Two things that will vastly improve your medical
practice’s website

David Douglas

David Douglas

Director – Medical Website Solutions | Head of Health Marketing. Over 15 years of website and online marketing experience.

Improve the (1) copy and (2) the layout of your website.

Why start with your website’s copy and layout given:

79% of users only scan website copy.
16% of users read website copy word for word.

Research by Neilson Norman Group

The copy and layout of your medical practice’s website plays a key role in how:

(a) Search engines find your website
(b) How patients find your services
(c) Your website converts visitors into patients – More patients, more income!

To achieve the above – Follow these 8 principals:

  1. Make your website’s information easy to find – Menu and navigation
  2. Ensure your website’s copy is easy to read and understand – Target audience & page layout.
  3. Your website must build your reputation and trust in your services.
  4. Take your patients on a journey through your website – Let patients know what to expect from your services.
  5. Improve your visibility on search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  6. Minimise distractions on your web pages.
  7. Indicate clearly what the next step to be taken is – Call to action.
  8. Measured – Your website should be measured to supply data to help you improve your website

We will expand on these points further below:

1. Easy to find information – Menu/navigation

This step is really simple, but I have seen a few medical practices that had over 30 links stemming from the homepage of their website.

Keep the navigation of your website simple:

  • Six to eight headings in your main menu is a great start
  • Highlight your major services

Be clear about what you’re offering your patients:

Your navigation/menu items should use accessible and clear language. If in doubt, use familiar terms like “Contact us” and “About” wording. Don’t be too scared to step out of the norm with things like “Let’s talk” or ‘Meet the doctors’.

If you have a lot of content that can’t be featured in your main navigation options, group them under one subheading and use a drop-down menu. “Services” is an ideal menu heading for a drop down menu.

If patients have to scroll down your webpage to find key information, it increases the chance of them getting frustrated and leaving your website. Place key information near the top of the page – Phone numbers, address and email details.

2. Ensure your website’s copy is easy to read and understand

There a number of items to consider here:

a) 79% of people will ‘skim read’ your website’s copy.

So, to make your website copy highly readable, you need to make sure people can skim over the copy and still digest it.

b) Minimise the number of words on your practice’s website

  • Try to reduce your website’s copy by 25%

c) Make the layout of your website scannable

A great technique to use is called Chunking – This is where you break your website’s content into smaller chunks to help users read, process, understand and remember information.

These are some great techniques you can use:

  • Short paragraphs – Use one or two sentences per paragraph
  • Bullets and/or numbered lists
  • Bold, italic or coloured text sections
  • Tables, charts and/or images to present information
  • Headlines and sub-headlines to break up information
  • Different backgrounds.

d) Use objective, simple language & typefaces

Ensure your text is/has:

Simple – A good rule of thumb is could an average 13 year old easily read the text on your website (whilst this is a great rule of thumb, keep your target audience in mind).

Font size Use a font size that is easy to see on desktop and mobile devices – At least 15px is a great start.

A clean typeface Strangely shaped fonts like ‘handwriting’ or ‘gothic style’ can make text harder to read. Choose a font that is clean and clear.

Readable Interesting and relevant to the target audience.

Other guidelines to improve readability are:

  • Use plainspoken words, the shorter the better.
  • Avoid advanced sentence structures.
  • Mainly write with an active voice.
  • Easy to comprehend – Understanding is key so don’t use complex medical terms. If you must use medical terms, have a help or definition section immediately underneath.

Make sure the background of your website does not interfere with the recognition of letter formations.

3. Your website’s copy must build your reputation and trust in your services

Focus on how your practice can benefit your patients and something that your practice does well – For example:

  • Number of years your practice has been operating
  • The number of patients you have seen
  • Logos of organisations of which you are a member
  • Opening hours 
  • Ease of access to public transport and/or car parking
  • Disabled access
  • Service aim or promise.

Work on how you can communicate this visually by using statistics, logos and facts.

4.  Have a clear purpose for each page and tell patients what to expect

This is about building a patient journey through your website to convince them to take the next step to contact you. This is about:

  • Educating patients in a helpful manner – How long are appointments and what do they need to bring.
  • Building trust in your practice and expertise

In short you need to be supplying patients with compelling reasons to use your services throughout your website. This may seem a little repetitive, but remember, a common patient will only visit 2-3 pages of your website and keep in mind these important statistics:

1. The average person will check at least 3 of your competitors websites before choosing a service.

Research by – ConversionXL and Marketing Land

2. There is a rising demand for healthcare services given:

  • The ageing population
  • Increasing patient awareness due to free information available on the internet
  • Increased knowledge and expectation of services
  • Increasing competitive environment and local providers including alternative medicine options.

Research by – Deloitte

2. Up to 80% of people research online for their local business and health services

Research by – ConversionXL

5. Increase your visibility to search engines and patients

Most medical practices attract patients from within a 5 to 10 kilometre radius of their practice. Ensure you state on your website the surrounding suburbs your patients come from.

This helps Google, Bing, Yahoo to find local services for search queries – Such as “Doctor St Kilda”.

Ensure your medical practice has business listings that have your website link. There are a range of these. Some are free and some you may need to pay for. I recommend at least exploring the following:

  • True Local
  • Where is
  • Medical Directory of Australia
  • Sensis
  • Google+ Business Listing
  • Bing

6. Minimise distractions to other web pages

If a patient has found the service they are looking for on your website, distracting them with other information takes away the focus of the task they are trying to complete.

Once they are distracted there is a higher probability they won’t return to complete their task.

So minimise distractions – Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Have one clear objective per page
  • Do not overwhelm people with too much information
  • Minimise or eliminate links to other pages in your websites copy
  • One call to action.

7. Next steps to be taken

Make it plain and simple what the next step you want them to take. Don’t leave this to chance. Have Call to Action button taking them to the next step.

Protect your family from the flu this season:

BOOK IN FOR THE FLU VACCINE

8.  What gets measured gets done

Ensure your website has at least a simple analytics package that allows you to measure:

  • Total number of visitors to your website
  • Page visits to each page
  • Time spent on each page

These simple statistics can help you identify what to start improving your website.

I hope you enjoyed this article  – Two things that will vastly improve your medical
practice’s website

This article was designed to help you take the basic steps to set your website up for success. Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive it provides the foundation you can use to improve your websites results.

David Douglas“Our strategic approach to website design and online marketing has delivered great results for the vast majority of medical practices we work with!
If you have any questions please feel free to call or email me.”


David Douglas
– Medical Website Solutions

Ph: 0438 325 246
EMAIL US

.