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How Much is Your Embarrassing Website Costing You?

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Typewriter typing a website linkWhen everyone is working diligently to attract new patients and new business, it’s extremely frustrating to uncover a "crappy old website" that’s turning people away. (And wasting money, too.) Sophisticated Internet marketing tools reveal a big “hole in the bucket;” the lost opportunity is real and downright painful.

That’s exactly what happened recently when we were evaluating a five-year-old medical website. The website was out of date, and we strongly recommended rebuilding with a new design and contemporary mechanics. Here’s the why-and-how back-story:

Like being greeted with 40-year-old office décor, the overall “look and feel” of this site instantly communicates old-school navigation, graphics and dated practice information. That’s bad, but the appearance was not what was sinking this ship.

We’ve talked about this often—contemporary websites absolutely must use a responsive design. That is, web pages must detect the visitor’s screen size and instantly present the appropriate layout for a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Without this capability, mobile visitors leave immediately. (You and I have done this...and usually without thinking about the fast click away.) What’s more, the site will rank poorly with search engines such as Google.

Conversely, a responsive website enhances SEO and the visitor experience. Google outright recommends a responsive site. Hint, hint -- it's the kind of thing that can boost a higher SERP (search engine results page) ranking.

The proof is in the crappy-ness…    

Google recognizes that mobile users are now at the top of the digital food chain. The majority of search activity is via a mobile device (like the smartphone in your pocket right now.) What’s more, about one in five Millennials—the largest demographic who have grown up in the computer age—no longer use desktop devices, according to ComScore.

By any digital calendar, that’s ancient. A five-year-old website is as antiquated as a horse and buggy. Both technology and society have changed rapidly and dramatically in the past five years. And this now-ancient website has lost most of its marketing value. Internet marketing reveals the loss is clear and measurable.

Contemporary web tools can identify and track specifics such as the site visitors’ device category (mobile, desktop, tablet), the number of sessions, the number of new visitors, and behavior data including the bounce rate. (Bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors who immediately leave.)

In this case, the stats were damning. Better than half of their visitor traffic (about 60 percent) comes from mobile devices. And most of that traffic (80 percent of those people) were bouncing off the site because it isn’t mobile responsive. A big slice of the audience instantly navigates away as fast as they arrive.

How much is “We’re OK with what we have” costing them?

We’re not selling anything here. Our mission and the purpose of a healthcare website is to bring new patients into the practice. Unfortunately for this website, most of the audience is (increasingly) using mobile devices. And, if they can’t see it, they head over to the competition.

Lost opportunity has a price tag. Let’s say that 200 people bounce away from the crappy site. We can assume that people are qualified, prospective patients and, in the course of time, half of them become patients at a case size of $5,000. These 100 cases represent $500,000 in lost revenue.

So, is old school sufficient? Maybe that’s OK in some circles, but good business says that a half-million dollars in lost opportunity and revenue justify updating a crappy website. And, the sooner the better.

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