Stethoscope wrapped around the letters WWW

Remember, you’re building a website to attract patients, not the space shuttle.

In no other area of online marketing is it easier to lose sight of your goals than it is with medical website design. Before you know it, and if you’re not careful, your website can turn into an art project rather than a marketing tool.

The reason is that it’s easy to get lost in the details—the color scheme, the font type, the logo—diverting your attention away from the main goal. And while it’s true that your website must be visually appealing, your focus should remain on your medical website’s primary objective—helping you book more patients so you can help more people.

If you start with this goal and work backward, you’ll get a very different kind of website than most of your competitors—and most website design companies—create.

What will this different kind of website look like? And more importantly, how can you ensure that all the design elements are working toward your goal of attracting new patients?

Here are four best practices in medical website design that will help you to stand out from your competition:

1. Show your patients the benefits of treatment

Stethoscope on laptop computerIf the main purpose of your website is getting more patients to book appointments, then what’s the most important element?

The answer is the copy. You’re trying to get patients to pick up the phone or fill out the contact form, so your website is essentially a tool of persuasion.

So how can you write more persuasively?

When your patients visit your website, they want to know what benefits they’ll receive by pursuing treatment. Rather than have them guess based on a list of your credentials, tell them specifically how they’ll benefit from working with you.

You could write about your education, your years of experience, and your access to the latest technology, just like the rest of your competition does. But, if you want to stand out, you’ll take a different approach. You’ll write to engage your patient in a conversation, empathizing with their problem, showing them how treatment will make their lives better, and letting them know how you can help them to get there. Check out some specific examples of websites we’ve built that use this approach.

2. Ensure simple and responsive design

Modern responsive website design layout with multiple device.Your website design should be simple, readable, and easy to navigate, with pleasing and professional visual design. Credibility takes a big hit when you present an outdated website full of tacky colors, misalignment, and large, unreadable blocks of text.

But professional design and persuasive content are not enough. Your website has to be responsive, i.e., it has to display properly across multiple devices.

A recent report shows that people are increasingly using the internet on the go. Around 23 percent of those surveyed said they exclusively used a mobile device to go online, while 37 percent said they mostly used mobile. Only 11 percent exclusively used a desktop computer.

Many of your patients will be searching for health information online via mobile technology, so you’ll want to make sure your website displays properly across all devices, including desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. That way, your patients can find you wherever they’re searching.

3. Establish yourself as the local expert

Computer keyboard with Mouse Cursor icon and word BlogProfessional design and copy create the impression of credibility, but expert content will directly show that you’re a thought leader in your medical specialty.

By creating a blog, and by consistently updating the blog with fresh content, you’ll establish your expertise and willingness to help patients by providing valuable information. At the same time, you’ll also improve your SEO ranking as Google places high value on fresh, well-written, timely content.

Also, after setting up your blog, you can share this content through your social media channels, helping you to reach more patients while improving your SEO through social signals.

4. Collect online reviews

Hand putting check mark with green marker on five star rating.If you’ve done everything right up to this point, your prospective new patient is just about ready to pick up the phone. But they’re going to check out one more thing before they do so.

They’re going to look for your reviews.

According to a 2015 Bright Local Survey, 92 percent of all consumers read online reviews for local businesses. And, 68 percent say that positive reviews make them trust local businesses more.

If patients can easily find your positive reviews, they’re significantly more likely to give your practice a call. That’s why it’s critical to make it easy for your patients to find and post reviews, and to have all of your reviews aggregated on your website.

For more information on how to automate the process of collecting online reviews, visit the Online Review Builder page.