Tag Archives: website
On April 21, 2015 Google expanded the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change, referred to by web developers as ‘Mobilegeddon’ or ‘Phonapocalypse’ affects mobile Internet searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on search results …
What this means to you and your practice is this: If your current website is not mobile-friendly, you can no longer be listed on the first page of Google search results. And you will no longer be exposed to tens of millions of consumers who search for healthcare information and healthcare providers on their smartphones and tablets.
Whether you are a doctor, dentist, veterinarian or physical therapist, your website should allow prospective patients to connect with you from any device. Your website is an extension of your practice. Not being visible on major search engines such as Google can have a huge impact on your practice growth and revenue.
Your Time to Get Mobile-Responsive is Now
Make sure your website automatically scales to fit any device that displays it. In web development terminology, you need a responsive website or a dedicated mobile version of your site.
By the time you read this, the deadline will have passed. But that does not mean it’s too late for you to make your practice website-responsive. You can still make any necessary changes to avoid being negatively impacted by this latest Google algorithm change. To find out whether your current healthcare website is mobile-friendly, simply go to the following link and plug in your domain name.
If you need help, talk to a healthcare marketing consultant at Practice Builders. Call 800.679.1200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to speak with a marketing consultant.
In response to the ongoing dramatic increase in the number of Americans who now do most of their web searching from mobile devices, Google announced last month that, starting on April 21, 2015, it is expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change, referred to by web developers as ‘Mobilegeddon,’ will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on search results …
What this means to you and your practice is this: If your current website is not mobile-friendly, you can no longer be listed on the first page of Google search results for the tens of millions of consumers who search for healthcare information and healthcare providers on their mobile devices.
“As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns,” said a Google spokesperson.
Whether you are a doctor, dentist, veterinarian or physical therapist, you want your website to allow your patients to connect with you from any device. You need your site to rank well so that new patients can find you and learn more about your capabilities and services. Your website is an extension of your practice. So if you are not being discovered on major search engines, it can have a huge impact on your practice growth and revenue.
You Only Have One Month to Get Mobile-Friendly
What exactly does it mean to be “mobile-friendly”? It means that your website automatically scales to fit on any device displaying it. Using web development terminology, it means you have a responsive website. Of course, mobile friendly also applies to a scaled-down mobile version of your website.
At this writing, you have one month to make sure your practice website is mobile-friendly and make any necessary changes to avoid being negatively impacted by this latest Google algorithm change. How do you know whether your current healthcare website is mobile friendly? Easy. Just plug your domain name into the following link and Google will tell you:https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/?utm_source=wmc-blog&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=mobile-friendly
If Google says your site is mobile-friendly, great! You need not concern yourself with the coming algorithm change. However, if Google identifies issues with your site, you will need to make changes if you want to maintain your search engine position after April 21, 2015.
Google’s report includes instructions for correcting the most commonly found issues and errors. Best practice is to send this report immediately to your web developer and ask them to resolve the issues for you. That way you’ll ensure the necessary changes are implemented before the algorithm update deadline.
Two Options for Creating a Mobile-Friendly Healthcare Website
You have two options for creating a mobile-friendly healthcare site. Many Practice Builders healthcare clients opt for mobile versions of their websites. The mobile version is separate from your existing website and seen only by users who access your site from mobile devices. Mobile websites typically cost less and contain much less content, but they allow you to tailor content specifically to the mobile user’s needs.
The second option is to have a mobile-responsive website. Mobile-responsive websites automatically scale to fit on any device. The web developer should configure your content for optimal display on each device patients might use. Responsive designs typically cost more but require less long-term maintenance and offer greater long-term benefits.
Google prefers and supports mobile-responsive websites over dedicated mobile websites because they make for a better user experience and are less prone to errors.
Just remember that time is running out. So check your site today and consider what you need to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Not doing so by April 21 may cause a dramatic decrease in Google search referral traffic to your medical, dental or veterinary practice website.
Talk to a healthcare marketing consultant at Practice Builders to discover how we can help you build and maintain your practice website and achieve your online marketing goals. Just call 800.679.1200 or email email@example.com and ask to speak with a marketing consultant.
If you wish to comment on this electronic newsletter’s content or subject matter, simply email the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are considering a new website for your healthcare practice or wondering if a new domain name would improve your traffic, there are ten questions you need to ask yourself about best practices in choosing healthcare domain names…
- Does the domain name contain any of your top keywords?
- Is your domain name unique?
- Does it have the .com version of this domain name?
- Is it easy to type and remember?
- Is the domain name short?
- Does the name reveal your specialty?
- Does the name avoid trademark infringement?
- Does it include your practice name?
- Does it avoid hyphens and numbers?
- Does it avoid trendy misspellings that may make it hard to remember?
If you have difficulty creating a domain name on your own, talk to a healthcare marketing consultant at Practice Builders. Just call 800.679.1200 or email email@example.com and ask to speak with a marketing consultant.
Your hospital website must be the center of a digital ecosystem—a place where prospective patients can find meaningful answers to their health needs.
As you learn more about consumer wants and needs, you have an opportunity to generate leads and use your brand site as an instrument for patient conversion.
According to a recent Klein & Partners study, the top three sources people tap for health-related information are:
Friends and family
What does that mean for your health care brand?
There are many strategies for building conversion-based hospital websites. Here are three principles that will help you to begin transforming your website into a true sales conduit:
1. Every page is a front door.
It’s likely that the person visiting your site is looking for solutions to her health care needs, not for your brand. That means your prospective patient could be 500 pages into your site. That’s why every page of your website should be treated like your home page.
Each point of contact must give your audience a clear indication of where she is on the site and how to learn more about your services. A clear path in helping someone navigate resources and information will encourage readers to choose your brand.
[RELATED: Get creative with digital signage, internal video and mobile apps. Register for the Digital Employee Communications conference in Las Vegas.]
2. Every page engages hearts and minds.
Health care is serious business, and the content on your site should speak to the audience you are trying to attract. Provide rich descriptions for your intended audience, as this will guide you in the tone and type of content you publish.
Having a patient-centered website shows that the people within your organization understand your audience and can speak to their hearts and minds. Engaging with your patients on a personal level drives conversion and assures people that you care.
3. Every page inspires actions.
Each page of your website should help prospective patients take the next step, whether it’s signing up for a seminar, opting in for an e-newsletter, booking an appointment or contacting your physician referral call center.
Your “sales cycle” may vary by service and may be months or years in the making. That’s why it’s important to offer multiple calls to action on each page. If your prospective patient isn’t ready to schedule a joint replacement surgery right now, she may be interested in attending a lecture from one of your orthopedic surgeons. Give your audience different ways to take the next step in becoming a patient. In traditional sales, we call this “lead nurturing.”
Use your website to cultivate relationships with qualified candidates, and the result will be a flurry of new patients.
Margaux Sprinkel is a digital content and marketing professional at FranklinStreet.com, where the original version of this post was published.
Now that 80 percent of American consumers are turning to the Internet for healthcare and provider information, it’s critically important for you to have a website that is both patient-friendly and informative. Patients want information they can trust and you are in a unique position to deliver it.
Your website should be easy to navigate and contain relevant information about the conditions you treat and the services or procedures you provide. From the consumers’ perspective, that kind of information is far more important and valuable than, say, your office’s billing and insurance practices.
Always present your information in plain language – the voice of the consumer – rather than clinical doctor-speak. Keep in mind that the average American consumer reads at a 7th- to 8th-grade level, so you are wise to avoid providing content that is over the patient’s head. The goal is to facilitate a clear understanding of the care you can deliver and the benefits that the patient can gain by coming to your practice.
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The way your website looks and functions has an important impact on conversion rates.
That’s true whether you work in a doctor’s office or sell medical equipment, but before you make some big change to your website’s functionality—and invest that money in a redesign—it’s worthwhile to test whether that change will even work. That’s where A/B testing comes in.
At its simplest, A/B testing is providing two versions of part of your website and monitoring which version works better. Website traffic will be sent to one version or the other. Once a statistically significant number of people have visited each version—and have interacted with the page you’re testing—you can draw a conclusion.
More complicated testing can factor in more variables—including more than two versions of a single change to a page—but if you’re just trying to see whether a red “buy now” button works better than a blue “buy now” button on your medical device product page, a simple A/B test might be right for you and your company.
Here’s how to run an A/B test:
Brainstorm . First ask: What are the different ways we can increase our conversion rate? Pore over your website and come up with a variety of ways to convey information, from the landing page to the contact form. Might patients want to see testimonials front and center, or are they looking for a big FAQ button? Do you need your “Find a Location” to be bigger?
Everything on your site can be optimized, so consider whether every website element is doing the job it should be. Don’t just look at the layout, either. Even the text you use can make a dramatic difference. As one website team learned, using the phrase “ it’s free” increased conversion by about 28 percent.
Choose an A/B testing tool. Once you’ve chosen a specific alteration you’d like to test, it’s time to set up the experiment. Before you can experiment, you need a tool. There are free basic tools, such as Google Content Experiments, and there are paid versions with more bells and whistles, such as Optimizely.
Choose the tool based on the test you’re running. For example, if you want to alter the look or functionality of a symptom checker, use a tool that offers more functionality than simple html changes. Once you get a higher conversion rate, you’ll make back the money you put toward this testing.
Implement the change, and keep testing. So, you’ve compared versions A and B, and B came out on top. Make version B live on your website, and then start on your next “experiment.” As long as you have ideas on how to improve your website, you should be doing more A/B testing. There’s always room for improvement, as the people at Coastal Life Systems Specialty Surgical Products learned after doing A/B testing. They found that the image rotation slider on the main page got more conversions than a static picture, so they made the appropriate change.
You can use A/B testing for more than just your website, too. You can test everything from the text you use in your Twitter feed to the copy you use in newsletters. For a newsletter, send one-quarter of your list a version with one subject line, then another quarter of your list a version with a different subject line. After seeing which one got more opens, send that one to the rest of your list.
You might be amazed at how much you could be leaving on the table by not continually improving your site. Start doing A/B testing today, and you’ll see your conversions start to increase.
Scott Huntington is a writer, blogger, and health enthusiast. Follow Scott on Twitter at @SMHuntington or check out his blog, blogspike.com
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There are several common things that people want when selecting a partner to build a hospital website.
Choosing a website partner can be nerve-racking for many in health care. After all, resources are precious, and you don’t get the chance to build a website from scratch every year.
As a firm that builds websites for hospitals, health systems, and providers, we feel an enormous responsibility on behalf of our clients to create sites that work to solve branding and business needs. At the same time, we’re also acutely aware of the responsibility on our client’s shoulders—not just during the building phase, but after the site launches. In our opinion, it’s only once the site launches that the real work begins.
Following are six common requests made to website developers when building a website, along with the often-hidden responsibility inherent in the request that the hospital or client must absorb.
“We want a fully functional CMS that even a novice can use.”
There are thousands of content management systems out there. Some have more user-friendly features than others. Finding the right tool for the job is important, but not as important as actually managing your content.
If you think of your new site as a repository for static brochure content and the CMS as a way to quickly edit typos, you are not taking advantage of the control a good CMS provides. Adding and updating your content should be an ongoing process using an editorial calendar.
If you are maximizing the benefits of your site to position your brand, content strategy and new content creation will warrant someone’s full-time attention.
“We want a complete analytics package.”
Data drive the Web, and in many cases we can collect information faster than we can process it. Focusing on which data you can turn into business decisions should be your focus.
Incorporating marketing automation and tying your site into your CRM gives you a high degree of control to track specific user behaviors. With this information you can develop targeted inbound marketing campaigns that cultivate prospects into patients.
Once your site launches, whose job will it be to analyze the data, create milestones, and advise whom to target and where? These are key decisions to make to take full advantage of analytics.
“We want responsive design.”
Responsive design has proven to be more than the next passing fad—and for good reason. Having your site work across different platforms is the only way to maintain an open channel to your audience no matter how they are viewing your site.
In order to create the best experience on different devices, it is sometimes necessary to serve up unique content depending on the user’s screen. Don’t underestimate the time it will take to create and upload alternative text and photography options.
For example, to make your photography look nice on a high-resolution iPad with retina display, you have to upload images that are twice as large as they will display on your desktop site. In many cases this means tracking down the originals from your old website.
Instead of digging through the archives, we suggest you consider this an opportunity to invest in new photography. Outdated images reflect poorly on your brand—especially if all your doctor’s headshots look like a driver’s license photo.
“We want the latest technology.”
Unfortunately the Internet changes faster than most of us can keep up. We all want the latest and greatest new features, but the data tell us that many of your users are still using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.
The health care audience in particular covers a spectrum of users; the more of them you want to communicate with, the more variables that come into play. “Graceful degradation,” the art of providing appropriate fallbacks for older browsers, is something you must account for.
We have found that many hospital employees can’t take advantage of all the new features on your website because many hospital-owned machines are running very old software that interfaces with archaic data systems or has extremely strict firewall settings.
Balancing the desired state (high-tech features) with current state (outdated computers) becomes your responsibility as you plan your next website.
“We want to feature the feeds of all of our social media channels and YouTube videos on our site.”
Using social media is a great way to keep fresh, relevant content in front of your audience. When social channels aren’t seen as part of your overall strategy, it can fragment your brand.
To successfully integrate social media feeds on your site, consider the following:
If you want Facebook and Twitter feeds running parallel on your site, avoid posting exactly the same content on both channels. If you frequently have to get the same message to both audiences, either stagger the content so it doesn’t appear redundant on your site or choose to display only one of the feeds.
When your posts are generic and only drive people to the home page of your site, having a feed on your home page has little value. Use your social channel to drive people to content below the surface so that they won’t have to dig for information. With clear navigation and an “every page is a home page” philosophy, your users should find themselves surrounded by other relevant content once your post entices them.
If the value of your social media channel is less about what you post and more about the community you have created, consider promoting your channel as its own entity rather than trying to blend it into your site.
“We want measurable ROI.”
Ultimately, you are helping to run a business and are responsible for making smart financial decisions. To build a website that generates ROI means thinking about the user’s engagement on the site—how many opportunities do you provide on each page for the user to: learn more, request information, make a phone call, opt-in for future communications, or make an appointment?
Consider how many opportunities you give to prospective patients to become patients right from your website. Doing so will lead you down the path of ROI.
There’s another perspective to the ROI discussion. No matter how much time and money your spend launching your new website, it will never be fully self-sufficient. A website is simply a vehicle for your marketing efforts. If you don’t dedicate the proper resources, you won’t see a maximum return.
Whitney Pratt is the associate creative director of Franklin Street. A version of this story first appeared on the Franklin Street blog.
http://Carbon-8.com – Today’s topic discussion is about the recent healthcare.gov website and the technical issues it has been facing. For those who are not …