By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The primary doorway to health care in the United States is digital. A new patient’s first encounter with a provider almost always begins via the Internet.
Perhaps it’s not obvious, but your practice website—the cornerstone of an Internet presence—is the essential medical marketing gateway for prospective patients to locate and select doctors and hospitals.
Given the top-tier importance of your online visibility, it’s still surprising to find (as we often do) that a professional service provider—medical practice, physician, etc.—has a less-than-professional Internet presence.
To make things worse, the practice leadership often neglects to maintain the website, and since it has always been an out-of-sight and benign appendage, they don’t realize the value of the lost business opportunity.
Here’s a quick YES-NO test to take the pulse of your Internet presence, beginning with your website. (A complete and comprehensive appraisal is available if you give us a call.)
[YES] [NO] Are you tracking the new business activity from your website?
[YES] [NO] Do all your web pages load quickly (nearly instantly)?
[YES] [NO] Do you add or refresh content several times a month?
[YES] [NO] Is your site easy to navigate and easy to read?
[YES] [NO] Do you have a business/professional blog?
[YES] [NO] Do you maintain a Facebook page?
[YES] [NO] Do you provide social media links for sharing content?
[YES] [NO] Do you use site traffic analytics tools regularly?
[YES] [NO] Does every page clearly communicate what you can do for the visitor?
[YES] [NO] Does the visitor easily find a compelling call to action?
[YES] [NO] Does your content smoothly integrate keywords in natural language?
[YES] [NO] Does your name and contact info prominently appear on every page?
[YES] [NO] Does your site appear on the first page of local search results?
[YES] [NO] Has your site been optimized for Search Engine marketing?
[YES] [NO] Has your site been tested on several different browsers?
[YES] [NO] Is you website optimized to be viewed on mobile devices?
[YES] [NO] Is your site a strong reflection of your brand and points of differentiation?
[YES] [NO] Is your website appearance free of clutter; “noisy” colors, type fonts, etc?
[YES] [NO] Is your website less than three years old?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, we recommend a more detailed professional exam. We’d be happy to look even closer and begin a conversation. Maybe we can help with online marketing.
Nothing personal, but website visitors are probably not looking for you specifically. Virtually every visitor is searching for an answer to a health question or problem. The essential test of a website is how effectively your capabilities are seen to answer their need(s) or solve their problem.
And, if you suspect your website needs retooling, if you don’t have a decent website, or if any part of online persona (website, blog, social media, etc.) requires work, here’s a short list of who SHOULD NOT get the assignment.
You. Website stuff is not a DIY weekend project. We’ll respect your personal abilities in medical science, but Internet development requires serious training and experience of a different sort. Realistically, your busy schedule guarantees the project will not be completed on time…if at all.
Any relative or close friend. No offense to your sister-in-law, but it’s simply good business advice to “never to hire anyone who you would hate to fire,” regardless of their talent and abilities. What’s more, a qualified professional resource (and a solid working relationship) will give you candid advice from an unbiased perspective.
Anyone doing a student project. You will be paying for on-the-job training with cash and consequences. ‘Nuf said.
The cheapest source. We’re not in favor of over-paying for anything, but the lowest-bidder approach seldom produces outstanding work. Cutting costs usually means cutting corners, and unfortunately, you likely get what you pay for.
Art-driven designers who don’t know marketing. Don’t let “pretty” poison the business purpose of the website. We’re all in favor of good looks, but beware of creative types who “over art-ify.” Appearance ahead of purpose derails effectiveness.
For related reading on this topic, see: 7 Signs Your Healthcare Website Didn’t Show Up for Work Today. And as added reference, see The Big Problem with Small-Business Sites (Infographic).