With 16 years of experience of building many a healthcare website, design in favour of the user is a factor that many ignore. Your website should not be written to impress your colleagues but to inform and endear yourself to future patients/clients. These points below are those that are vital for any functioning website, remembering that a website needs to evolve and to be accessible. It should never written and then forgotten expecting Google to work some magic to get you found. Your website should be a conduit between yourself and others and therefore it needs to work for you, literally, and to be looked after regularly.
1. Always have a responsive design for a healthcare website
In August 2022, over 53% of all users accessed websites using their mobile phone. Now more than ever, it is important that all websites are responsive, looking good on mobile as well as on a desktop (or laptop). A responsive website adapts the text and content to suit the screen so hopefully, you should be reading this easily as my website is a responsive design. I cleared it up so that it is a simpler interface and so that there are easier mechanisms for people to contact me compared to the older cluttered design
There are some interesting data surrounding the look of a website. Increasingly, around 85% of users expect a website to look excellent on their mobile device and 94% say that they trust a website that looks good.
I have found all my website themes, that come readily responsive, in themeforest.com. It is an excellent resource for any website creator as there is also support that comes with the themes along with demo websites so that you can see, very quickly, how a website can look. All that is required then is to change it to suit your needs. This reduces the time to completion dramatically.
2. Ensure that your website loads quickly
I’m not sure about you but if I find a website that doesn’t load within a couple of seconds, I move on and find another. This movement is referred to as the bounce rate. The probability of bounce occurring increases by 32% as the page load time slows from 1 second to 3 seconds.
Or putting it another way, for every 500 millisecond (ms) delay in speed, your site will experience a 20% traffic loss whereas a 100 ms delay leads to only a 1% speed loss.
There are various ways that you can speed up the “load” time of your site using Google. For example, Page Speed Insights is very informative and lets you know where your website needs speeding up and how to do it. Also, by using plugins such as w3cache (for those sites built on wordpress) can make a big improvement and they come with a premium service to make speeding up your site much simpler.
Hosting helps enormously. I have always used Siteground as their uptime is 99.9% and their servers enable fast loading times. They have an easy to transfer hosting service plus they are geared towards wordpress. Having tried many other hosting sites before, I have had no difficulties with them.
Additionally, you could go straight to a CDN company such as Bunny. These work by adding caches of your sites around the world on regionally distributed servers so that users get a very quick image of your website whilst the rest of it loads behind the image. One of the most quickest methods I have used on a healthcare website was the combination of plugins (such as the W3cache plugin) plus a CDN network.
3. A healthcare website needs a clean and uncluttered look
A good healthcare website design should be easy to work around. Simple to read text makes the site much easier to scan as this is what 79% of people do whereas only 16% read every word. Text split up with many headings highlighting what the article is trying to convey will enable the skim readers to access what they need quickly.
Clear text and a simple design also makes the information more accessible. A minimalist look is certainly one that I would always advocate, as I feel that it gives a timeless quality where the design of the website does not seem to age. One such theme is Avada
4. Ensure that the website is user orientated
Ideally, a website page provides all the information that a visitor needs – it becomes the end of the journey for them as they finally find the solution to their problem. But more than this, once on a page, the user needs to be able to scroll through the page and find additional information quickly.
There is software that can identify how this journey is evolving for the user. Crazyegg and hotjar are two highly reputable heat map software programmes that enable you, as the owner of a page, to see exactly how a user interacts with a page…where a user clicks and what interests them the most. Having obtained that valuable intel, adjustments can be made to ensure that the users experience matches their expectations.
Google analytics provides a different picture and can follow the flow of a user through your website which in itself is educational but it doesn’t show the detail that the heat map software can.
5. Client testimonials
These should really have come first in my list as I think they are so important. However, as this article as about healthcare website building, please ensure that you corporate genuine testimonials in many places throughout the site. Be incorporating them into pages, it helps visitors realise that you, the website owner, can really what what your website is advocating.
Testimonials are worth their weight in gold except the ones that are given when there has been no real experience! I am a much greater fan of obtaining feedback when the user really has something to talk about. For many years I used Feefo as I felt that their ability to tailor messages to people after receipt of goods and services was easier than their rival feedback companies. Feefo also have the Platinum award which provides extras kudos for companies that are successful as it is only given if a high percentage of feedback sought, is given. All that is required is to receive a high level of responses to feedback requests. If your service is good, then there should be no problem at all.
Additionally, Google reviews are also invaluable as they show up as stars on Google listings. Feefo replies do too but a certain threshold is required before they can be seen.
6. Easy to find contact information
This goes without saying that anyone should be able to contact you easily through a webpage. There should be no insistence on your part that they jump through a series of hoops in order to send you an email or ring you.
I aim to have a large obvious area on every page where someone can make contact. This is not a sign-up for emails but just so they can contact you. If its easy to make that contact and then you respond as quickly as possible, you will find that most of your email replies start with “thank you for replying so promptly”. You are then in a winning situation with your potential client.
It is not rocket science to understand that communication is key. If you fail to provide the information that is needed and quickly, your potential client will go elsewhere.
7. Provide a booking system
There are many booking systems available but the one that won, hands down over many others, was Acuity. To find this out, I used another for many years. This was clunky and difficult and looked old fashioned but at the time, it was the only one that did most of what I wanted to incorporate.
A few years passed and I then had a client who wanted specific things from the booking system including the ability to pay a deposit. Off I went and tested several for a month, all at the same time and Acuity was the winner. it was flexible, enabling several clinics to be run by different people. Acuity not only managed this but also was a dream to use and had a clean, modern interface.
I had many comments from patients saying that it was so much easier with the new booking system and the fact that so many people then booked via this system rather than ringing up to book, only proved that the booking system really had been successful.
If you do not have a booking system on your website, I strongly advise you to work out how you can add one. Having online booking for procedures on set days was a game changer for the clinics that implemented them.
8. Provide simple explanations
The average reading age in the UK is 9, together with less focus than ever before, it is important that the page is straightforward to read, explaining information simply. Amazon are the Masters in this. Amazon are constantly split testing their pages to ensure that navigation is a simple as possible and that the user can move around the website easily. If you need to sell items via your website, then Shopify is a very straightforward, professional system and makes the purchase process simple, quick and easy.
9. An easy follow up system
In general marketing, the fortune is made in following up prospects. In the medical and healthcare world, this is not always easy to do. It would not be ethical to persuade or push people into making a decision.
However, it is possible to keep people informed though and there are carious email systems that you can choose to do this. One example is Convert Kit, a very straightforward email system where you can collate the emails of people who have made enquiries so that they can all receive an email at the same time, taking minutes, not hours.
By contacting them and keeping them informed, you may well prompt questions from them which could lead to bookings. Those individuals reading the emails will gather more information over time and make a more informed decision.
10. Human kindness is pivotal in a healthcare website
Wherever possible I write websites from the perspective of the user not the giver. Having many years of nursing / medical research / public health / epidemiology experience and then 16 years of running a private practice, patients need to know that they are being spoken to kindly and listened to so the information they read needs to relate to them not to other doctors or healthcare practitioners.
Answer their questions directly, simply and kindly. Illustrate what you are trying to say and more importantly, reassure them with kindness and expertise and your practice will grow.
If you feel that I can help guide you or create for you a website to meet the needs of your potential patients, then please contact me today to start the conversation.0 healthcarehealthcare website