Health and medical services practitioners today face significant challenges.
Challenges Health & Medical Businesses Face Online
Today, more than ever, businesses in the medical sector must work harder than ever to remain competitive. Not only do you have to maintain an active presence in the community you serve, you must also develop and maintain a strong presence online. This includes having a dynamic website and learning how to better market your services online.
In addition to spending money marketing offline, you will probably find that in order to remain competitive, increasingly larger amounts of their marketing budget need to be allocated towards developing and managing a website that brings new prospective clients, engages users, outranks the competition in search engines and gives your business wider marketing reach online.
This means that your website not only has to look great, your pages have to be fast-loading, and your website layout has to be easy to navigate, but even more importantly, your site’s needs will change over time and sections will need to be frequently updated. This requires implementing sound web and content management strategy.
One other challenge that medical-related businesses face online, as other professions do for that matter, is that you have only about thirty seconds or less to give users the information they are searching for or they will find what they are looking for elsewhere.
“Websites have evolved into central information hubs where service information is still present but enhanced with web portals, hyperlinks to state and federal sites, and a variety of free tools.”
Opportunities For Health Services Practitioners
As well as facing many challenges, there are also plenty of online opportunities available to health businesses that can adapt to meet online challenges and think outside the box in terms of improving their online business marketing skills.
This comprehensive article will help you uncover opportunities to generate web traffic and establish online credibility for your medical-related business.
As well as providing useful website improvement tips, we also recommend that you consider using the WordPress content management system (CMS) to power your medical or health website.
For more information about the benefits and advantages of using WordPress, go here:
- Learn How A Poorly Designed Web Site Can Cost You Money
- The Business Owner’s Guide To Understanding WordPress
Practical Tips For Improving Your Website
We’ll start first by covering the basic stuff. In this section, we’ll look at how to improve your website and get better results. We will look at what pages you need, what type of content works best, useful tips for improving your site’s layout and navigation structure, and more.
If you need assistance or help planning your medical website, go here: The Website Planning Process Explained – A Basic Guide For Non-Technical Business Owners
All websites require several basic pages. Let’s review these.
It’s essential to include a page that describes your products and services. Depending on which area of health or medical services you specialize in, this page can list services like:
- Medical And Surgical – e.g. pain management, nephrology hematology, cancer, aged care, respiratory, colon/rectal surgery, eye diseases emergency surgery, etc.
- Dentistry – e.g. general dentistry, children’s dentistry, bad breath treatment, restorations, dental implants, emergency dental services, etc.
- Cardiology – e.g. cardiac patient education, chronic heart conditions
- Prenatal/Postnatal – e.g. birthing, maternity services, etc.
- Child Health services – paediatrics, child development, children services, etc.
- Diagnostic – mammography, skin cancer, audiology, women’s health, MRI scanning, food allergy testing, etc.
- Pathology services – laboratory testing and analysis, emergency pathology testing, food and water testing, speech pathology, etc
- Counselling services – mental health, alcohol, tobacco & other drug counselling, couples, diet and nutrition counselling, social development services
- Alternative treatments – acupuncture, homeopathy, colloidal silver therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, hypnosis, etc.
- Other medical services/therapies – weight management, sports medicine, reproductive endocrinology, occupational therapy, inherited diseases, artificial limbs, sleep therapy, home care, sexual health, medical equipment, etc.
Make sure to list all of the services you provide, not just the ones you specialize in. Provide your visitors with information that will educate them about the benefits of using these services and direct them to your contact or appointment booking page.
Who We Are
The ‘About Us’ page needs to describe your business and what your business stands for, its unique approach, community events, etc.
It should include any awards, recognitions, accreditations, certifications, associations, publications, etc., that could be used to promote your medical, dental, chiropractic, surgery services, etc. and to position yourself above your competitors.
(List all of your professional awards certifications, recognitions, accreditations, publications, associations, etc. in your About page. Screenshot image source: squaremedical.com.au)
If you are searching for ideas to sell more products or services online and get people to stay longer on your site, then make it easier for your prospects to get to know you and your organization better.
You want prospects to relate to your business. A great way to do that is to have a page that introduces your staff. This page should include a photo and a mini biography. Since most visitors won’t be that well-versed in medical or health terms it should tell who they are and what their specialties are. It should also explain what those specialized areas mean. It should also include social buttons so your prospective clients can follow some of your team members on their social pages.
In this page, make sure to highlight each team member’s experience, why they are an asset to your team, and more importantly, how they can help add value to your clients’ business.
(Make sure to add a page that introduces your staff to prospective new clients. Screenshot source: southperthchiro.com.au)
We have created a detailed tutorial about how to easily add an easy-to-update list of staff members to your website without messing with code here: How To Easily Add A Staff Directory
This is a listing of job or career opportunities available within your company. It could include type of training provided, benefits, advancement opportunities, etc. You can include information such as the job outlook and additional career opportunities in the health industry.
Include also a positions available section in your page. If there are no positions currently available, consider inviting people to return periodically to this page, join your contact list, follow you on social media, etc.
Reviews from clients and case studies are a great way to attract prospective clients and showcase the services you offer. By adding a page with reviews from clients and case studies, you are also helping to are also providing visitors social proof online for your business.
(Add a page to your site with reviews from clients and case studies. Image sourced from: arrowsmiledental.com)
We have written extensively about using testimonials and reviews get better results online. Go here to learn more: Learn How To Improve Your Sales Conversions With Profit-Boosting Testimonials
A clean contact page is vitally important.
It should provide visitors with some or all of the following:
- Name Of Your Business
- Your address
- Email address
- Google Map and directions
- Web address
- Contact form
- Name of person to contact
- Social media URLs
- Chat feature (optional)
If your business operates in several areas you should make this clear when displaying your address and contact information.
Consider also including links to an FAQ page, main pages, booking form, support page, newsletter, blog, etc.
Add A Blog Section
A blog is a very powerful marketing tool for your business. Most blogging platforms are built around a content management system that allows you to promote your business by publishing timely content like news, updates, educational articles, informative posts, videos, webinars, etc.
If you already have an established site, then consider adding a WordPress-driven blog to market your medical company.
If you don’t have a website yet, or if your existing website is very hard to add new content to or not giving you the results you want, then WordPress can become both your business website and business blog.
Very few people know that WordPress can turn into an automated traffic-generation system that can begin to attract web traffic to your business, simply by adding regular content to your site.
(WordPress can automate your traffic generation)
For more info, see this article: WordPress Web Traffic Blueprint – How To Turn Your WordPress Web Site Into An Automated Web Traffic Machine
As a professional health provider, ensuring that you have a website that complies will all legal requirements online is essential. This is not only important for establishing trust and credibility with visitors, but also to ensure that no laws or regulations are being broken in whatever region you do business.
Adding some or all of the following legal pages to your website will help keep you out of legal hot water with most regulatory authorities, third-party service providers, and other potential legal threats and inconveniences:
- Contact Us
- Privacy Statement
- Website Disclaimer
- Affiliate Agreement
- Anti-Spam Policy
- Compensation Disclosure
- DMCA Notice
- Earnings Disclaimer
- External Links Policy
- Health/Financial Disclaimers
- Refund Policy
- Video/Audio Terms
- and others
If you want to learn more about adding legal pages to your website, refer to this article: The Importance Of Adding Legal Pages To Your WordPress Site
How To Improve Your Web Content
In today’s fiercely competitive online economy, the sooner you begin publishing good content on your site, the quicker you will begin to differentiate yourself from competing businesses.
You want to provide great content with useful advice or tips that will get your visitors sharing your information with others online and coming back for more content. Using content is the most effective way to inform and teach your visitors and prospective clients about using your services.
For example, if you provide weight management services, then some of the topics you could write about include the following:
- Common medical conditions that can cause weight gain
- How to set realistic, but achievable weight loss goals
- Recovering after weight loss surgery – useful tips and recommendations
- How to incorporate an occasional fast food into a healthy diet plan
- And many other content topics
You can also create a series of educational articles that will help your prospective clients understand your medical or health-related services, by explaining benefits, procedures, terminology, etc.
Use keywords and terms in your content that your readers will be searching to find you online.
Ways To Improve Visitor Engagement And User Experience
Improving website user experience (generally referred to as UX) will help you keep visitors coming back and using your site. This section will show you ways you can improve visitor engagement and user experience.
RSS Feeds – Content Syndication
RSS feeds provide many benefits for your business.
If you provide content that adds value to others, other sites will want to syndicate your content.
Some of the benefits of syndicating your content to other websites using RSS feeds, include:
- All of your updates are kept in one place
- Doesn’t rely on email
- RSS feeds can be shared
- Users can subscribe to your RSS feed
- A feed provides a way for external links to point back to your content
- RSS feeds can be submitted to RSS directories and aggregators
- There are multiple ways readers can receive your content (e.g. read your content on their mobile device using feed readers)
- RSS is built into WordPress
There are also benefits when it comes to providing great content on your website from other sites, such as the fact that you don’t have to write, manage or update the content.
To find useful RSS feeds just visit sites of medical or health-related government departments and industry bodies.
Below we have listed a few RSS feeds containing useful information that you could consider adding to a medical site:
- US Department Of Health And Human Services – e.g. Blog posts feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/SelectedHhsBlogPosts, etc. You can also select specific RSS feeds, like feeds on women’s health issues (e.g. Body image, Health care for women, Illnesses and disabilities, Minority women’s health, Screening tests and vaccines, etc.) here: http://womenshealth.gov/news/rss/rss-feeds.html
- US National Libraries Of Medicine – For a directory of feeds from various medical journals, publications and websites (e.g. BMJ Disease in Childhood – Education and Practice, Bionet RSS, The Journal of Immunology, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, ADA DOC News, etc.) go here: http://www.healthplusplus.com/wiki/List_of_RSS_feeds_on_health
- National Institutes Of Health (www.nih.gov) – Get many RSS feeds on health-related topics here: http://www.nih.gov/Subscriptions.htm
- FDA – Find FDA-related RSS feeds (e.g. consumer health information updates, health fraud, pet health, cosmetics, etc.) and podcasts here: http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ContactFDA/StayInformed/RSSFeeds
- UK Department Of Health (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health) – Latest news: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health.atom
- The Department Of Health (Australian Government): http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/xml/rssLatestNews.xml
- Department Of Public Health (Australia – State Level): e.g. Western Australia – http://www.public.health.wa.gov.au/feed/?types=news
- Centers For Disease Control And Prevention – Find many feeds on health-related news and podcasts here: http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/rss.asp
- Medical News Feeds: You can search medical news feeds in major news publications like the NYTimes RSS feeds section (e.g. Health news: http://www.nytimes.com/services/xml/rss/nyt/Health.xml)
- MedicineNet.com – Weekly Health and Medical News Digest: http://www.medicinenet.com/rss/weeklyhealth.xml. You can also select specific RSS feeds here (http://www.medicinenet.com/rss/article.htm) (e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, Asthma, Nutrition, Food, & Recipes, Diet & Weight Management, Prevention & Wellness, Sleep, etc.)
- MedicalNewsToday.com – Medical News Headlines: http://rss.medicalnewstoday.com/featurednews.xml
- MedicalNewsToday.com – You can also select specific feeds here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/newsfeeds-rss (e.g. Lung Cancer, Pulmonary System, Compliance, Flu/Cold/SARS, Water – Air Quality/Agriculture, Mental Health, Tuberculosis, etc.)
You can also search online for general RSS feeds, e.g. “medical rss feeds” or search for feeds on specific subjects, e.g. “skin cancer rss feeds”, “sleep disorders rss feeds”, “IBD rss feeds”, etc.
(Adding RSS feeds can help to improve your health or medical site’s UX.)
Checklists And Charts
Checklists and educational charts are a great way to increase user engagement and add value to your audience. Forms and checklists can provide useful information and resources to perform tasks. They are also great educational tools.
Forms, charts and checklists can cover subjects such as:
- Checklists/forms for booking appointments
- Checklists for post-surgery recovery
- Health checklists and charts for specific medical conditions
- Dental checklists – e.g. first visit, caries prevention program, general dentistry, etc.
- Fitness and nutrition program checklists and charts
- General charts & infographics (e.g. sugar content in different foods, sleep requirements at different stages of development, etc.)
Providing useful online tools, gadgets and applications on your website is a great way to increase visitor engagement and add value to your visitors. Calculators, for example are useful tools for your website. Others could include things like diagnostic tools, or even recipes.
In the next section, we will be discussing a several online tools you can use in your medical or health website using WordPress plugins that can help to improve SEO, increase user engagement and generate more visitors to your business.
This is the end of part one of this step-by-step guide on ways to improve your health or medical-related business web presence.