WordPress may have started as a blogging platform, but it’s evolved to handle even the most complex websites, including those for healthcare and medical organizations. One of WordPress’s greatest strengths is its extensibility in the form of plugins. Having worked with hundreds of (not always great) plugins, we put together a list of the best plugins that we think every healthcare website needs.
Provider Data Management
Our pick: TriageTrak
Why you need it: The sheer volume of provider data makes it incredibly difficult to manage even with a dedicated IT team. Too often information about providers—the services they provide, procedures and conditions they treat, insurances they take and locations they serve—are out of date on websites and not available for the front desk.
Patients end up having a subpar patient experience and problems getting appointments with the right doctor or at the right location. A good patient experience has become a key differentiator for healthcare practices.
TriageTrak, a Provider Data Management plugin, allows anyone—from clinicians to administrative staff—to update patient-facing information with a few keystrokes, no IT expert needed. The profiles and information are very comprehensive and the plugin can auto-generate provider and location pages.
Among many features, doctors can add the exact conditions they treat and procedures they perform to their bio pages. It even allows easy display of standardized phone scripts for the scheduling staff.
Why we love it: Many of the plugins on this list are the best choice out of dozens or even hundreds, but TriageTrak is one-of-a-kind; we’ve yet to find anything like it on the market. The code is clean and won’t slow down your website. We like that its shortcode-based implementation makes it easy to set up. It also has a built-in customizer for setting fonts, colors etc., so it can be integrated into any website design. TriageTrak is one of the few plugins that can truly benefit not just your practice’s website, but your practice itself.
Our pick: Cerber
Why you need it: Security is important for any website, but especially for healthcare websites that deal with sensitive protected health information (PHI). A security plugin is something you may not realize you need until it’s too late. Perhaps slightly less serious but no less frustrating than being hacked, spam can quickly take over your website, forcing you to spend hours deleting comments about fake Rolexes and even less savory matters.
Cerber combats automated attacks, malware and spam. It automatically cleans up spam comments, blocks viruses and trojans and protects registrations and passwords.
Why we love it: A lot of security plugins do one thing really well, which means you’re stuck cobbling together a comprehensive security solution…unless you use Cerber. We love Cerber’s all-in-one nature and how easy it is to set up and get running. One of our favorite features is IP masking—turn that on and it scrubs IP information from website users, bringing your website one step closer to HIPAA compliance.
Our pick: Ninja Forms
Why you need it: What’s the point of your website? To inform, sure; that’s why you have great content on your site. But truly, your website is to act as a resource to your patients, make their lives easier and remove barriers to care. Your patients need to be able to make appointments online, and to do that you need safe, secure, easy-to-understand forms for patients to fill out and submit.
Ninja Forms is just such a plugin. It allows you to build custom forms, from simple email signups to more complex forms such as one a patient would use to schedule an appointment.
Why we love it: Unlike many similar plugins, Ninja Forms is free to use. It has a modular addon design, so you only pay for the pro features that you want. Need MailChimp integration but don’t care about Constant Contact? No problem. Want to capture user analytics or let users finish filling out the form later? You can do that, too. It also has native database capture (unlike some other more popular plugins that require an add-on). This means your submissions are saved (or not – up to you) within WordPress and easily downloaded in bulk later.
Our pick: One Click Accessibility
Why you need it: Website accessibility is more important than ever. There’s a good chance that many of your patients and potential patients need special accommodations on the internet, and you don’t want to turn anyone away. You may even get sued or fined if you’re inadvertently discriminating against people with disabilities.
One Click Accessibility can help make your site friendlier for site visitors who need accessibility. Easily change font sizes and make text more readable, enable high contrast, skip right to content, add an outline to elements and much more.
Why we love it: The sheer number of options One Click Accessibility has makes it very attractive. We also like that many of the features can be enabled right from the native WordPress customizer. Add in the fact that it’s free and produced by a stable, established team of developers, and we feel that you can’t go wrong with One Click Accessibility.
Search Engine Optimization
Our pick: Yoast
Why you need it: All that great content you produce to attract new patients isn’t very useful if people can’t find your website. Search engine optimization (SEO) encompasses many aspects of marketing, but it boils down to making it easier for the right people to find you.
Yoast can help with that. It can help you write better content, control what pages you want search engines to pick up, let you customize how your content looks on the search engine results page, edit important website files, automatically generate a sitemap and more.
Why we love it: When it comes to SEO plugins, Yoast is the granddaddy of them all. It’s been around for a long time, it’s proven and it’s not going anywhere. Plus, the free version is all most of our clients will ever need. One of our favorite features of Yoast is the bulk meta description editor, which allows us to quickly add meta descriptions to hundreds of pages at a time to increase their clickthrough rate when they show up in Google and other search engines.
Our pick: Autoptimize
Why you need it: How many times have you been browsing the internet, encountered a site that took forever to load, and just hit your back button to keep searching? If you don’t pay attention to site speed, that’s what can happen to your site too.
Autoptimize can make your site faster by optimizing some of your website’s source code under the hood. It will make sure all your images aren’t loading at the same time, it will stop loading fonts you don’t use on your site and it can shuffle code around to the most efficient spots on your site.
Why we love it: Autoptimize is a lightweight, free plugin that can really move the needle on site speed. It does a few things and does them very well. If your site is struggling along and you’re losing visitors because of how long it takes to load, Autoptimize might just be the difference-maker.
Site Speed/Image Compression
Our pick: ShortPixel
Why you need it: Remember what we said about site speed? Well, gigantic image files are one of the main reasons that websites slow down. Depending on the type and size of the image, it can be 4 megabytes or more (trust us, that’s big). Files that big take a lot of resources to load, both on your server’s side and on the website viewer’s computer, browser and internet connection.
ShortPixel automatically shrinks the size of your image files when you upload them into the media library. It can take file size down 90 percent or more, all without losing any noticeable quality of the image. Well-optimized images are a huge boon not only to site speed but to SEO as a whole.
Why we love it: The ShortPixel plugin is free to use on up to 100 images a month. That’s more than enough for most medical practice websites. If your site is older and you’ve never paid attention to image size, ShortPixel allows you to do a one-time bulk optimization of 10,000 images for just $10. Combine those two low-cost options and you’ll never have to worry about bloated images slowing your site down again.
There you have it, the best plugins for medical websites according to our experience as veteran healthcare website developers. Install these plugins onto your practice’s website and watch your user experience, SEO and conversions trend upward. If you ever need help implementing any of these plugins—or anything else for your site, for that matter—contact Points Group for a free website assessment today.