We often advise our clients that a professional website requires regular “care and feeding.” To remain visible, viable and effective as a marketing tool, it’s vitally important to regularly add fresh and interesting content and remove dated material. The upkeep and maintenance allows you to stay “friendly” with search engine algorithms and avoid visitor habituation.
For our own HealthcareSuccess.com site, we’ve been conscientious about good maintenance habits. And, what is now our “old” website was extremely successful for us, in terms of subscribers (15,000+), client acquisition and revenue generation.
We had made many changes over the years, but by now, we noticed that many of the "best practices" we were incorporating into our client sites were not on our own site. For us, it was time for a change.
Your website might be showing its age. In a busy (hectic) provider environment, the website is all-too-often a neglected task. The digital good intentions that created your site may have faded. And if your site is a few years old, you probably need a serious overhaul…as we did.
Critical Success Factors
Here are a few of the critical success factors to consider if you’re planning to make changes:
- Content is the king. In our opinion content management has gone from a nice-to-have to absolutely essential. Right from the start it’s critical to build around a content management platform (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Adobe or others) that support collecting, managing and publishing information quickly and easily. It’s crazy to not have a site you can update these days.
- SEO is also the king. Physician Search Engine Optimization is not a DIY project. It requires genuine expertise to assure website visibility, page ranking and measurable results. You do not want to lose all your hard-earned gains.
- Design for today and beyond. The visual appearance of your website needs to be clean, professional and uncluttered. What’s more, the design considerations need to be “durable,” able to hold a good appearance while trendy styles come and go.
- Think visitor and user experience. Consider exactly what you want visitors to do (or go) on your website—what they find, how they navigate—and exactly what action will you want to inspire.
- Consider your various audience personas. It is highly likely that you have more than one type or category of website visitor. Define who they are and how your site will address their needs and interests. For example, our site visitors include doctors, hospitals and corporate executives from huge healthcare organizations.
- Install and use analytics. In near real-time, an analytics program will report tracking data for unique visitors, visits or sessions, page views, and—as you drill deeper—about a million other data points. Analytics are fundamental to optimizing your site performance.
- Your text is at least as important as design. The words on the site communicate, convince and inspire action. And the proper use of keywords influences the search engine process and, ultimately, results page rankings.
- Maximize the rare opportunity. Building (or rebuilding) a new website is a unique occasion. Make the most of this chance to catch-up with technology, do things properly and maximize the results.
- Launch when (mostly) done. A website overhaul is actually a continuing process, and you don’t need to wait for absolute perfection before launching. Make the major changes first. When the important “heavy lifting” is done, it’s probably time to launch. Smaller changes, adjustments and on-going fine-tuning will continue over time.
- Test. Test. Test. Some aspects of your Internet presence can be tested (and adjusted) as they are built. You’ll want to test (navigation, links, page load, functionality, etc) in advance of launch as much as possible. And following the site launch always test everything again.
Tell us what you think…
Speaking of making adjustments, we’re still improving the new Healthcare Success website and blog pages. We would greatly appreciate hearing from you. Our adjustments are continuing, so we will take all input into account. (As we should.)
And for more about this topic, click through to our previous posts, Most Doctors Think Their Website is a Failure and Brochure-ware: When Websites Fail Miserably.
Stewart Gandolf, MBA