If I asked you how your website is performing, you might be tempted to tell me about your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, how many ‘hits’ you receive weekly, or perhaps you may just shrug and say you don’t really know. You may have invested plenty in SEO and can be easily found online as a result, but what do viewers find when they get to your site? I want to know whether your site truly represents you, your practice, and its culture. Does it convey the personality, clinical philosophies, and quality of care that your practice provides to patients?
Ideally, your website should be a virtual extension of your physical practice. At the very least, it should convey general contact information—phone, fax, hours, location—as well as some specific information about your physician(s), care team, and services. Can visitors easily pick out the most relevant information, such as a phone number prominently displayed at the top of the screen? Do they have to scroll to the bottom of the site, or worse, click into a separate page to find your address?
How well or poorly your site performs even these basic tasks can make a considerable difference between prospective patients deciding to book an appointment with your practice or moving on to a competitor. There is no greater waste of SEO dollars than to drive visitors to a poorly performing website.
Once you have the basics down, you’ll want to go a few steps further and ensure the site is a virtual representation of your physical space. Use your website to showcase your staff, services, and patient satisfaction. As an added bonus, the more useful you make your site, the less time staff will have to spend on the phone answering questions about medication dosage, where to find medical record transfer forms, what certain procedures entail, and so on.
Begin by branding your practice consistently across your physical and virtual assets. Ensure that your logo is highly visible on your site. Use the same colors and fonts on your site as on physical signage, marketing materials, and business cards.
Allow your virtual representation to mirror the care with which you have designed the physical space patients experience when they arrive at your office. If it has been beautifully designed, make sure that your website has been, too. For example, if you have a modern layout and furniture, make sure your website has the same modern aesthetic and utilizes the same colors and tones as the physical space. Conversely, if your office could use an update, don’t represent it as a state-of-the-art facility online.
Make your site as useful as possible. If you can allow patients to book appointments online, not only are you freeing up staff time from booking those manually, you are offering patients much greater convenience.