7 Elements of a Medical Website Users Love to Visit

What are the elements of a successful website for a medical practitioner? 

That’s a good question with a complicated answer. There are tons of factors, including a lot of stuff that’s “under the hood,” so to speak. On-page SEO. Accurate and complete local search listings. Promotion via social media and e-mail marketing. 

But today, there’s one thing in particular we want to focus on: user experience. 

In short, how do you build a medical website that both your existing and potential future patients are going to love? 

Here are 7 key elements: 

01

A Clean, Eye-Catching Design

First impressions are huge. And when someone new visits your site, 19 times out of 20 their first impression is going to be about the visuals. 

A design that incorporates bold colors, interesting images, and generous spacing is going to inspire interest and invite users to explore. 

A design that’s dull, text-heavy, busy, and just plain boring? Patients are going to shut off their brains. 

Just make sure all that visual flair doesn’t slow your website down—long load times are arguably even worse than bad design.

02

Clear and Simple Navigation

Visitors to your website could have one of many different goals. For example. 

  • They’re looking to schedule an appointment, in which case they’ll need easy access to a phone number, address, and/or contact form. Don’t make them hunt for it!
  • They’re trying to research their condition and treatment options, which means a clearly organized information library (that isn’t too massive and unwieldy) will be a big help.  
  • They want to look up specific doctors at your practice, including information on their education, credentials, and specialties. 
  • They need to pay a bill, request a prescription refill, view their health records, etc. 

Regardless of what brought them to your site and what their goals are, it should be immediately clear to any visitor how to get the information they need—and they should be able to get there with a minimum number of clicks and limited scrolling. 

You can do this in any number of ways. First and foremost is a clear and well-organized menu system. But call-out boxes, buttons, panels, and other calls to action can be used throughout the page (as long as they aren’t cluttered or distracting) to assist with navigation. 

03

A Patient Portal

The more a patient can accomplish directly from your website, the better. 

It’s a different world than it was even just a few years ago! In 2018, more and more patients simply find it easier to do things like schedule appointments, pay bills, or access records online. 

But more than that, many of today’s patients (especially the more tech-savvy among them) now expect to have certain services available online, and get frustrated when they discover they have to actually—gasp!—make a phone call to achieve something they feel they should be able to handle themselves. 

An online patient portal (ideally integrated with your EMR system) that allows existing patients to access their medical information, schedule, request refills, pay bills, etc. is a major perk. In the not too distant future, it’s probably going to be mandatory for practices looking to stay in business. 

One quick side notein addition to the confidential information in the portal (which should always be locked behind HIPAA-compliant security), we also recommend you provide a public resource page for potential new patients. This can include information such as:

  • New patient intake forms and other paperwork—saves time at the front desk. Fillable PDF forms work best here. 
  • List of important documents they’ll need to bring with them to their appointment. 
  • Payment information and policies, including a list of insurance providers you accept.

04

Solid Performance on Mobile

Fast fact: it’s a solid bet that roughly half of your web visitors are viewing your site on a mobile device. Maybe even more! 

If your website looks and works great on desktop but is ugly, difficult to use, or even outright broken on mobile, that’s half your potential new patients getting an awful web experience.  

And that’s a powerful disincentive. For the most part, if your site is difficult to work with on mobile, visitors aren’t going to fight it—and they aren’t going to switch to a desktop, either. They’re just going to quit your site entirely, and look for one that looks and operates better on their current device. 

Plus, Google cares about mobile performance in its algorithm. It’ll notice that users are struggling with your site on mobile devices and punish you in search rankings accordingly. 

The bottom line: if your site doesn’t work on phones, you’re going to be losing new patients to competitors who have optimized their sites for mobile.

05

An Information Library

For some people, it might be enough to say, “I’m a podiatrist near you.” 

But let’s be honest—most patients are going to want to know more. They’re going to want to know, specifically, what you offer and how you can help them. They’re going to want to find out as much as they can about their condition before the appointment. 

Without that library there, a patient may not even realize you can help them with their problem.

Remember, your goal is not to simply copy the information that users can already find on WebMD or the Mayo Clinic website. You will need to duplicate some of the basics, of course. But the information should be tailored to reflect the specific treatment options available in your practice. And—this is critical—it should also be benefit focused rather than feature focused. 

For example, if you offer laser therapy for pain, don’t lead off with dry, technical language about wavelengths, vascularization, and particle loads. You can include that information further down the page for those that are interested, but the spotlight should be on benefits for the patient: 

  • Relief from pain 
  • Dramatically reduced recovery time 
  • Ability to return to activities sooner 
  • Potential to avoid surgery 

You can and should take this same sort of approach with webpages for any service you provide or condition you treat.

06

An “About Us” Page

On most podiatry websites, the “about us” page (as well as individual doctor pages) are very frequently among the most visited after the homepage itself. 

Why? 

Patients care! They want to know who you are and what you do. Are you someone they can trust with their medical care? 

The about and doctor pages are not just an opportunity to list your education and credentials. It’s also important to inject a little personality. Yeah, the fact that you’ve been in practice for 30 years is great, but what do you value? 

The about page is a chance for you to connect with visitors on a more emotional, relationship-focused level. That means you need to talk a little bit about things like: 

  • Why are you in practice? What do you like most about it? 
  • What is your mission? 
  • What makes you different from your competitors? What is unique about your practice? 

Just remember to keep it simple. You don’t need your whole life story; just a couple of succinct paragraphs about who you are and why patients should choose you. 

07

A Blog

Visitors love a great blog! 

Your blog can accomplish many significant goals for your website: 

  • It gives you a chance to show off your personality more and build relationships with your patients on a deeper level. 
  • You can explore trending topics or new treatments in greater depth and with more style. 
  • You can focus on local events, regional highlights, and other fun topics that might not be directly promoting a specific service, but do offer a lot of interest and value to your patients. 
  • Blogs often make great sharable content on your social media platforms. Make sure you include at least one catchy image or video on both the blog and the social post—graphical elements generate a lot more clicks and engagement. 
  • Regularly posting high quality blogs will improve your search rankings on Google, both in general as well as for the specific topics and keywords you blog about.

How many of these items does your practice website include? What are your greatest challenges?

If you’d like your website geared toward higher traffic and better user experience, give the team at VMD Services a call. We build stunning medical websites from scratch, and also partner with practices to provide continual digital marketing support for the long term.  

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