Here we are approaching the end of the year. It’s the time of year when many people step back and take stock of their business and what they can do to improve things. Unfortunately, the fact that many medical practices actually have a website checks that box for them and they move on to things like billing and scheduling.
But back up just a minute, because there are a lot of terrible medical websites out there (I speak the truth in love.) They are packed with difficult to read text, lots of buttons, and cliched stock photos. If this describes your site, I’ve got a few New Year’s resolutions for you to put on your list.
Make Your Site Readable.
If you have big blocks of text, long sentences and paragraphs, and use lots of medical terminology, your site is not readable. Internet users have developed the habit of skimming pages and extracting the pertinent information as a way of dealing with the massive amount of data out there. Some possible resolutions you can make to improve your site’s readability:
- Break up big blocks of text. Use no more than five lines per paragraph, and use subheadings to guide your readers down the page.
- Evaluate the reading level and be sure your content is at the 8th grade level or below.
- Learn the art of the analogy. This is a great way to explain complex medical issues without complex medical terminology.
Make Your Site’s Purpose Clear.
It is tempting to put all kind of bells and whistles and buttons all over your site. But those things serve to confuse your reader. They don’t know where to look on the page, and they don’t know what it is they are supposed to do on that page. It’s just too visually overwhelming. Consider the following resolutions:
- Develop a single purpose for each page on your website, whether it’s make an appointment, signing up for a newsletter, or referring a friend. Offer no buttons or bling on a page that don’t guide the user to that purpose.
- Consider eliminating your sidebar completely.
Use Photos Wisely.
I’ll be honest, this is my pet peeve and it may bother me more than it bothers other people. But boring stock photos with the posed doctor in a white coat or, worse, a sterile waiting room with no people add nothing interesting to your site. Think about:
- Having professional photos of the practice staff done to add to the site
- Reviewing other medical websites to see the type of pictures that draw you in.
- Browsing photo sites to find photos that will help your website tell your story.
Please, check your website on all kinds of devices – laptops, tablets, large phones and small phones – and see if it adjusts to the screensize to maintain readability. If all your site does is shrink to fit the screen, it’s not a responsive design and you NEED to do something about that. People use their devices more and more to access information online. Be sure your design allows for good readability and navigation on mobile so you can take advantage of this fact.
That’s it. I hope you find a resolution you can run with to make your site work better and harder for you in 2016. In the meantime, enjoy your holidays and thank you so much for spending a little bit of your time here. We appreciate you so much!
Photo Credit: © anadukic33/Dollar Photo Club