If you have the time, it is possible to build a practice website from the comfort of your own home. There are now many CMS (Content Management Systems) available that make it easy for you to use a template, add pages and add your own content and images. However, just because it is an available option it doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone.
Also, there are common mistakes that are made by doctors that go down this route without any assistance from a web developer.
Here are 6 common mistakes for you to consider and avoid if you are planning to create your own site.
1) Not following your brand
It is vital to remember that your website is your shop window and needs to leave a good feeling when people visit. One way to reassure people visiting your website, that you are reputable and trustworthy, is to have a solid brand presence.
A brand presence does not just mean a “pretty” logo, it means consistency through all your communications. This involves using compatible fonts, consistency with your colour scheme and keeping your general design and style in-line with your brand values.
Websites that don’t follow Brand Guidelines generally look disjointed and can cause confusion for the visitor when there is too much happening.
- Be consistent with your messaging and style through your site
- Be loyal to your brand values
2) Not planning your Patient Journey in advance
Before you even start designing and developing a website, it is vital to plan your Patient Journey.
A Patient Journey is also referred to as a Site Map and is the layout of pages within your site, whilst also considering the most logical route a website visitor would take if they were browsing.
If you are designing your own site, then to you it will be clear where to find information and how to navigate between pages. However, the sign of an effective website is to also ensure that other people, that have never visited the site before, will also have the same ease of movement.
Some websites over-complicate their page hierarchy which makes it easy for a visitor to get lost, which just causes frustration.
- One way to ensure consistency is to keep headers and footers the same on each page, with a clear navigation menu that doesn’t change.
- It is also useful to figure out the way that your readers can access the information they seek with as few clicks as possible, and integrate the logic into your Site Map.
3) Lack of Calls to Action (CTA’s)
CTA’s are a prompt for the visitor to take action. It could be to download a factsheet, follow a social media channel, subscribe to your newsletter or read the latest blog. It is anything that requires an action and not only keeps visitors moving through the pages of your website, but it also means you can engage with them on a deeper level.
A common mistake of doctors when building their own site is to miss out valuable CTA’s that help you interact.
- CTA’s need to be subtle, non-salesy and positioned in the right places to be most effective
- The more resources you have on your site the more choice you have to integrate CTAs that keep website visitors browsing for longer. This could include regular blog articles, Factsheets, FAQ section, forms and surveys.
4) Information overload
Content is a vital factor when creating a website.
Too much content on the page can really put off visitors even before they start reading. After all, everyone is time poor these days and the thought of having to digest a mini-encyclopaedia to find the answer to a question means people are likely to click away and find a more user-friendly website to help.
- Using bullet points, checklists, headers, quotes and captions can help to make large blocks of text less daunting to the reader.
- Keeping content clean and concise means visitors can easily find what they need.
5) Avoid using medical or technical jargon
As a doctor you will know your anatomical terms and medical jargon, but it is important to remember that your visitors won’t. Always keep in mind the audience when writing and presenting information.
If your visitors simply don’t understand what you are communicating they may become disheartened so it is always best practice to use language that they understand and then provide a link to your contact form, or perhaps one of your blog posts, where they can find out more information.
- Keep language simple and ensure you explain medical jargon
- Imagine you are the reader, with no medical knowledge. How would you receive the information being presented?
6) Too little information
Whilst too much information is dangerous, as it too technical information, so is too little information.
Search engines such as Google use content to understand, via algorithms, what it is you do and the kind of service you offer. If you fill your website with images and don’t have enough copy then this could disadvantage your site in terms of it’s ranking in the search engine.
- The quality of the information you provide is key, as is getting the amount at the correct level.
- The same logic applies when writing the all important blog articles. Ensure they are a good length, high quality, always unique content and are up-too-date and current.