A 1% increase in website conversion can lead to an astronomical increase in your medical practice’s revenue. Each of these elements is essential to increasing website traffic, user experience, and most importantly, conversion. If even one of these elements is neglected, you’re leaving money on the table.
Why is it important?
There was a day in the not too distant past where great credentials and great referrals were all that was needed to get patients in the door and have a booming practice. Then came the days when simply having a website with your practice information and services would do the trick. And this was followed by a wonderful period where the beauty of a site trumped all. But those days are gone.
The web is changing, growing, and shifting at an alarming rate. Now everyone has a website and most are plenty informative and beautiful. The most successful websites are the ones that capitalize on the ecosystem of the web that combines design, user experiences, content, search, information, and now more than ever… trust!
Let’s take a look at the eight most essential elements in creating a medical website that not only drives traffic but also converts website visitors into paying customers.
Element 1 | Strategy
Look in the Mirror
Before you even start anything, STOP. The most important step in strategizing your website build is taking a moment to look in the mirror and understand who you are. Take time to really think about what you want to convey to your clients about yourself and your practice through your website. What is your brand? What is your voice? What are your USP’s (Unique selling propositions)? What are your differentiators?
After you understand who you are, take time to figure out who your audience is. If your website doesn’t speak to your audience, simply put, you lose. Dig deep to understand exactly the type of clientele that will be coming into your practice and ensure that your website is built with them in mind. For example, a Medical Spa wouldn’t build their website with masculine colors, fonts, and imagery…
Yes, we know, the goal of any medical website is to drive patients into the practice. However, a well-defined website strategy digs deeper. It’s important to understand what the goals of your websites are. Maybe it’s specifically to be an educational resource for your visitors and convert patients that way. Maybe it’s designing a simple website whose main function is to get the visitor to contact you. Or maybe it’s building a website whose main goal is to show off awards, certifications, before & afters, etc. Make sure you identify the most important goals for your medical practice’s website.
Planning & Execution
Yay, the fun part! And no, we’re not kidding. The website building process is anything but a walk in the park, so think of this as the “honeymoon phase”. Everyone is excited, energized, and full of ideas! It’s important to use that energy to map out your website itself and the process from conception to launch. This is your time to develop your mood boards/style guides, map out your pages & content, wireframe your layouts, and most importantly, plan out your timelines.
Element 2 | User Interface (UI)
These days, website design is about so much more than just beauty. There are many crucial elements of the design to ensure that your site not only impresses but converts! According to research from Stanford University, 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the top criteria for deciding if a company is credible or not. So it’s extremely important that your design looks professional, but even more importantly, your site needs to bring together some key elements to ensure the best user experience and the highest conversion rates.
Believe it or not, mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage and continues to increase daily. Creating a website with mobile design in mind is no longer an option, every website should be designed around mobile first! It’s important to make sure the aesthetic of your site is just as beautiful (if not more) on mobile as it is on a computer and even more important that the user experience is designed around the taps and swipes of today’s mobile generation.
The layout of your medical website isn’t just about beauty, it’s about conversion. The goal of every single web page that’s created is to push a potential patient down the buying funnel. Every page layout should be made with that in mind. Studying heat maps and website viewer behaviors will help gain a deep understanding of how to properly layout each element to ensure that the potential patient gets what they need and is funneled towards CTA’s and contact forms.
Any time you’re creating a website, always ask yourself whether there’s a way to make it simpler. The result is more aesthetically pleasing, and it almost always leads to better conversion. Simplicity is more than just removing the options, it’s about creating a design that is uncluttered and limits distractions.
Brand identity is one of the most important aspects of creating a website that leaves a lasting impression on your visitors. This includes your logo, color scheme, fonts, and style. It’s important that these are all unique and more importantly – consistent. 65% of people are visual learners, so make sure your branding separates you from the competition.
Element 3 | User Experience (UX)
Great design alone can’t carry a website, the overall user experience will make the difference between losing a visitor or gaining a lead. Once a visitor arrives on your site, the line between keeping them and losing them is razor thin. The experience of a website can easily be the making or breaking point. These days, users expect (as they should) a website that is lightning fast, simple to navigate, responsive to each respective input, and interactive. People stay at Disneyland all day (or days) because of the experience, visitors will stay on your site for the same reason.
A predictable and simple layout is very important to ensure a great user experience. For example, phone numbers are usually in the right top corner while logos are in the top left. Calls to action should be front & center or placed in the areas that make sense in a visitor’s journey. And most importantly, make sure the navigation bar on your website is always visible and has a clear & logical path to the pages they lead to.
Slow load times can be the loss of a user (and potential lead) before they’ve even started. But, load speed is not the only important part. One of the keys is minimizing user input in relation to the number of clicks (or taps) a user must take to reach the destination. With the population’s shortening attention span, the quicker you can grab their attention and keep it, the better!
We’re far too deep in the 21st century to have any website lack responsiveness for different devices, sizes, and browsers. Your website absolutely must be fully responsive to mobile devices, tablets, and computers of all shapes and sizes.
Your website may be looked at as your digital brochure, but that doesn’t mean it should function like one; websites are meant to be interactive. Make sure that any clickable buttons react when they’re hovered over. And that forms show the “blinking line” when clicked into. But more importantly, that ANY input has the proper and correlating output. Can you imagine if your “Call Now” button did nothing? Bye-bye lead!
Element 4 | Content
You may have heard it before, content is king. It’s one of the only consistent elements of a website that has remained paramount from the beginning of the web. Many people hear content and they think about words (or writing), but content is so much more than that. Content is all of the textual, aural, or visual elements published on a website. Content can make or break a website no matter how good the design is, so it’s important that you understand your audience and produce the proper type of content that speaks to them and delivers an impactful experience.
The written content of a site is something that should be carefully identified and carefully drafted. We’re in the age of the web where educating your users is far more effective than trying to sell them. Make sure that you’re taking your time to effectively provide the answers they’re looking for and creating value in every word on your site. Keywording is also important, but we’ll get to that later.
Every great website is complete with some sort of illustrative element, or elements. Simply cycling between text and photos is boring and so 1998. Branded illustrations, graphics, or shapes are an important element to creating breaks in your website to make it easier on the eyes and more pleasing to navigate.
You can be the best doctor in the world, but if your potential patients aren’t able to see the work you’ve performed, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to medical websites, before and afters are one of the most impactful pieces of content a practice can publish. Stock images of desired results will no longer convert a visitor into a lead, people want to see real results. Along with still imagery, video is becoming increasingly important. Users respond better to movement, so video headers are a great way to make an initial impact. And in the age of education, it’s important to have videos on your medical website to provide a glance into your practice, educate on procedures, tell patient’s stories, and more.
Yes, nearly every website on the planet has an FAQ page, but that doesn’t mean you should discount its importance. In fact, this is another great way to bolster your authority on the subject matter that you know best. Good FAQs provide real answers to real questions for real potential patients – and the answers come from you.
Element 5 | SEO
Simply put, if your website can’t be found, it doesn’t matter. When potential patients are searching for a provider like yours, you need to make sure you’re positioned to be at or near the top of search results. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most essential components of a website today. There are many aspects of SEO that are vital to ensuring your site ranks high on search results, but here are some of the most important ones to pay attention to when building your medical website.
In other words, this refers to all the things that you can do ON your website to help you rank higher on search engines. This includes things like page titles, internal linking, meta tags & descriptions, URL Structure, body tags, optimizing images, and making sure your website contains all the proper keywords and keyword density. It may sound like a bunch of “tech jargon” but it’s one of the most important things you can do!
This refers to all the things that you can do OFF your website to help you rank higher on search engines. This includes social networking, blog submissions, link building, business directory submissions, and more. Basically, anything you can do to have someone mention you, link to you, cite you, or create visibility for you through other sites and sources.
This is where written content comes back into play. Not only should your content be authentic and educational, but it also needs to contain the keywords that relate to what a potential visitor could be searching for. This includes any variations or extensions of the words such as your location or certain uses for a treatment. Example: “Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis in Maryland”
Technically this falls under on-page SEO, but its importance is worthy of expanding on. Internal links connect your content and give search engines an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages more value and other pages less value. Using the correct internal linking strategy can have great benefits on your SEO.
Element 6 | Practice Information
Although design, user experience, and SEO are all extremely important, we can’t forget to make sure we’re providing visitors with all the information needed to learn about the practice, the people, and services. Make sure that there’s plenty of information about the doctor and the staff as well as any special pricing or events that would be important to a current or potential patient. And finally make sure your contact info is correct, up to date, and easy to find! If user gets to the end of their journey and they can’t figure out how to contact you, then it’s all for naught.
This should go without saying, but most would be surprised to find out how many times the practice contact info is either incorrect, out of date, or difficult for the visitor to find. Make sure to check (and test) your contact info frequently; ensure that the addresses, phone numbers, and emails are up to date. And make sure that your contact info isn’t just in your “contact” page. It should also live in the footer and other strategic and pertinent locations throughout your site.
Nearly 50% of new patients search for information on specific doctors or providers before scheduling an appointment. Therefore, a medical website needs to make sure it has their entire group of providers displayed on the website. Additionally, seeing a photo of the doctor(s) helps potential patients build trust and feel more comfortable.
Your medical website should provide a page dedicated to each of the treatments or procedures your offer. That page should be rich with information (and keywords) on the service and include an FAQ section to answer any of the main questions that patients ask. It should include some B&As on the service and a CTA somewhere on the page for patients to get in touch.
Specials & Events
Simply posting your specials on social media is not enough, a large majority of website visitors may never visit your social media pages. Therefore, if you have any special offers or events, they may never see them. For major specials or events, make sure to promote them everywhere, including social, your specials page, and even the main homepage banner on your website. Just me mindful to take them down when the promo or event is over.
Element 7 | Trust Factors
George Orwell put it best when he said that “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” We live in an era where people are seeking out trust more than ever. We also live in an era where most buying journeys begin online. Therefore it’s ever more important that your website does everything possible to convey the trust that your doctors and practice work so hard to earn. Patient reviews, doctor certifications, case studies from procedures, and answers to common questions are all great trust builders that should live on your website.
There are tons of platforms in which patients can leave reviews, including social media. However, you can’t expect a visitor to hunt around for them. Therefore it’s important that you aggregate at least a portion of your reviews from the web to live somewhere on your website. Also, never be afraid to solicit reviews from your patients – follow up text marketing, emails, or review cards are totally acceptable and a great way to get reviews while the experience is still fresh in your patient’s minds.
Awards & Certifications
Those plaques on your practice wall will never be seen by a patient unless you can get them through the door. Since most patient’s buying journeys begin online, those same awards and certifications should live on your digital wall (your website). You worked so hard to earn those awards and certifications and it makes a huge difference in the decision process for a potential patient, this is your chance to brag, go for it!
Show Your Work
Remember what we said in the beginning (See “targeting”), you need to constantly be looking at your own website from the lens of your target audience. If you were a prospective patient, you would want to see as many examples of your prospective doctor’s work as possible. This includes before & afters, photos and videos on your procedure pages, and more. If you’re good at what you do, show it off!
Similar to testimonials, this is another way for visitors to view real results from patients. The advantage of case studies is that this gives you a chance to dig deeper and educate a potential patient on successful procedures you’ve performed, thus deepening the level of trust and heightening your level of expertise.
Element 8 | Patient Conversion
Calls to Action (or CTAs) come in many forms: Consultation Forms, “Contact Us” buttons, Social Media sharing icons, and more. Ideally, you only want at least one call to action per page, but it’s important to make sure they’re not overbearing. Identify your patient’s journey and create CTAs that solve their needs in relation to where they are on that journey. Be authentic.
“Wait, but social media doesn’t have anything to do with my website, right?” Wrong. Your website and your social platforms should be deeply connected with each other for maximum conversion. Every Instagram post, Facebook ad, and youtube video should be driving your viewers back to your website. Even more, make sure that you’re sending them to the pages that correspond with the journey you’ve started with them on social media to ensure they’re properly funneled down the proper conversion path. Yes, there we go talking about funnels and journeys again.
This is one of the least talked about, yet most important elements to a website that converts. You should have your website connected to any and every sales, marketing, or EMR platform that you use. There are so many great automation platforms out there that save contacts, generate follow-ups, segment patients, and more. These should all be connected directly to your website so that any and all actions a patient takes on your website will have an appropriate, automated action (or series of actions) that are triggered to save you time and vastly increase conversion rates.
There should never be a single point on your website where a patient cannot contact you immediately. Whether they’re looking at before & afters, or halfway down your “terms and conditions” page, you should always operate with the mindset that they can be ready to buy at any moment. If you make it difficult for them to take a buying action at that moment, you could lose them. Make sure your website has contact options everywhere. Your phone number should always be on the navigation bar, add a chat plugin with auto-responses if you’re away, contact forms should be available on nearly every webpage, and your footer should have your contact information on it, always.
Have questions about your medical website?
We understand that every website and every practice is unique. Our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or click below to schedule a one-on-one.