2016 is here and if you have not updated your eyecare website in the last year.. you might think about it for 2016. We asked several Webmasters what they thought is most important for websites in 2016. Everyone agrees that mobile friendly is #1 priority in website development.
Dan Feldman of dba designs & communications an optical design and marketing firm specializing in eye care practices has this to say: The website is dead….long live the website. Every year we hear about how the website is dead and something else is replacing it. The website is not dead yet Skippy…and won’t be anytime soon. Sure, you can port your URL to your social media network, but even the most powerful social media behemoth, Facebook, at best, has 75% of online users as members. While that is a mighty impressive number, that still leaves 25% of online users without a Facebook account. So, realizing we all need a website, here are the key ingredients every ECP should concentrate on for their website in 2016.
Mobile is here. Last year mobile accounted for 52.7% of all web traffic. That number is expected to jump to over 63% within the next year. If your website is not mobile friendly, not only is Google putting you beneath the sites that are in search, but your current and potential new customers will be moving on to websites that are. Responsive design incorporates back-end programming that automatically resizes websites for each device, so your website will look good and work well on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, without different sites for each.
- User Centered Design
This is probably the part of website design we fight with ECP’s the most about. You know the old expression about seeing the forest for the trees. The same thing goes here. Don’t assume your patients and customers understand your practice as well as you do. Don’t use insider industry terms that are meaningful to your peers at Vision Expo and meaningless to the general public. Your customers don’t really know the difference between an Optometrist and an Optician. Your website should be designed the way your customer thinks not the way you do.
- Visual Design
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we don’t read like we use to. We scan. Again an old saying comes to the rescue. A picture is worth a thousand words. If your website is text heavy, you are losing customers and patients. Use compelling images to attract people to your site and the pages within. Many manufacturers spend lots of money taking great shots of their product. Ask them to share with you. Optimize your images for the web as well, so they load fast. Nothing worse than waiting for a huge image to load, especially when I am paying per Mb on my phone.
Daniel Rostenne of Eye Care Pro adds, if your website is outdated it says a lot to visitors about your practice. Alternately, a modern, up-to-date website with advanced features, creates an impression that your practice is advanced and progressive when it comes to medical practice and eyewear as well.
- Another good point.. is load time, nobody wants to wait anymore. He says that Load Time should not be over 1.5 seconds: If your site is on old technology, then it probably surpasses the ideal load times, and that’s bad for business. Visitors prefer sites that load faster, and so does Google. In fact, Google experiments show that a difference of a few milliseconds in slower load time can have a negative effect on user experience. On the other hand, faster web technology provides a better experience for visitors and gets your site preference in the search results.
Kip Ives has other input:
- Look at site like WordPress and Joomla. This enable owners to do minor edits on their websites without spending a ton of money on a webmaster and without knowing coding like html/php etc. Plus, there are many free and paid plugin/widgets that can add valuable functions to one website. Forms, Slideshows, quizzes, chats/blogs etc all help improve the site ability to keep on top of technology.
- Social Media is a must. Even if he owner is not into Social Media like FB and Twitter, they should have an account at Lindedin to help expand their service or products. The ability of a website to be bookmarked at the touch of a key to another user helps generate traffic to ones business.
Taking all the above in mind, make a list of what needs to change on your site. Review other competitive and non-competitive sites and start the process of moving into 2017 (not a typo)