to your website without the help of either SEO or social media marketing. So it's not just writing that you have to be good at, it's online marketing as well. And as I've stated that finishing a website is a mayor accomplishment already, will you truly be committed enough to keep on blogging on a regular basis?

    And the last I can currently think of is that the audience for your blogs might be the audience you try to target for your acupuncture services. But even if you somehow found the way to reach that audience, they might still reside way to far awy from your actual physical acupuncture practice to make an appointment. And in the end, you don't get paid for free advice, but for the time you spend in the face of the client.

    Overview of services

    For obvious reasons a core focus for your acupuncture practice should be how you can relieve your clients of all kinds of ailments. Although it's tempting to focus on the treatment, your audience does not think in terms of treatment. They are focused on the problem for which you have the solution. So when you showcase your areas of expertise, it's a much better idea to talk in terms of "weight loss", "pain relief", or "quiting smoking" than it is to talk about "cupping", "dry needling" or "acupunture".

    Make sure your services and their accompanying detail pages are easily accessible and instantly available right on the top of your homepage and your main navigation.

    Online appointment booking

    Even though it probably isn't the case with your, some people do not like to pick up the phone. They'd much rather fill in a form to book an appointment. That's the reason why an appointment booking form besides your contact information and phone number is such a good idea to have for any acupuncture website.

    It doesn't have to be the most fancy form in world. It just have to work. It's about the booking itself, not the way how it's processed after it's been received. But do make sure it works by testing yourself, preferably on different computers or devices.

    Make sure your acupuncture website has a single focus

    When just starting out don't try to achieve everything at once. Pick goal and decide for yourself that everything you do support that singular goal. For an acupuncture practice it's more than obvious that you want the phone to start ringing and those bookings coming in. So the driving question then becomes how you can focus the attention of the website visitor towards the goal of making a booking.

    You achieve this by effectively using call-to-actions: nicely designed pieces of website real estate that specifically ask the visitor to make the phone call or fill out the booking form. These call to actions take up the best, most prominent, highly visible areas of your website. They have to be designed in such a way that they're highly visible, but unobtrusive at the same time. People should be aware of them but not be distracted by them to the point where you're actually lowering your site's ability to sell your services.

    FAQ section

    Any business website, including ones for acupuncturists, will benefit from adding a frequently asked question or FAQ section. A FAQ section is a great tool to shift some of the burden from you towards your website, come across as a skilled professional who knows her audience, and heighten the probability of bookings since you emphatically talk in way your audience can relate to.

    The best way to create a FAQ page is by taking questions your clients actually asked, answering them en posting them online. Be sure to not include any confidential patient information for privacy reasons. A way to categorize is by dividing them into your specific areas of expertise. Somebody who wants to know something about weight loss is very different from somebody who wants to quit smoking.

    Don't be afraid to add a lot of Q and A's (we've crossed the 1.000 mark ourselves). If you feel the list get's too big, you can divide them any way you see fit.

    Online receipt request form

    Another great form to have on your acupuncture site to optimize your backend processes is the Online Receipt Request form. With it your clients can request the proper documentation they will need to file an insurance claim. Healthcare is expensive enough as it is. Anything you can do to smoothen out this process for your clients will provide your practice with returning customers. It's just that extra bit of service, where you begin to understand what a website really can mean for your business.

    Prices overview

    Another important aspect and one you most certainly must include on your website is your prices. People will want to know them for their insurance claims and it's better to be totally transparent in this respect than to not show them.

    Social media integration

    Social media plays a big part in our lives and can be actively used as an extra channel to communicate with your audience. I'm not talking about showing abs on Instagram or posting a selfie on the beach in some resort. I'm talking about using social for pre-sales. People are very willing to use other means of communication than the phone. And you can actively promote the fact that you go along with the times and are willing and able to answer people's questions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram whatever your tool of choice might be (Facebook's the best for Acupuncturists).

    If you find a way to integrate social media in your daily operations, it becomes a natural extension of your business. Not something you have to force yourself to do from time to time just because people say so. And when you communicatie on social media, you communicate for the entire online world to see, which is the essence of online marketing. Just think about a positive testimonial from someone you've helped that's being picked up by a friend of the client who's been struggling with exactly the same issue.

    We've been able to successfully utilize Youtube for our support and have over a million views on our channel. That's huge for somebody offering services as dry as themes and hosting (I'm not a rockstar, a gamer, or a comedian).

    Team page / biography

    Being an acupuncturist is an intimate profession. People go to you because they're struggling with certain challenges, sometimes for years or even decades. So be sure to give your acupuncture website that personal touch with a short bio or team overview (if you're not a one (wo)man army). Besides your prices overview the About page or Team Overview page will prove to be popular pages on your website.

    Share client reviews

    There's no better feeling than to actually be able to help people. If you do you're bound to receive praise. It could be on social media, face-to-face, in an email. Make sure you collect these testimonials and use the best ones to your advantage when placing them on your website (after you've asked the person in question for permission via email so you have it on black-and-white).

    Express authority

    It's likely you've invested a great deal of time and effort into an education to become an acupuncturist in the first place. Or maybe you're affiliated with a certain governing body of acupuncturists. Show the logo's of these accreditations, affiliations and brands on your website. They serve to increase your trustworthiness and come across as a reputable practicioner. A small finishing touch to your acupuncture website.

    Start building your acupuncture website today!

    We're coming to the end of this article. An article that hopefully has given you a better understanding of the options out there for acupuncture practicioners. If you're ready to start your own acupuncture website do consider our full-service theme and hosting package. The reason we've created this package is that during our many years of operation we've made a commitment to better facilitate the starting entrepreneur with an easy-to-undestand, easy-to-use, low-cost solution to building their own website. It covers nearly all the aspects discussed in this article and will serve as a great starting point for your own online journey.

    Just click on any of the templates below and start the journey.

  • About the Author

    Johan van Seijen

    Co-founder

    Johan van Seijen is co-founder of Nexus Themes and our lead designer. After gaining a Master's Degree in Information Science he decided to try his luck in the illustration industry, working for clients as Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. With the return to the software industry grew the desire to create something to be truly proud of and which could spearhead his ambition of having his own company. And this company is what followed. He lives with his wife and daughter in Amsterdam.