Web Design

The 11 Mistakes Holistic Health Practitioners Make on Their Websites

After helping many holistic health & wellness practitioners — and similar intuitive entrepreneurs — improve their website, I noticed a pattern started to emerge. Let me show you the most common website mistakes I've seen so you don't make them.

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This is for you if

<arrow-bullet>You created your business' website yourself and are looking for some outside perspective.<arrow-bullet><arrow-bullet>You're unsure if the website you created works well for you business.<arrow-bullet><arrow-bullet>You're unclear what worthwhile changes to make to your website.<arrow-bullet><arrow-bullet>You want your website to reflect you and your work more authentically.<arrow-bullet>

On this page

I divided the most common website mistakes holistic and intuitive businesses make into different categories

User Journey
Design
Branding
Copywriting

After helping many holistic health & wellness practitioners — and similar intuitive entrepreneurs — improve their website, I noticed a pattern started to emerge. I was taking the same notes on how to improve websites and explaining how to do it over and over again. So why not write a comprehensive list to help more than just the healers and teacher I talk to?

I made a list of the most common mistakes on my client's websites. They're easy to fix — no coding skills or technical knowledge needed — and have the biggest impact on service-based holistic websites.

User Journey

Includes structure and information architecture.

Something I realized recently is that when we create a good user experience on a website — or anywhere else like on an app or a customer service — we are being kind with who we serve.

Be kind to your website visitors — give them an easeful user experience. How? Mainly by using a simple navigation, having clear call to actions, organizing text so that is easy to read, and utilizing simple and direct language.

01. Complex Navigation

<callout>Solution — Make it as simple as possible<callout>

Too many options isn't a good thing. It can cause cognitive overload or analysis paralysis when a user has a lot of things they can do.

There are many ways you can do this depending on what you offer. What you put on your navigation depends on the goal of your website. What do you want your website to do for you business? What you want your site visitors to do when they enter your website?

Based on the goals, you can create the shortest path for your visitors to get to their goals. If you want your visitors to book a service with you, build the website to guide them there.

The simplest navigation I recommend to my clients is:

  • Logo [Home]
  • About
  • Services [Offerings]
  • Shop
  • Journal [Blog]
  • Contact

Omit anything that doesn't apply to you. Don't add Shop if you don't have one.

02. Not Enough Calls To Action

<callout>Solution — Add clear buttons with simple and direct language<callout>

When there's too much text and no obvious call to action to click on, users feel lost and are annoyed that they have to do a lot of work looking around to find the answers. Make it clear to your site visitors the different places they can go inside of your website.

This goes hand in hand with simplifying the navigation. Create calls to action — as buttons that contrast from the rest of the text — that lead your visitors to achieve your site goals — buy from you or reach out to you.

The copy of the calls to action also matter. Be clear and concise, but not boring. Instead of "Learn More", use "How I Can Help". Rather than "Submit", use "Send Message". Every case is different — when in doubt go for simple copy.

Design

03. Centered Align Text

<callout>Solution — Left align body text<callout>

It's simple: center aligning body text — paragraphs that are more than 3 lines long — makes it difficult for users to read. It adds to people's cognitive load, making it a less enjoyable experience.

By left aligning body text, the eye has a guide to follow, line by line, instead of having to find the new starting point every line.

04. Different Font Types & Sizes

<callout>Solution — Pick 2 fonts and maintain consistent sizing<callout>

Why are fonts so important? Why not use different ones to add more contrast? Because being consistent helps build trust on a subconscious level and having legible type allows users to read with more ease.

Choosing what font combination to use can take a while if you want it to. It's not worth spending too much time on this — says the person that takes hours to choose a font pairing 😆.

For body text choose a sans serif font — something like the fonts on this page that don't have the decorative elements like Times New Roman — and pick a size 18px. This makes the text legible on almost any screen size.

For headings, use anything that you like. Avoid fancy handwritten fonts since they're more difficult to read. My favorites are Bodoni, Playfair Display, Poppins, Oswald, Montserrat, and Roboto — all are in Google Fonts.

05. Text Over Images

<callout>Solution — Use a simple background image, a flat background, or change the arrangement — text and image side by side<callout>

Placing text over images reduces legibility — it gets worse if the image is complex. There are many things you can do to fix this depending on the application:

  • Place the text and image side by side
  • Change the image to a single color background
  • Use a gradient instead of a single color

If you reaaaally want to have that text over an image, choose one that:

  • Has a lot of contrast with the text — like a very dark image with white text.
  • Is very simple — something with little to no detail.
  • Use an overlay — a single color layer with low opacity that adds contrast between the image and the text.

Branding

06. Photos of Random People

<callout>Solution — Show your beautiful face<callout>

I get it, it feels egotistical or uncomfortable to have your face first thing someone goes into your website. I wasn't into it either when I first designed my site. Here's why it's important to have photos of you at least once on each of your pages:

  • It builds a personal connection and trust with your audience
  • People work with people — they want to get to know you
  • We recognize ourselves in other's faces
  • Adds your personality to your website

07. All. The. Coloooooors

<callout>Solution — Limit your color palette to 1 accent color, 1-2 supporting colors, and 1-2 neutrals<callout>

Look, I absolutely love colors — even though I almost always dress in black 😅. But overusing colors is overwhelming — it adds to the users cognitive load so people don't want to stay on your website anymore.

There are sooo many color combinations and it can take a long time to choose your website colors. To make it easier for you, limit your colors to 2-4, including white and black. If you feel confirdent with colors, feel free to add more, but err on the side of caution.

Consistency is key here, too 🔑. For example, choose one color for the button and keep that across the website. It helps build trust and make you look professional.

Copywriting

08. You Only Say What You Do

<callout>Solution — Explain how you help and how they feel after working with you<callout>

If you take away anything from this article, let it be this: tell your audience how you can help them; what you do is just the means on how you help.

When users go into a website they're looking for a solution. They're asking themselves: why should I care? How do I benefit from purchasing or working with them?

Notice the next time you're in a business' website: how did they communicate their offerings? how did they compel you to work with them or buy their product or service?

09. Too Many Testimonials in One Place

<callout>Solution — Sprinkle testimonials across the website<callout>

Social proof is still the best psychological driver for people to like you. It's very useful for everyone involved: site visitors get a client-side opinion on your services and you have your clients backing you up.

Usually what I see is an entire section of "Kind Words" or an entire page dedicated to testimonials.

A dedicated section is good — most commonly on the home page or services page. The problem arises when there are too many testimonials — too much text means people won't read — or when there are slideshows where people have to click next to read more — usually people don't really click on them, so you're wasting valuable testimonials unless you repurpose them.

My personal opinion is that having a separate testimonials page usually isn't fruitful for small service-based businesses like yours. First, it's not good for you — visitors can't read within your pages what people have to say about you and they most probably won't click to go to the testimonials page. Second, separate testimonial pages, unless designed really well, have a lot of text users won't read. You're taking from them the ease of making the decision to work with you.

BTW — this is also applicable to product-base businesses using reviews!

10. Writing in First and Third Person

<callout>Solution — Choose between writing in first or third person<callout>

The grand majority of holistic business I work with are composed of one person. They're either the name of the person — like Lauren Scungio and Taylor Walek — or have a business name that is run by that person — like The Holstice (me!) and The Celestial Bruja.

If you run your business under your personal name — write in the first person (I/Me/Mine)

If your business name is not your personal name — choose writing in the first person OR third person (They/Them/Their). I prefer writing in first person because it creates a sense of closeness with the reader instead of creating distance, which builds connection and trust. Plus, it's only me running my business — I'm not an agency.

Whatever you choose, stick to that form of writing.

11. Large Blocks of Text

<callout>Solution — Write for scannability or skimming<callout>

Based on a study from Nielsen Norman Group — the leader in user experience research — called How to Write for the Web they "found that 79% of users always scanned a new page they came across; only 16% read word by word".

Making text scannable helps people decide if the information is good enough for them and understand what the content is about without having to read word for word.

Use these tips to make your website's content scannable:

  • Use descriptive headings. See if you can scroll down a page a get a sense of what the information is about.
  • List bullet points and numbered lists.
  • Use bolds and italics sparingly to add emphasis outside of headings.
  • Write in short 2-3 sentence paragraphs instead of large blocks of text
  • If the page has too much information, consider breaking the content up into separate pages or articles.

Notice next time you're reading an article or an Instagram caption — are you reading every single word or skimming as your read?

Final Thoughts

Are you guilty of making any of these websites mistakes? I know, I am! 🙋🏼♀️ Even professionals in their field can make blatant mistakes and it's OK to do so. We can all learn from our mistakes and improve from there.

I want to leave you with the biggest takeaways from this article. It's a high-level overview on how to create better websites and experiences with your clients.

Be kind to your website visitors

Provide them with an easeful user experience by:

  • Using simple navigation
  • Having clear calls to action
  • Organizing text so that it's easy to read
  • Utilizing simple and direct language
Be consistent. Write scannable, user-centered copy. Put yourself front-and-center.

Can you relate to this list?

What are mistakes you think you've made?

It's never too late to correct mistakes after launching your website — no matter how big or small they are.

If you think you've slipped-up when on your website, I can give you a second set of eyes and give you clear direction on what worthwhile changes to make.

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<arrow-bullet>Simple, actionable feedback you can implement right now to improve your website.<arrow-bullet><arrow-bullet>The most impactful changes that can help grow your business.<arrow-bullet><arrow-bullet>Clear direction to give you confidence in the changes you make.<arrow-bullet>

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