We received almost 300 very helpful comments. You feedback is hugely appreciated. If you don't see your question answered here, you may always email me at email@example.com
"I think the site could use a design makeover... it's a bit dated and I think parents would appreciate a design that is more tailored to a birth and baby theme."
You're right. The design now, while functional, is ugly. We're rolling out a new design with better graphics and design features in 2011.
"DoulaMatch.net should be have 'keywords' on all major search engines, so that anyone looking for a birth or postpartum will be directed to this website with various keywords...eg. doula/ prenatal/birth/postpartum/labor support/ etc."
We do! We submit a sitemap regularly to google with all of our pages and that we take care to include a descriptive page title, H1 tag, and meta description on all doula profile pages. These are generally agreed as being the most important pieces of info to get a page indexed effectively by google and other search engines
We have no control over how highly our pages come up in google search results. This depends highly on how many other sites link to the page in question. Have you created a link to www.DoulaMatch.net on your site yet?
"I try to get two mommies that are very close- or even have the same due date- This works- I have used back up only 4 times in 243 births!! If I put in the dates that I have already booked, then it looks like I am unavailable--or the opposite- looks like I have no clients- any ideas? Thanks again for all you do!!"
You can organize your calendar any way you like. Try thinking about how you want you calendar to appear to consumers. If you are indeed available to take clients then reflect that on your calendar. There is no need for you to "block out" days when you have clients due if in fact those due dates don't prohibit you from taking clients.
"I love, love, love your site! It is user friendly for both us as doulas, and for potential clients. I would, however, wish that clients were given the opportunity to write a testimonial independent on their email address. "
No problem. Your clients can always send testimonials and reviews directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Those instructions are on the page where clients submit testimonials. We'll make sure that clients who don't have Google, Yahoo, or AOL can more easily see that option.
"I love the idea of requiring us to check in frequently and keep our data updated, but the algorithm to give clients the doula 'closest to her' is totally jacked by this system. When I type in my own zip code I don't get doulas who are nearest, I get the ones who have updated their data most recently. As a consumer I should be able to select or sort results to find people in my area and then a date that indicates when they most recently updated their profile. When I update my own profile and check to see the listings for my zip code, it's frustrating to see several doulas who have just also updated their profiles be in my results, despite the fact they live many miles or even hours away. Other than this- I LOVE the site and I try to direct traffic to it as often as possible. Excellent job!"
Our decision to program the DoulaMatch search feature by availability is borne of my increasing frustration over many years of keeping a doula referral list that was impossible to keep-up-to-date due to the very transient nature of a doula's availability. In search results, we will always feature the doulas who are most on top of keeping thier availability up-to-date. It will then be up to the consumer to decide whether or not to contact a doula that lives very far away from their own address, even though she is the doula that pops up first.
I completely understand your frustration of having doulas who live miles and hours away pop up ahead of you in search results. However, I suspect savvy consumers won't call those doulas first. They'll look for the doulas that live closer to their own locations. The best way, though, to stay on top of the heap is to update your availability frequently. In very competitive markets, that means updating every day. In less competitive markets, every week or so works well. You get to be in control of where you appear in the search results.
"Need to make doulas prove certification, not just claim it."
We need to police ourselves. Claiming certification when you don't have it is unethical and jeopardizes your future ability to ever certify with that organization. If you see something that looks funny on another doula's profile, please let your colleague know in a gentle, collegial way. It's most likely a mistake in the way she filled out her profile. If you're uncomfortable with that, or suspect she's purposefully making false claims about her certification, please let us know at email@example.com I will send an email asking that doula to please review her profile for accuracy in certifications.
We also offer the ability to display .jpg images of your doula certifications. If you have them, this is one of the best ways to show consumers and colleagues of your hard work to apply your craft to the best standards of your certifying organization. The next time you log in, click on "upload images of your doula certification".
"You're doing a great job. I have appreciated and benefited fro the open access of this websites service but I would welcome a fee to be a part of it too. I'm quickly becoming convinced that if doulas were to raise the standard rate base for their area to a more sustainable level (meaning they could support a family on the income of 3-4 clients a month without a white collar salary contribution from their partner) MORE women would be served at all income levels. We might quickly find that the profession attracts more diversity and serves more families across the socio-economic spectrum. So I'm in favor of fees for the doulas to participate in high quality professional services such as doulamatch to raise the bar for the doula profession in terms of working within scope, charging a sustainable fee, taking on more free and low cost births."
Thanks for the great food for thought!
"Could you please make it possible to create a section where I can write about myself and my philosophy."
Yes, we'll create a small free-form input field in the next design upgrade. However, DoulaMatch.net should not take the place of your own website. DoulaMatch.net is simply a conduit for consumers to land on your website, or find your email address or phone number. Explaining personal philosophy and giving clients your life history is always best done on your own website.