Whether you have never had a medical web design or are upgrading a current medical website, these simple tips will help make the process go smoothly and with less time and effort.
- Know your goals.
Is the purpose of your site to get new patients, support current patients, set surgical appointments or educate your patients on a specific topic? It is important to know what the measure of success is before starting your medical web design project.
- Gather information about your practice.
Basic practice information like addresses, phone numbers, provider CV’s, white papers, publications and in-office documentation are a few of the things you are going to need.
- Make sure you have good pictures and videos.
Your potential patients are looking to make a connection with you. Choosing a doctor is a very personal decision and good photos will make or break a medical website design. Make sure you have good head-shot photos of all of the providers from the just below the shoulders. Also, action-shots are very useful, photos inside the OR or pictures of the waiting room will demystify potential patients to the comfort of your facility.
- Make a list of your forms, privacy notices and handouts.
One of the main reasons patients return to the website is to download and print out patient forms. These should be in PDF format. If you are unable to convert them to PDF, your medical website design firm should be able to do that for you.
- Find out if your EMR has an online patient portal or secure online patient forms.
Online patient records and online appointment setting are often easy to add to your website through your current EMR. If your system does not support this, your medical website design company may be able to offer solutions that are HIPPA compliant.
- Content is king so find a medical web design company with medical content.
Search engines want to provide searchers with the most relevant content possible. If your website only has a handful of pages, it is unlikely that you will show up for many search phrases. It is important to have a deep, rich website that contains dedicated landing pages on the procedures and services that are most important to your practice.
- Look for hidden costs or fees.
Aside from the cost of the website, how much are the monthly hosting fees? Is the website yours to own or are you basically renting it over the course of time? Ask about licensing fees or any other recurring costs.
- Does the medical web design company also focus on website optimization?
Title tags, meta tags, alt tags, on-page and off-page optimization, social media management, reputation management – are these terms familiar to your medical website design firm and do they offer these services? Find out how much optimization is included in your medical website package. Optimization is often an ongoing task because if you stop marketing your website, those who continue marketing may soon pass you in search engine ranking. Also remember that just because you develop a website doesn’t mean it will automatically rise to the top of search engines. It takes effort to get it there.
- Stay away from Flash
While it may seem pretty to have sliding text and a swirling introduction to your website, Flash animations cannot be seen on some devices. iPhone, for example won’t display Flash. Also, make sure that your website does not have auto-play sound. Many patients access your medical website at work and auto-play music is a sure-fire way to make them close your website down fast.
- What other value-added options are available?
Consider interactive features for your website including social media integration, mobile web, patient education videos, mailing lists, job/career listings, patient education tutorials, eMinders, and patient satisfaction surveys. Ask if these features are available and what the cost to add them would be.
There are many other questions that can be asked such as “what kind of support is available after my site is launched?” and “can I edit my own website whenever I want?” For more help on how to choose the right medical website design, set up an appointment to talk to a medical website design adviser.