In our digital age, a website really is the best first impression someone can get of your business. Having a website that is well designed, mobile friendly, and informative should be a must-have in the annual marketing strategy of any physical therapy practice.
We get a lot of questions about websites and having worked on a few website projects in my career, I know the must-haves. I should note that I am not a developer but I know the do-not-press-go without these basics. You don’t have to have all the technical know-how to know a good website from a bad one. I encourage you, and your marketing team take a hard look at your own website. Think about what current patients and prospective patients might be looking for – forms, hours of operation, contact information, clinic updates, etc…to start with these should be easily accessible, clean, and easy to read.
There is nothing more of a turnoff to any prospective patient than a website that is unhelpful, uninformative, hard to read, difficult to navigate, and slow. Your website should provide a positive user experience that represents the experience you want them to have as soon as they walk in the door to your clinic. If your website is garbage, chances are they probably won’t have the confidence in the level of care you offer within your clinic – even if it’s top notch. Someone who hasn’t worked with you before doesn’t know that. This doesn’t just go for new patients, it also goes for prospective new hires – they want to know they’re with a clinic that cares about how they represent themselves in our digital age.
Here are a few things you should look for and have to make your website work for your practice and help attract new patients.
Contact Us Page
A contact us page with your location(s), contact information, and a form for people to submit if they’re interested in scheduling is always helpful and a must have. If people don’t know how to get in touch with you they’re going to go with a practice down the street that does have this information easy to find.
Google focuses on mobile first given that over 50% of website traffic is on mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’ve got some work to do. Test out if your website is mobile friendly on Google’s free tool.
Think about the services that you offer and the conditions you treat, having a page dedicated to these (maybe you offer aquatic therapy, pediatric therapy, and occupational therapy) will help build your site’s authority but also give you more options to show up for people who may be searching for those services.
Patient Forms & Insurance information
New patients are going to want to know if you accept their insurance before they even pick up the phone. Having these listed on their own page is helpful – it’s also helpful to have any forms they may need accessible.
I mean, you’re already collecting success stories/testimonials as a part of your internal marketing strategy, why wouldn’t you share them on your website? Have a page dedicated to all the amazing things your patients say about you and adding them on other pages is another way to share and build some trust.
Links to your social media pages
Often in the footer of your website, make sure that these link out to the appropriate pages. It’s a trust builder in the eyes of the SEO Gods and helps your audience find you on other platforms that they may be more active on.
Visible and Easy to Navigate Menu bar
Descriptions should be user friendly and descriptive but not too long. “Our Services” “Contact us” “About our Clinicians” are all short, to the point, and effective at describing the page. Keep it to 5 top level pages to make it easy to use and find information.
Visible contact information
Along with having a contact us page, keep your phone number visible in the upper menu on every page. Bonus points if mobile visitors can click to call.
How accessible your website? What we mean by that is that the colors should contrast well, there should alt text on images for those using a screen reader, your linked text should give information about where the link goes. The Web Accessibility Initiative has helpful information to evaluate your website.
Are you collecting any emails on your website? Do people have a way to digitally sign up for an email newsletter or express their interest? This is what forms are for (and really help you measure the number of patients that are coming in through your website!). Whether or not your practice should have an email newsletter is a post for a different day, but if you already do and are NOT collecting information from your website, you’re missing out.
Check the Speed
40% of visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Not to mention Google like speedier sites in search engine results so test your speed (Google’s speed test gives recommendations to make it faster – your marketer or website designer if you’ve outsourced this should be able to help if this is an issue.)
On the Back End
These two things may be a little technical and are content management systems (which should be easy to use like Squarespace, WordPress, or another similar website platform)
Have an SEO Plugin
I personally recommend Yoast for SEO – it’s easy to use and works pretty well as far as noting what the keywords are on the page, and helping with the meta description, URL, and page title. Having all of these (as well as quality content) play into how well your page shows up in search results.
Not Cluttered up with Plugins
Have your website manager (whether your internal marketer, or an agency that you work with) look at the plugins that are currently installed on your website – are you using them all? Extraneous plugins can slow down your website and/or make it vulnerable to hackers. Having your team do a check-up every so often is helpful to make sure your website is running optimally.
Listen, you don’t have to stress about doing this all yourself. Have the information to take to your team, you weren’t trained to be a website designer, your team should know this, however, if they don’t there are other organizations such as UpDoc Media, or Practice Promotions that work specifically with physical therapy practices on websites and other marketing services. These are the basics. Look at your website, and determine based on this, if it’s working for you. If not? Seek out help – your website should be a key component of your marketing efforts and if it’s stuck in the 1990’s, then chances are you’re missing a huge opportunity.
In the meantime, download our Marketing Strategy tip sheet for more ideas on how to win new patients and take your practice to the next level.