And don’t forget to keep content current with the latest information. When your most recent news item is dated a year ago, patients are turned off.
Explore This IssueMay 2016
Dr. Torres’ “News” page includes links to otolaryngology articles that patients may find interesting, such as new findings revealed by studies, the impact of otolaryngology procedures on patients’ lives, and instances of his practice in the news.
Patient stories are the best endorsement and the strongest component of your reputation. They can be written quotes or an actual video that provides an honest, believable recommendation.
Ideally, testimonials and patient stories will reveal something insightful about your practice. “It’s especially smart to focus on your competitive advantages (i.e., the distinctive qualities that appear in your homepage messaging) and have your testimonials reinforce these to your website visitors,” Gainer said.
Although Dr. Torres’ website does not contain testimonials, it does include links to websites containing patient reviews, such as Yelp, so patients can easily see how others rate the practice.
Patient Forms Page
Cultivate goodwill by providing patient forms online. Any forms that patients can fill out before they arrive at your office will make their visit more efficient and pleasant, Gainer said.
If an office has the ability to preregister a new patient prior to an appointment by accessing an electronic medical record patient portal, this is an ideal way to transport the information to a secure system and upload it without printing any forms.
Brouillette also recommends posting a practice’s medical records policy, medication refills policy, HIPAA policy, insurance and payment information, and patient portal information online. Consider offering online scheduling, which is growing in popularity because consumers like the immediate gratification of scheduling their appointment, Brouillette said.
Contact Information Page
Prominently include contact information so that interested patients can easily get in touch with you. List your telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, and physical address. Provide an interactive map, such as Google Maps, as well as a photo of the practice’s building or lobby.
Selecting a Web Designer
When choosing a web designer, Dr. Torres wanted to find someone local who understood his community and its needs. He asked family practices for referrals and also searched online, paying attention to online reviews. “We had several meetings with candidates,” he said. He found a wide span of pricing, so it was important to shop around.
Beyond a Website
Taking things a step further, a website needs to be part of a larger Web marketing campaign. Web analytics—the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of Web data—and search engine optimization work hand in hand. “You won’t know if your website is providing the right traffic or converting visitors without analytics,” Gainer said. “Use search engine optimization to tweak your website based on those findings.”