It’s 2018! Are you following the latest best practices for medical practice websites? Some of these may be new ideas, but hopefully, you’ve already implemented some items on this list.
1. Design a Mobile Friendly Website
Your website must be mobile friendly, which is why many professionals are recommending a ‘mobile-first’ attitude when it comes to design. Even if you think your patients are ‘older’ and ‘don’t use their phones for the internet,’ overlooking this fact can have a major impact on patient access and Google ranking. In 2015, Google began penalizing sites that aren’t mobile friendly in a move dubbed ‘mobilegeddon.”
For instance, a urology practice we work with has an average patient age in the mid-sixties, but the percent of mobile users on its website is over 45%. You wouldn’t want to lose out on half your potential visitors, would you? Of course not.
Not sure if your current site is mobile friendly? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.
2. Secure Your Site
Making sure your site is safe and secure is beneficial for multiple reasons. Securing your site adds an extra layer of safety for visitors, especially those who are submitting information. HIPAA guidelines stipulate that information sent to you should be safeguarded when received, and during transmission if using a website form. Google has also been known to give ranking preference to secure sites.
The easiest way to tell if your site is secure is by looking at the address bar. If you do not see, “https” in front of your web address, your website is not secure. The “S” is the important part to note.
3. Create Simple Navigation
When patients visit a health care provider’s site, they’re looking for relief for themselves or a loved one. Your website’s design should make it as easy as possible for patients to find what they need fast.
If your site has distracting banners promoting every procedure you offer on the homepage, you may be guilty of this #1 homepage mistake.
Studies have actually found that to engage a website visitor, that ease of use is more important than trustworthiness. This explains why WebMD is popular despite its trust level being below other information sites like the CDC.
Image from: Neurosciencemarketing.com
4. Provide Multiple Forms of Contact
Some potential patients prefer to call, while others prefer to use electronic methods. The best practices realize that not all patients want to speak to someone on the phone.
Giving patients several options is becoming standard in the era of patient-centered care. It also allows practices to ‘always be open’ in terms of receiving requests for appointments.
5. Increase Website Speed
Medical practice websites should load quickly for two reasons. The first is the patient experience. The second is Search Engine Optimization and your Google Ranking. Website speed has become an important part of SEO strategy.
Websites can be optimized for speed by reducing the size of images and limited how ‘heavy’ your site is in terms of scripts and code.
Your hosting also plays an important role website speed, and not all webhosts are created equal.
Finally, use of a Content Delivery Network can also increase your site’s speed performance and user experience.
6. Create Clear Calls to Action
For most medical practice websites, the call to action is going to be “Make an Appointment.” Throughout your website, you should have very clear methods of how to do this. It can be in the sidebar, the header of the website, and should be on every physician bio page and condition information page in multiple places.
Make it as easy as possible for patients to request an appointment.
7. Update Content Regularly
Keeping your website’s content updated is good for keeping patients engaged and your organic search rankings strong. If your site hasn’t been updated in months or years, your Google rankings are suffering. And, if your site looks outdated, patients will come to the conclusion your medicine is outdated too.
Keep your site looking as professional as current as your practice and your medicine.
8. Keep it Personal
When patients are looking for a healthcare provider, they are looking for someone they can connect with. Someone they can trust. Someone they like. It’s hard to do that when there’s no personality and a bunch of obvious stock photos.
To become more ‘likable’ to patients, use images of your doctors and staff smiling.
When making provider bios, go beyond what school they went to and what their specialties are and inject some personality.
For instance Instead of saying, “Dr. Smith specializes in BPH,” let Dr. Smith tell a story:
“I have a lot of patients who say they get up several times a night to urinate, and they’re losing a lot of sleep. That tiredness can have serious effects on their relationships and performance at work. One of the best parts of my job is knowing that I can dramatically improve their well-being.”
How many of these have you already implemented on your medical practice websites? Which ones will you try to do more of in 2018?
If you need help implementing any of these for your practice, contact us for your free strategy session.