Let’s acknowledge right now—a hospital website redesign is a huge undertaking. More than any other industry, internal politics come into play, with marketers having to deal with individual and department agendas that can easily overshadow what your website must do to perform correctly.
As much as it probably pains you to face it, if your website hasn’t had a makeover in the past two years it needs one—and here are three big reasons why:
- As a health care organization, your fundamental marketing element is your website. It exists to reach, attract and convert potential patients while pleasing and retaining your current patient base.
- Patients are using your website to compare you to your competitors, and will actually choose a provider based on the design, functionality and messaging of your site. A recent Google study titled The Digital Journey to Wellness found that:
- for patients who booked appointments, 83 percent tapped into hospital websites.
- before booking an appointment 61 percent of patients visited two or more hospital sites.
- prospective patients said search was indispensable in their patient journey:
- 21 percent used search to discover a new hospital
- 29 percent used it to evaluate specific features
- 28 percent used it to compare offerings across facilities
- If your site has broken links, takes too long to load or isn’t mobile responsive, patients will turn away and leave your site immediately. It is essential to keep your website up to date, fully functional, and responsive.
Creating a User Friendly, Fully Functional and Well-Messaged Site
Like your HCAHPS scores, it all starts with the patient experience. Before the perfect font is found, before ideas get sketched out, and before the site is laid out, you must research the healthcare consumer you are building it for.
- How will patients be using the site?
- Why will they be using your site?
- What does your competition’s site look like?
- What are they doing right or wrong?
- Which sites (healthcare or not) do you think work exceptionally well?
- What challenges and opportunities does redesigning your site pose?
- What do you want the site to accomplish for the patient?
Once those important questions have been answered—and everyone is in agreement—you can begin determining how the site will look and feel. Decide how the site will look on mobile devices, tablets, and full screen computers. It is much easier to modify the look of the site in these early stages rather than during the development stage. This phase doesn’t need to get overly detailed—placeholders can be used for images, section titles, etc. The color scheme, navigation, and the custom styling of the text, homepage, sub-pages, forms, pop-ups, etc. should be determined in this phase.
Once every leader and department head has had their say on the look and feel of the site, the development phase can begin. Information can be gathered. Re-writing and messaging can be determined and the website itself can be created. All of the individual graphic elements can be gathered from the prototype and used to create a user friendly, well-messaged, functional site.
We’ve been through many hospital website redesigns. We know how to handle the politics. How to run the analytics, how to create a design and content that reflects your brand and how to work together with you to create a site that will convince and convert your visitors into patients.