For all companies, a website is what represent your brand and who you are in the online world. The impression people have from visiting your site can have a great impact on your business, both positive and negative. When creating websites for healthcare practice, it needs to be visually pleasing site, but more importantly you have to have all of the essential elements in place. The following list are principal elements that will bring your website from basic to a full blown marketing and sales tool.
Structure and Design:
The structure and design of the website requires close attention since that is what people see first.
- Easy to navigate: Your website should be easy to navigate with the most important information clearly accessible on the front page. Visitor should not have to search for information such as, services, phone number, locations, insurances and physicians.
- Three clicks rule: After three clicks, 80% of visitors turn away from websites if they haven’t found the information they need. Make your information accessible and easy to find.
- Photos: When choosing pictures for your website, pick the ones that represent your patient-base. If you are looking to market towards athletes, choose sports photos instead of pediatric or geriatric images. Also, add images of your physicians and office. It is always more comforting for a patient to see where they are going and who is taking care of them before they go.
- Color Scheme: Colors evoke a lot of emotion so choose colors that represents your practice. For example, red is known to raise blood pressure, blue represents cleanliness and yellow is associated with joy and generates muscle energy. Researching color definitions is an informative and important way to design your site.
- Flash Animation: Flash technology is often used to create modern looking animated websites. However, it is not ideal for search engine optimization and therefore should be used only in moderation on a site. Use Flash technology to enhance your website’s look or to add interactive content to it. Do not use Flash as the main technology platform for your website.
- Quality content is useful for several reasons. You want people to stay on our site as long as possible and feel like they are getting useful information. Content also aids in your search engine optimization and how your online ads appear.
- Service: A clearly structured and articulated list of services is critical. Often services are listed in long “laundry lists” that are difficult to navigate. Provide the ability to drill-down. This enables the user of your website to get more information in areas of interest, and not overwhelmed by too much content.
- Symptoms and illnesses: Remember who your audience is. Unless you want your website to increase your physician referrals, your audience will be people in the community, without a medical background. Rarely do patients understand the medical aspect of your practice, but they do understand the problem they have. In reality, patients mostly do not think in terms of services, but in terms of symptoms (I hurt my knee), and illnesses (I have diabetes). The symptoms/illnesses pages will provide relevant content and lead the patients to the appropriate services.
- Education (optional): Patients like to see educational information on a site because it shows them that their doctor will spend time explaining their illness/injury and how it will be treated. Do not mistake this section with the services section. Providing information about your services offered and providing education material are two different elements of your website. You can combine them by adding an education tab to your services, but they should not be seen as the same.
Websites can be a great marketing and sales tool if done properly. Make sure your website developers understand healthcare. Structure, content and easy navigation are more important than a flashy design.