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Benign Neglect: Classic Internet Mistake Number Three

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Worst Mistakes Healthcare Org. Make When Trying to Attract Patients from the Internet[Series Installment: The Worst Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make When Trying to Attract Patients from the Internet, Mistake Three: Ignoring Your Website; from the Healthcare Success Educational Library.]

All too often, it is “benign neglect” that causes websites to wither into near non-existence.

Instead of attracting and retaining new patients, many well-intended sites—for doctors, hospitals, group practices, healthcare organizations and medical facilities—become virtually invisible.

Without regular “care and feeding” of a marketing website, two losses inevitably pick your pocket. The first is the initial investment in creating the online presence. And the second is the lost opportunity when potential new business and prospective patients find your competition and go elsewhere.

Ignoring your website after its launch is a classic Internet mistake. The net effect of silently and quietly ignoring your valuable online marketing tool is…well, virtually (and digitally) nothing.

The most common excuses…

Once upon a time, simply having a website—even an elementary Internet presence—put you head-and-shoulders above the competition. But those days are long past, and with the majority of prospective patients looking online for health information and healthcare providers, there’s no excuse for believing a website is something to “set-and-forget.”

And there are lots of reasons why neglect is the path of least resistance and least results…

  • Admittedly, medical practitioners are busy.
  • Often there’s a lack of technical knowledge or support.
  • There’s no dedicated staff or assigned responsibility.
  • Budget and resources are scarce.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar…

An online presence—one that produces results—actively and regularly changes. Here are a few reasons why you should begin now:

Online Search Visibility: Websites that are dynamic get more attention from search engines. Google and others have a complex formula to determine PageRank; where sites appear among search results. But it’s not complicated to realize that a “dormant” site is probably less valuable than an active one. Search engine visibility is the gateway to attracting new visitors.

Being relevant touches the audience: People respond to fresh, current and up-to-date information. Providing site visitors with content that speaks to their needs—and not the same old stuff they’ve seen before—earns attention, respect and response.

Flexibility is a critical success factor: Notwithstanding that both medical science and healthcare delivery systems are changing, being able to improve is a leadership skill. Identify and measure what works best and make regular adjustments to maximize your Return-on-Investment.

It’s easier than you think: Many of the newer website platforms understand the need for refreshment and now allow site owners to upload content without a lot of technical or programming skills. With the right tools, internal staff can easily produce good results. More importantly, the effort should easily pay for itself with better site performance.

For more about how to avoid these and other classic mistakes, click through here to download our free White Paper: The Worst Mistakes Healthcare Organizations Make When Trying to Attract Patients from the Internet. And watch for additional installments in this continuing series.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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