Think hard about your practice’s web site. Is it performing well, or have you experienced a slump in your business, and your bottom line? Consider the following questions:
Is your website not HIPAA compliant?
Was it designed before 2013?
Does it not respond to, and function on, all devices and browsers correctly?
Do you rank after the first page on Google search?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it's past time your website was redesigned. Your website is an important asset in today's economy, but the technology has never been so confusing. So many businesses know that they need an update, but end up settling for new layouts of websites built with the same level of technology. Like a brick and mortar facility, it requires maintenance and care. Taking your practice to the next level today means carefully scouting out a web design company and doing your research. One of the largest considerations for most practices is the price, but that should not be your deciding factor. Remember, just as in the medical field, you often get what you pay for.
If you are considering making the leap onto the Internet, the price tag can be daunting, and the services offered confusing. We all know a presence on the internet is a valuable asset and an investment so careful consideration is required. Where should you start? Here are some quick tips on how to choose your future web design company:
Every office is staffed by individuals with different specialties – you have an office manager, your MD, your PA, nurses and assistants… all with specialized tasks, all carefully chosen to work well together. No one person can be a specialist in everything, so only consider purchasing from a company who has a team at your disposal. The right company for you will include specialists in graphic design, coding, content development and SEO (search engine optimization). If you want your website to attract your customers, you need to make sure that your site is both informational and inviting. A web design team can handle multiple angles at once, while providing personalized experience. This will lead to a better web experience for not only you, but your current and prospective patients as well.
Medical websites have very unique design and security requirements, so the right web design company for you will not only have a strong portfolio in the medical field, but also the knowledge to assist you with finding the right server for your HIPAA compliance needs. Take the time to look through their portfolio for designs that appeal to you, as well as testing a sampling of their websites to ensure that they are able to be navigated on all devices. I know your time is at a premium so the easiest way to do this is to shrink the browser window size on your computer to see how the website responds to change. A website that adapts to your window size (without shrinking to an unreadable font size) is called a responsive website, and these are typically preferred by users to the extremely ‘simple’ mobile websites of the early 21st century. Having a website that is completely responsive on all devices and browsers means that you won’t miss out on prospective clients simply because they aren’t on a desktop computer.
The medical field is highly competitive - so it is important that your potential web design firm operates up to Google’s standard. All the SEO work in the world may not be able to make up for a poorly designed website. In the long run, spending a little more up front may save you thousands. When asking for a proposal from a firm, make certain to have them outline what is included as a part of their SEO work and don’t forget to ask if it includes content development by a professional copywriter. This is an extremely crucial part of the process as (in Google’s world) content is king and over 90 percent of search engine traffic never goes past the first page on Google search.
Regardless of your practice’s beliefs, it is always important to place high value on integrity and the honesty of the vendors you wish to contract. Look for a company that willingly provides references in your field, has a history of standing behind their work, and is always easy to reach. If it takes you weeks to get in touch with someone for a proposal, then odds are good it will not be any easier to reach them when you have made a payment. Oftentimes, it is worth paying a little extra for a company that fulfills these requirements, and if you take the time to contact the companies they provide as references, you will often be able to find out the truth about a company’s work. Ask not only about their attitude and the experience, but whether the price changed after the work started, if the site was completed on time, and if they have ever had issues with reaching the company. This will help ensure a great (and timely) web design experience for your practice.
Just as I spent time researching doctors and reading reviews when I needed knee surgery, you need to do the same for your website. In the end, you need to weigh the benefits against the cost, and often that means paying a little extra for the best you can find.
You have 5-7 seconds to make that first impression online and impress your prospective clients… So take a good look at your current website and ask yourself - Have you?
Kristen Scott is Google & Inbound Certified and works as a Strategy Consultant with the highly creative marketing & web design firm Designzillas. She is a specialist in marketing needs for the medical professional and excels in helping businesses interact with their customers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org