Choosing a doctor or healthcare professional is a difficult and sometimes stressful decision for millions of patients and the practice website is the first impression for many of those who are searching for doctors in their area. Your practice may be listed on every directory and well-reviewed by every healthcare provider, but if your website reflects poorly on your business, patients could go elsewhere after one visit. Don’t let a bad website turn away potential patients and clients, but learn to build a great first impression that can help boost your numbers as well as your reputation in the field. You don’t need to be a professional web designer or skilled coder, just follow a few simple steps that will help put your practice on the map.
Choosing a Website Builder
You could hire a designer to build your site from scratch, but that option is costly and it could be overkill for what your site needs. Most practice websites include the essentials:
- Location and hours
- Introduction to the doctors
- Information about the practice
- New patient forms and contact information
- Payment system
These are basic features for a website builder that helps users create a website on their own using pre-made templates and easy-to-use tools. Even if your website is nothing more than a basic landing page to give potential patients an introduction, a website builder can help make it clean, modern, and organized.
Know Your Audience
A website for a pediatric physician or orthodontist shouldn’t look the same as a website for a dermatologist or oncologist. Remember, this website is your practice’s first impression, and it’s design, layout, and copy should convey the tone that reflects what your practice is about. Take this website for an orthodontist in Scottsdale, Arizona—it’s fun, light, conveys family, and shows off the product (the smiles). Compare that to this website for an oncologist and you’ll see a different look and feel—still light and friendly, but more of an emphasis on professionalism.
Compete for Keywords & Search Rankings
Google keywords for healthcare terms are very competitive, especially if they’re specific to a city or area. The SEO of your website can mean the difference between front page and getting buried where no one will see. Consider five points when aiming for good SEO on your own website:
- Pick 2-3 keywords and focus on those; don’t spread yourself too thinly
- Use good metadata, title tags, and meta descriptions
- Make sure all your content is original
- Include a sitemap on your website
- Use social media sharing to drive rankings (share tools on your posts)
Allow Appointments & Payments Online
Aside from the fact that it’s inconvenient to call during office hours to schedule a visit and mail in a check to pay for medical bills, letting patients book and pay online is another way to increase visits to your website, which will drive rankings and improve visibility on Google. Especially for first-time patients, implement a system to choose a doctor/healthcare professional and schedule the first visit online, as well as provide all the new patient paperwork necessary so they’re ready when they walk in the front door. And while most patients will pay up front or immediately following an appointment, they should be able to use your website to pay any outstanding bills after they leave.