The 5 Must-Haves for Website Success
Posted by Bill Esteb on Mar 28th 2022
(Editor's note: This was an article requested by and published in Chiropractic Economics.)
If you want to excel online, you'll want to see your website from two perspectives. Does your practice website delight prospective new patients? Does it address their concerns better than a competitor's website? Does it supply sufficient trust signals to reassure Google?
Without turning you into a webmaster, here are five website must-haves for your chiropractic practice. Deploy these strategies if you want to maximize growth and attract more potential patients.
Must-Have #1: Mobile-First Design
These days, designers are adjusting to the idea of mobile-first design because more than 50% of website visits are on mobile devices.
What does mobile-first design mean? Be mindful of the most important elements:
Responsive Design – Your website needs to sense the screen size of the visitor and automatically adapt. Visitors don't want to scroll left to right on a mobile device.
Fast Loading Time – How quickly your website loads has become a ranking factor with Google. Long loading times can negatively impact your visibility in search results.
Simple Navigation – The user experience is increasingly important—and difficult when you're working with very little real estate. Helping visitors find what they want must be easy and intuitive.
Legible Font Size – Besides conforming to the visitor's screen size, the design must offer up text that is 12-point or larger for readability.
Tap Target Spacing – Do clickable words and buttons have sufficient spacing to avoid unintentional responses?
A Working Call Button – Naturally, whenever your phone number is displayed, clicking on it should initiate a phone call.
A mobile-friendly design requires thoughtful discipline, creative design, and lightweight programming so that your website produces an optimal user experience.
Must-Have #2: Demonstrate E-A-T and Y.M.Y.L.
Formally announced in 2019, Google added two refinements to their search algorithm that directly affect chiropractors.
Y.M.Y.L., which stands for Your Money or Your Life, refers to websites that provide information that could "potentially impact the future happiness, health, or wealth of users." These include sites that offer financial advice or healthcare information, like yours. Such websites receive extra scrutiny. Google has a 160-page set of written guidelines to help actual humans rate the veracity of the information using E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.
Expertise – Make sure your website describes your educational achievements and details any special training you've received, such as advanced studies or certifications that make you an expert in your field. Don't overlook your annual continuing education. Do you have high levels of success with certain types of cases? Or a special protocol? Provide proof you're an expert.
Authoritativeness – A related criterion is presenting yourself as a knowledgeable, reliable, and consistent authority. This is where you might include the number of years in practice, the number of adjustments delivered, or perhaps even how many patients you've helped. Believable testimonials and relevant case studies can help make your case. This isn't about boasting but rather substantiating your credentials and being seen as a leader.
Trust – This is the essential quality that patients, as well as Google's quality raters, are looking for. Naturally, offer proof whenever possible for any claims you make. Use outbound trust links to corroborate the information you offer, such as technique websites, your chiropractic college, or other sites that are well-recognized authorities.
Must-Have #3: Reviews
This is an obvious must-have, since reviews are a form of social proof often trusted as much as a referral from a friend. Be sure to claim your listing with Yelp and other review sites.
The key is to have a consistent flow of reviews. Slow and steady wins the race. That means using a systematic approach so you're always getting fresh reviews.
Naturally, don't solicit reviews from non-patients or offer prizes or compensation. And while you may have to teach patients how to leave a review, never provide a computer in your office for such a purpose.
Must-Have #4: Local SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for a local business is quite different than it is for a national company or recognized brand.
Start by claiming your Google Business Profile. This profile may even be more important than having a website! Complete the listing, confirm your practice location, upload your logo, and supply your practice hours, photos, and other details to fully complete your listing.
The other local SEO strategy is to obtain high-quality, relevant links back to your website.
Think of each link from a radiology group, attorney, or local allied healthcare provider as a "vote" that verifies your trustworthiness. The objective is to reassure Google that it should risk its reputation on yours.
Must-Have #5: Conversion
If your website is going to be an effective marketing tool for your practice, it's important that it converts visitors into new patients. Simply checking the box "have website" isn't enough. Here are some of the most important elements of high-converting websites.
Know Your Audience – Simply put, your website isn't for you. It needs to create an emotional connection with your conception of an ideal patient. Trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for obscurity.
Practice Accessibility – Also, be mindful of the large percentage of people who have low vision and other disabilities. Incorporate proper contrast ratios between the text and backgrounds to make your content accessible.
Don't Make Me Think – Use well-accepted conventions, such as placing your logo in the upper left corner with a link to your home page. Place your contact page in the upper right corner. Use contrasting colors for linkable text.
Answer a New Patient's Questions – Anticipate what a new patient would want to know. That includes those who have been to chiropractors before. Ask your front desk CA the most common questions new patients ask. Then, make sure those questions are answered on your website.
Make It Browsable – Make the text easy to scan. Large blocks of gray text are an invitation to skip to something more easily accessible. Use short sentences. Be mindful of multi-syllable words that can make reading more difficult. The rule of thumb is to aim for website text written at an 8th grade reading level. Use short paragraphs, subheadings, pull quotes, and other techniques to help visitors find what they're looking for.
Call to Action – Make sure there is a suggested action on every page. What do you want the visitor to do next? Learn more about what to expect on the first visit? Schedule an appointment? Subscribe to your newsletter? Read patient testimonials? Lead the visitor.
Use Photography – One of the most powerful conversion elements is custom photography. Be sure to show "people" over "things." And avoid the "neutron bomb effect." Empty reception rooms and empty adjusting tables may work for a spread in Architectural Digest but not on a practice website.
These five website must-haves have changed over the years as the Internet has evolved and matured. They are likely to change again in the future. Keeping up with new trends in website design is a full-time job. It requires a trusted digital marketing partner who can provide leadership, trusted advice, and continual updates. May I recommend our sister company Perfect Patients?