Over the last two articles, we’ve been looking at how to market your practice with your website.
I talked about getting a domain name, selecting hosting for your site, and choosing your website platform.
Today, let’s talk about the content of your website. How you communicate and what you communicate on your site can make all the difference.
Perhaps you have a beautiful site with nice graphics and lots of good information. However, if you don’t have the right pages and don’t provide the right information, you may not get the results you’re looking for.
What Is Your Primary Goal For Your Website?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what content you should have, let’s talk about the goals for your website.
- What is it you’re trying to accomplish with your site?
- What is it you want your site visitors to do?
Think this is a nitpicky question? I don’t think so.
While you may have a number of goals for your site, chances are there is one main goal you want to accomplish above anything else. This may be:
- Staying in touch with your patients
- Sharing health related information
- Attracting new patients to your office
- Getting them call to book an appointment
- Getting a sign up for your practice newsletter
- Providing an entry to your patient portal
Are you clear about your primary goal for your website?
Why is it so important that you have clarity?
If you’re absolutely certain on the primary goal for your site, it will be much easier to craft a clear and compelling message that resonates with your audience.
Who Is Your Audience?
Which brings me to the next question… who is your audience? Who is your ideal customer, who is your website for?
Are you working with parents of small children? Or perhaps you offer travel medicine. Maybe you provide women’s healthcare services in your office.
Whatever the case may be, each group is unique and different. And each group will respond to different messages.
That’s why you must know both:
- What is the primary goal for your web site?
- Who is your intended audience?
Now some of you may think this doesn’t apply to you since you don’t work with any particular group.
But that’s not the case!
Even if you do not “specialize” in working with a particular population, you still want to craft a clear message to the people in your audience. So think about the primary focus of your clinic and communicate that to your site visitors.
Which Web Pages Should You Include On Your Site?
Now let’s take a look at which website pages to include on your site.
There are a set of core pages found on just about every medical website. Typically these pages are listed in the top navigation menu and include:
- Home page
- About page
- Contact Us page
No need to discuss all these pages in detail. However, I do want to talk about the two most important pages on your site: your home page and your about page.
Think of it as the front door to your business on the web. It’s the first impression a visitor forms of your practice.
First impressions do count… even on the web.
This is where your primary purpose comes into play. You want to communicate the primary purpose of your website (and clinic) to the site visitor at once and without delay.
Remember this is the web. Your typical site visitor has little patience and very little time to spare.
People coming to your site are looking for specific answers. Can they tell at first glance what your office has to offer?
If they can’t figure out what your office does or can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll simply click the back button. They leave your site and move on.
Your home page should be inviting and resonate with your ideal customer.
It should communicate to the visitor who you are and what you do. You don’t want visitors guessing here. No one should be left wondering what it is your clinic does.
You want your site visitors thinking:”I’ve come to the right place; I think this is the office I want to work with”.
How do you accomplish that?
You make the “words” on your homepage about your visitors and not about you. Make your homepage “visitor centric” and not “provider centric”.
Tell you visitor how you can help them, and how they can benefit from working with you and your office.
Don’t Make This Common Mistake…
Your home page is the “highest value real estate” of your site.
Don’t waste your home page on telling visitors how wonderful you are, how much experience you have, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, people do want to know who you are and what you’re qualifications are. But it doesn’t have to happen on your home page.
First and foremost, people want to know that they can trust you and how they will benefit from working with you. Try to write your homepage conversational, engaging, benefit driven, and focused on your visitor.
Take a look at these two short examples of before and after text.
Taken from a live website (changed name to protect identity):
Welcome to Better Primary Care,
Thank you for choosing Better Primary Care for your health care needs. Since 1988, we have been serving Chicago’s rapidly changing and diverse communities.
We are a team-oriented health center and you are a very important member of that team. Our providers have a combined medical experience of over 35 years and are supported by our dedicated group of nurses and assistants.
We are currently accepting new patient…
Improved Text, After First Rewrite:
Hi, we’re so glad you found your way to us…
Are you looking for a different healthcare experience?
- One that focuses on you and your individual needs?
- Where your healthcare provider listens to you and hears your concerns?
- Where you are an integral part in making decisions about your own healthcare?
If this is the kind of healthcare you want to experience, our office might be the right fit for you… welcome to Better Primary Care.
If you have any question, just drop by or pick up the phone.
Thanks for stopping by… we hope to see you soon.
Now tell me, which example is more engaging? Which one evokes more trust? Which one is more interesting and most likely will get more phone calls?
About Us Page
The about page is probably the second most important page on your site. Most people visit this page to find out more about the owner of the site. They want to get a “feel” for you. They want to know if they can “trust” you and your office.
Tell your visitors who you and the people in your clinic are. Include images of yourself and your staff. This is the page to list your education, credentials, and other accomplishments.
Your about page could also include your approach to delivering healthcare. List what sets you apart from other providers delivering similar care. But then again, this could also be part of your home page.
There are no hard and fixed rules here.
I encourage you to include the type information you think is helpful for your audience: to know about you, to get to know you, and to make a decision about coming to see you.
Other Pages To Include On Your Site:
Additional pages and links to include on your website are “legal pages”. Typically they are listed as part of the bottom navigation menu on each page of your site. At minimum you want to include:
- Medical Disclaimer
- Copyright Notice
If you’re publishing any medical information on your site… articles about health conditions or general health information, you want to have a disclaimer page.
The page should state that your site contains general health information only and is not intended to provide medical diagnosis or treatment.
While not necessary or required, a copyright notice typically is included at the bottom of each page.
Also Think About…
Pay attention to your navigation links…
Do the words on the menu do what they say? Are the labels clear about where one will go next? Are your menu choices functional? Or are there any dead ends on your site?
What Is The Color Scheme Of Your Site?
Do your site colors support your practice theme?
Let’s say the primary focus of your clinic is mental health. Are your site colors calming and stress-reducing? Or do the colors on your site evoke feelings of stress and agitation?
Is Your Site Fully Responsive?
In addition to using their desktops, a majority of users today access websites from their mobile devices. These devices may include smart phones, tablets, and other wearable technology.
Is your site fully responsive? If it is not, site visitors may have a poor user experience when accessing your site from a mobile device.
If you’re in the process of getting a website or updating your current site, consider including mobile responsiveness in your list of requirements.
So here is what to do next….
If you’re planning your website, use the checklist below to make sure you don’t forget any the major components.
And if you have an established site, evaluate its content and usability by using the checklist below:
- What are my goals for my website?
- Who is the audience for my site?
- Am I speaking to my audience?
- Are site visitors clear what the site is all about?
- Are they clear on what service I/we provide?
- Are site visitors likely to find answers to their questions?
- Do I have all the essential pages for my site?
- Do I have the minimum legal pages for my sites?
- Should I add additional pages to my site?
- Are all my navigation links functional?
- Are there any dead end links on my site?
- How is the color scheme of my site?
- Is the initial effect of my colors calming or irritating?
- How well do my colors work for a color blind person?
- Is the text of my site easy to read?
- Should the font be bigger to make it easier to read?
- Should I be using a different font to increase readability?
- Is my site mobile responsive?
It’s time to get busy…
Let us know how your site is doing and if you have any questions.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians” and regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog.