10 Best Practices for Your Healthcare Website Content
According to a recent study by Pew Research, 59 percent of U.S. adults have looked online for health information in the past year … and 77 percent of those searches begin with search engines.
For hospitals, urgent care centers, doctors, dentists, chiropractors and other healthcare organizations, your website is your only chance to make a good first impression on those online visitors. And it has to do more than just look good: your website content has to deliver on all counts if it’s going to convert those visitors into patients.
So before you spend another dime on advertising on social media to drive traffic to your website, make sure your content aligns with proven best practices. Here are 10 to get you started:
- Make it personal. Patients want to know that from the moment they walk through your doors, they’ll be treated as people – not as numbers or as case studies. Make sure your content speaks their language and addresses their needs, their preferences, and their concerns.
- Keep it simple. Save the medical jargon for research papers. If your content confuses visitors, they won’t bother to ask you for an explanation. They’ll be on to the next search result. Test your website content with regular people; your own family members are a great place to start.
- Educate your visitors. Present some basic information about common conditions you treat. For example, if you’re in the field of orthopedics, include some content about the causes and treatments for some of the more common orthopedic conditions.
- … But don’t overload them. Remember, your visitors are looking for basic information to help them make a decision, not get a medical degree. Give them a thorough treatment of the topic at the most basic level, and invite them to contact you if they need a consultation.
- Keep it current. Stay current on the latest healthcare news items and cover applicable topics on your blog. Healthcare scares are common and misinformation runs rampant; look for opportunities to be the trusted voice of reason.
- Highlight your team. Let visitors “meet” the people on your staff and offer a personal introduction. Have some fun with bios and include information on family and hobbies as well as degrees and experience.
- Make your contact info a no-brainer. I never cease to be amazed by healthcare websites who insist on hiding their phone numbers and other vital contact information. Your Contact Us page should include a current phone number for general inquiries and your geographic location(s) (extra points for embedding Google Maps). I also recommend providing that phone number at the top and bottom of each page on your site.
- Share patient stories. Many healthcare organizations shy away from sharing patient stories due to HIPAA regulations, but obtaining the required permission from the patient is relatively easy (be sure to verify with your legal department). If one of your patients has an inspiring story to share, get the necessary release forms completed and create a story that connects with people.
- Give press releases their own space. Do press releases belong on your website? Absolutely – just not on your blog. If you distribute press releases regularly, create a media page on your site where they can live.
- Make it visual. Don’t just load up your site with stock images of “happy patient talking with a doctor.” Share real photos of your staff in their element, and enrich your educational content with illustrations and diagrams. (Note: Steer clear of sharing overly graphic photos on patient-facing pages.)
Remember, all that traffic you’re trying to drive to your site will do you no good if you fail to deliver the content visitors need in a way that makes sense to them. Get your content in shape to ensure that you connect with those visitors … and convert them into patients.
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. To learn more, download our complimentary audio 5 Things You Must Know About Content Marketing.
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