Planning on building an engaging website to attract patients? Here are nine tips that should get you started.
Recent surveys show that everyone, even older patients, uses the Internet to access healthcare information and discover providers. As a result, a nicely-designed website has never been more important for practices.“This is the new phone book,” said Derek Kosiorek, principal with the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA's) consulting arm. “Websites are your new front door. This is the first impression people will get of you.”At the annual MGMA conference, held this year in Nashville, Tenn., Kosiorek shared some tips with attendees on building the ideal website to attract potential patients. Here are a few of them.
Always use your own domain name. While it may cost a few extra dollars per month to have your own dot-com, it’s worth the price, says Kosiorek.“If you use someone else’s domain to host your website and it’s thisdomain.com/mypracticeâ¦it makes you look a little less sophisticated.” [Â©megaflop-Shutterstock.com]
Keep it updated. If you have an informational website - where you share articles, videos, and tips for patients - it can’t be kept stagnant. “You have to keep updating. Plan the next six months of content if you can.” [Â©Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com]
Don’t overthink it. The layout should be pretty basic, header at the top; menu bar below that; content in the middle; sidebar to the right; and footer at the bottom. “There are a lot of funky different type of websites out there. Don’t get into that.”[Â©manaemedia/Shutterstock.com]
Content management systems (CMS) are your best friend. A CMS is a simple interface, which Kosiorek says is a website to update your website. WordPress and Drupal are among the most common.“Content management systems are simple and easy to use, you don’t need to know how to code at all.” [Â©Juan R Velasco/Shutterstock.com]
You have to have the admin access on that CMS. Whoever has access to the admin password for your CMS system can update the website as they please.“If you are trusting someone else with that (access), make sure you have [the password] in a file somewhere.”[Â©Ruslan Guzov/Shutterstock.com]
Search engine optimization is not that difficult. When trying to bolster your practice website’s Google ranking, don’t bother hiring some outside firm. It’s simple as whether your site has relevant content and if it’s popular. “If you go to Google, go to Bingâ¦they’ll tell you how to optimize for them.” [Â©Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com]
Have a responsive design. A growing number of people are using smartphones to access websites. Make sure your site can accommodate. “Responsive design means the website can engage what device it is being read on.”[Â©Pure Solution/Shutterstock.com]
Big pictures and background colors are a no-no. Big pictures (more than 640 pixels) make loading your website slower. Background colors just look awful. “A simple white or cream-colored website is just fine.” [Â©Syda Production/Shutterstock.com]