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You only get once chance at a first impression, here are seven must-haves for a successful and engaging practice website homepage.
It goes without saying that you need to have a website for your practice. You have ten seconds to convince the average internet user to stay on your website, how you present yourself online can determine whether someone chooses to visit your clinic. If a prospective patient spends significant time looking for what they need, they will move on to your competition. Having worked with hundreds of doctors and reviewed countless websites, here are seven must have items patients are looking for when seeking health care providers online.
Services: When describing your medical services, it is best to understand the difference between benefits and features. Features represent the factual descriptions of the service, while benefits describe the things a patient would gain upon purchasing the service. Let's take the example of a car. A feature of a car would be anti-lock brakes or power steering, whereas the benefit is that you are keeping your family safe on the road. If you are a bariatric surgeon, offering lap band surgery to reduce a patients BMI would be considered a feature. The benefit to the patient would be to transform their life both physically and emotionally.
About Us: Although you may have been in practice for 28 years, that fact alone may not impress your potential patient. What the patient wants to know is why they should choose you over the competition. How you separate yourself from your competitors is known as your unique selling proposition or USP. If you need help defining what is your USP, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
•What does your practice do?
•Why did you start your practice?
•What do you enjoy most about your practice?
•What makes your practice different from others that provide similar services?
A prospective patient will gain more insight on your practice, with a well-written 'About Us' page that answers those questions.
Contact us and Hours of Operation: This page is pretty straightforward. You want to list your best phone number and email address, as well as hours of operation. A current trend is communication via texting. This is especially useful if you have millennials in your practice. You may also want to improve patient reach through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. If you have the resources to communicate, this can be a valuable marketing strategy.
Maps: The front page of every practice website should have the location of your practice via Google Maps or Mapquest. You can go a step further and add driving directions from the most common routes taken by your patient population.
Trust Badges: These are badges on your website that use third party associations to assure patients of your practice's credibility. Some examples are McAfee Secure and TRUSTe. At my practice, we make a point of subscribing to the Better Business Bureau and add a prominent link on the bottom of our website where a visitor can view our current rating. Any credible associations or certifications that you or your practice belong to should be properly displayed.
Testimonials: Positive reviews and testimonials are something you should always be collecting from your patients. Everyone loves a good success story. Using video patient testimonials can add a strong sense of authenticity that written testimonials can't match.
Content: Search engines love new content, and having your own practice blog will help attract new patients to your clinic. Announcing a new service, your opinion on relevant public health concerns, or promoting your latest event is something you need to do consistently. The more you can create new and relevant information for your website and do so on a regular basis, the more beneficial it will be for your practice.