Asking yourself, “How do I create a medical practice website?” Or maybe you have one but it’s past time to give it the attention it deserves. According to Tebra’s 4th Annual Patient Perspectives Report, 77% of patients often or sometimes search online for doctors. Not having an up-to-date website means missing out on potential patients or even alienating existing ones — including the 68% of patients who would switch doctors for options like the ability to book or pay online.
Your website is an important marketing tool that can be key to attracting and keeping patients. Whether you’re starting from scratch or going for a refresh, take a look at these 11 medical practice website must-haves.
Implement SEO basics
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that make it easier for patients to find you online, where most of them are now searching for healthcare providers. SEO is a complex beast that’s constantly changing. It includes everything from the words you’re using to how complicated your website’s code is, but there are a few basics to get you started.
1. Clear and descriptive titles
Each page of your website needs a descriptive title for better search results. In SEO, this is called a title tag.
SEO software provider Moz suggests keeping your title under 60 characters to keep it from being chopped off in certain browsers.
2. Keyword-rich meta descriptions
Add meta descriptions to each page of your website so search engines will know how to index them. Add keywords and key phrases for which your patients might be searching. For example, a patient might be more likely to search “foot doctor” than “podiatrist,” so keep both in mind. Don’t forget to include local keywords like your neighborhood, city, and state.
Keywords are important for SEO, but they’re even more important for patients and prospects. Write short, readable meta descriptions that are enticing enough to get them to click.
3. Unique URLs with descriptive keywords
Each page has its own unique URL, from your contact page (yourwebsite.com/contact) to your blog post about the best footwear for fallen arches (yourwebsite.com/blog/best-footwear-fallen-arches).
When creating new pages, don’t use your website provider’s autogenerated URLs. Instead, create URLs with keywords that are easy for patients to remember and for bots to identify.
4. Technical SEO requirements
The technical side of SEO gets really complex really quickly, but to start, pay attention to these factors as you set up or redesign your practice website:
- Mobile responsiveness: About 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, according to a recent report, and Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile friendly. Make sure your website template or design works well for mobile users.
- Speed: The longer your page visitors have to wait for your page to load, the more likely they are to leave. Factors like your hosting provider, your website code, plugins, and videos can slow your site down. Tools like PageSpeed can help you identify specific issues to address.
Create compelling content
What’s on your website? It’s easy to throw up some cursory copy with your basic bios and a short description of your specialty, but to reach and connect with patients takes a little more dedication.
5. Service pages
Give each service some space to shine with its own dedicated page. Describe the service, your qualifications, and steps to getting started.
Social proof like reviews and testimonials go a long way to earning prospective patients’ trust. Of patients, 93% say reviews are at least somewhat important to their provider selection process, according to Tebra’s Patient Perspectives Report. Pick out the top reviews to feature across your site.
7. Welcoming pictures
A website isn’t complete without images. Skip the cold stock photos and invest in some quality photos of your office and staff. Include images like:
- Staff headshots
- The front of the building
- Your office waiting room
- Patient interactions
- Exam rooms
Show prospective patients what they’ll experience when they enter your office: a welcoming atmosphere and smiling staff.
8. Helpful blog posts
A great way to connect with your patients is to write blog posts that address common health concerns for your specialty. Answer frequently asked questions, share updates about your practice, and provide health tips relevant to your specialty and services. This can help you become a resource for patients and a better contender in the search rankings.
A website conversion is when a visitor takes a requested action. On a medical practice website, these actions include making an inquiry phone call or scheduling an appointment online.
9. Strong calls to action
Visitors browsing your website should never hit a dead end. Include calls to action (CTAs), like:
- Schedule an appointment
- Send a text
- Ask a question
- Leave a comment
- Write a review
These help website visitors turn into action-takers.
10. Contact page
Don’t forget to include a contact page with your office address, phone number, and email. You can even include easy ways to contact your office, like text messaging directly from your site.
11. Online appointment scheduling
According to Tebra’s Patient Perspectives Report, 39% of patients want easier ways to schedule appointments. Add the option to schedule appointments online directly from your website. Many patients, especially younger ones, prefer booking online over making a phone call. As a bonus, your office staff will spend less time on the phone and more time on meaningful tasks and engagement.