According to recent research from the nonprofit Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 81 percent of adults use the Internet regularly – and 72 percent have gone online to look for health information within the past year. In order to reach these people and lead them to become new patients, healthcare practices are increasingly investing in web design services and Internet marketing. A great website, after all, with carefully-selected elements, can serve as a productivity tool, provide valuable information to patients and attract new business.
Here are five things a great medical website should do and do well:
1. Convey your brand. A successful website will reinforce your brand image and convey your practice’s mission and values to patients. Before you can communicate your brand, however, you need to have a clear sense of what it is. This might involve developing a new brand strategy, revamping your logo, and identifying the message you want to portray. Once you have developed a brand image, make sure your website reflects it. You can do this by using images and colors that build off the same scheme as your logo, and by making sure that the content reflects your brand message and style.
2. Build trust. Your website should be professional and establish you as a trusted provider in your specialty. It should give patients insight your practice and how your business operates. This can be accomplished by posting real photos of your office and the people that work there, and by providing an “About Us” section with staff bios, qualifications and achievements. Showing patients what they can expect by visiting your practice can persuade them to choose you for their medical care. Building trust can also be accomplished through positive testimonials from other patients.
3. Attract new customers. If used effectively, your website will help your practice grow by attracting new business. This requires having a professional website that builds loyalty and trust, but it also requires optimizing the site so that patients can find it more easily in major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. By investing in SEO, you can target patients searching for medical practices in your area. If you are a dermatologist in New Haven, for example, you can optimize your website for keywords patients tend to search for, such as “New Haven dermatologist.”
4. Educate your patients. The best medical website should help your practice generate new leads, but it should also provide valuable content to existing patients. With so many people turning to the Internet for health information, you want to make sure that the information your patients access is accurate. If you are dermatologist, for example, you can provide information about the different acne treatments your practice provides. You can offer skin care tips, recommend face soaps and moisturizers, and even warn patients of products to avoid. If there are other conditions you regularly treat, you can add a Frequently Asked Questions section to your website and provide reliable resources that can be useful to patients.
5. Reduce your staff’s workload. A well-designed website can reduce the numbers of calls to your office for things like directions, office hours and even appointments. Google Maps integration, for example, will allow patients to find your practice easily. Meanwhile, a link to your patient portal will allow them to save time by scheduling appointments themselves and downloading forms that they can fill out before their appointment. As your practice grows, you can add new features to the website to improve both staff productivity and patient satisfaction.
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