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I intended to write a single blog on websites. But, the content just kept growing into now three parts. I don’t think that I can stress enough how important your website can be to your practice. It is worth taking the time to be certain it represents you well. It is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts.
As before, I will begin with a disclaimer that I am not in any way an expert on websites. These are my observations from looking at many different sites. In doing so, I have formed my own opinions on features I like and other things that I don’t. There is no right or wrong. It is your choice. Everyone has different preferences. Discuss ideas with whoever created your website and decide on what represents you best.
We have all seen websites where the presentation of information changes in an automatic set sequence. This can be photos, copy or both. I have seen this used on landing pages and also with testimonials. A pet peeve of mine is the transition speed. Some change images so fast that it is impossible to read the content. If this happens, you are defeating the purpose of having the feature there because it will not get read. It is just too frustrating. If the transition speed is set too slow, no one is going to sit around and wait for the next entry to appear. There is no reason for this problem. Transition speed is a simple adjustment.
If your website has links, then check them to be certain that they are still functional and useful. It is annoying to click on links that do not work. This also applies to links to your social media pages. I have clicked to many social media pages that haven’t had a new post for months or even years.
If you provide a link to your social media pages, visitors to your site will sometimes click on them. Try and be current. It doesn’t look good when all your posts are old.
I know amidst all the other things that occur daily in your office, it is hard to come up with new posts on a routine basis. There are many companies that can assist you with subscription services for social media. These services will guarantee new posts on your pages at a set frequency and relieve you from the stress of coming up with content. I feel that my company does an excellent job and encourage you to look at our services.
Links to blogs should also link to new content. If there are no recent entries, it gives the message that you may not follow-though on other things as well. This is not an impression you want to give to your patients. I know how difficult it is to write new patient blogs. Remember, there are no rules. Weekly or bi-weekly is nice but not always practical. It could be every month or every other month. Try and set up some frequency that will work for you. Adding new content to your website at a regular frequency does help with search engine optimization.
Sticking to a set frequency means you are never in the situation where the most recent post is from a year ago. Just as with social media services, there are also companies that can provide you with patient blogs. Again, I can’t speak for other companies, but we do provide those services as well. If you are interested in getting more information- let us know.
General Information Checklist
Be certain that your office hours are easy to find. Address and phone numbers should also be accessible. Directions to your office are a nice addition to your website. I hate it when I have to go looking for basic information. Make it prominent on your website and maybe even repeat it in several locations.
Contact buttons for the patient to send a message to you via the website or an e-mail contact are also helpful. Be certain someone checks them often and follow-up is efficient and prompt.
Consider listing how to contact your office for emergencies. Give general instructions on what they should do if there is an emergency, for example going to an emergency room.
Insurances that are accepted can be helpful information for your patients. Most sites have this, but if you don’t, you might want to consider adding it.
Many websites include access to patient forms to complete in advance of their appointment. If forms are on your website and a patient has filled them out, don’t ask the patient to fill out more forms at the time of their exam. When a patient chooses to fill them out in advance, they do it to save themselves time when checking in to your office. A patient will get angry if you then ask them to fill out another form with a lot of the same information. This is definitely not a response you want at the beginning of their experience in your office.
If your staff is multilingual, use it as a selling point for your practice. Display it on your website by listing the languages your staff speaks. When a patient is not proficient with English, this makes them feel more comfortable. It might be the reason they choose your practice for their care.
A tool available on some websites allows a patient to click on an icon and translate the website to a different language. The original translators began with services like Babelfish and Google translator. My website builder says it requires using a plug-in or an embedded code from a translator service. I have read varying reviews on these services. I don’t know about their accuracy. But, if your practice has a lot of non-English speaking patients, it might be worthwhile to investigate it further. It shows your desire to communicate with all your patients.
A feature I have seen used on some sites allows the visitor to change font size. I think this is a great option for any optometrist. Usually it is a button you can click on and it makes all the fonts increase in size. I know that you can magnify anything on your computer, but there are a lot of people who don’t know how to do this. For our patients with decreased vision, an option to increase the font size would be useful. I do not have any direct experience with this function, but know it impresses me when I see it added to a website. I have included a link to an ophthalmology practice that I refer to so you can see it in use. Look just above the navigation bar. https://www.retina-doctors.com/
I hope that this information inspires you to give your website another look to see if you can make it even better. It is one of your most valuable marketing tools and represents you all day, every day. If you already have a website, you don’t have to start all over. Just consider making small changes to improve on what you already have.
If you have not read the first two parts of this website review, they are in the previous two blogs. They don’t take long to read and will give you other ideas to consider when reviewing your website. Even if you don’t make any major changes, just consider reviewing it to make sure it is still serving you well.
We encourage you to make comments on problems you have encountered with your website. Or better yet, how about sharing your solutions and features that have worked well for you. We look forward to your comments.