A new year is right around the corner, and we’re all asking ourselves the question that no one truly enjoys answering: What is my New Year’s resolution? Maybe this year you should be asking your practice the same question, and maybe the answer should be: give my practice’s website the attention it deserves.

The online world is constantly changing, and this past year alone, it has grown into a universe of possibilities. Trends and best practices for website design are not what they were in 2015. If your website was built more than a few years ago, chances are it needs a facelift. If you’re considering a website facelift for the new year, here are some questions to help you determine if this is the right choice:

Is your branding prevalent throughout the design?

As your practice grows, it is common to go through minor tweaks to your overall messaging and branding. Whether it’s rounds of revisions to print materials or a revamp of your logo colors, the overall look and feel of your brand may have changed since you first built your website. It is extremely important to the integrity of your brand that there is consistency across all mediums. If your website doesn’t match your branding in the real world, now is the time to update your website.

Is your website easy to navigate?

User experience has always been key in designing websites, but as the years go by, it has grown increasingly more important. As more tools become available to developers, we are able to better analyze the way users behave on websites – what they like, what they don’t like, where they first look and where they click.

As our knowledge base grows, best practices in web design change. For example, we now know things like a contact form in the right sidebar is more likely to be filled out than one in the left sidebar.

Knowing these tidbits of information has had a great impact on the way we design a website. The placement of every element is carefully considered. This makes things easier for the user while ensuring that the user is using your website the way you intended.

Is your website responsive?

If there’s one drastic change to the 2016 web design landscape, it is the importance of mobile responsiveness. Google has even made the switch over to a mobile-first index, meaning they consider the mobile version of websites more important when determining which ones should rank first in Google search results.

What does it mean to be responsive? Having a mobile-responsive website means that your website looks good and works properly, regardless of screen size (i.e., desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or phone). If your website isn’t responsive (e.g., it looks bad on your phone screen), it is absolutely crucial that you update your website ASAP.

Is your website secure?

Just like developers are learning more and more about users, hackers are learning more and more about security flaws in websites. If you aren’t constantly updating your website, and it’s content management system along with the plugins and features on your site, you are opening up the door for hackers to come in and take whatever they’d like. If your website was built more than five years ago, there is no doubt that there are tons of security holes to fill and address. A website facelift along with some system updates will do just the trick.

Does your website accurately display who you are as a practice and what you do?

When a new user lands on your website, is it immediately clear who your practice is and what you do? Does your website contain information on ALL of the services offered by your practice? Is all contact information on your website up to date? If you answered no to any of those questions, you need to update your website to clearly communicate who you are as a practice. Users will only spend a few seconds on your website before they determine whether or not they want to give you the time of day. If in those few seconds, it is not clear to them who you are, they will leave and find someone else to solve their problems.

Is your website helping your practice reach its goals?

This is the most important question you can ask yourself when deciding if a website facelift is right for you. As a practice, one of your main business objectives is to get more patients in the door. The right website can help you achieve this. With all of the advancements in web design, we now have calculated methods and strategies for building a website that converts visitors into patients.

In 2017, more people will begin their search for the right doctor online than ever before. If your practice is not visible or readily found, you will miss out on a huge growth opportunity. So this New Year’s, make a resolution you can stick to, and give your website the attention it deserves. You’ll be happy you did.

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This document was last updated on July 24, 2014