20 Things to Avoid on a Medical Website
There are many “How to Articles” for a medical professional to read about creating an online presence – what they all have in common is that they all offer the same ideas using different ideas. Pretty much, read one How to Article and you have read the vast majority of the material available. The other thing most articles have in common is the naive belief that setting up and keeping up a professional health care website is something that a provider or his or her office staff member can do as time allows. Here we offer “Things Not to Do When Creating a Health Professional’s Web Presence.”
- Do not fail to use an expert in medical website design to get you started. It’s best if this person is part of a large shop that can provide you with ongoing support. Fostering a website presence that will attract and keep new patients requires an expert. If you broke your leg you would see a specialist; your website needs the same kind of specialized knowledge.
- Do not use flash on your website or pages on social media. Flash is an antiquated technology that is no longer supported by Apple iOS. So, since Apple iPhone users are the most likely to use their smartphones to search for medical information. If you use flash, some of your content cannot be seen by a large portion of your target audience.
- The temptation to save money using preformatted websites may be great, but they won’t have all the things needed to make your site seen by potential patients. Moreover, using templates doesn’t allow you to differentiate your website from hundreds of other sites using the same template.
- Do not write your own content or have an office staff member do it. Writing content is part art and part science. The art is the creative process and the science relates to optimizing your content for local search. This function is often called Search Engine Optimization. Content writers understand how search engines work and write content that is created so that you can be easily found by future patients.
- Do not make the error of not participating on social media. Have your website designer add social media icons to your web pages so that users can share any information they find on your site with others. This is a type of sharing that is known as organic growth and other than the cost of your content is free and powerful advertising.
- Do not fail to use paid advertising when starting out. There are many opportunities for using paid advertising, the most common being Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This helps foster non-organic growth. Until you have a large Internet following it is almost impossible to build a target audience without paid advertising. PPC is a type of advertising where you pay when a particular action has been initiated by a site visitor. It may be signing up for your newsletter or making an appointment. Your Medical Internet marketing consultant can help steer you the proper way.
- Do not fail to speed up your website. Web sites, especially mobile ones, that take more than 3 seconds to load will scare visitors off your site. Today, Internet users are an impatient group and if your website is slow to load they will find another health care provider whose site loads faster. In addition, millennials almost always use their smartphones and slow websites chew up valuable data bytes.
- Do not use the color ‘blech gray’ for your website background, instead, use a soothing color and be sure it doesn’t scream at users.
- Don’t use color combinations that make your text difficult to read.
- Don’t use backgrounds that are busy and distracting as this makes text harder to read.
- Never ever use anything that blinks on your website – it is distracting, annoying and will send visitors scurrying to a competitor’s site.
- Keep junk off your website. Junk is comprised of things such as:
- Counters on pages
- Advertising of any kind
- Creates the need for scrolling sideways
- Have too many little pictures of awards you or your practice received (the exception is a well-recognized award such as US News & World Report’s “Top 100 Doctors”)
- Do not use confusing navigation schemes. Keep your navigation from page to page simple and be sure that you place it consistently on each page of your site.
- Do not use orphan pages. Orphan pages lack a way to get back to the last page you were on. They have no links or other identification.
- Don’t use jargon or medical speak. Everyone already knows you are smart, you’re a doctor. Using language that is hard to understand is annoying and a waste of user’s time. If they don’t understand what you and your medical practice are about they will go elsewhere to a provider that makes thing clear.
- Do not make your text non-scannable. Make sure all your copy has short paragraphs, headlines, subheadings, highlighted keywords, and lists.
- Do not use too many stock photos. While images are great for a website, using stock images can backfire as they may be used by competing sites. A better idea is using a professional photographer so that your onsite images are distinctive and truly gives your site a unique aspect.
- Don’t create website content after your site is designed. Your content guides your web designer in making the website’s layout. Providing your copy before the design process works best so that the end result is a better and individual design.
- Do not make your contact form complicated. If you want new patients to contact you, make it simple. All you need is their email address and smartphone number. If your site design is good, the information you share on your site will be relevant enough that patients will self-screen before sending you their information. For example, a person suffering from migraines will not contact an orthopedist for an appointment to treat a headache.
- Do not conceal your contact information. It should be on every page of your website and should include your name, address, phone number, email, and a link to your contact form or ‘make an appointment’ form.
- Don’t forget to Include a ‘Call to Action.’ Throughout your content include hyperlinks to phrases like ‘Contact us,’ Call for a consultation,’ and ‘make an appointment.’ Make it easy for patients to understand what they need to do and make sure the process is quick and easy.
These twenty tips are offered to you for sharing with your web designer. Following them will help make your website modern looking, simple to use, and will generate more conversions for your practice.