As a doctor or dentist, one of the most important methods to growing your practice is through your website. Many health care professionals have found that using a professional web design company has made a difference in seeing an increase of new patients along with better retention of existing patients because of their professional appearing and well-behaved website.
One thing many websites for doctors and dentists fail to do is play up the uniqueness of their practice based on specialty, demographics, and more. Using your professionally designed website allows you to cast a wider net for patient recruitment while targeting your demographic group(s) with laser-like focus. Do-it-yourself (DIY) do not allow you to differentiate your practice from the hundreds of other providers of your services in your area.
Things That Make for Practice Differentials
What’s Your Specialty?
If you are a specialist, you want to turn up in your specialty area, not as a general doctor or dentist. So, as an example, your site is more valuable to you as a cosmetic dermatologist to show up under dermatologists in your hometown than as a non-specialized provider. So show off your board certifications in the header of each page of your website.
To further promote your practice in a specific geographic area, the use of geographic markers with a map link is a great idea. If your office is in downtown Chicago, say so – it limits the number of phone calls from new patients who are not in your area. For example – The practice is located in downtown Chicago, steps from the clock tower in front of Macy’s.
Prominently Display Your Services
Every practice offers a medley of services and this offers you another opportunity to differentiate your site from that of your competitors. If you do laparoscopic surgery (small incision surgery) let potential patients know that you use a less invasive type of procedure with a quicker healing time and less potential for pain and infection.
If you are a general practice (primary care doctor) or a regular family dentist, your services are pretty much the same as your competitors. So, what makes your practice a better choice for a new patient? Some things to consider are;
- Financial policies;
- Staff Credentials;
- Awards to the provider or practice;
- Location; and
- Preauthorization for procedures
Mobile Web Site Design
Today, more than 60% of consumers looking for medical advice or a medical provider begin with the internet. Of that 60%, nearly 80% do so on a mobile device such as a smartphone. Mobile websites often render (display) differently than a site viewed on a PC or laptop and need to be optimized for the mobile web user. Designs heavy in images or complicated design features need optimization – studies show that pages that take more than .06 seconds to load are often abandoned and the potential patient goes to another provider site. You can test your own site’s mobile friendliness at testmysite, a free service offered by Google.
Patient Portals: Are They a Must Have Feature?
More and more health care providers seek a website that includes a patient portal. The patient portal allows for patients to review test results, make appointments, renew prescriptions, pay a bill, or email the doctor with a non-urgent health care question. To be effective, a patient portal must easy to use for patients. A good patient portal reduces back-office workflow by ending simple phone calls, allowing staff to keep up the practice with insurance company contacts, and obtaining authorizations.
When a patient calls for help with an item that could be handled by using the portal, your representatives should remind them that the portal is available to them and offer to walk them through its use. Nevertheless, some of your less tech-savvy patients may be uncomfortable with the portal and still prefer to do things with a personal contact.
How Professional Web Designers Help Your Practice Thrive
As we have covered, there is a lot that goes into the design of an effective health care provider website. The question you might have are how does a custom website improve my online marketing. So, let’s explore what a pro offers you.
- When using a DIY template, customization is limited to the color scheme and type font with a small number of other features. Websites done from free or even paid for templates look pretty much alike and do not offer much in the way of differentiation from other sites. A custom website plays up your uniqueness in ways that a template cannot match.
- When your site is ready to be launched, professional designers help you with domain registration. Many design firms also offer hosting services.
- A professional designer will set up domain specific web email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Professional design companies offer you a choice of placing online forms directly on your website for new patients who cannot yet access your patient portal
- When you use a professional design company they will help set up and maintain a Google Adwords marketing campaign for you. This is paid advertising based on pay-per-click (PPC). PPC marketing is when you agree to pay for a consumer click that results in completed items such as making an appointment, signing up for a newsletter, downloading content and more.
- Automated posting to social media is a growing trend in medical marketing and a professional website design firm will help you setup and keep up your social media pages. Some offer reputation management services too.
- Metrics – you invested in professional website design and hosting services, now you have to measure how well your website is performing. Your designer will help you choose the right suite of metrics for your site and you will get monthly reports. Many health care sites use Google Analytics for this purpose.
- SEO, also known as search engine optimization is a service included with a professional health care provider web design firm. The purpose of SEO is to help your site reach the first page of search results for your specialty, services, or location is a specific geographic area. This is a specific skill set that can make or break a website.
- A professional website designer integrates a patient portal seamlessly into your website design.
Your practice is a unique business that deserves the affordable and ROI friendly services of professional website design and website upkeep.