15 areas where most medical practice websites go wrong?
Your medical practice’s website is all about managing your patients and practices expectations, reputation and credibility.
Your website is commonly one of your patients first touch points with your medical practice.
Your website sets the expectations of your services and helps manage your reputation. In a nutshell, it’s all about your practice’s credibility. Website credibility is about making your website in such a way that it comes across as trustworthy and knowledgeable – BJ Fogg.
Credibility – Credibility is “a measure of how believable and trustworthy your practice is perceived to be.”
Source – Dictionary.com
If your website isn’t credible, most people quite simply won’t want to use your services and look to use on of your competitors.
Here are the 15 areas where most medical practice websites go wrong…and how to fix them and add credibility to your practice:
No. 1 – Not having a website
In this digital age a website is a must.
Some medical practices, that are in their maturity, have patients knocking down their doors to use their services. This is ideal – But you still need a website. Why?
Your website can be used to streamline your practice with online appointment bookings or useful patient information such as – “What do you need for your first appointment?”
With front office staff spending as much as 30% of their time on the phone organising appointments a website with this functionality can reduce your overhead costs and improve your service levels to patients.
No. 2 – Having and old or dated looking website
What does your website say about your medical practice?
Does it say – Old and tired, or contemporary, modern, cutting edge?
Like it or not the appearance of your website counts and affects the perception of your medical practice.
Your website needs to personify your medical practice and it must be backed up by the look and feel of your reception area and your staffs approach and ethos.
No.3 – A tired or dated brand/logo
All brands age overtime.
It doesn’t mean a whole new look and feel for your practice. Most of the time, a simple refresh to invigorate your brand will go a long way to meet your patients modern expectations.
No. 4 – Old website content – Copy, images etc.
Website redesigns are expensive and take a lot of time, you should be checking your websites content at least every 12 months to ensure it’s up to date.
Here are some of the signs of old website content you should look out for:
- You have a blog or a newsletter, but haven’t written an article in 6 months (or more)
- Dated looking images
- Social media – You haven’t posted in 6 months or more
- Copyright date in the footer is not the current year
- Photos and images have dated fashion
- Broken links
- Dated web technology – Elements of your website are built in flash
- Dated fonts and graphics
- Your website is not built for mobile devices.
No. 5 – Poor website design
Like it or not people mostly do judge a book its cover and your website by its design.
Turns out, they judge quickly too (first impressions matter). It takes less than 0.5 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website, whether they like your site or not or whether they’ll stay or leave or go to one of your competitors.
Most new patients will check 3 of your competitor websites before choosing their preferred practice.
Source – The Guardian
”Websites that are more attractive and include more trimmings create a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in patients.” – Stanford.
Some general website credibility killers include:
- No backup of service delivery promises
- Blinking banners
- Clashing bright colours
- Autoplay videos
- Gratuitous popups
If your site looks like a Christmas tree, you need to change that. Seek professional website input.
For further information on great web design – View website design for doctors.
I hear this often from medical practices – “We provide great service to our patients.”
When I ask them – “Can you back this statement up with research or comments from your current patients.”
The room falls silent, followed by “No.”
This is an issue of trust. There are plenty of websites out there including Google+, facebook and others that allow patients to comment on your services and the chances are some patents have already.
But having a face shot with a quick comment from a real person will do wonders for credibility.
We have written a great article on – Online reviews for medical practices if you would like to explore this further.
No. 7 – Failure in your efforts to build trust
Answer: Experience, education, medical memberships, services, expertise and more – Lets map these out:
Patients want to know – “I am in the hands of a safe, qualified, experienced medical professional.”
So, on your website:
- Include a profile of your doctors, nurses and front office staff complete with education and experience
- State how long your practice has been open and servicing the public
- Show logos of your medical memberships
- Show your fees and schedules
- Indicate if you can give medicare rebates
- Do you use an SSL certificate on your website?
Use the trusted and recognised logos that relate to your practice and education to help build trust.
No. 8 – Don’t overdo it
Don’t overcrowd your website pages with credibility elements – it has the potential to have the opposite effect.
You can overdo it in a few ways – Let’s take a quick look:
Overly Positive Reviews – Nobody is perfect. Too many positive reviews may have the opposite effect. Most people have a healthy level of skepticism. It’s called the ‘to good to be true’ effect and potentially turns people away from your practice. In other words, if a visitor sees nothing but 5 star reviews, they get suspicious.
Too many logos – Decorating your web pages with every logo in relation to your staffs education and professional memberships may also have a negative effect.
Choose the most known, relevant and up to date logos and information.
No.9 – Lack of images
Medical practices are all about dealing with people and their problems.
So show real images people including your front office staff, nurses and doctors.
If you can include a few images of your doctors seeing patients (with the patients permission) then these will go a long way to setting the right feel for your website.
You will be delighted at the results a simple iPhone camera shot can produce with some good lighting. Even including some images of your reception area and the outside of your practice can be a big help for patients trying to get a feel for or find your practice.
Avoid stock images if you can.
Attention to detail matters!
How much stock would you place in a website that is filled with poor grammar and typos?
Don’t delay – Just fix them.
No. 11 – Technical and usability problems
Make sure things works – Test your websites functionality.
Ensure your website’s links work and forms download properly. Everything that might seem broken or unprofessional will take away from your credibility.
Ensure your patients personal experience with your website is exceptional.
No. 12 – Bad publicity or other off-page indicators
Poor online reviews or other factors can obviously harm your practice’s reputation.
If you search for your practice on Google – what do you find?
Make sure you like those search results.
- Investigate the claim
- Listen to the problem
- Make it clear patient satisfaction is the top priority
- Show empathy
- Fix the problem
We have written an in-depth article for medical practices if you are interested in further information – How to handle a poor online review about your medical practice.
No.13 – Make it easy to contact you
Make your address and phone number visible at all times.
Ensure your contact details are in the footer and header and prominent in key sections of your website.
Make it very easy to contact you. A ‘Contact’ link should be always in your navigation menu.
No. 14 – Make sure your website copy is easy to understand
People don’t trust what they don’t understand. So use simple language.
Don’t bamboozle your patients with medical terms. If you need to use medical terms ensure you have a simple explanation underneath the term.
Tailor your message to your patients. If your website displays relevant information to the visitor it’s instantly more credible in their eyes.
No. 15 – Maintain your social media accounts
Rule No.1 about social media – Find one social media platform that is relevant to your patients and do it well. It’s far better than having a number of accounts and doing it poorly.
- Maintain it at least monthly – It shows your site is constantly updated
- Provides useful, relevant information to your patients
- Have a social media posting schedule, information plan and crisis plan.
Your website’s credibility is based on many factors, most of which are in your control.
Make sure your website:
- Looks modern
- Current content and design
- Proof that backs up your practice’s ethos and service promises
- Builds trust
- Uses real images
- Free of typos
- Your site works – Fix technical bugs and dead links
- Use simple language in your website copy where possible
- Is easy to find the contact information
- Social media, blogs and news – Make sure it’s up to date
- Be genuine and honest.
I hope you enjoyed 15 areas where most medical practice websites go wrong.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.