How To Set Up A Canadian Private Practice Website

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One of the most important things you should do when starting a Canadian private practice is to build a private practice website. Having a website is one of the best ways to advertise your services as many people use the internet to find counselling services nowadays. In my Canadian private practice, it is the main way clients find me!

Learning The Tech Lingo

Before creating a website, it’s important to know some website terms that will help you make your decision on how to build your website:

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is very, VERY, important as it helps your website rank higher in internet searches. You want to have excellent SEO so that your website will be one of the first suggestions to appear in a search like Google.

For example, let’s say you specialize in counselling Canadian’s with depression. If someone searched for ‘Canadian counsellor to help with depression’ on the internet and your SEO is optimized for ‘Canadian counsellor’ and/or ‘depression help for Canadians’ … then your website would hopefully be one of the first listings to appear! If your website does NOT have great SEO… it will be very difficult for potential clients to find your website because your private practice website could get buried and be on the 2nd-10th-20th page of a search! Most people rarely go to the second page of searches when finding information, as there are usually great options on the first page. So it is REALLY IMPORTANT to optimize your SEO so that your website is on the first page of internet searches.


Your website address ie.


Is a service that publishes your website to the internet

CMS: Content Management System

Content Management Systems are very powerful platforms that help to organize and set up content on your website. They are flexible and have limitless options for development of your website. However, experience in the technical aspects of creating your website is needed. The main CMS is WordPress (30% of the internet uses it to create websites!).

Proprietary Website Builders:

Proprietary website builders such as Wix, Squarespace, Brighter Vision, Clinic Sites, and Brighter Vision are private platforms that make creating a website simple. But since they are private platforms, they have limited design components, minimal SEO, and if you ever wanted to leave – you would lose your website and not all of your SEO will transfer to your new website.


Extra software that adds things to your website.

Why Building on WordPress is Better than a Private Website Builder

Website builders that develop using their own proprietary platform make creating a website easy BUT there are limits to the design of your website, limits to SEO, and limits to what you can transfer from your website if you ever decide to leave the company (because your website is built on their private platform). I chose to build on WordPress because:

· Reason #1: WordPress has the best SEO

Private website builders do offer SEO but it is limited compared to WordPress. As Nathan from Creative minds explains when comparing Wix to WordPress:

“There’s little benefit to building a website if nobody can find it, and search-engine optimization (SEO) is another area where WordPress shines.

WordPress is very SEO friendly, with multiple SEO features built into it off the bat. Of course, you will still need to make sure that you maintain good SEO practices across your website, but even if that is a concern there are ample plug-ins available to help optimize your website and improve its search rankings.

In contrast, Wix presents very limited SEO features. You can still add title descriptions to your pages, include alt-text in your images, and generate a sitemap, but aside from that there isn’t much more you have control over.”

(Click here to read the full article)

Or as Dervix explained in their article:

“Using WordPress benefits not only the user. It will save you, the owner, a lot of time as it has tools and features that you cannot find elsewhere. Many entrepreneurs develop new themes and plugins daily. It results in an overall better experience for everyone. SEO cannot be an exception, moreover, you will have more benefits from it than any other CMS system. Concluding, WordPress is still the best platform for SEO and will be for many years to come.”

(Click here to read the full article)

· Reason #2: WordPress is flexible

Yes, private website builders make creating your Canadian private practice website easy to build. But because of this, you loose a lot of flexibility in what you can do with your website.

Flexibility in adding design features

When you choose a theme on a private website builder you may be locked into it. Plus your information is on their server so if you ever decide to switch companies your website content will be deleted (and you’ll have to start from scratch with your content and SEO!!!!)! Since WordPress is open source (not private), you have unlimited options for adding design features and the option to own your website.

WordPress also has unlimited plugins. A couple months ago I decided I wanted an arrow pointing down on my main photo on my Fearless Practice website so that visitors knew to scroll down. Luckily, because my website was created through WordPress, I had the option to put in an arrow. With private website builders you are VERY limited in what you can add to your website. Yes, in the short term all you may need is a simple website, but as your business grows, your website will to. As Brian from Kinsta says:

“It’s common for the themes to serve as the site’s foundation. After that, the design work is minimal besides some color changes, logo additions, and of course, the new pages and blog posts.

But every once in awhile you realize that something new needs to be added to your website. Maybe your customers are clamoring for a membership section of your site, or maybe you realized that a monthly quiz is a great way to get customers to interact with your brand. In both of these situations, a plugin rectifies the issue.”

(Click here to read the full article)

Recommended WordPress Options for Building a Canadian Private Practice Website:

Below are my suggestions on what companies to work with when building your Canadian private practice website. Most of the companies I am suggesting include a domain web address (ie. BUT, for myself, I like to purchase my domains outside of the companies that I work with so that I own them separately. I purchase my domains from I Want My Name because it is easy to use and renew domains.

WordPress Website Options:

Level 1:

($5.35 CAD per month for hosting)

This option is great for Canadian counsellors who are tech-savvy and have a very tight budget! is hosted on your own server that you have purchased through a hosting company. I recommend Bluehost (link). Once you have your host you can choose from free themes to help build your website and you will have full control of your website! The downside is that you will solely be in charge of updates, security, plugins, and design which can take up A LOT of your time.

Click here to purchase Bluehost hosting!

Level 2:

This option is great for Canadian therapists who are NOT tech-savvy and looking for an amazing deal! This company will build your WordPress website and provide you with security for your website. You can choose from VERY affordable monthly plans and the best part is, as your Canadian private practice grows and you want more flexibility with your site… you can switch to! Choose from tons of templates, get great SEO, and if you want extra help you can hire a specialist to build your website! I recommend the $33 per month (plus tax) Creator plan so you have amazing security and plug in options!

Click here to start building your website!

Also, here is a great article that reviews the differences of and

Happy building!

Disclaimer: The information provided through this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not clinical or consulting advice. E-subscribers and website visitors are receiving general advertising and information about starting a Canadian private practice and should not act upon this information without seeking professional consultation.

About Julia

Julia Smith, MEd, RCT, CCC is a registered Counselling Therapist who owns a group private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is also the owner of Fearless Practice Consulting and hosts the Fearless Practice podcast. Through the Fearless Practice podcast, she provides invaluable insights and practical advice on starting and growing a successful Canadian private practice. Julia’s wealth of knowledge also extends beyond the podcast, as she provides personalized one-on-one consulting to therapists who are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with their solo or group private practices. With Julia’s expertise, therapists can confidently navigate the complexities of owning a private practice and find work life – balance. 

Julia also has written articles for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy association. You can learn more at