That’s how much time your practice’s website has to attract an average web surfer and convert them into a patient, according to a study by Taylor and Francis Online. The first 50 milliseconds (or 1/20th of a second) isn’t much time, is it?
The first goal is the scientific part of the equation in terms of SEO (search engine optimization). Your website, like a billboard, must first be placed higher and more strategically than the competition’s. The second goal is to present your practice’s information with as much engagement as possible. These complexities certainly warrant the assistance of a professional website design firm.
RULE THE SEO
The criteria by which the search engines rank your listing and website are called algorithms. These algorithms are constantly changing the rules that affect your website’s visibility. Ultimately, SEO is the process of aligning your website with these rules.
Nancy Rausman is managing editor of EyeCarePro, a leader in new patient acquisition through marketing, web design and SEO. “Your website is a beautiful business card, but no one sees it if you are not handing it out,” Rausman said. She went on to explain the best way to spend online advertising dollars. “If you have a comprehensive presence online, you may not need to purchase further online advertising in a low competition market to rise in the search engine rankings.” This means that money which is spent on the front end to hire an experienced SEO firm may save money in the long run by creating “free exposure” in a search engine. “Ultimately,” she said, “the measure of a good website is how many appointments it generates.”
Innereactive Media, a full service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, has a team of 26 members who are experts in their specific trade, and they, in turn, stay on top of the ever-changing SEO algorithms, according to Samantha Toth (a certified optician and “resident marketing rockstar”). Toth requires that each of her employees receive optical training and believes this is one key to their success. She suggests that eyecare-specific firms will do the best job. “Don’t pick a company that builds cookie cutter websites or doesn’t understand our industry,” she said.
When selecting site functions, it is becoming increasingly important to remember mobile website design and ensuring that your site is optimized for all platforms. In October 2016, mobile internet use surpassed desktop use for the first time in history. Websites created before 2007 are likely to not be mobile friendly, as Dan Feldman of DBA Designs and Communications, which specializes in eyecare, can attest to: “We used to design websites on PCs for PCs, but now we have to design them to be viewed on a smartphone.”
Rausman added that the most important information that needs to be included on the landing page of a mobile site are a click to call, a map, address, phone number, hours of operation and a link to the doctor’s bio. The mobile page is designed to be viewed on a smaller screen and comprehended quickly by the user.
Feldman explained that the aesthetics of a website should complement the business location, and the first step his team takes is collecting lots of photos. “The website should have a real representation of the practice and a color scheme to match,” Feldman said.
Rausman concurred and added that the visual vibe should also match the demographics. She explained that a family-focused practice should feature multigenerational photos, while a fashion-focused office should have trendy model images. Then, the information needs to be ordered into “clickable chunks with one topic per line.” Users must be able to quickly locate the information that they are trying to access.
When it comes to building more into the site, Feldman asks his customers to give him the “why.” By that he means what drives them in their everyday life. “Why do you get up in the morning?” is one question that can elicit a passionate response. “There is a reason why you became a practitioner in your town, and telling that story with passion is a necessary part of a quality website,” he said. Feldman advises his clients to spread personal touches from the first point of contact to the last, a handwritten thank-you card goes a long way in an age that’s increasingly lacking human contact.
Mark Clark, ABOC, is founder of iProfit Group, a healthcare investment consulting firm.
WHERE TO FIND IT: DBA Designs and Communications 303.370.7083 • dbadesigns.com • Info@dbadesigns.com // EyeCare Pro 866.886.4442 • EyeCarePro.net // Innereactive Media, LLC 888.963.8894 • Innerreactive.com