Medical Website Design Tips - Top 10 Mistakes
Medical website design is complex and rapidly evolving. What do you want your website to do? Your website’s ultimate goal should be to attract more patients and keep the ones you already have. It is inbound marketing strategy designed to establish your credibility and experience as well as promote your practice. An outdated or poorly designed website could actually turn away potential patients. Here are some tips to avoid in medical website design:
1. Experience Counts - Do Not Use Amateur Designers
Web design requires years of expertise. Do not be tempted to try the “do it yourself” or a friend who “tinkers” with website design. Only an experienced website designer is qualified enough to design and maintain a professional website that gives your practice a meaningful Internet marketing presence. The amateur or template route is not best because crucial elements could get lost. Your website could end up with broken links, misspelled text, or small, illegible pictures – all of which can reflect poorly on your practice.
2. Stand Out - Do Not Use Predesigned Website Templates
Templates are not search engines friendly and can make your website too common and difficult to customize or expand. Always go custom! Templates are too cookie-cutter and do not showcase your practice’s brand or allow your website to grow properly. Templates end up looking cheap and unprofessional, which is not the image you want your practice to portray. While templates are cost-savers, a professionally designed website can pay for itself many times over. Your practice and services are too unique to be forced into an assembly line website solution.
3. Do Not Overlook Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Overlooking SEO is costly and can make your practice obscure. Web browsing is one of the most common ways for visitors to find your website so it’s important to use organic search engine optimization techniques to increase your page rank and make your website more visible to search engine users. SEO techniques are crucial and can dramatically increase your site traffic.
4. Do Not Overuse Flash Animation
Flash introductions are huge turn-offs to patients who want information fast! Interactive Java scripts are more user- and search engine -friendly. It takes a lot of time for flash to load on certain computer, which can really turn off your visitors. Most importantly, search engines do not “read” the “text” in flash, so it’s useless for SEO purposes and will not allow that particular page to get ranked.
5. Do Not Create Website Copy AFTER The Website Design
In website design, the content determines the layout of the website. Its better to provide the copy before the design because it results in a better, more individualized design. Otherwise, the designer will be forced to use a generic template and use irrelevant filler text. After the fact, both the designer and the client will struggle to fit the content into the approved design. Always remember that the copy determines appropriate design needs.
6. Do Not Create Non-Scannable Text
Create medical copy with headlines, subheadings, bulleted lists, highlighted keywords and short paragraphs. Visual “stop signs” make visitors stop, read and stay. A wall of text can turn away potential patients. Remember, this is the Internet, not print. Typical site visitors are not patient enough to search for what they need. By using the “stop signs” and avoiding large blocks of text, the reader can filter what he is looking for.
7. Do Not Overuse Stock Photos
Medical photographs are vital in web design. A professional photographer can make your website distinctive. Stock photos are in abundance online, but remember, everybody else is using them too. Your images are the most prominent elements of your website. They should convey a professional first impression.
8. Do Not Forget A “Call To Action”
Incite visitors to contact you! Provide ample communication opportunities with “Contact Us”, “Make an Appointment” and “Call for Consultation” links. If your visitors don’t know what to do within seconds of landing on your site, they may just click the back button and go to your competition’s site. Don't expect visitors to figure it out themselves. Use statements like "Click Here To Continue" or "Call Now". Design every page of your medical website so that visitors do not have to think about acting because it’s infinitely easier to click back than to try to figure out what to do on a website.
9. Do Not Hide Your Contact Information
This information should be front and center, and on every page. Don't make your contact information a mystery and don’t make your visitors hunt for a way to contact your. Your contact information should be in large, easy to read font in every instance. And don’t just rely on online contact forms. Just because your website is online doesn't mean your patient only wants to contact you virtually. Some people actually still prefer telephone communication!
10. Do Not Forget Your Contact Form And Keep It Simple
Provide visitors with a simple contact form with a few basic fields. Don’t make patients work too hard to contact you. Your contact form is what your prospective patients will use to get in touch with you. Contact form design can be elaborate but it’s better if it’s simple and matches the style of your site. Be sure that the form is seamlessly integrated, visually and textually, with everything else on your site.