The #1 mistake that medical practices make with their website is making it difficult for patients to find the information they want.
A lot of people think that adding more links and images to a website’s homepage is helpful. They say, “the link is right there on the homepage, it must be easy to find.”
Having too many options above the fold (without having to scroll) is problematic. As the number of distractions on your homepage increases so does the amount of work the visitor must do.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
When someone lands on your homepage, they are most likely looking for a few key items. Links to the pages below should be obvious and easy to find:
#1 Contact Information
Patients want to make appointments, cancel appointments, and confirm appointments. They may also want to speak with the doctor, nurse, or billing department. They want to call you, and they want to talk to a human. If you have a primary telephone number, it would be best to display it on the home page. It is common to combine contact info with the location info on the same page.
#2 Location Information
Patients need to know where you are. Before they schedule an appointment, they want to see where you have offices. Or, they may want to see where a particular doctor practices. While your entire site should be mobile friendly, making the location information readable on a cell phone is critical. Many patients start looking for directions once they’re already on their way.
#3 Physician Roster
Who are your providers, what do they specialize in, and can I trust them? This is important information for prospective patients to access. They may have a specific problem they are looking to have addressed, or they may have been referred to a doctor they haven’t met before. Patients want to know about their provider before their visit, so make this info easy to find.
#4 Patient Portal
Patients will be eager to see results of tests. Some like to review their history. Combined with the increased pressure to drive patients to an online portal, it only makes sense to have this accessible and obvious.
#5 Online Bill Pay
If paying a bill isn’t automatic, more and more patients are opting to use online bill pay. It’s much faster than writing a check, finding a stamp, etc. Collections are an important part of every business, so make it easy for patients to pay you.
While we wouldn’t say these are the only links that should be above the fold on a homepage, they should be the most obvious. And, by increasing the number of other links besides these, you reduce the likelihood of your patients finding important items.
What not to do on the homepage
Here are some examples we see everyday that medical practices shouldn’t be doing with their website homepage:
Include every provider’s picture. Unless you only have 2-3 physicians, it’s best not to include everyone on the homepage. Homepage load times are an important part of Search Engine Optimization. If you have 15+ providers, loading all those pictures could be hurting your search ranking.
List too many promotions. If you have five different advertisements for what you do, it distracts from what your patients want. It’s also not your best interest if it makes it difficult for them to schedule an appointment or pay a bill.
List all locations. If you have more than 2-3 locations, a dedicated page for location and contact info may be best.
Include random links. Including a ‘links’ page on your homepage may encourage people to leave your site before they’ve spent time on it. Consider making outbound links a part of your content strategy within your site rather than making a list.
Include too many links. Count how many primary links (don’t include drop-down menus) you have on your homepage above the fold. If you have everything we mentioned above and still come in under 10, you’re doing well.
In summary: Only include what is absolutely necessary, and always include links to contact info, physician info, patient portal, and bill pay.