Your website is—more often than not—the first experience people have with your brand. So having a solid strategy is crucial.
Creating an immersive, branded space for users to experience is vital for effective marketing. When you’re strategic, branding and messaging are clear and cohesive across multiple channels, and your website can better support your short- and long-term business goals, such as:
Inspire action with these effective website design strategies, organized by stages of the design process.
1. Define your goals and objectives
What do you want your website to achieve for your business? Is it more brand awareness or recognition? What about securing increased patient volume through in-office appointments?
Whatever your primary objective is, understanding what you want to get out of your website is the first step toward determining what needs to go into it.
2. Identify your target audience
Now that you understand what you want your website to achieve, you need to understand who you’re targeting and why. Defining your target audiences and their buyer personas are critical success factors in building your website.
It is important to understand the features and functions they want, need, and expect—and how to marry them with engaging design elements and high-quality, useful content. What’s more, you must ensure your audience can find everything easily and quickly on your website. But, more on that later.
3. Develop an integrated marketing plan
Don’t rush into design and development. Take time to flesh out an integrated marketing plan that delivers a holistic brand experience and aligns with best practices. (This is a crucial part of building a successful website and one that’s often overlooked.)
This plan should identify your goals and consider how your website will support each consumer touchpoint.
Now, you might think this step is a bit premature. However, keep the big picture in mind when developing a website and understand how it best supports your overarching marketing strategy.
4. Purchase your real estate
With a clear roadmap, you can secure your domain name, hosting provider, content management system (CMS), and other technologies. This is also an opportunity to identify whether legacy systems need to be integrated, upgraded, or replaced.
5. Make it safe
Add “https” encryption to protect the integrity of your website. This added layer of security helps prevent anyone from tampering with the communications between your website and its users' browsers. (This encryption is often available through your hosting provider.)
6. Make it responsive
According to GlobalStats, 50.89% of all U.S. web traffic comes through mobile devices, and that number is only expected to grow. Ensuring your website functions optimally and looks great on small screens is essential to capture this growing audience.
7. Create a roadmap and sales funnels
Determine how to effectively guide prospects through your buying process with forms, landing pages, contact pages, thank you pages, and engaging calls to action (CTAs).
This is also a great time to identify off-site features like email, SMS (text) notifications, webinars, consultations, or trials that can support these funnels.
Steps one through seven identify the functional pieces you need to build a great website strategy, and the steps that follow identify what you need to do to inspire action.
8. Prioritize findability
Today’s healthcare consumers expect healthcare websites to have:
To meet these demands and rising expectations, your website must deliver the following:
Getting this step right is essential for outpacing your competition and, ultimately, growing your business. Working with experienced creative directors and graphic artists specializing in the healthcare market can help ensure your website design hits the right note with your visitors.
9. Craft high-quality content
Along with a consistent and engaging design, your website content must tell visitors, “Yes, you’re in the right place.” That’s why many healthcare organizations work with experienced healthcare writers. They help you craft a well-rounded content marketing strategy that delivers clear, consistent, and engaging messaging that tells visitors exactly why they should choose your products and services over your competitors.
To dominate search engines, every piece of content should be relevant, helpful, and optimized based on what your target audience is searching for online.
10. Keep it fresh
A great website is always dynamic, and Google rewards the ones that consistently add original, high-quality content. Add a blog, vlog, podcast, or combination to regularly deliver valuable, optimized content to keep users and search engines engaged.
Regularly adding fresh content to your site encourages more frequent indexing from popular search engines like Google.
Along with adding new content regularly, audit and refresh your existing content to reflect the latest information in your field or industry. This is especially important for the healthcare industry.
11. Add social proof
Round out your website with trust-building elements—include testimonials, patient stories, reviews and ratings, partner logos, accreditations, certifications, success rates, and more.
Decide which trust signals will mean the most to your target audience and include them on your homepage and other high-traffic pages.
12. Humanize your brand
Draw an emotional connection by sharing images of your physicians and staff. And remember, you’re not limited to your “About Us” or “Team” pages.
Hire a skilled photographer to take a series of posed and unposed photographs at your medical office, hospital, or organization and use them across your website and other marketing channels.
13. Follow ADA Compliance
The healthcare industry is no stranger to accessibility regulations, but did you know healthcare websites must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Ensure your website accommodates people with disabilities.
14. Focus on speed
Load speed can make or break your website. Why? Users spend more time on a website when its pages load faster.
According to Website Builder Expert, users visit 8.9 pages when the load time is two seconds versus just 3.3 pages when the load time is 8 seconds.
15. Create a living brand
Now that you have everything your website needs to be successful, effective, and competitive, it’s time to give your brand the space and ability to grow because—as we know all too well—things never stay the same for long.
Our creative Director, Brett Mauer, posits, “A living brand is designed to anticipate the unknown and the new—with the understanding that the brand itself is free to shift to make the most of that particular application or environment.”
In short, it's important to plan and prepare, but it's equally important to allow your brand to shift and grow as needed to meet your target market's changing technology landscape and needs.
16. Continually optimize
SEO is a vital ingredient in website design. Strategic, keyword-rich writing allows search engines to match specific pages of your website to user search queries and search intent (the why behind the query), boosting your organic rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
A well-optimized website will also support local SEO, allowing your website to be served to local audiences with high intent. Be sure your contact information is current and listed the same across all your web properties, including your Google Business Profile.
17. Install Google Analytics
I mentioned above that a regular supply of fresh content is vital for website success because it supports SEO and higher search engine rankings. The same goes for your website overall. Staying on top of Google updates and regularly reviewing, refining, and optimizing your website based on your data and analytics is the best way to stay ahead of your competition and grow patient volume and revenue.
Developing a healthcare website with these strategies in mind will lead to a better brand image, improved trust, enhanced brand reputation, more appointments, increased patient volume, higher patient retention, greater revenue, lowered competition risk, and more.