By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Often, It’s important to know what not to do in healthcare marketing…and especially when it comes to website design. Creating and maintaining an excellent online presence can be a challenging task. But it’s well worth the investment when your web presence creates brand (and reputation) awareness, generates inquiries and produces a stream of new patients.
In our work with hospitals and provider practices, we often uncover mistakes—big mistakes—that sabotage web design efforts. Here are four website design mistakes that show up often.
- Add Everything: Trying to “stay current” by tacking on something here and there. Websites are constantly challenged to keep pace with advances in digital technology. Although it may be useful to embrace the best new Internet tools, software, social media, and the like, a potpourri of add-ons can do more harm than good. (Often, the miss-match is obvious.) A complete website functions as an integrated system, and a holistic approach and careful revision is usually required.
- Add Nothing: A website withers and dies from benign neglect. The “set-and-forget” approach doesn’t apply to Internet marketing, especially for the content and information on a healthcare or provider site. Proper maintenance means being current and interesting, or search engine Google will likely rank more active sites higher than you. There’s more about the how and why in our previous article, Updating your Website for Fun and Profit.
- Hide your contact information. A visitor to your website will never become a patient if they only see you in cyberspace. Until they call, make an appointment, or otherwise contact you, there is little opportunity to provide a billable service. In fact, an online visitor will quickly jump to the next (competitor) website if the contact options are not easy, inviting and obvious. Your healthcare web design should include a phone number and contact page link on every page. Hide it and no one will bother looking for it.
- Use a DIY template; many are pretty and some are free. Wow, there are four web design faux pas in this one. The first and the worst is the tempting but generic template option. Sameness (templates) work against your need to differentiate, and they have technical limitations. And being “pretty” is not a test for being marketing smart and effective. Do It Yourself? Go ahead, but don’t expect a professional result. Free sounds appealing, but is seldom worth the price.
There are many other “sabotage” opportunities. For more on this topic—and what to do instead—see our previous article: 7 Mistakes Doctors and Healthcare Organizations Make When Creating Their Website.