Web presence has several advantages and is a an important tool to promote your practice. Think of how many times have you heard of a physician and the first thing you have done is Googled his name and searched for his credentials or reviews. 75% patients check the physician’s details online and look out for a website. You may be the best physician in your field, but to survive the competitive world it is important to market your services. One of the most convenient ways to be easily accessible and visible to potential patients is through a website (1).
When you create a website, it is must be well-designed and highly professional to catch the attention of the patients. Most patients while surfing for physicians are looking out to check the authenticity and the proficiency of the doctor. A website should give all the essential information lucidly and visibly.
Here are a few tips to create a great-looking website for your medical practice:
- Website Name: The name must be short, simple and easy to remember. The name may be such which represents you or your mode of practice i.e. the field of practice.
- Layout: It should again be simple with user-friendly easy navigation. People today have a very short attention span; hence, a layout which is simple but attractive appeals to the user/patient. The medical profession is considered to be a noble & dignified one. Hence, the website layout and appearance must be sober and classy. A website which is bawdy and garish is unappealing.
- Content: Content is the most most important part of the website. You content should be accurately informative and be easy to comprehend. Highlight you main functional areas and treatment procedures. Posting fresh and unique content every week keeps your website engaging and relevant to your patients. The main homepage should be organised and non-chaotic.
- Visuals: Any good website must have visuals, videos or images, to make it interesting. Always remember put visuals where necessary and in context with the data. Do not overload your website with useless images. These images can include before-after pictures of treated patients or video testimonials with the consent of the patient. To use a patient’s information without his consent is considered illegal.
- About yourself: Do write a page about yourself, your credentials and experience. This builds the patient’s trust and makes them aware of your authenticity. Deliver all the basic important information.
- Testimonials: They are a great way to show case what your patients think about you. A separate link may be provided on the main page for testimonials.
- Seminars: If you are a practitioner who commonly gives seminars and lectures, then a separate page can be dedicated to show upcoming events. These must be updated well in advanced for the convenience of the patients.
- Contact: The main goal of the website is to convert the audience to become your patients. Hence, a link or call to action button which makes it easy for the patient to contact you is a must. Make it easy for patients to locate your contact details. Provide a call back option where they can just leave their number and your clinic will get in touch with them. Always mention the clinic timings and contact timings clearly and visibly.
- Appointment system: You may also provide appointments through your website. This helps the patient to choose the day-date and time at their convenience.
- Social Media: Create a page for your medical set up on social networks like Facebook, Twitter etc. Then provide a link on your website to these pages. These help garner far more visibility than most other methods.
- Blog: A blog is a great way to share information on the web. A physician can regularly update his blog with interesting articles on various medical topics, current common diseases of the season, precautions to be taken with basic home care, latest advances in their field, etc. Information which helps the patient is always welcome and makes the patient visit the physician for more advice.
- Mobile optimization: With the increased use of smartphones and tablets to surf the internet, it is crucial to have a mobile-friendly website. The website must be designed such that it can fit a screen on any device.
- SEO: Your website may be one of the exceptional ones, but it will not be visited enough if it is not search engine optimized. SEO stands for search engine optimisation(2). It is the most vital tool for good visibility on the Web. You may choose to hire a company that builds websites and also does SEO. If your website is search engine optimized, it will appear on the first page when patients surf the net looking for say an orthopaedic physician. For this, one must follow few strategies like your website must have the right number of keywords and right content which is commonly surfed by patients.
When creating a website for your medical practice, bear in mind that it defines you as a physician and as a human being. So keep it simple and clear. Do not give out long unwanted details. Remember the purpose of the website is not to show off, but to be informative and engaging to the patient as well as to project your ability. A resourceful, original and creative website is a sign of elegance and adds value to the name of the doctor.
Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD
1. Finch T. Marketing your medical practice with an effective web presence. J Med Pract Manage. 2004 Nov-Dec;20(3):143-7.