Have you ever searched Google for a product or service, been presented with the top hits for your search criteria, anticipatedly clicked one of the top ranking sites only to wait what seems like ages for it to load, then when it does load, you feel like you’ve just wasted half a minute of your life? When it comes to potential clients visiting your website, can you say with confidence that it addresses the needs of the majority of visitors?
In this article, we’ll touch on a number of triggers that might suggest it might be time to consider a re-assessment. We’ll also talk about exactly what a re-assessment might involve.
The thing is, your website should strive to be an effective and informative marketing tool. In order to achieve that goal, it should be regularly updated with new information and content. Regular updates ensure your website earns higher rankings in the complex processes used by today’s search engines.
But when a website starts to show its age, maybe takes too long to load, doesn’t display well on a variety of screen sizes, invariably it won’t attract as much attention. Unfortunately, with all of the tasks a healthcare practitioner must manage, it’s easy to understand why maintaining your website does not always make it to the top of the list.
So let’s look at each of those three areas individually.
Let’s Not Do The Time Warp!
We all love a good retro party, right? Drag out the platforms and flares, get the big hair wig on with the oversized sunglasses and bang out some disco moves to the Bee Gees. It’s all a bit of good fun. However, unless your website is for promoting retro party gear, the retro look it isn’t a good one for your website!
Realistically, you should be considering a refresh of your website’s appearance every 2 – 3 years. For that reason, there are a few factors to consider:
- being at the “bleeding edge” just isn’t necessary. It will generally cost you a lot more to implement new trends and sometimes the code isn’t well tested, so it can be buggy. New concepts can also be offputting for some users who may find them difficult to grasp. If you’re going to refresh every few years, just keep your website design clean and based around current mainstream design techniques.
- you needn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Not every update or re-design needs to be a full overhaul, so it needn’t be expensive. Subtle changes can be every bit as effective. Even changing colours and moving some elements around can make the website seem new to your visitors. Having a website built with a modern page builder is hugely advantageous in this regard because they offer very simple drag-and-drop modification of layouts. The majority of time spent building a website is in adding content. If you’re reusing content there is no reason your refresh should cost you thousands of dollars.
- old content might need updating. Whenever the website is re-assessed, the content should be too. In the majority of instances the content will be mostly fine, but likely require a few tweaks, especially content related to conditions or treatment techniques for which there might be new research which can be referenced. Leaving old content can, therefore, also create problems, especially if it is contravened or disproven by newer research, and in some jurisdictions, this can even lead to hefty fines from regulatory bodies.
Slow Lane Ahead?
If your website runs slower than an anaesthetised Sloth, it will be costing you business. Research has shown that around 53% of people will not wait longer than 3 seconds for a mobile website to load. THREE SECONDS! We live very much in a “now” society where instant gratification rules. Everywhere you look you’ll see the word “FAST” being used in advertising and marketing. Society has been trained – some might even say brainwashed – into believing that fast is better. So if they click or tap a link to your website and some other shiny object catches their attention before it loads, it is game over.
While this article isn’t the best forum for going over everything that helps website performance, here are a few of the major ones:
- Images Sizes. We’re not talking about the physical size of the images rather the size of the file. Large images have become commonplace on websites. But a photo that fills the entire background of the page, needn’t be large and therefore take ages to load. Images are easily optimised, both before they’re uploaded and by tools that can reside in the website code. All ClinicBeat & ClinicInsites websites include this kind of image optimisation.
- High-Speed Servers. Having your website hosted on an old dunger sitting in someone’s basement might seem like a cheap alternative, but if you’re paying $5 / month for “hosting” that is costing you hundreds of dollars in business, is it really cheaper than a $50 managed hosting package on super high-performance servers that keeps visitors on your website longer and therefore generates more business? One additional appointment per month is the difference between good and bad hosting. All ClinicBeat hosting is delivered on either Google Cloud Platform or Amazon servers, which are used by the biggest corporations in the world.
- Security. Yes, the security of your website impacts its speed. If your website is compromised by malware or any kind of malicious code, that code will be running whenever someone is trying to load a page from your healthcare site. Keeping the components that power the website updated – for most people that is WordPress and the associated plugins and themes – is paramount to maintaining good website performance. At ClinicBeat and ClinicInsites our included managed hosting service performs regular updates on all underlying website components.
Designed By Picasso?
While owning an authentic Picasso might be on some people’s bucket lists, having a website that looks like it was built by Picasso whenever it is viewed on a tablet, phone or internet ready TV, probably doesn’t help check that item off the list.
Website design has been “mobile responsive” for a number of years now. There really isn’t any excuse for your website to require the old “pinch and zoom” on a smartphone, nor should your client have to be sitting 30cm from your Smart TV screen if they’re trying to access your website on that device. All modern page builders make building mobile responsive websites, that work well on any screen size, quite trivial.
While that is the case, not all web designers take the amount of care that should be taken when testing websites. While building a good one isn’t overly difficult, building a “Picasso” is equally as simple if the correct care isn’t taken to ensure the layouts work well on different screen sizes.
How well does your website perform? Have you tried viewing it on a tablet or smartphone? What about on different size smartphones? Do you have a SmartTV? If not, JB Hifi or Harvey Norman do, and I’m sure they’d be happy to give you a demo!
Ultimately, it is absolutely crucial that your website be updated and refreshed regularly!
Test your website. Test it early, test it often, test it continually. Test your links, pages, load times and navigation. Test everything. Your website may be the only point of contact between you and your patients before they call you. You have one chance to impress them. Test your website so you know you are putting your best foot forward. Finally, ask for feedback. Regularly ask some other people to provide you with honest, candid feedback.
These steps will help make sure your website does more than simply answer only the basics about your practice, your website will start generating new business and patients for you.
ClinicBeat and ClinicInsites develop professional healthcare websites, SEO, online strategies and social media campaigns, specifically for Healthcare Professionals. If you’d like us to give you some candid feedback about your healthcare practice website, please use the following form to request a website review: