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4 Ways Your Online Presence Keeps Patients Away

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Person holding an office telephoneYou know you need a website to succeed in healthcare today. While some organizations rely heavily on word-of-mouth and doctor referrals, this won't last forever. Today's savvy patients are researching everything from dentists to radiologists to medical device manufacturers before they ever consider a product or service.

Your website helps these patients find the right information to guide them to the right decision. But what if that decision is to simply move on?

Losing patients? Check your online presence

Could your website be the reason you're losing patients? Prospective patients care about the quality of your site. And an outdated website can signal that your office isn't up to speed either (even if that's far from the truth).

Your online presence (or lack of presence) could be the real reason you're losing patients. Having a HIPAA-compliant website is only one part of the marketing puzzle—keeping patients interested enough to call should be your priority.

So what's getting in the way?

1. Slow website loading time

It might sound unbelievable, but it only takes about 3-5 seconds for a website visitor to lose patience with a slow-loading page. According to Google’s data, 53% of mobile site visitors abandon a page after only about three seconds.

Don’t rely on your own browser to tell you whether your website is loading quickly enough. You can test speeds on several websites, but perhaps the most respected is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Some possible reasons for slow loading times include the following:

  • Large files (try reducing image files for free at ShrinkMe)
  • Poor-quality server (try upgrading your hosting)
  • Too many redirects or extraneous code (you might need a professional developer to look at your site)

Related: Custom Healthcare Websites That Attract Patients

2. No online scheduling feature or contact form

Today’s patients don’t just want convenience; they demand it. If a nearby office has the ability to conveniently book appointments online and your website doesn't, you’re losing opportunities.

Online booking is ideal, but HIPAA-compliant form fills are a great alternative. If a patient is “shopping around” for healthcare services, they may be more likely to fill in a form than to call. And the option to fill out a form on your site is a win-win.

This gives your team the chance to call back at their earliest convenience (preferably within about 5 minutes). With the right training, your team should be able to book an appointment before the patient calls around to other nearby locations.

3. No call-to-action

So a patient has landed on your healthcare website. Now what? Believe it or not, you have to tell your patients what you expect them to do next. If you have no call-to-action on your website—no direction to “call our office” or “fill out our form”—you cannot expect the phones to ring.

Beyond wording, calls-to-action (CTAs) should be well-designed and easy to find. Most web designers use colorful buttons that react and change colors when users hover over them. These buttons should be prominent on both mobile devices and desktop computers. And of course, clicking a CTA should take a prospective patient to the right form or page.

4. Losing search presence

Not converting enough visitors from your website? Maybe that’s because you’re not seeing enough visitors in the first place. If your site ranking is dropping in the search engines, there are a few things you can do to improve them.

  • Post content regularly via your site’s blog.
  • Promote content on social media.
  • Optimize the backend of your site using image tags, headers, etc.
  • Generate backlinks to your website by listing your site on associations websites, directories, and more.

However, these tactics can take quite some time to yield results.

To quickly build report on the search engines, you’ll need to invest in PPC (pay-per-click) search advertising. With the right bidding strategy, prospective patients will see your website ahead of your competitors in the search engines.

From there, it's up to you to make sure your site loads quickly, has the right CTAs, and is designed to convert visitors to patients.

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