A website provides visitors with a first glimpse of your practice. “Potential patients can learn about a physician and the conditions he treats,” said Jairo Torres, MD, owner of Northern Virginia Otolaryngology Associates in Marshall, Va., who had a website created last year when he opened his own practice. “You should also use it as a marketing tool to give your practice exposure.”
Explore this issue:May 2016
An effective website also contributes to a practice’s credibility. “Potential patients expect professional practices to have a website—and an impressive website at that—and can be wary of practices that do not have at least a basic online presence,” said Gwendolyn Gainer, founder and creative director of Teramark, a web design and development firm based in Maryland.
Focus on Design Elements
When designing a website, a practice should make sure all of the design elements work seamlessly with the content to take the user’s eye to key messages, Gainer said. Layouts should avoid clutter, allowing breathing room for clear messaging and imagery.
Choose color palettes carefully, because they can offer insight into a practice’s personality. “Blue is commonly used for healthcare practices, especially for specialists who tend to be more on the conservative side,” said Brenda Brouillette, RN, BS, a consultant with Savvy Marketing Solution and a business development specialist in the Washington, D.C., metro area. “Blue represents loyalty, trust, and security.”
Use a variety of color tones to provide contrasting vibrancy, but never use more than five different colors in the website palette, advised Brouillette. “Leave enough white space to allow for effective color design components that are not overbearing,” she continued. “Pages that are too busy are overwhelming and can mask a page’s messages.”
Dr. Torres chose to use one accent color (blue) throughout his website for consistency. This design choice also makes it easier for people viewing pages on mobile devices. The functionality of your website on mobile devices is an important goal to keep in mind.
Use a font size that will adjust to a screen’s size, such as 16 pixels; a font style that is easy to scan, such as Garamond, Veranda, Tahoma, or Palatino; bullet points; and other tools to help consumers navigate content. Headers will aid readers in understanding each section’s main message.
Photos enhance a website. “The old saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ is true,” Brouillette said. “Include photos of physicians to show that they care and are open, which begins the trust process.”