I have a good friend who is also an amazing doctor. He is smart, hard-working, and connects well with his patients. But (like all good super-heroes), he has one fatal flaw. He doesn’t have a website!
Let’s cut to the chase. I don’t care how amazing your practice is. If you don’t have a stellar online presence, you will struggle to keep up with your competition.
And where does that stellar online presence start? With your website.
Most of you, dear readers, probably have a website. You’re here each day, researching, studying, and (hopefully) faithfully implementing the latest and greatest ideas to make your practice shine. Because you are so diligent, you likely understand the importance of a website.
And yet, many of you simply do not know if your website is bringing in the ROI that you want. Does it have the features it should? Is it converting visitors to patients?
Whether you are like my friend and have no website at all (John—I’m talking to you!) or whether you think you’re rocking the best website on the internet, periodically reviewing some website best practices will keep you looking great.
So without further ado, here are the 10 steps to a website that works.
1. Create easy-to-understand navigation.
All pages on your site need to be organized in a logical way. Patients don’t have patience (pun intended). They don’t want to have to figure out what you mean. They’ll simply move on to a site that is easier to use.
2. Write the way you speak.
After years of writing term papers, we have a natural tendency to sound a little bit boring in our writing. No one wants to read that. Feel free to use an informal, friendly tone. Also watch the terms you use. Don’t throw out phrases or words that the regular person probably won’t understand. Eyes will glaze over faster than you can imagine. Tip: Leave out the hype. The first step to patient engagement is for people to like you, not for you to “sell” them.
3. Use engaging images.
Humans are visual animals. Using graphics that appeal to their senses will help hook a user. Studies have found that images of faces are most likely to make an emotional connection with viewers. If possible, create your own personalized images. While stock photos can be beautiful, they don’t really represent you. They’re simply too generic. Let people see who you are and what you look like.
4. Give ‘em what they want.
Patients are on your site to gather information. It should be EXTREMELY obvious at a glance what your practice does, how you help, and what their next step should be. Users are on your site to gather information in order to make a decision. Make it easy for them to do so.
5. Don’t talk too much.
Patients believe other patients over anything you say about yourself. Do you have an awesome patient testimonial? Or how about a video testimonial? Put it on the homepage, front and center.
6. Use a simple layout.
Nobody wants to read a website full of clutter and confusion. Here are som tips for improving readability:
- If the font is too small, they won’t squint–they’ll ignore it.
- If the font is hard to read…same thing.
- If the paragraphs are too long…ditto.
- Paragraphs that have plenty of space between the lines are much more likely to be read.
7. Keep your wild side tamed.
In an effort to stand out, sometimes we go for unique backgrounds, strange colors, flashing images and more. Trust me, I’ve seen it all.
Here’s the deal: Please don’t.
Resist the urge to let your creativity go wild. It hurts our eyes. Pick a color scheme and stick with it. White text on a brown background? No. Argyle? Definitely not.
8. Create obvious call-to-actions
Tell patients what you would like them to do next. “Schedule Appointment,” “Request Information,” “Contact Us,” and so on. While it’s important that your website is a great source of information, it’s also critical to help patients know where they should go to take the next step.
One final point when reviewing your site. Take some time on your site, pretending to be a prospective patient. Put yourself in their shoes and then ask these questions:
- Is it obvious? Can patients easily see who and what you are?
- It is clear? You might know what you’re trying to say, but will patients understand it?
- Is it you? Patients want to know you. If your site doesn’t depict that, keep trying.
- Is it pretty? Would you want to look at it? If it isn’t nice to look at, fix it. Or have someone else fix it.
Once your website is looking fly, why don’t you see if you’re living up to your online potential in this free ebook, “The Ultimate Guide to Looking Awesome Online."