THE BASICS OF GREAT BARIATRIC WEBSITE DESIGN
Before creating or redesigning your website, remember that there is going to be quite a bit of information to organize. Also, remember that over time, your website will be expanding in size and scope. Spend the time, before you redesign, to sort the content into appropriate buckets. This will include listing all the pages you expect to have now and in the future, sorting them into parent and child pages and creating a URL hierarchy that makes sense. Spending the time on this simple process will yield benefits in user interaction and Search Engine Optimization.
There are hundreds of bariatric practices with similar content on the Internet and dozens more general information websites. As a result, few are able to differentiate themselves. Most list the procedures they offer with benefits, risks and potential results. Very few take a unique approach to their content. You can do so by discussing topics that are both interesting and unique or by going into greater detail than your competition. Use your own perspective when discussing procedures and outcomes and offer some examples, when possible.
It’s amazing how the definition of good website design differs between people. You’re a clinician with in-depth knowledge and understanding of metabolics and bariatrics. What you think your visitors need and what they actually need may be two different things. Poll patients to understand how your website speaks to them – and if it’s saying the right thing. Also, when showing off testimonials, use a wide cross-section of patients. Prospective patients want to see the results of people like them along with your other success stories.
This age-old truism comes with a caveat. An inviting picture of your staff or practice can be the difference between your visitors getting a good vs. great feeling on your site. However, stuffing stock photography into your website doesn’t do a whole lot. It may even deter a potential patient who may wonder why there are no pictures of real people and places. But do take advantage of any generic procedure pictures and videos that you have at your disposal – they may be stock, but they are also informational and educational.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is critical to any bariatric practice to be sure. However, when you are creating your website and its content, think about your visitors, not the search bots. Search engines are fine-tuning their algorithms to account for visitor experience as part of their ranking. Traditional SEO tactics are still important, but prepare yourself for the future of search, which is all about the user experience.
Make your CTAs clear but unobtrusive. While the goal is to receive a prospective patient’s information, it is equally important to educate the visitor and position yourself and your practice as an expert in the field. Too much sales-y content can ruin an otherwise excellent resource.
You have the very best focus group at your disposal – your patients. Bariatric patients are a very Internet-savvy bunch and they spend quite a bit of time online, doing their research, before they choose a surgeon or procedure. Spend the time with your patients, develop focus groups and get their honest feedback.