Looking for links to the tech platforms we highlight in our "Let's Get Digital!" screencast? Here they are!
In addition to Skype, Google Hangouts and OS specific tools like FaceTime (Apple), we strongly endorse privacy-focused VSee. Not only is it free but it's specifically designed for the medical and therapeutic professions. Aside from guaranteed privacy, you and your clients use up to 50% less bandwidth (and therefore data) than other options. This also means better communication with your clients in remote areas like mining camps or country towns, where internet speeds can be slower than urban settings.
Domain Name Purchase and Management
We recommend GoDaddy to all our clients because of its simplicity and outstanding tech support.
Build Your Own Website platforms
The friendly San Francisco-based Weebly platform is a popular choice and we built our first websites on it. Try a free account and if you like it, purchase a relatively inexpensive Pro account. Weebly has a reasonable mobile app so you can post from your smartphone.
Micro-blog platforms like Posthaven, Postach.io and Tumblr can also be used as websites. Posthaven promises never to lose your data, Postach.io is linked to our favourite productivity service Evernote and free service Tumblr (now owned by search engine giant Yahoo) has its own thriving community.
Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org are extremely popular choices (19% of all websites use the WP platform.) However, we found the experience less than productive. There is a relatively steep learning curve, support is very much do-it-yourself and you may have to learn code to access the all the features. Unless you enjoy tinkering, self-hosted WordPress.org in particular is best avoided, in our opinion.
We find sophisticated, simple and elegant New York-based Squarespace an absolute delight to use. We particularly appreciate their awesome tech support, which includes live chat. You can try a free 14 day trial, which they'll extend if you ask nicely! Squarespace also offers several stylish and free mobile apps for Apple and Android OSs.
When it comes to newsletters, our pick is UK-based MadMimi. Don't be deceived by "Mimi's" playful appearance. This is a full-featured newsletter service, once again with 5/5 tech support.
Product Hosting and sales
As practitioners offering services, it's a good idea to start building a portfolio of products. EBooks, audio books, audio downloads and video training are a few examples.
Check out SoundCloud for free (or paid) audio and podcast hosting.
If you aspire to sell digital products online, BandCamp could be a great choice. No upload limits, a mini-webpage per track and album, lots of customisation and free! Amazing. You also receive 200 codes every month which you can give away to your clients if you like to add value to therapy sessions with mind-bending audio downloads.
Remember, you can also host your digital products on your website platforms. WordPress, Weebly and Squarespace each allow you to create private, password-protected pages so only your clients can gain access, for example. Be aware that there are upload limits, however.
Business Management Platforms
Aside from simplicity and enjoyable interfaces, we recommend these platforms because you can link databases between them.
For Customer Relationship Management (CRM), we use Capsule.
Click a button after you've added your client's details and Freshbooks, your cloud accounting service is updated automatically. By the way, Freshbooks is simple enough to make even right-brainers like me want to number-crunch but versatile enough to satisfy a "left of left brainer". As a bonus, it has an excellent smartphone app which allows you to scan and upload receipts. No more tax time stress!
Then, head over to MadMimi and update your newsletter database.
Cyber-crime keeps making headlines. Nothing could be more distressing to your clients or you than identity theft.
Your first line of defence is a strong password that is unique to each platform you use. Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters long and preferably more than ten. Like compound interest, each increase in characters produces a disproportionate gain in complexity.
So, how do you remember so many passwords? Follow a system! Here's what we do:
- Take the first line of a song that means something to you. Then, take the first letter of each word in that line. Ex: "Mary had a little lamb" becomes "mhall".
- Take four numbers. Ex: "2152".
- Take the first 2-3 letters of the website name the password is for and capitalise them. Ex: If you're setting up a password your account with Freshbooks, it would be "FRE".
Now, put these three elements together for your password. Ex: mhall2152FRE would be the password for your Freshbooks account. Easy!
We hope this post helps inspire you to grow a global online therapy practice. There are hundreds of web-based platforms out there and choosing the simplest, most supportive and satisfactory ones can be a challenge. If we've de-cluttered the choices for you, then we've met our goal.
What do you think? Have you got a favourite platform we haven't considered? Let's support each other as we "get digital"! Leave a comment below or send us an email.
Finally, we love to help and support therapists with personal, professional and business growth. If you have a burning question, simply book a 15 minute online chat and we'll do our best to help out.