How’s your website? Does it help grow your practice or chase visitors away? There’s nothing worse than a cluttered, clunky web site to drive away prospective patients visiting the site. Did you know that over 40% of visitors to an average website are new to that site? It is critical to have a well-designed website that entices visitors to look around the site. How can you make your site enticing? There is a lot that goes into a well-designed website, but there are a few key elements of a well-designed website that are consistent among all websites that web-savvy internet users expect to see. Here are a few suggestions for improving 10 key aspects of your Web site.
1. Navigation – Put some real thought into site layout, so patients can navigate it easily. Make sure all important sections are prominently listed. Graphical navigation sections on the home page (no more than three) should entice visitors to look around the website. The top navigation bar should have no more than six topics. Use drop-down or cascading menus to offer more navigation options without making the top navigation bar too crowded
2. Home Page – Visitors to the site should be able to tell immediately from your banner graphic what your site is about (i.e. services, brand/practice image, etc.). Any call to action, such as “Sign Up For Newsletter”, should be visually prominent on the page. Be sure to have a “contact us” tab that allows visitors to send a message or to ask questions. It is a must to have a place for visitors/patients to schedule (or request a scheduled time) an appointment. Having short video of the practice/doctor is a great idea and will create a “visual bond” for new visitors.
3. Content (Elevator Speech)–Most websites have too much text on the home page. There should be a section on the homepage that briefly explains (about one short paragraph) what your practice does (i.e. exam, eyeglasses, etc.) and what you stand for (image, fashion, family oriented, etc.). Put the details about your practice “inside” of the website on other pages. Don’t put too much content on any one page, as internet readers don’t like to scroll down.
4. Refresh content – Changing content draws website visitors back. So add information about new frames or equipment that the practice adds. One easy way to renew your content without a lot of code changes is by starting a blog.
5. Think SEO – Always bear search engine optimization (SEO) in mind as you design the website. Photos and splashy graphics may look nice, but likely won’t be identified by search engines unless your webmaster puts some special code on each photo/graphic (called “Alt” tags). Work with your webmaster to use “keywords” that visitors are likely to search on to find your website.
6. Colors – Use complementary colors that make the website text easily readable. Clashing colors such as red text on a blue background make text too hard to read and will turn off visitors. This is why it is a good reason to get professional help in designing and building a website. They know what the design trends are and how to select colors that enhance the website, not detract.
7. External links – Links that take visitors away from your site should always load in a new tab/window. Make sure your site stays in front of the visitor, even as you provide them with additional resources.
8. Map/Directions – One of the main reasons people visit a website is to get directions. Just imagine how many phone calls from patients asking for directions this could save. A well-designed website will not only include the street address, but will have a map that allows the user to put in their home address and get directions. Your webmaster should have no problems including this feature on your website and it is free from Google.
9. Social Media – You work hard to get patients to your social media sites. Why not make it easy for visitors to your website to connect with you on your social media sites. To accomplish this, have social media icons that link to your Facebook page, Twitter, etc. prominently located on all pages of your website. You can even get a widget that will show live Twitter and Facebook posts on your website.
10. Keep mobile website visitors in mind – Did you know that approximately 40% of all visitors to the average website do so from a mobile device? Look at your website on a smartphone. Is it easy to read and does it resize automatically for the type of mobile device? Your webmaster should design your site to be easily usable on any platform; otherwise a large percentage of visitors will get frustrated and leave.
Follow these few simple rules when designing (or having a website built for you) and visitors will have a pleasant experience and want to learn more about your practice.
We also highly recommend that you watch a short video on “What Makes a Good Optical Website” by clicking here.
Bob Main is an optical industry veteran, with over 35 years of experience in the eye care industry with the last ten years specifically focused on the internet and social media. Bob is the Head Coach and Founder of ECPWebCoach.com ; an education company that teaches ECPs how to use the internet and social media to grow their practice. Bob can be reached at bobmain@ECPWebCoach.com