Having poured over thousands of Healthcare websites over the past few years we have been able to identify several key factors that make for a great Healthcare website. It is however interesting, when speaking with healthcare professionals across Australia, how very few actually know what these elements consist of. Below, I am going to remove the mystery behind it and tell you the top 4 features of the very best healthcare websites.
#1 – Modern layout, design & feel
Any website built prior to 2010 is going to have old technology, coding and styling. It will not have the awesome features that today’s web designers have access to. The layout, design and feel of your website will determine whether someone sticks on your website for 3-4 minutes or bounces back to Google where they came from. Imagery is key! We all like to look at pretty pictures, we like to see a human face (particularly healthcare professionals). Well placed images can be more powerful than your content. It gives us that warm fuzzy feeling and adds trust to your website, which is hugely important in the Healthcare Industry. Creating trust on your website will go along way in creating trust with your practice in general. Here is a great example of excellent image usage.
Modern website layouts also have fantastic features that can condense huge amounts of content into neat and clean pages. This is so important if you want to communicate a large amount of information to your patients, but you don’t want to overload your site with bulky text. Here’s an example of efficient use of content, allowing for people to chose what they wish to read, click here to see it.
If your website is more than a few years old, look at getting a refresh to your design!
#2 – Mobile Optimised Websites
65% of all Australians own a smart phone. 75% of all Australians use their smart phone once a day to access the internet. People are more informed than ever and they’re using their smartphones as their tool for information. We are all clearly too busy to wait until we’re back in the office or in front of our desktops (if you even still own one!). But the most important fact to know is that 61% of mobile users are unlikely to return to a site that they had trouble accessing/viewing from their phones. Fact is, if your site isn’t mobile optimised, people won’t use it.
A common misconception also surrounds the term ‘mobile optimised’ & ‘mobile friendly’. Mobile optimised doesn’t just refer to your website being able to be accessed on your mobile phone. Mobile friendly websites means that you can view a website on your smartphone, but you’d have to pinch your screen to get a close up of the content or scroll left and right to see other content. This simply isn’t sufficient for today’s mobile user. A mobile optimised website doesn’t require that someone scroll left/right. It doesn’t require that someone pinch and zoom to read text, either. On a mobile site, the navigation is built for efficiency, the images are optimised for quick loading and the content is minimised to be most effective. Additional, mobile-only functionality includes tap-to-call, tap-to-email and tap for Google Maps functionality.
According to mashable.com, next year more people will use mobile phones than PC’s to get online, do your current and prospective patients a favour and get a website that is mobile optimised.
#3 – Online Appointments
Online appointments are an extension of Mobile Optimised Websites. The very best, cutting-edge Healthcare Websites integrate online appointments into their practice. We are booking travel, movie theatre seats and everything else under the sun from our smartphones. More recently we can now securely access Healthcare Practice databases from our phones and book our next appointments from anywhere you have internet connection. No more waiting on hold, talking to rude and impatient receptionists, or having to decide between 4 very inconvenient times you’re given to choose over the phone.
Booking your next visit to the GP has never been so easy. A Healthcare Practice that has the convenience of an online booking facility not only offers current and future patients an added benefit, but the system then allows you direct communication to that patient for appointment reminder, follow up visits, season reminders such as flu shots, or age/sex dependent notification such as pap smears. You are increasing the access of care for patients as the same time as adding to their continuity of care.
Furthermore a recent case study was run in the UK of the administration and cost efficiencies online appointments can create. It was a 14 doctor practice and after 6 months of using the system were able to achieve 30% of all patients booking their appointment online. This lead to a $60,000 addition to their bottom line. Read the full article. (I will provide this for download)
#4 – Keep SEO up to date
The very best Healthcare Websites know what they’re doing with SEO, or pay someone who knows what they’re doing. As a result their rankings are consistently top of the organic searches. Ever wondered why you’re not up there all the time? Or perhaps you’re not even sure where your website ranks in the first place? 44% of all Healthcare related Google searches are for a doctor of healthcare professional. Simple example: “Medical centre in St Kilda”. If you have a medical centre in St Kilda and you don’t rank in the 1st page you have wasted your money building your website.
You’ve invested quite a lot of money in your website, now you have to make it work for you and provide a return on your investment. On average a medical centre will receive 50-80 hits per day. This might not sounds that much but extrapolate into 365 days and that’s 18,250-29,200 hits to your site each year! Proving your website has adequate information that can answer the queries of patients, you’ve saved yourself quite a lot of phone conversation with your front desk or admin team.
Google loves new, fresh & informative content. Once you have a website, commit to adding content, changing keywords/phrases or uploading a news item each month. Google will continue to favour you over other sites that do not partake in these activities.