Recently I was talking with a potential Online Wellness Association member who was having difficulty understanding what the problem is about online predators and how it affected her potential clients. It was a good opportunity for me to step up on my soap box about the caution that needs to be taken in our wellness fields and the responsibility we, as wellness practitioners, have to protect our potential clients. Wekepedia states that an “online predator is an Internet user who exploits vulnerable people, usually for sexual or financial purposes.” The key word here is ‘vulnerable’. While adolescents and the elderly are reported to be the most victimized online by predators, the numbers of ‘others’ is difficult to know because of under-reporting by the victims. Victims that have been dooped by online predators tend to be in shame and/or fear over the victimization, so they do not report the incident. Social networks are now also used by online predators to seduce their targets. Very lonely people looking for love in all the wrong places turn to these sites for attention. What we want to do is be available online to have these vulnerable people access services. As wellness practitioners we have an obligation to make our internet presence credible. A vulnerable perspective client looking for direction and comfort is not going to take the time to check credentials, or to sign up for access to directories. The OWA SEAL OF APPROVAL offers an immediate visual that the website owner is in good standing with Online Wellness Association. When clicked on, the SEAL opens stating: ‘This practitioner has met the standards and criteria to be a member in good standing with the Online Wellness Association.’ NOTE: Clicking DOES NOT take the potential clients away from the website. As the Online Wellness Association Professional Directory is populated, marketing will educate the public on what exactly the OWA SEAL represents. Marketing our wellness sites online is no longer just a matter of building it so they will come. We now have an ethical responsibility to make the world of the internet as safe as we possibly can to insure the safety of our potential clients. Can you meet the standards necessary to become a member of ONLINE WELLNESS ASSOCIATION? Check out the qualifications at:

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Since adding the ability to blog directly from the OWA site, OWA members are wondering ‘Why?’ BLOGGING serves many purposes for promoting yourself, your practice, and your website. Blogging is a way to bring people to your site. If I Google ‘addiction counselor’, 753,000 choices will come up; I can narrow that down to 44,100 by entering my city and state. People searching for a specific category do not take the time to browse through all the pages to find someone that will be a good fit. In order to be considered, your site needs to come up within the first 2-3 pages. There are several ways to get your site on the first page: one way is that you can pay for it, those are called Sponsored Links and are usually to the left of the page, or at the top with a color background. The search engines look for words and traffic to the site. The more traffic you have to your site, the higher you go up in ranking. The search engines look for specific words that are typed in by the person browsing. Consequently, all the key words you use in your site will be picked up. Blogging creates an opportunity to use those key words over and over, increasing your chances of being closer to the top. For instance, yesterday I blogged about the new benefits offered to Online Wellness Association members; I just Googled ‘online wellness benefit’; Online Wellness Association site came up as number 8 on the first page. Online Wellness Association’s blogs are posted on several other blog carnivals–sites that have topics in common–which increases the possibility of browsers coming to the OWA Blog Site. Members blogging on the OWA site use a SIGNATURE LINE that has a link directly to their own website. The signature line I use for my private practice is: Learn more about me and my private practice at The reader just needs to click the address to be taken to my website. Building a website is expensive, having a presence online with that website takes work–this is another reason why having a membership with Online Wellness Association is valuable marketing dollars for you. Let us help you get known on line as we continue to build Online Wellness Association.

Learn about the requirements to join OWA at: