Every so often I take a tour of local medical websites to see what folks are up to. My recent walk across the medical web turned up three mistakes that I see over and over. Today I’m sharing them with you so you can either avoid them or correct them.
The Practice with No Humans
These medical websites have almost no pictures. The pictures they do have show no human beings, just images of waiting rooms and exam rooms that appear very tidy, but a little lonely. In fact, you could imagine them as a setting for a horror movie where the protagonist gets locked in a medical building all alone.
First, images are important. Humans absorb visual information most easily. In fact, we can identify images we’ve seen for as little as 13 milliseconds! This makes the images we use on our websites powerful.
Second, we want to see people in images. Real people, not stock photo people if possible. Don’t just show your lovely waiting room. Show at-ease patients interacting with one of your smiling staff members in your lovely waiting room. Make sure you have good pictures of your providers on your about pages. Use images well and humanize the experience patients will have when they come to your office.
Third, size your images properly. Images that are too big can slow down your website. But images that are too small or disproportionate get cropped in strange ways. They can be blurry and detract from your website.
Note: if you use stock images, be sure you stay on the right side of copyright law. Using copyrighted images can be an expensive mistake!
Not Mobile Responsive
The second mistake on medical websites is probably the most common mistake I see. The website isn’t mobile responsive.
People aren’t sitting at home at their desk when they look for medical information any more. They are waiting in carpool lines, grabbing a quick lunch, or even relaxing on the beach. This means they are using a variety of devices – phones, tablets, laptops and desktops – in a variety of sizes.
If you are on your phone and come across a website that displays as a miniaturized version of its desktop self, you don’t have a lot of choice except to move on to the next site. Reading such a tiny website is next to impossible, even for folks with the keenest eyesight.
But for some reason, medical websites are often the worst offenders in this area. This is asking for trouble, because 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone. Further Google wants your site to be mobile-responsive.
The bottom line is if you want your practice website to start ranking higher in search engine results, make it mobile-responsive. And if you want readers to stay on your site when they get there, make it mobile-responsive.
Menus Scattered About the Page
This is a problem I see over and over on medical websites, and it is far more common there than in any other industry.
Too often, the main menu can be found at the top of the website and it has a few key navigation buttons on it. But not all of them. So somewhere down the page is a different menu with a link to the patient portal and another link to patient forms. Then somewhere else on the page is a button to click to schedule an appointment.
If I am using your website, I’m going to look at the menu at the top of the page for the important things I want to find. Your main menu should show me where to go to learn about your practitioners, to schedule an appointment, or to download forms. If I don’t see one of those items on the main menu, I’m probably not going to go searching for them. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
If you want to dig a little deeper into common mistakes made with website navigation, Kissmetrics offers some insight into these mistakes and how to avoid them.
The great news is that it doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive to build a great medical website. It just needs to be strategic. If you’d like us to take a look at your site and let you know how you can improve it, we’d love to do that for you. Just get in touch.
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Photo Credit: © celiafoto/Dollar Photo Club