Last Monday, we began talking about the importance of creating a practice website that doesn’t miss the mark; having one is critical, but if it’s done poorly you’ll find that you aren’t generating many more patients than if you didn’t have a site at all.
In the words of Tim Knox and entrepreneur.com,
“...it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind monkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.”
Tackling a website can be a confusing and overwhelming process. Outsourcing the framework of your practice site is the best option (if that isn’t a possibility for you right now, Marketing Monday will soon be featuring a small series on do-it-yourself website design), but the thing that still falls heavily on your shoulders is what you are saying and how you are saying it. For this reason, we began breaking down the rules for doing it easier–and doing it right.
If you missed last week’s post, start there. It breaks down the hurdles of creating website content and gives you the first eight rules.
On to Rule #9!
Rule #9. The ‘About Us’ segment: Who, What, Why, How
Typically on the home page, the ‘About Us’ content is the most important part of your website. But if it doesn’t present information plainly and concisely, no one will read it. Here are some sub-rules for your About Us content:
- Put the “who what why how” into a (relatively small) segment. It doesn’t have to be in this order, but it does need to cover all of these things.
- This section should be under your banner or image. It is the first real section of text they will read about your practice. If there is a time to break out your best attempt, this is it.
- Tip: Your “who” can be included in your welcome: “Welcome to Alpine Medical. We’re so happy you found us!” This tells viewers who you are, before they even get to your introductory paragraph.
- Remember: don’t complicate it. Write as if you are personally telling your reader about yourself.
Rule #10. Don’t accept your first draft.
Here is my writer’s trick: Over the course of a week, take time out twice a day to write an intro paragraph. Don’t think about it, just type. If you’re like me, some of it will get fake or boring or redundant. By doing it over and over but taking a break in between, you get a fresh take every time.
At the end of the week, pull the good stuff to compile two or three options, get feedback, pick one, and BAM. Intro segment perfection.
Rule #11. Edit, edit, edit.
The first drafts of my articles are typically at least twice as long as the finished products, so I know how hard it can be to cut out words that you so painstakingly drafted. There’s no getting around this one, though. Clean it up!
- Take out unnecessary words. Chop out (the) words that aren’t needed to convey your point. (see what I did there?)
- Cut paragraphs. ...even if they are funny/witty/catchy. It’s difficult, I know
Rule #12. Make the “Call to Action” easy to identify.
If they have to search to figure out how to contact you, they just won’t.
There should be an obvious section that says something like, “Schedule Appointment” , “Request Information”, “Contact Us”, etc.
Because you don’t want to break Rules #1 and #2, I suggest putting the Contact Us links on the top right corner and the bottom of that page in order to avoid creating more than one focal point for the page. You want viewers to be able to find your contact information, but you don’t want to destroy their reading flow.
You’ve got the basics! Now it’s time to check your work.
Rule #13. Try to think like a prospective patient.
You’ve shopped for a new doctor, before. Attempt to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective patient. Ask yourself these questions:
Is it obvious?
You might know who you are, but remember: new patients won’t. Look at your content as if like you don’t.
It is clear?
Remember that YOU know what you’re trying to say because you wrote it. Pretend like you didn’t; would you get through the whole paragraph? Would you stay on the page?
Does it portray your practice ‘vibe’?
Patients want to know you. If your site doesn’t depict that, keep trying.
Is it pretty?
Man, woman, adult, child…we are visual beings. If it isn’t nice to look at, fix it. Or have someone else fix it.
Rule #14. A website is never “finished.”
Even after it’s gone live, look at your site frequently. How’s it doing? Don’t be afraid to change, erase, and add things frequently.
In fact, keeping your site’s content fresh is another thing Search Bots like Google and Yelp! like.
Remember: Even if you are paying someone to create your website (and, if it’s a possibility, I highly suggest leaving the hard stuff to the pros), review these rules and use them as a checklist.
Now… how about a blog?
About the author:
Amy LaVange is a professional educator for healthcare providers. She specializes in helping practices reduce inefficiencies and lower costs, so providers and their staff can spend less time worrying about their bottom line and more time caring for their patients. She currently manages communications for Solutionreach, where she consults with their clients and creates educational content to help them establish patient-centered practices by utilizing tools and techniques that allow them to streamline their productivity and improve their patient experience.