The doctor is in, er,online.
In the digital age of Yelp and Foursquare, there is almost no business that consumers don't checkout (or check-in to) online before visiting the brick and mortar. While this practice used to be limited to hotels and restaurants, it now applies universally to all industries: retail, entertainment, hospitality and even health care.
In Manhattan alone, there are 26,365 Yelp listings for medical facilities, showing just how competitive the health care market is, and how essential it is to have a quality medical website design ready to convert potential patients.
A well-planned website can provide a significant source of revenue for medical facilities that otherwise rely heavily on word-of-mouth for new business. Whether you're a bariatric surgeon, a local cardiologist, or another medical practitioner, implementing basic best practices for a user's online experience will go a long way in ensuring positive brand interactions. Welcoming and reassuring messaging, abundant contact opportunities as well as reliable information about your service area are key for most service companies, but are even more fundamental for medical websites.
While there are a vast number of things that you can do to improve your medical web design, there are four things medical websites in particular should NEVER do:
1) NEVER use stock photos
A crowd of young, well-lit, impeccably groomed professionals in pristine lab coats makes for a pretty homepage, but says nothing about the character of an organization.
By putting your actual physicians and actual facilities on display, you can speak volumes about the quality of your care and allow site visitors to begin feeling comfortable with your practice. New patients want (and deserve) to see the doctor they will be interacting with well before they make an initial appointment.
2) NEVER post fake reviews of your own business
We get it; everyone wants to be popular. But not only do users see straight through fake endorsements, it's also a serious violation of FTC regulations. Luckily, there are plenty of valid ways to beef up your references. Start by reaching out to long-time patients who are most likely to send some goodwill your way. Instituting a strong email marketing campaign integrated with your CRM will allow you to send messages to new clients after their first office visit, prompting them to give a review as well.
3) NEVER assume people understand what you're talking about
The medical field is overrun with complicated jargon, technical concepts and more acronyms than a bowl of alphabet soup. While including the proper, medical terms for your services can be valuable as part of a search engine optimization strategy, it is highly likely that site visitors want easily digestible information. Take the extra time or hire a professional copywriter to describe your service offerings in simple terms. A thorough glossary is also strongly recommended for both SEO and user experience purposes.
4) NEVER explain problems when you can offer solutions
In general, people seek out medical advice because they are experiencing a given set of symptoms. While they may initially want to learn more about these symptoms from an online resource, ultimately they are looking for an expert to provide a remedy. Taking a "Here's how we can help" approach throughout the site reinforces the fact that you are ready and able to provide solutions.
Do you have any thoughts or "NEVER Dos"? Let me know down below.