January has been a good month.
I had my official grand opening, I allllllllmost doubled my patient numbers from last month and I took a few solid feeling steps forward on the social marketing front. I'm still finding my feet; I can tell you that I'm super stressed out about my to-do list right now. But the only way to eat an elephant is to take one bite at a time.
One of the biggest bites I took in January is figuring out how I want to rebrand this website. I need a place to talk about more than just the technical aspects of running a business (and fighting with Weebly *eye roll*). I need a place to talk about how challenging it is to be a mom, run a business on the side and cobble together full time work on top of all of that to pay the bills.
I need to talk about parenting and being an entrepreneur.
Eating healthy and eating on the run.
You may have noticed if you have looked on the side-bar that this is my first post in over a year. There’s a reason for that. I was trying to do something with this blog that I wasn’t in the right place to do: explore my development as a small business owner.
At the time I had started The Reverie Alone I had just put my personal business on hold. I had been in operation as a massage therapist for almost two years and was fairly successful at it. My husband and I had started talking about starting a family and I wanted something more stable, so instead of adding acupuncture to my massage practice I hit the pause button on my business and found employment.
You got into healing for a reason.
Maybe you got into it for service to humanity. Maybe you got into it because, whatever your modality, it saved you at some point in your life and you need to share that experience with others. Maybe the drive comes from an unknowable place. It doesn’t matter though, because you’re here now. You’re a healer.
You’re an artist too. If that word rubs you the wrong way with its specificity let’s try ’ You are a creative’. You use your knowledge and innovation to trigger a change in your patient’s body. They, like patrons of the arts, can then do whatever they want with your treatment. But you made it. You created that trigger. That’s why you’re an artist.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about “art for art’s sake” as a healer. I talked about the problems with society not valuing what we do. That healers and artists not asking for their worth was in part because society was telling them that they weren’t worth much. I wanted to give radical, wild and abundant permission for us all to ask for what we were worth.
When I sent my article to a friend for an opinion, they suggested I edit out a paragraph. I did, and I regret it.
This is it, guys! The last in a series of four posts on professionalism. Just joining us? Catch up on the series:
We talked about establishing predictability around handling money here and how respecting your patients’ money and handling it professionally a way of establishing trust. In a way it’s honoring their sacrifice and commitment to their treatment.
We talked about establishing the same predictability and consistency with our time management skillshere for similar reasons. We established it was important to maintain boundaries with our schedule to show respect to all of our patients equally.
We talked about dress codes and breaking taboos here Professionalism is showing up as your authentic self and doing the work. It’s not polos, dress pants and hidden body art.
Personal boundaries are, well, personal
I saved personal boundaries for last because of the four types of professionalism, it’s definitions are the most nebulous. It’s also the one that teaches the hardest lessons and is the most difficult to define for ourselves. Propriety is difficult to define as well, but it’s all about the external influences - what we think society will allow us to do and how willing we are to push against that. Personal boundaries are about our internal influences and what we will allow in our space.
When I was interning in school I had a patient in clinic who loved to ask questions. He had trust issues regarding all healthcare practitioners and he made himself comfortable by getting to know his interns. My supervisor was very familiar with his case and encouraged me to politely answer his questions to develop rapport. Over the course of a few weeks we got to know each other and treatment progressed.
One day, before his treatment he asked to see my supervisor. After a tense and quiet discussion, my supervisor approached me to tell me the patient was no longer comfortable with me treating him. In the process of developing rapport and answering questions we had crossed a boundary - he by asking a question that had a possible answer he would dislike and me by not having a firm enough boundary regarding topics.
This is such a difficult lesson because the boundary is so sudden and it’s different for every patient and practitioner interaction. Sometimes it can even change day to day with the same patient.
Personal boundaries extend to personal space - how and when we allow patients to contact us is a very personal decision and we all do it differently.
Again - it comes back to consistency. Developing boundaries that you can set at the at the beginning of a therapeutic relationship can help prevent these types of things from happening. Consistently enforcing them helps build patient trust.
Here are a few of mine.
I don’t talk about religion with patients - Sometimes, in the course of a massage session or during needling, conversations happen. I tend not to talk because I like to focus, but if a patient chats to relieve tension I always respond. But if a conversation begins to meander into philosophical territories things can get a little hairy. Religion is personal. Their spiritual beliefs mean as much to them as yours do to you.
If there is a difference and it’s amicable, that’s great because dialogue about spiritual difference is awesome - but the treatment table isn’t the place for it. If the difference isn’t amicable you probably just lost a patient and all those possible referrals. Spirituality can be part of your practice - that doesn’t mean it has to be overt.
I don’t talk about politics with patients - With election season coming up, a lot of people have policy on the brain. We’re also all curious about what other people think and who people are voting for. But as with religion, political debate doesn’t belong on the treatment table.
For both religion and politics, I politely explain I don’t discuss religion and politics in the treatment room because I find conversations tend to lead to debate, even if we are in agreement, and energetic conversations tend not to be conducive to a healing environment. No one has ever had an issue with that explanation. It’s not a lie, it’s not hiding anything; it’s just setting a boundary.
The hobbies I discuss with my patients are as boring as white bread - For the patients who like to have conversation, I will occasionally talk about plans for the weekend or evening. But they will be severely censored. I will talk about knitting, music, my cats - pretty much everything the average grandmother would approve of.
I won’t talk about this blog, what I’m reading, what I’ve been cooking, dry needling, dancing, my current meditation practice or any of the woowoo stuff I do in my off time. In and of themselves, these things probably won’t offend anyone. But I know me. And once I get on a tangent about something I love it’s super easy to pull out my soapbox.
Patients can only talk to me when I’m at work - Every time I hear of a practitioner who just started out giving out their cell phone number or email address to patients with instructions to let the practitioner “know if you need anything” it has always come with at least one horror story. Patients love accessibility. And who can blame them? But I need my off hours.
I have a google voice number and an email address. I only respond during work hours. This is a relatively new practice and it has changed my life. I shouldn’t be at the beck and call of my work - I have a family and my family needs to come first.
I know we are practitioners and we want to care for our patients at all times, but we are not emergency personnel. If the question our patient has is truly an emergency they should dial 911 or go to the emergency room. If it’s a medical problem they should call their primary care practitioner. Frankly, if it’s in the scope of practice of a massage therapist or an acupuncturist, it can wait until Monday.
Unhappy endings - Yep, we need to go there. This is a huge issue and it probably deserves it’s own blog post but here we go:
It’s a physiological fact - men get erections when sleeping. It’s called “nocturnal penile tumescence”. And they’re not alone, women get clitoral erections too. Apparently it happens 3-5 times a night, or per sleeping period. We can’t control it because 1) we’re asleep and 2) we can’t consciously regulate the levels of norepinephrine or nitric oxide in our blood. So sometimes when men fall asleep on our tables (and probably the women too!) they get an erection.
Do you know what I was taught to do if a man got an erection on my table? I was supposed to step back from the table, call an embarrassing amount of attention to it, and end the session.
Do you know what I do? Nothing. Mainly because they’re sleeping.
My boundary isn’t an uncontrollable physiological response to altered blood chemistry. My boundary is words or touching. Ask for a happy ending? Get out. I didn’t go to school to be a hooker. Don’t come back.
Hint at it? You get shut down verbally because maybe - MAYBE - I’m just in a bad mood and misunderstood you. So I’ll find a way to mention my husband or my education. Mention it again and you’re off the table and out the door. Don’t come back.
I once caught a patient playing with himself, possibly in his sleep. I picked up his hand and moved it. He hasn’t come back. It probably wasn’t in his sleep then. I probably embarrassed him. Good, you're gross. Go be gross somewhere else.
And from the non-sexual side, do NOT hit me to get my attention. Yes, it has happened. Use your words.
In the words of my massage teacher, “You DO NOT touch the therapist!”
Don’t worry if your boundaries drive people away. They should. They will also attract people who respect your boundaries. These are the people who will respect you as a practitioner and a professional, and with that respect comes their trust and their business.
So that’s it. Be consistent when it comes to money. Be consistent when it comes to time. Be consistent with how you portray your brand. And be consistent about what you will and will not share, allow on your table and in your space.
Related links, affiliates links and posts:
4 simple ways to build your patients' trust: pricing
4 simple ways to build your patients' trust: punctuality
4 simple ways to build your patients' trust: propriety
Being Boss 'Redefining Professional'
I Fucking Love Science's "What is a 'Morning Glory'?"
"You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life" by Jen Sincero
I read this last year and it's time to pull it off the shelf again. Jen Sincero has a kickass attitude about life. This has been one of my favorite inspirational, self-help, get moving in life books. Check it out on Amazon!
I also just started (and am also halfway through) Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" and I love it so much. Totally making me rethink my approach to this blog but also how to live creatively in my practice. Future blog post? Quite possibly!
Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for updates!
Your boundaries are going to look different than mine, where do you set them?
I’m going to bust out an old fashioned word I learned from Tom Lehrer - "propriety."
the state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals.
"he always behaved with the utmost propriety"
This may just sound like another way to say “professionalism” but this is a completely different aspect of professionalism than pricing or punctuality. This is where we get into dress codes, comportment, and other things typically found in the employee handbook.
In my opinion, propriety is one of the most controversial aspects of professionalism because it is the most visible. Clothes are tangible. Pricing strategies are not.
Propriety touches a lot of nerves because it's a matter of fitting into social norms and avoiding taboos. In a way some of us are already violating social norms just by doing what we do. In the immortal words of my co-worker April, massage therapists are in the business of “touching naked people for money.” Certainly taboo and a “reason” to be shamed by society. This is why we get to be the butt of “happy endings” jokes (a subject for another time - society’s fear of the naked form is a blog post in itself.
How do taboo breakers like massage therapists and acupuncturists break enough norms to successfully do what we do and remain authentic without driving everyone away?
Get over the idea of attracting everyone - Your job as a practitioner and a business person is to repel as many people (if not more) than you attract. You will never be the best practitioner for everyone and you shouldn’t be. If you try, every treatment will look the same and you’ll have more people leaving your office disappointed than fulfilled.
Being a massage therapist repels people who don’t like being touched. Being a massage therapist who prefers to work skin to skin repels people uncomfortable with undressing. That’s ok. Being an acupuncturist repels people who are afraid of needles, don’t think herbs work or hundreds of other things. That’s ok too! We probably couldn’t have helped each other anyway.
There is a practitioner out there for everyone. The people who you repel will find the person who fits them better.
Dress code consistency matters - In my own practice I wear floor length skirts or jeans with a solid colored shirt. Unless the AC is out, I don’t bare my shoulders. And I don’t wear makeup to work. This is the way I’ve chosen to present myself - hippie and laid back. At the spa, the only things I do differently are 1) not wearing jeans and 2) never baring my shoulders because that is their dress code.
Dress code can communicate two things - your attitude about the practice and your membership in a team. If you’re on your own it’s just the former. If it’s the latter, it becomes vital every member of the team adheres to the dress code or it looks weird. Need to wear a polo? Everybody wears the polo. Requiring khaki pants? Everybody wears khaki pants.
If one group doesn’t have to adhere to the dress code the general public will either judge them as more important than the team (generally management in retail settings vs the average employee) or as not part of the team. This is more common in small business settings. If three-quarters of the clinic staff is dressed in a uniform and one person is not, the outlier is going to be mistaken for a patient at least half the time.
Pricing is the first step. Punctuality is the next.
On Monday I talked about how to establish patient trust and demonstrate value with consistent pricing, strategic discounts and systems around managing money. These things show your respect for your patient’s investment in their health and your practice.
The next main tenant of professionalism is punctuality. This means so much more than “being on time.” If consistent and professional pricing is how you demonstrate you value your patients’ financial investment, punctuality is how you demonstrate you value their time.
Some practitioners are like me - if you’re 5 minutes late, I’ll probably let it slide. If you’re ten minutes late (or more), that’s how much time you get taken off your session but believe me, you will still pay full price. If you’re half an hour late, you’ll pay the short notice cancellation fee but you probably won’t get the appointment. Do it enough and you’ll get referred out.
On the other end of the spectrum I’ve known practitioners to be late to their own patient’s appointments because they went to go get dinner. They’ll allow their patients to be half an hour late and give them their full time, then run late to their next appointment because they didn’t have the turn over time to accomodate. Or they won’t enforce their late fees or cancellation policies because they’re afraid to lose patients.
There are pros and cons to each approach but here’s how I do things:
You are the gatekeeper of appointment times - You bear the sole responsibility of making sure your patients who do arrive on time can start their appointments on time. So, if for instance, you have your first patient of the day arrive 20 minutes late for a 60 minute massage and you only have a 15 minute turn over time. They can have, max, 35 minutes. Why? Because your next patient is probably going to be on time. They scheduled 60 minutes. They should get 60 minutes and those 60 minutes should start at their scheduled time.
If you lose patients because of this policy, you only lose patients who are consistently late. It’s vital to build clientele that will work well with the way you work. If this kind of philosophy doesn’t work with you, you may need to consider longer turnover times to compensate. There is no reason you can’t accommodate late patients if that’s how you want to roll, but you need to respect every patient’s time equally.
Patients will only respect your time if you respect their time - Consistently being late for your own patient’s appointments shows them you don’t care about their time or schedule. Either they’ll stop coming, or they’ll stop coming on time (which will only exacerbate problems). The way I handle this to know exactly how much time I need between clients and remind myself I’m in charge of the schedule. It is my responsibility to make sure appointments start on time, however that needs to happen.
The thing to keep in mind is that even though we’re healers and we want to do everything in our power for our patients, we need to save some of ourselves for our other patients too. We may not have time to do ALL THE THINGS, so we’ll have to settle for “most of the things” and that’s ok. Do what you can with the time you have because your next patient and all of the ones after them deserve the same quality of care.
Patient communication is a matter of punctuality too - Confession time: I am literally the worst at getting back to patients in a timely manner. I can think of two? three? patients off the top of my head right now I need to get back to (and I swear to God I’ll do it after this article is finished). This is why receptionists and clinic administrators are the most awesome people on the planet. I have lost patients over this. And I deserved to.
I’ve found that if I try to get back to a patient in the same day, I fail. If I do all of my patient communication the next day all at once, I succeed! 24 hours is a completely acceptable amount of time for communications delay. 48 is starts to push it. Doing all of the communication at once gives you the momentum to finish it.
Get back to your patients on time. If you don’t, they will find someone who will.
Everybody hates paperwork - But you have to get it done on time. I’m guilty of this one too. Ever since we switched back from EHR to paper records for massage and acupuncture, it’s been a struggle to make sure it gets done on time. But patients have a right to complete and accurate paperwork and who knows, maybe tomorrow they’ll need a copy of what you did today.
This one is consistently an issue for me so I make sure to do all of my paperwork - all of it - before I leave my office for the day. Otherwise it won’t get done, and if it does, it won’t be as accurate as it would be if it were fresh in your mind. It’s too easy to get distracted by life - do your paperwork ASAP.
Your time has worth too - Let’s face it, asking for your value means asking for people respect your time too. If someone no call no shows, they need to know someone else could have filled that time and you could have been paid for it. Instead, you sit around the clinic waiting for them. Or you could have been marketing, working on paperwork, or one of the 500 other things required to manage a practice.
I do not explicitly tell them that someone else could have been in their spot when I call them to ask if they’re still planning on coming. I do mention it in my late fee and cancellation policy. It’s a bit gauche to mention it every time. Usually people feel guilty enough for missing an appointment. I’m strict, but I don’t want people to feel bad.
Money is energy. Time is energy. Respect your patients’ energy. Put systems around how you manage your energy and your patients’ energy. Demand the same respect. Do this consistently so patients know what they can expect from you and you’ll find you’re surrounded by your ideal patients.
It’s this confidence and consistency the demonstrates your professionalism. Now rock it.
Related links and posts:
4 Simple Way to Build Your Patients' Trust: Pricing
The Starving Artist and the Dirt Poor Healer
Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for updates!
How do you handle late and cancellation policies in your practice?
It’s how we communicate to our patients we know how to take care of them. We’ll handle their information appropriately. We’ll assist them on their healing journey. Most importantly professionalism is how we communicate that we know what the hell we’re doing.
How do we know what’s professional? In massage school I was taught to wear scrubs. Multiple piercings, visible tattoos and unnaturally colored hair were an absolute ’no’. In acupuncture school (the SAME UNIVERSITY, I would like to point out) I was taught to dress business casual. A certain amount of unnatural hair color was ok, as were facial piercings and multiple ear piercings and some visible body art was acceptable. The chiropractors had it the worst though - polos, button ups, natural colored hair, no body art - boring, corporate and very “professional”.
In my own practice, nobody has a problem with me wearing jeans, my purple hair or my nose ring. Why? We’re taught professionalism is how we look. It always seems to be the focus of every professionalism lecture in school. But professionalism has very little to do with how we look and everything to do with how we act.
Over the past few years I’ve come to realize there are four main categories patients judge our professionalism on - pricing, punctuality, propriety, and personal boundaries. Like with professional dress each of these will differ from practitioner to practitioner. However, the practitioners who are successful in their field have properly established boundaries within each of these four categories.
This is the first of four articles about professionalism in patient management and I’m going to start with pricing.
Money is a delicate matter
Pricing is the least obvious of all of the professionalism categories.
Professional pricing and systems around payments are two of the best ways to establish patient trust. They demonstrate how much you value what you do and how much of a business person you are. I’ve seen many practitioners who don’t professionally handle their pricing lose patients or worse, get taken advantage of by patients because they don’t maintain pricing professionalism.
Have your pricing readily visible or accessible - put it in an obvious part of your website. If you have your pricing listed across multiple platforms or pages, make sure they are the same in each location. A patient should know how much your services cost before they walk in the door. If they don’t, you don’t need to have them posted, but have them listed attractively on a laminated sheet you can hand them.
Discounts demonstrate how much you value your patients but also how much you value your services - I worked for a business that handed out 50% new patient coupons and while the point was to bring in new business, it only ever brought in people who were looking for a deal and gave shitty tips. They didn’t value the services I gave - they just wanted their annual massage and they wanted it cheap. It made me feel like my work wasn’t really worth anything and none of them came back because they’d move onto the next practitioner they could use their coupon with. I don’t take those coupons anymore and business improved.
I do offer four discounts though; a practitioner discount, a veteran’s discount, an educational (teachers and students) discount and a new patient discount. It has been 20% but I’ve been considering 15%. All the same amount. No coupons. Not stackable. And they are applied whether the patient remembers to ask for them or not. Some places make you ask for the new patient discount but I feel like it tricks the patient out of their money. It’s slippery to not tell the patient about a discount that’s available and at the same time expect them to ask for it to get it.
I’m considering dropping those discounts all together and plan to offer 1-2 major deals per year only to my newsletter list. That’s right - my established clients. I want to thank the people who give me my business.
The point is, if you lower prices to get people into the door, those patients are less likely to be your ideal patients. Your ideal patients are the ones that stick with you. Those are the people we need to show our gratitude to.
Have consistent pricing - first of all, this is a matter of legality. You get into some pretty serious grey areas if you change around your pricing all the time. And it’s a major no-no to offer one patient one price and another a different one. I’ve known practitioners who “grandfather in” old patients when they raise their prices so new people get the advertised price and the old patients don’t. I find this unethical, but I understand it - the fear of losing your client base when you raise your prices is daunting.
Here’s the thing though - if your work is good, your patients won’t leave you over $5-$10 a session. If you lose some, you’ll make it up in the next few months. Ask for what you’re worth.
There’s a pricing sweet spot - Knowing the pricing of services around you isn’t just important for your business plan. These practitioners help you find the sweet spot for pricing. One of the things I learned in my marketing class was that customers look for a sweet spot. Obviously, if a price is too far above that sweet spot people will think you’re over-charging. But if you charge too little you won’t bring people in the doors either - they’ll think you’re cheap, poor quality or desperate.
Ask for what you’re worth - I’m sure you’ve noticed this as a theme, but it really needed it’s own section. You have a responsibility to your patients to stick around. It takes quite a bit of vulnerability and courage to come into someone’s office and ask for help. That relationship is built on trust. You need to make sure you ask enough from all of your patients so you can keep the lights on, go home and have a roof over your head.
Have a structure around accepting payments - Maybe you’re cash-only. Maybe you’ll accept checks. Maybe you’ll barter. Whatever it is you do, do it consistently. I always take payment at the end of my sessions. I know practitioners who only do it before. I always follow up payment with an offer to reschedule. There is a pattern and flow my patients expect. Since the expectation is there, it’s difficult for either of us to miss a step. Patients pay, patients reschedule.
These just scratch the surface of pricing professionalism and they’re really just my take. Professionalism is a personal philosophy - everybody is going to do it a little differently. The key isn’t whether or not you plan to take discounts, or what payment methods you will and will not accept. It’s consistency.
Professionalism is consistency.
Guys, my insatiable curiosity has lead me down a rabbit hole once again. In a wild Pinterest flurry I came across a blogger name Melyssa Griffin over at over at http://www.melyssagriffin.com. After reading a few of her blogs I signed up for her newsletter because I like to show my support for people who are awesomely helpful. During the past week she has been offering a workshop on how to build an email list and page views with Pinterest. It was amazingly interesting. It also lead to one of the most frustratingly, rage-inducing two days of this blog’s short life.
Real talk now, alternative post titles I considered for this post included:
The information from the workshop was immensely helpful and I’m already seeing a huge difference in traffic, but let me tell you that I would not have made it through last weekend if it weren’t for Scandinavian stubbornness, Irish tenacity and copious amounts of caffeine.
Before we get too much further I would like to emphasize that I don’t want to turn Reverie into another blog about blogging. I’m a healer though, and this was a problem for me. It’s in my nature to want to fix these problems for others - my hope is that by sharing this experience no one will ever have to be as frustrated about this as I was.
The problem I want to solve is that it seems like 90% of the bloggers out there use WordPress or Squarespace. This means that almost all of the tutorials out there are for these popular platforms. I am a fan of Weebly but it works differently mostly because of its drag and drop templates. I found one - one - tutorial for enabling rich pins on Weebly and it only worked temporarily. I had to piece together all of my information and even then there were holes.
My intention is to include my whole process - what did and didn’t work so that as some future person reads through they can put a checkmark next to everything saying, “Yup, tried that” or they can add it to their todo list.
For those of you that just want what I did, skip to the bottom for a tl;dr. :)
The first thing I did was go directly to Pinterest to find out how to enable rich pins. My first red flag was the first step of the official Pinterest how-to:
“Prep your website with meta tags or an oEmbed endpoint. This can be a bit technical, so you might need to loop in your website’s developer.”
I scrolled down to "Article Pins" to see what I would need to add to my site’s code:
“1. Add Open Graph or Schema.org markups between the <head> </head> section of your HTML code for each page you want to enable article Rich Pins on. Here are the required Rich Pin fields for each type of markup. Edit the highlighted fields to reflect your articles”
Easy enough, I knew where to modify the <head> section of my site so it should just be a simple matter of copy/paste/done, right? I do like to be more informed so I did a little more digging.
So what *is* open graph?
Open graph was developed by Facebook so that it could “scrape” or gather information about articles, recipes, apps and other things and create posts that show that extra data that you don’t have to type in. Pinterest works through the same portal basically. That’s what allows my posts to look like this:
EDITYou absolutely, 100%, need to have open graph tags in order for Pinterest to be able to scrape the data needed for rich pins.
The first attempt seemed to be a success - initially. I copied over some of the open graph coding that Pinterest provided on their help page. But it seemed from all of their examples that I would be having to change the <head> section of every blog post. Now, I’m not techy. I joke with my techy friends that there’s a reason I practice a 5000 year old medicine. But I’ve dabbled in programming and I know the point of any code is to prevent that kind of redundancy. There should be no reason I that I need to add this information to every post. SURELY THERE ARE VARIABLES!
And of course I was right, the code didn’t work.
Bust numero uno.
“Fine then” I said as I cracked my knuckles and googled: “enable rich pins on a weebly site” This brought me to an incredibly helpful blog called The Felicity Jar with a lady named “Kayla” Awesome! I followed her instructions, ran my site through the rich pin validator and saw my green check marks and was good to go! Awesome.
The rest of my evening went wings - beer - sleep. Fantastic. I went to sleep planning on building my newly minted Pinterest business account the next morning.
As of 9/1/2017 (and apparently much earlier than this) the Felicity Jar site is 404ing!
Scroll down to the TL;DR portion for the code. I don't remember where she had you post it so you may as well skip that step and add it straight to the main header of your overall page.
The following morning
What I awoke to was a site on which my rich pins were indeed, not enabled, when they had appeared to be working only the evening before. It was at this point I began channeling Mr. Furious from Mystery Men. No joke, I screamed at my computer three times. That’s what I get for trying to problem solve pre-coffee.
I immediately went back to Kayla’s post on enabling rich pins on Weebly and following it to the letter only to copy the code to Weebly, save, publish, and have it disappear. WTF? I tried it a few more times with the same results. Nothing.
I sent a report to customer service and received an apology - Weebly cannot (understandably) help with individual HTML problems.
As a matter of covering all my bases I opened up my site in an incognito window on Chrome and Mozilla firefox and checking the HTML to confirm that the code was NOT being added to the <head> section.
Three hours of research, copy/pasting code and contacting customer service got me nowhere and Kayla’s blog was the only Weebly tutorial.
Thinking back I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out because the answer had been in the back of my mind all along. It had just been hidden behind a fog of frustration.
I went to computer camp when I was in sixth grade. Yes, yes, keep laughing. Get it out of your system. Anyways, we learned BASIC and HTML so I did know the basics of <head>, <body>, and <foot>. In a moment of caffeinated clarity I asked myself,
“Why am I adding this code to the blog header and not the website header?”
And that question was the key, my friends.
I copy/pasted the Felicity Jar code into the actual header (which is what Pinterest originally recommended), ran it through the validator and voila! Rich pins validated!
That’s when I saw the Pinterest confirmation message. I hadn’t been looking for it before because on no article was it made explicit that you would recieve a confirmation within the validation page AND recieve and email once it was confirmed (which took less than five minutes.)
So now it works
Rich pins are enabled! Hooray!
They may seem like a more important step for content marketers or creative entrepreneurs but I highly recommend that you enable rich pins on your site. That way if you do decide to make a pinterest page to highlight your blog or articles you’ll be a step ahead in the Pinterest article game.
I would like to say thank you to the customer service at Weebly (they can’t help policy), Pinterest for their instructions and quick validation and especially to Kayla over at Felicity Jar. I would never have gotten this working at all if it wasn’t for her code.
Thanks to pinterest, felicityjar, and other sources (to be listed below)
Find Melyssa Griffin and her awesome blog advice at: http://www.melyssagriffin.com
Not currently a Weebly user? Experiment with their awesome drag and drop editing at: www.weebly.com/
The official instructions for enabling rich pins can be found here
The rich pins validator can be found here
Kayla and her original instuctions and code can be found at her blog The Felicity Jar - try her way first, it's easier.
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What problems have you solved that have benefited your business?
Ms Jess G
Just trying to live my dream as best I can and sharing my triumphs and bumps along the way
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