New patients often use Google or another search engine to find a healthcare provider, so having a doctor website is essential.
Of course, you already know this. The thing is, not any website will do. Here’s a look at 10 medical website mistakes commonly made by doctors or their web agencies.
Cure these common doctor website ailments
1. The website is not secure
In July 2018, Google revealed that Chrome now marks all websites not encrypted with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) as “not secure.” If your site has this designation, patients could be hesitant to share any of their personal information by way of your website.
Google advises all site owners to shift from HTTP to HTTPS to safeguard users’ connections, no matter what the content. When data is sent using HTTPS, it is secured through Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which provides encryption, data integrity, and authentication.
Read: 3 things to know when upgrading your doctor website to HTTPS
2. The URLs are nonsensical
The URLs on your website serve as a guide for patients and search engines. So, if a back pain management service page URL, for example, looks like what you see below, then you’re confusing everyone.
A better URL option for this page is:
When creating URLs, a few common standards to follow include using keywords, following a consistent structure, and making them easy to read.
3. The site is not responsive
About three out of four people (77 percent) own a smartphone, and 73 percent have a desktop or laptop computer, according to Pew Research Center. Since patients have many ways to access the internet, you need a responsive site — i.e., one that adjusts its layout according to browser window size.
Thankfully, you can convert your existing website to a responsive design. You’ll need to choose a framework and convert the code, so if you’re not familiar with this, consider hiring an expert.
Related: What Google’s mobile-first index means for doctor websites
4. Webpage metadata is not optimized
Technically speaking, optimized metadata won’t boost a page’s search ranking on its own. However, it can allow it to garner more clicks, which will increase its ranking.
If your metadata isn’t optimized, fix it by incorporating keywords and phrases used on the page into the description. This will help patients searching for these terms understand that your page has what they need.
5. Images are too large
Large, high-resolution images add color to physician websites, but they also slow download time. Results of a Google study revealed 53 percent of mobile site visits were abandoned when a page took longer than three seconds to load.
Avoid this by using photo software that automatically compresses your image to an ideal size for the web. Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test the page and see how fast it loads.
6. Images are missing alt text
If the images on your website for doctor services don’t contain alt text — i.e., an HTML code that defines its appearance and purpose — they’re invisible to search engines. Alt tags aren’t visible on your site, but they let the search engine know what the image contains.
Alt text can be added by clicking directly on the image in the page copy of most content management systems.
Check out: 3 healthcare website optimizations you didn’t know you needed
7. Services are lumped together on one page
You want your doctor website to inform visitors and search engines, so create separate pages for each service. This allows you to use more specific keywords for each service and have defined URLs that boost your search ranking.
Taking this route also allows you to provide more detail on each service, thus increasing your ability to engage patients.
Also see: 5 pages your medical website needs
8. The site is missing calls-to-action (CTAs)
Patients visit your website because they’re looking for a doctor who offers a certain service. If they can’t figure out how to get in touch with you, they might move on to the next provider.
Avoid being passed up by placing clear calls to action (CTAs) on your site, such as a “Make an appointment” button on each page or a “Call us now” button for mobile users.
9. The site is missing patient reviews
About 70 percent of patients say positive reviews are extremely or very important when choosing a healthcare provider, according to PatientPop.
If you’re not currently collecting patient reviews, change this by sending automated patient satisfaction surveys that ask patients to share their feedback about your practice. Then, feature that feedback on your site. This will make your practice appear more credible and trustworthy.
Look: Common mistakes doctors make when requesting patient reviews
10. The site is static
A static site contains content that doesn’t change unless you update it yourself. Content is delivered in a basic form without any new activity.
A static site doesn’t allow you to add pages by publishing new blog posts. Blogging on a regular basis can help position you as a thought leader in your field and also boost your search ranking. So, although static sites are easy to maintain, their benefits are limited.
Don’t panic if your medical website contains one or more of the errors noted here. Now that you’re aware of these issues, simply make the changes needed to positively impact website traffic and conversions.
Have you determined a site redesign is in order? Check out the blog post “5 tips to get the most out of your medical website design” to ensure your updated site is everything you want and need.