It’s easy to make serious marketing mistakes when designing a health center website.

Many practitioners and health professionals seek to project their desire for growth and development by focusing on having an aesthetically pleasing site or by trying to look bigger than they are.

Having a good image is very important. But this should not stop you from being attentive to the things that patients require from your site. The mistake is to look inwards too much and be overly concerned with image projection, rather than looking outwards and thinking about your relationship with your patients.

Patients are increasingly demanding users in a free market. Here are essential features of a medical website that will make a difference to the results that you obtain.

Build for usability

If your online services are not being used, it is never the fault of the patient. Even with the best technology, creating a product that meets the needs of users is a daunting task: often the way in which a product or service has been designed does not match the way you would use that product or service yourself.

Many services for patients are hidden behind barriers or force patients to go through a long sequences of operations just to log in. When a patient portal is incorporated as part of the website, patients not only find the site easier to use, but the use of the website and the portal become a unified experience.

Offer interactive functionality

Every wise marketing strategist can distinguish between two questions: “What can I do for my website?” and “What does my website do for my patients?”

It is the latter question which is the most important. It encourages the involvement of patients, building respect for your brand and helping you to achieve your goals in terms of traffic and service access.

The two most popular interactive features that patients use are the possibility to book and cancel appointments online. It’s particularly valuable to make these features available on mobile phones.

To draw users to your most popular features, use what are known as “calls to action”, for example “Book an appointment”.

These typically stand out from other content by the use of color, spacing or size.

Transparency

Ratings by other users are one of the most popular features of the internet, and this tendency has spread to the medical profession, via social sites such as Yelp.

Even if ratings are based on subjective experiences, are full of flaws and potential sources of abuse, they are what patients are looking for.  Studies suggest patients will prefer a doctor with lots of ratings and a 3.5 star review to a doctor with no ratings at all.

Consider creating a discussion on your clinic website where it is possible for patients to write reviews on the experience received or where you can comment on the reviews of others and discuss. It will not only improve the visibility of the clinic’s brand, it will also help to increase the “conversion rate”: the percentage of website visitors who go on to book an appointment.

Reminders

Send texts and emails to remind about appointments, to invite the scheduling of new visits and to help patient follow a health action plan (taking pills, undergoing exercises). This will help you construct a personalized care pathway.

A solution that links patient engagement to your website will not only allow your clinic to increase its visibility. It will also shows you are evolving with the times, and this will generate loyalty and increase the frequency of interactions between patients and your establishment.

Make it mobile

Nearly half of  traffic that arrives on your website comes from mobile devices, and this trend is on the increase. Forcing patients to tighten or resize their screens and make them wait for more than a few seconds for the page to load or ask them to squint to decipher a phone number, are all mistakes that can be avoided with what is known as “responsive” design.

Web sites that are designed to be responsive look impeccable in browser-based desktop, but also have another advantage. They re-organize themselves automatically and give the impression of having been designed for smartphones when viewed on mobile devices.

In addition, Google has started to penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly, dropping them in search engine results. So it’s strongly recommended to adapt your site to this trend.

Conclusion

The construction of your clinic or health center website will be a valuable step in consolidating your success, so long as you give patients what they want: ease of use, interactivity and transparency.