Website design problems start before code is written

Building a medical website is like laying down a parquet floor. A tiny measurement that’s off at the beginning can turn into a hot mess at the end of a project. Website development is similar. There are a few things that you must get right at the beginning to support a successful end product.

1. Know what you want your site to do. What problems do you want to be solved? Do you need to educate your doctors about your medical device? Do you have service or support issues? Think through all the marketing and sales challenges you have and see if you can support the solution on your website.

2. Understand your audience(s). A common issue with healthcare websites is the need to deliver messages to multiple audiences. Maybe you’re targeting doctors and patients, patients with specific conditions and their caretakers, or CEOs and COOs that need to check-in on large capital equipment purchases. Be precise about the interaction and information these different personas will require from your site.

3. Not establishing keywords in the planning process. Keywords are words or phrases that your prospects will use to find your practice, hospital or medical device through a search engine. For example, a cosmetic? surgery practice would want to place highly on Google results for the keyword phrase “cosmetic surgery Cincinnati,” or “Reconstructive Surgery Cincinnati.” Medical device websites need their own profile of keywords. For example, an equipment manufacturer may need to rank on “ENT exam chairs,” “dental examination chairs,” or a specific model number, “FX920.”

To have effective search engine optimization, i.e. customers being able to find you on the Internet, these keywords need to be built into the structure of the site, links, names, headlines, subheads and other text that is not visible to the viewer of the site. Great keywords or keyword phrases have a good search volume, medium competition, and give you a real opportunity to land on page one of Google search results. Do not pass go until you’ve done your keyword research.


4. Establishing how you’ll measure the success and progress of your site. There isn’t one pat answer for this, but you need to know because it will affect how the budget is allocated for your project. You should be able to find a metric for every item in No. 1, “What you want your website to do.”

If your goal is copious leads from your site, you can follow the number of clicks on a landing page. This begs the question of what will you offer that will entice a qualified visitor to give up their personal information. That has budget implications. If education is a goal, you’ll want to measure the length of time that visitors spend on key pages. Tracking metrics is key to monitoring progress toward your goals and knowing when it’s time for a course correction.

5. Failure to assess the competition. Whether you’re vying for patients or medical device sales, competition on the web can be ruthless. Way before you call in the web group, you need to evaluate the competition. Decide where you can win, where you can hold your own, and where it’s too expensive to compete. If your town has a world-class orthopedic center and it has a successful website, think twice about promoting “hip replacement” via SEO. The following are good things to learn about your competitors:

  • What keywords and phrases are they using?
  • What features do they have on their site?
  • How would you evaluate the site’s copy and design?
  • Is it easy or difficult to navigate?
  • Run a load time test on tools
  • Can you work backward and guess their overall marketing strategy?
  • How do the actual strengths and weaknesses of the hospital compare to their website?
  • Where are your best opportunities for stealing eyeballs?

Just like good food, successful websites need the right prep and the right ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the Big 5!

Learn more about web development at Biotica.