How to ensure your website adds value to your business
Able to generate leads, brand awareness and increased customer engagement, a well-designed website can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses across a variety of industries, including healthcare.
As a business owner, quite often building and maintaining a website can be seen as something you don’t have the time or resources for. However, any investment in your website (and digital marketing activities) can – and should – be a key driver in business growth.
Your customers have more choice than ever before – with the ability to jump online and research your competitors instantly. This means it’s integral for you to create an engaging and effective online experience that grabs a potential customer’s attention.
What can a website provide?
A website can help you:
- Increase your brand recognition
- Provide a better customer experience
- Market your business online.
Having a strong digital presence means that you can also reach your customers in a more consistent and engaging manner. And increased engagement and site visits allows you to educate your customers, positioning you as a thought leader.
To develop an effective website that’s able to do all of these things, there are a number of ingredients that a website should include.
Have a clear purpose and understand what your customers want
Before diving in, it’s important to understand what business problems a website can solve, and where it fits in with your overall digital strategy. Is it to provide detailed medical information and position your company as a thought leader in healthcare? Promote your products or services? Or do you want to simply take patient bookings?
It’s vital that your website has a well-defined purpose in order to speak to your customers clearly and with authority.
As a part of this strategy, your customer experience (CX) needs to be a priority. This means understanding who your customers are and what they want.
Planning and designing your website with an audience-first mindset will ensure that you can clearly address their needs from the get-go. Solving your customers’ needs is the perfect lead generation tool, helping funnel potential patients towards your solutions that fit exactly what they need.
Ensure your website is accessible to users of all abilities and situations
For all businesses, but particularly in healthcare, you need to make sure your website functionality and content is accessible to everyone, whatever their ability or situation.
Understand the website experience for people with limited abilities
This includes those who use assistive technologies, such as screen readers, speech recognition software, Braille terminals and alternative keyboards.
Some key elements of website design that can affect accessibility are:
- Alt-text for images, which can be accessed by screen readers to describe an image
- Clear colour contrast to distinguish different web page sections. This can be checked via services such as Web Aim’s Contrast Checker
- Heading structures; ensure you provide successful page navigation with only one H1 (as a page title), followed by H2’s and so on.
To check your website’s accessibility levels and make sure users of all abilities can access your site, use Wave’s Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.
Accommodate for those with a cognitive impairment
When developing any aspect of your website, you need to also accommodate for users with a cognitive impairment. This might include (but is not limited to):
- Memory deficits (such as Alzheimer’s or dementia)
- Attention deficits
- Problem-solving deficits
- Reading, linguistic and verbal comprehension deficits (such as dyslexia).
One such consideration is making sure that the readability level of your copy is between grades six and eight – so it can be understood by everyone. A few ways to achieve this score are by keeping language simple (use plain English) and sentences short. Several handy tools to measure readability are Flesch-Kincaid (in-built with Microsoft Word) and Hemingway.
Using supplemental media, such as illustrations, icons, video and audio has the potential to greatly enhance the accessibility of web content for people with cognitive disabilities.
Consider how and where your users are viewing your website
At present, the vast majority of web users do so via a mobile device (approximately 70%). Which is why it’s important to consider how and where your users are viewing your content. Perhaps they’re on a mobile phone while using public transport, or sitting on the couch at home with the TV on in the background. Either way, to ensure the best – and most accessible – experience possible, you should:
- Make sure your website utilises responsive design i.e. it resizes depending on the device it’s accessed on
- Ensure any videos have subtitles or a transcript – preferably both
- Break up any large blocks of copy, as they can be difficult to read on a small screen.
Use relative visual content
With opinions formed by website visitors within 50 milliseconds, it’s integral that you have some eye-catching visual content on your website.
According to Venngage, in 2018 the percentage of businesses who use visuals in their content 91-100 per cent of the time rose to 56.3 per cent – a 40 per cent increase from 2016.
Visual content may include infographics, authentic imagery or even videos. Videos in particular can help those in healthcare showcase their various solutions, identity and brand story in an engaging way.
They can also provide a human element, as shown by the St Andrew’s Hospital, where the first image you see is a photo of the doctors tasked with looking after their patients. Customers appreciate human and authentic experiences, with this being a perfect example.
These attractive visual elements can grab a consumer’s attention quicker and keep them on your website longer. Any visual element needs to be mindful of people with limited abilities, such as low vision, as well as responsive design, as previously discussed. Ensure all images are marked up with correct alt tags (text descriptions of the image), so they can be read by assistive technologies, such as a screen reader.
Understand where your site fits in with your broader digital marketing strategy
To generate consistent value from your website, it’s integral that your messaging and branding across all platforms are the same. If your website presents something different to your brochure, which is again different to your brick-and-mortar branding, this sends mixed messages to your consumer.
With consistent messaging, you’re able to build and sustain a healthcare brand across all marketing and client-facing touchpoints.
From the pamphlets in your waiting areas, to your social media accounts and back to your website, your branding should represent your business’ personality, and what your services can do for your customers.
Future-proof for emerging tech
While your website should be optimised for use across all devices, including mobile, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s coming next – like voice search, for example.
According to ComScore, half of all online searches will be voice-based by 2020. In a healthcare setting, these voice searches might include booking appointments, contacting hospitals for further information or seeking specific medical solutions from a healthcare provider.
This means your content needs to be optimised for voice search, which involves using more natural language in your copy. Voice searches are conducted with real questions, such as “Alexa, where can I find an x-ray clinic in Southbank?”, rather than someone typing into Google: “X-ray Southbank”.
Ensuring your website has the right long-tail keywords needed for voice searches is another way you can ensure your website adds value, future-proofing your healthcare service for emerging tech trends.
How do I implement these website solutions?
While building a successful website may seem like a chore, it is a proven resource that can generate value for your healthcare business. Not sure where to start? A few quick win opportunities are:
At Tadashi, we focus on a holistic approach to the problems you’re trying to solve – of which, a website is just one element. To have a chat about the best solution for your healthcare business, get in touch today.