When in search of a new doctor, most healthcare consumers do their homework before they decide to schedule a new patient appointment. In fact, a recent survey found that 80% of respondents use the internet for healthcare-related searches. This means that your website design plays a critical role in attracting new patients by how well you stack up against the competition for first impressions.
When web page design elements carefully consider the user experience, and the content clearly communicates what makes your practice exceptional, your website transforms from something obligatory into a dynamic marketing tool.
Bottom line, if your website is user-friendly and offers all the conveniences that today’s healthcare consumer has come to expect, your visitors are much more likely to convert to new patients. We have put together our most effective modern website design features list to ensure that it generates the consumer confidence needed to win new patients.
Responsive & Mobile-Friendly
Roughly 60% of searches are done on a mobile device. Early on, Google knew mobile searches would eventually take over and later announced a mobile-first initiative. This means Google expects all websites it includes in its search results to be mobile-friendly and responsive.
Mobile-friendly means that visitors will have a good experience when they use your website on a mobile device. Responsive means that no matter what device your website visitors use, your medical website will automatically fit the screen and will have the same functionality. When your patients find you through mobile search, responsive design allows them to navigate with ease and have a mobile-friendly experience (such as a phone number with click-to-call enabled).
Consumers have come to expect user-friendly website design features – in other words, the website should be easy to use and intuitive. A user-friendly website design includes working links that can be clicked on without a problem, clear fonts, and content that is simple to find. Modern medical website elements are geared toward the user experience, and nearly all business websites have adopted some form of intuitive design.
A medical website design that is easy to use promotes engagement, so visitors are not quick to jump to a competitor’s site. Having a clear call to action on every page promotes engagement as it guides the user through the website experience.
On-Brand Design with a Fresh Look
Many consumers will judge your medical practice based on the look of the website, and research shows it takes half a second for them to form an opinion. Think of your website as a virtual reception area – is it clean, organized, and inviting? Stanford conducted a study on web credibility, and 75% of respondents will judge an organization’s credibility based on its website’s design.
But what sets a medical website design apart from the rest is your brand personality. Colors, graphics, and images tell the story of your mission, who you serve, and all that differentiates your practice from the rest in your specific market.
These days, consumers do just about everything online, but not all have access to these conveniences. If you expect your patients to use your website, you then have the responsibility to ensure your entire patient base can use its features. As one of the most important components for website design, ADA accessibility on your website removes barriers for patients with disabilities and impairments so they can use your medical website too.
Most Important Items Above the Fold
Putting the most important functions and frequently used website design elements at the top of the website not only raises awareness of popular conveniences, but it also enhances the patient’s experience. When your staff encourages a patient to go to the website to use the portal or pay a bill, they should notice these features as soon as the page loads.
Patient engagement tip: Have your phone number at the very top with click-to-call enabled.
An easy-to-use appointment request form is arguably the most effective website patient acquisition tool as it is ready to capture patient inquiries at all times. No need to wait for a convenient time to call the office – site visitors simply fill out the consultation or appointment form, and your staff takes it from there. If all goes well, you can convert site visitors into new patients in a matter of seconds.
Patient Portal & Telemedicine Access
The drive to do everything online surged in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and these habits seem to stick. Patient portals and telemedicine are convenient technology tools that empower patients to be more involved in their healthcare. Medical websites designed for patient engagement place patient portal and telemedicine buttons in can’t-miss areas.
Top-of-page placement also keeps these convenient features top-of-mind, so patients are reminded they have these options.
It is not surprising that nearly every commerce website is equipped for online payments, especially considering that 83% of consumers prefer to pay online. Including a popular website feature such as bill pay can only help practice revenue.
With online convenience comes responsibility. The collection of patient forms online must be protected with just as much privacy and security as the health records you keep in-office. With the help of IT security technology, website design for doctors can keep these electronic forms secure and private.
Not all websites are secure. A website that meets basic security standards will begin its URL with HTTPS. Websites that are not secure are not likely to show in Google search results. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) capability encrypts sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers – and sensitive patient information for medical practices.
Does your medical practice serve just one geographical area or many? Having a map or a location finder on your site helps visitors know what to expect with travel to your location(s).
Google’s goal is to serve the best quality and most relevant search results first, and location is a primary relevance factor regarding medical practices. Mentioning the cities, communities, and ZIP codes you service signals to Google what territory you cover so you can be found in local search results.
With that said, your practice should also be listed in Google My Business (GMB). This free service allows you to be listed in Google’s massive business directory where listings frequently end up atop local search results.
Clearly Communicated Services
For the niche areas of your practice, your medical website must be very specific and detailed. If your medical website does not share all the medical services that you offer, your website visitors won’t be aware of it.
Google will not learn of it either, meaning that you miss out on valuable opportunities to be found for crucial search terms. Being thoroughly descriptive lets Google know what you do. Detailed descriptions with relevant keywords help Google determine when your practice should show up in searches.
While your medical website design forms a visitor’s initial opinion of your practice, prospective patients usually want more than that. They want to read what other patients have to say about your practice so they know what to expect and can be confident that their needs will be met.
According to a report from doctor.com, 88% of patients seek online reviews when referred to a provider. Of those savvy healthcare consumers, 55% want to be reassured by 4- or 5-star reviews. For this reason, featuring some of your top reviews on your home page will surely boost your appeal.
Showing Up in Google Searches (SEO)
The doctor.com report also revealed that 61% of patients rely on the internet to find a primary care doctor, and of the survey options, 51% said they format their search this way: “I enter the type of doctor or specialist I’m looking for and ‘near me’.” If your practice does not appear in these search results, you effectively do not exist to the patients you are trying to reach.
When it comes to Google search results, there is a limit on how many results are displayed on the first page.
Sites that are chosen for the first page of Google results typically:
- Load quickly
- Are user-friendly
- Are easy-to-read for Google web crawlers
- Include relevant search keyword terms
- Regularly post relevant content, especially in blog posts
Content that Encourages Patient Engagement
Google processes 6.75 million health-related queries per day. Those hungry for credible health information will appreciate a medical practice website with relevant and timely content. Educate your site visitors with relevant blogs and a patient education library. Google values websites where patients spend more time than usual.
Recap: Top Medical Website Design Features
Standing out from the competition and winning new patients is a challenge that will only become more difficult as healthcare consumers continue to become more reliant on technology to make decisions. While several different digital marketing solutions will help your practice be more effective in attracting new patients, a well-designed website can be your greatest asset.
The following is our website design features list summary. To ensure your website meets the demands of the modern patient, be sure your website is:
- Responsive and mobile-friendly – Healthcare consumers expect to be able to use the functions of a website just the same – if not better – on a mobile device as they would on a computer. Test your mobile website to make sure that users can do everything with ease on the mobile version of your website.
- User-friendly – Patients are very likely to give up on websites that are confusing and do not readily or easily provide what they are looking for. What’s worse, patients will likely jump to a competing provider’s website. It helps to have the most important or popular items – such as patient portal, telehealth access, and online bill pay “above the fold” – meaning the patient can see it right away near the top of the page for quick and easy access.
- Effective brand communication – No two practice websites should look alike and for good reason. Effective branding means that you do more than just tell a patient why you’re the best choice, you also convey it through images and colors. After a few minutes on your website, patients should know what you’re all about. Your website should also include detailed information about the services you offer.
- ADA-accessible – You serve a diverse patient population, so ensure that all of your patients get the full benefit of your website by having ADA tools to promote inclusivity.
- HIPAA-compliant – Having a HIPAA-secure website is mandatory. But being able to tell your patients that your website is secure builds trust with new patients. Part of keeping patient data secure is to have SSL and HTPPS at the start of your website URL. Google likely won’t bring traffic to a page that is not secure, and this hurts your online visibility.
- Engaging content – One of the key components of search engine optimization (SEO) is quality content. Good content keeps a visitor’s attention, signaling to Google that you are providing your readers with quality content that is highly relevant to them. Publishing content on a regular, consistent basis also signals to Google that you are a valuable resource for health information. The keywords you use make your relevance even stronger thus increasing your chances of being found by new patients in Google search.
- Social proof – It is not enough to have a beautiful website to convince a patient to try your services. Patients also want to read reviews to know who they can trust. Importing reviews and testimonials onto your website builds consumer confidence in your practice.
Stand Out from your Competition with a Modernized Website
Having an easy-to-use website with modern design features sets you apart from competing practices. Our expert medical website consultants can help enhance your website design for stronger brand impact and higher visibility through search engine optimization. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.