This is one of the most difficult subjects, but it needs to be written about. It is a major topic of conversation with most practice owners I meet with these days. Most have a website but most of them are semi-useless (the website, not the doctor!).
A website properly made is just one piece of the digital puzzle, albeit an important part, because it is kind of the foundation or jumping off spot for everything else digitally speaking.
4 Parts to Making an Ideal Website:
You need to find the correct resources to give you the best website possible:
- First there is the programmer who “makes” the website. They are greatly assisted nowadays by a huge panorama of pre-designed, inexpensive website templates. These templates do limit you to some degree in making different sections of the website the way you want them to be. However, it’s way cheaper and quicker to use a template than to pay for programming time for the same thing. Your website company can show you a bunch of choices. The programmer can then make alterations to the one you choose so it is doing what you want.
- Then you have a designer who helps you pick styling and colours and placement of various parts and boxes and videos and things that will attract attention. Some designers get way too into cutsey things and pop-ups and so on and distract the person who is looking at the site. Especially annoying are those pop-ups boxes that suddenly show up and get in the way of what you are looking at until you click the “x” to get rid of it. Google does not like those and sites using them are being downgraded in searches.
- Then you have the content person – the one who will help you figure out how to best say your messages to the potential patients or clients to engage their interest and get them into the practice. This person must be very familiar with your profession or they miss the mark on what would attract a potential client or patient. You need to be very involved in this part of the process because this is YOUR communication to YOUR potential patients.
- Once you have the website put together, you then need to get this site connected to the digital world and maintain those connections. This is called Search Engine Optimization … or how to get found by people who don’t even know that you exist and are looking for the help you have to offer. There are hundreds of ways to do this but there are the stand-out ones that “everyone knows” are the most important: Facebook Page for the office and lots of fun and informative things on it, Google Reviews, Google+, Google AdWords, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. You may have staff that know how to do all these things and if not, and you don’t have anyone knowledgeable and reliable in your life who does, then you may have to hire a company to do this for you. Don’t go crazy and spend your whole monthly marketing budget on this however. There are inexpensive places to get this done.
For one thing, details on your existing website may need to be changed from time to time – such as staff photos of staff who are no longer there. Blogs need to be written so patients or clients go to your website for latest information.
Last but not least, renew your website from time to time. You should probably remake it at least every 5 years to keep current with technology, appearance and function. We just updated our own website (www.amican.com). It can be a long, hard (but very vital) process to go through but it will increase your number of new patients if you have one and are well connected in the digital world.
Be brave – get it done!