Whether you went the DIY route or hired a professional, you now have a slick website for your healthcare practice. Well done! Let’s take a look at how to optimise the user experience of your website – to ensure it helps drive patients through your doors.
Think of your website as the shopfront for your business. You can ensure the glass is shiny and spotless, but if there is nothing appealing sitting in the windows then no one is going to stroll in and purchase from your store!
The content of the homepage of your website is your window display. You have less than 7 seconds to grab their attention and make an impact.
First impressions are particularly important in the healthcare sector. Whilst someone may be willing to forgive the odd typo or poor design layout on a site that sells the exact pair of shoes they want, when it comes to placing our health in someone else’s hands we want to feel confident in our choice.
Here’s our Top 7 list of things to avoid on your practice website:
1) Poor grammar or spelling
When patients search for doctors, they want reassurance that a practice is modern and well-run, staffed by professional experts. If a practice can’t spend the time ensuring their own website has correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, this implies they may show a similar lack of care when it comes to patient experience. After all, your average Jane Doe doesn’t want to think her test results may accidentally go to a Jean Dough.
2) Text-heavy pages
With 77% of Aussies using their mobile to search for a local health provider, and almost 60% of web traffic now coming from mobile, people like to skim and scan pages. No one wants to have to read an encyclopaedia about your practice – stick to top line information.
3) Speed mattters
We all know from personal experience how frustrating it can be when a website takes ages to load on our computers or mobiles. Today consumers are spoilt for choice, resulting in an “I want it now” mentality. This is particularly true on our phones, where people now behave in “micro-moments”.
According to Google, 53% of visits to mobile websites are abandoned if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google’s search algorithm recently started penalising sites that were not mobile friendly, meaning you automatically appear lower in search results.
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4) Non-user friendly design
“Above the fold” is a term that harkens back to the days when we all still read printed newspapers. It refers to the articles and text we could see on the upper half of a broadsheet newspaper when it was folded. These days it refers to the part of your website that is visible to someone without having to scroll down the page.
The majority of visitors to your site won’t scroll below the fold. Hence it’s crucial you convey your “elevator pitch” – the reason people should visit your practice – on the upper half of your homepage. Whether it’s a GP practice focusing on women’s health, a physio who offers clinical pilates, or a dentist specialising in teeth whitening – make sure you are getting your key messaging across above the fold.
Studies have even shown that people read websites in an F-shaped pattern – so always consider what you place where on your page.
5) Poor imagery
Photos and bios of your practice staff add a human element to your brand, but it’s important they are done the correct way.
No one wants to look at a blurry or grainy image that seems like it was taken in 1995. Up-to-date, professional photos imply exactly that – that the person in the image is a trustworthy expert in their field.
When uploading high resolution photos, it can be worthwhile compressing the image – to ensure massive file sizes don’t slow down the load time of your pages.
6) Not having staff bios
Short bios that reveal practitioner study backgrounds and specialised areas of interest can help a patient to self-select the most suitable to meet their individual needs – helping save your receptionists time determining this over the phone. One or two sentences about a practitioner’s hobbies, family or sporting pursuits add personality to your page and helps build patient rapport before they’ve even set foot on your physical premises.
7) Enquiry forms
Expecting your potential patients to fill out an enquiry form in order for you to call them about availability is an antiquated process – and shows you aren’t focussed on providing a seamless patient experience.
Think about your last holiday – it’s unlikely you went to 4 different flight companies, placed enquiries, and then made a decision. It’s more likely you went to one website, found the flight which suited and booked straight away.
Today’s time-poor patients don’t want to waste time filling in outdated forms only to be caught in the inevitable game of phone tag. Instead they expect confirmation that the time which suits them is available and the booking is complete.
The good news is with online bookings being as sophisticated as they are, you no longer need to sacrifice control of your appointment book in lieu of patient convenience. This, in turn, eliminates the need for a Booking Enquiry form.
Your website is a reflection on your practice; keep it engaging and professional. Use modern imagery, a mobile-friendly layout and inject personality with staff photos and bios. Follow our checklist and you’ll be growing your books in no time!