Finding the Right Kind of Website for Your Medical Practice (Part I)

December 24, 2011

Every medical practice needs a website, but what size and how fancy?

Does your website “fit” your needs? Is it too big, too small, or just right?

Every medical practice must have a marketing plan and it must include a website. Every practice needs a website, but what size and how fancy? Do you need social media?

Thinking about the size of your website should be fun. There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” site, but here are some suggestions for better digestion during this holiday season.

Resource site

This simple site serves as a resource for existing patients. It should contain basic information for your patients, such as:

Contact Information
Insurance Participation
Directions
Hours of operation
Fax Number
Downloadable forms
“The About Page”

Choose a theme (background, colors, graphics, etc.) that compliments your office. In your descriptions, try and let the personality of your office bleed through your webpage. You’ll be surprised how this helps patients bond.

If you want to be fancy, let new patients download paperwork from your site. Also, if you have an “about” page, I suggest writing it in the first person and include some personal comments, not just your curriculum vitae. Your “about” page should really be more of a personal statement and not a rendition of your resume. Patients can’t relate to doctors’ resumes.

Advantages: It is pretty inexpensive to hire a web designer and this type of site requires no ongoing maintenance. Web design makes your site look neat, fresh, and professional. While this type of static web page will not market your practice, it will give your existing patients a valuable resource. Remember, everyone needs a webpage. Also, if and when you want your page to be used as a marketing tool, you can easily do so.

Disadvantage: This process will need to be repeated in a couple of years, if not sooner. This type of website has no potential to attract new patients. This type of site won’t get ranked by the search engine either.

Social Media: Don’t bother. Social media is going to require that someone maintain your social media sites; e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Once you decide to make your site more of a marketing tool, for instance, by regularly adding content, then consider social media.

Marketing Tool: Your Website Attracts New Patients

This type of site will also contain the information above and thus serve as a resource for existing patients. It will, however, contain articles about the type of services you provide and ailments you can diagnose. This site contains health information.

These articles should be about 300 words to 500 words in length and should cover the areas of interest of your practice. Start off with articles about your “bread and butter” cases as these are paramount to your business plan.

For instance, if your practice performs a lot of cataract surgery, but also does some minor plastic surgery, start with articles on cataract surgery and include the minor stuff later.

This type of “content marketing” will be rewarded by high rankings when a potential patient is looking for a doctor.

Advantage: Low cost and your site will become visible to patients either searching for a new doctor, or, when patients are given a referral to see another doctor.

Disadvantage: Really none, but requires relevant articles, published regularly to keep your site refreshed (See my 3 R’s of SEO).

Social Media: You might consider adding a Facebook fan page as you can now boast a site that provides value (i.e. your health information) and it is up to date.

Next week, we’ll look at the third kind of website to consider for your medical practice and summarize why being online is a must for physicians.

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