In healthcare, we see this all the time. A patient walks into a medical practice looking perfectly fine. But after some blood work, it turns out the healthy-looking patient has a hidden illness. As marketers, we see the same thing happen with websites. A physician or even an amateur web designer may think a website is fine because, well, it looks perfectly healthy. But even the best medical website design can actually be sick.
We love a website design that looks beautiful and incorporates unique elements from your brand that you're proud to show off. Unfortunately, these websites aren't always what they seem. When we dig in deeper, we often find many elements that are just wrong, in terms of marketing.
A sick website may look perfectly fine to the untrained eye. But if it fails to attract patients, it's not doing its job. The best medical website design is about more than just looks. When the following elements are missing (to name just a few), you miss out on an opportunity to drive patients to your practice or hospital.
Related: 10 Best Practices to Create a Patient-Centered Hospital Website
When someone arrives at your website, they should know almost immediately what action they’re expected to take. Do you want them to fill out a form? To call the front desk? Should they schedule an appointment? A free consultation? A screening? Your wording should contain an action word that makes this very clear. Rather than just using phrases that show what you can do—“Board-Certified Physicians with 30 Years’ Experience”—be sure to include words that prompt action—“Schedule Your Consultation Today!”
This call-to-action should be easy to find, within just a few seconds of scanning your website. You might have a contact form near the top of your page, or a button that links to that contact form. You may only have a phone number, but it's best to ensure it repeats throughout the page or remains fixed in the header as someone scrolls.
The best medical website design is basically worthless if no one is able to find you. People looking for a doctor or searching for your specialty should be able to type a variety of different phrases into the search engines in order to find you.
When people think of “web design” they often don’t think of how the copy factors in. As long as the copy is accurate, an amateur marketer may believe the job is done. But to be successful in the search engines, you need so much more than this. We see so many websites that look great but when we dig into the copy, it’s 100% wrong—the website is hiding an illness. The search engines crawl your website for key words and phrases, image tags, and title tags, things that take time and research to build up.
If patients cannot find key information shortly upon landing on your site, they may become frustrated and simply move on to another site. We've worked with a practice that truly believed their website was working. Admittedly, it looked great—except for one major flaw. When you landed on the home page, there was no information available about their location. It was not immediately clear which city or even which state they were located in, and we couldn't find a link for their location on the top navigation bar.
Important information to put on your homepage includes phone number, location, and main services, as well as information for existing patients. And remember, they should be able to find this information within just a few seconds.
Finally, the site should be user-friendly to make it as easy as possible for people to click around as needed or, better yet, contact you. Your website should not take more than 5 seconds to load. If there’s a phone number at the top of the screen, make sure it’s clickable. The navigation at the top bar should be responsive, meaning it adjusts to the screen as you minimize your window (to make it optimized on mobile devices and tablets).
Remember, mobile friendliness is key in 2018—more than half of all medical searches are now completed on a mobile device. Today, more people are looking at your website on mobile devices than on desktop computers, so make sure everything looks right on a standard smartphone as well as on desktop. A mobile user should have a fast loading time with all the same content you provide on the desktop site.
Sometimes, a website that isn’t working needs to be completely redesigned. This may be due to a lack of mobile responsiveness, missing call-to-actions, or slow loading times, among other things. As marketers, however, we try to avoid this.
When a surgeon performs a procedure, they always aim to minimize scarring. The same is true for a website revision surgery. You may only notice a small change (in some cases) but the changes on the inside—the ones that actually get results—are what really matters. The best outcome is to work with a qualified medical marketing firm in the first place to ensure you get the best medical website design to bring in patients, so you can avoid revision surgery altogether.
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