26 Dec Building an Online Presence Step1: Your Medical Clinic Website
Today when people have a problem what do they do? They Google it. Patients constantly seek health information and new doctors online. Having a medical clinic website is no longer just option for healthcare clinics if they want to grow their practice, it’s a necessity.
Build Your Medical Clinic Site
The first and most important step to building an online presence is hiring the right website developer. After all, they are the ones who will create the online face of your medical clinic.Don’t be afraid to shop around and take your time choosing.
Many industries have web designers who cater to those industries. They know what content and keywords attracts the most qualified visitors. A designer who has experience working with medical clinics about your size can offer more specific guidance than someone who mostly works with large scale manufacturing companies for example.
Be sure to look for a developer who offers a responsive design. Your website platform should respond to your visitors’ behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. If your visitor is on a mobile phone, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. In fact, Google recently released a mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. This algorithm gives a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. If patients search for medical clinics like yours on a mobile device, mobile friendly website will show first in the search results. Which means if your competitor’s site if mobile friendly and yours isn’t, your competitor will come up first.
Ask to see sites the developer has completed recently. Ask questions including how many design changes you’re allowed, is stock photography included in the cost, and what their expected timeline is. Choose a developer with sites you like and who is willing to listen to your ideas.
Find A Host
Once you have someone who will build your site, you’ll need someone to maintain your website. A website hosting service provider or web host provides the technology and services necessary for a webpage to be viewed on the Internet. Many hosting services like GoDaddy and HostGator offer the bare minimum of service which can make maintaining a site difficult for anyone without a fulltime IT staff. Often the website development company that builds your site will give you the option of hosting it with them. If so, that could be a better alternative than just leaving your site out there in the ether. If your website development company doesn’t offer hosting services, ask them for advice on which host to choose.
Choose A Domain Name
A domain name is what your patients will type into the internet browser to find your site. The internet incompasses billions of websites so your domain will need to be unique, relevant, and associated with your practice. If you need help, you can go to https://www.whois.com to see if your domain name idea is already taken. If your choice of a domain name is not available, try adding your state or town name to make it unique. We also recommend you create a “.com” domain. Websites with .org domains are typically nonprofits and .net domains have not gathered as much popularity as once expected.
Pick A Web Design
Not sure how you want your new website to look? Browse websites of other clinics. What features of those websites do you like? What features do you not like? Overall, your website should be easy for patients or prospective patients to navigate. It needs to be attractive and straightforward.
Also, think about your brand strategy. What colors will you use for your website? What fonts will you use? Using these same fonts and colors in your inbound marketing strategy will help increase the rate at which your patients remember your clinic’s name.
Be ADA Accessible
Health centers are considered places of “public accommodation” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability which means all individuals must have equal access to services provided by the health center, including your clinic’s website.
The frequency of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court has increased in the past few years. Many of these cases include website accessibility litigation. Health centers must practice due diligence in their compliance efforts. Health clinics can deploy preventive measures and risk mitigation strategies as part of its larger corporate compliance obligations to ensure website accessibility for people with disabilities.
Review these very helpful National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) resources here for more information on how to be ADA compliant.
Plan Your Content
Don’t overload your visitors with information by putting it all in one place. On your main page have basic information that could attract new patients. Add more pages to your site to educate visitors on the following:
- Services -On this page outline your procedures, diagnostic tests, and common ailments you treat. Highlight services that set you apart and those practice areas you would like to grow.
- Insurance– Save your visitors a phone call. List the insurance carriers you accept. Because insurance providers change regularly, it’s acceptable to include a disclaimer line to remind patients to confirm that your clinic still accepts their insurance before scheduling an appointment.
- Staff and providers– List relevant, educational, and career background information and accomplishments along with photos of your staff and providers. Provider and staff bios give prospective patients a peek into the environment of your clinic. Go ahead and invest in professional photos. You’ll be able to use them in much of your marketing going forward.
- Testimonials– If you decide to put testimonials on your website, have a HIPAA Release Form on file for every patient who allows you to post their picture or their testimony.
- Blog– When it comes to online marketing for medical clinics, ablog is a creative way to engage and educate patients. A blog will improve your website’s ranking in search engine results and establish you as the expert in your field.
Add Your Contact Information
Ensure your patients are able to find you by adding your basic address, phone number and email address to the top right hand corner of your website where most people expect to find it.
You can also add a Contact Us page dedicated to your contact information. There you can add a contact form for patients to request appointments. (Side note: If you add a contact form, be sure you have a system in place so someone from your clinic follows up on these requests in a timely manner. If you say you will contact patients within 24-48 hours, be sure a member of your staff calls your patients within 24-48 hours.)
Also consider adding other features like adding a Google Map of your location. Lastly, be sure to add your social media buttons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles so patients can share your page.
Keep Your Website Up to Date
Once your website is created, resist the urge to check it off the list and forget about it. Search engines penalize websites that haven’t been updated in several months. You’ll also want to ensure your links, plug-ins and other pieces and parts of your website continue to show up as they should. Checking out your website on a regular basis limits the ability of hackers to invade your website without you realizing it.
Launching your website takes time and can be tedious. Resist the urge to just let someone inside your office handle it for you. While your staff may do a great job managing the project, ensure you have access to the website by setting up a login using your email address, keep records of contact information for your website developer and host, and make sure all payments come from your company via check, card or bank draft.
We work with medical clinics to ensure they maintain an online presence that leads to growth in their business. If you need help setting up or maintaining your website give us a call at 662.869.8665. Your first consultation is always free.
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