Today's blog post was written by Brent Leavitt, Accounts Manager and Web Master of New Beginnings Doula Training. I "met" Rachel Leavitt, doula trainer for New Beginnings, in a doula group on Facebook and we connected after our mutual discovery of each other's websites. I asked if I could reprint the following blog post because it provides a good illustration of how one's website can provide valuable, relevant community resources for visitors, feature a doula's favorite referral partners, AND strategically place itself higher in Google and other search engine results. If you don't yet have a resources page on your website, here are some tips (plus an example) so you can easily create one yourself.
Meet Yasmin AbuAyed, one of our newest alumni. She resides in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (our second in the Middle East!). As part of her online promotional efforts, Yasmin uses her website as a resource for birth within her community. She does this by providing localized information for expectant mothers. Let's look briefly at what Yasmin has done to promote herself online. Then, let's talk about how similar concepts can be applied to all doula websites.
On Yasmin's website, Delta Strength Doula, she has created a dedicated page for localized information about Birthing in Dubai. On that page, she has organized the content into several sub-sections:
- Quick overview
- Things to consider
- Additional resources
- Summary of local hospitals
Yasmin is on to something good here, so I wanted to discuss what she's doing and offer a few additional insight. Let's continue, shall we?
Establish Yourself as a Local Authority
The first thing that Yasmin has done by publishing a page on Birth in Dubai is established herself as a local authority. By listing information about hospitals, (and specifically information about four of the most popular hospitals in Dubai) the unspoken message is that she has experience.
Because you want to promote your services as a doula, consider how can use your website to establish yourself as a local authority on birth. You can do this by becoming a community resource about the available childbirth options in your area. When you have information on your website that details unique aspects of childbirth where you live, you demonstrate your experience within the local community. Be sure to keep this information up-to-date. Work to acquire more information about hospitals, birth centers, care providers and more, as you find it or as it becomes available.
Be careful to present information in an organized, easy-to-digest fashion. Doing so will encourage more interaction with your website. Work hard to avoid a strong, personal bias as this will help you to come across as being more understanding, less judgmental, and better informed. If one topic seems to merit more details than what would be appropriate for a summary page (maybe you live in a large city with many hospital options), you might consider breaking it off into its own sub-page. Be sure to link to any sub-pages from the main page. (I'll elaborate on this idea a little more in the last section below.)
Improve Your Website's Search Results
Now whether or not Yasmin realized it, she was helping to improve her search results by providing localized information on her website. In website lingo, we call this "optimizing your website for search engines" or SEO (search engine optimization). Because search engines look for key terms to determine what a web page is about, proper attention to the placement of localized information on your website can help. Thoughtful organization can help you use this information to improve search results.
Deliberate placement of key regional terms in connection with the word "doula" can also help with this. One of the most important pieces of information that any doula website should have is the locations or general area that they service.
For example, your website's title might be:
[Name of Business] Doula
Childbirth Services for the [Name of City or Region] area
Notice that I'm making sure to have the word "doula" in the main title. Then for the secondary title, I've added the region name and connection to a more commonly searched term of "Childbirth" to give a more meaningful description to the website. Then with a specific page on your website dedicated to birth in that region, like "Birthing in Dubai," search results will look more favorably on your website for any local results. Those search robots (the computer programs that search the Internet for relevant results) will see your website as a regional resource for information about childbirth.
Fresh content, or frequently updated content, can also be seen by search engines as being more relevant, more current, and up-to-date. So as you go acquiring and sharing more localized information about birthing options in your community, you'll also be sending a signal to search engines. That signal will be for them to pay attention to your website because information is updated more frequently there.
Attract Potential Clients
When using your website to attract potential clients, ask yourself: "What are my potential clients searching for online?" Are they searching for "Doula in [name of city or region]"? Maybe. If so, it's good to have your name associated with that result. However, do most first-time expectant mothers know what a doula is? Possibly not (speaking generally for the United States). Does your website include local information about other birth resources that are relevant to your region?
So if you are looking to attract local clients, think of what they might be searching for. Create additional pages on your website with descriptive titles as resource pages on your website. Here's a brief list of ideas:
- Doctors in [name of region]
- Birth Centers in [name of region]
- Hospitals in [name of region]
- Childbirth classes in [name of region]
It may seem like a daunting task to have to catalog all the above services on your website. If so, you are probably right. No one expects you to do that. Rather, if you live in a region where options abound, use your website to recommend services. Do you like working at a particular hospital? Say something good about it on your website.
Remember what Yasmin had done in creating a Resources Page on her website. Localized information on your website attracts local clients. Your website can persuade them that you are knowledgeable about childbirth in your community. You may be seen as a less-intimidating, first point of contact, as they go selecting and putting into place all the other pieces of the childbirth puzzle.
One More Thought
Finally, make it easy for visitors (potential clients) to find the information they are looking for. Be sure to include your contact information: a phone number, an online email form, your social media handles, etc. Put it in an easy to find spot on every page of your website. Ideally, that would be in the header (at the top) or footer (at the bottom) of your page. It should never be too hard for potential clients to find you online.
The ultimate objective of any web presence is to create user engagement. Hopefully, Yasmin's efforts to detail birth options in Dubai connects her with more clients in Dubai. Hopefully, by following these suggestions you will find more expectant mothers in your region as well.
This article is being reprinted with permission from New Beginnings Doula Training's blog. New Beginnings offers professional, online doula training with a focus on fundamental skills of client assessment and holistic care. Their motto is "Nurturing the HeART and Science of Being a Doula!" Learn more about their training program and other resources for doulas at trainingdoulas.com.