Web Design for Doctors: Design Services that Get Patients
Learn how to design a beautiful website that attracts patients, shares their story with the world and is easy to update — all while maintaining peace of mind.
Having a web presence is important, no matter your industry. Whether you own a retail company, restaurant, or medical practice, an eye-catching, optimized website will help attract new clients. For doctors, an attractive, informative website can help reach potential patients and help them understand your services.
Even the best doctor cannot rely solely on word of mouth to build your practice. Here we highlight medical website designs that improve the user experience and help to land new patients.
Where to Start
To get you started, many website builders today offer templates that include medical website designs. You don’t have to have experience in HTML or web design to create a custom website.
Website builders vary in their ease of use and level of customization.
Building a Content Management System (CMS) based website using WordPress will have a learning curve up front, but allows you to create a complete custom website that fits your practice.
Choosing a website builder like GoDaddy is less customizable but still allows you to create a visually compelling website with little web development skills. Along with your choice of website templates, these builders also offer services like online booking, bill pay, and location and parking information. Both CMS-based and other website builders provide the tools to create a high-quality homepage that builds on your brand and web presence.
Elements of Effective Doctor Website Design
Medical website design is similar to other industries. Certain elements help you get what you want from your site and give new patients the information they seek.
The best websites relate to your business’s look and feel. Make sure the color scheme is consistent with any logos or literature you already have developed. Creating a uniform tone across all platforms will help build your brand and make your medical center more recognizable.
Your initial landing page or homepage should set the tone for your website. Make sure that it is easy to navigate to different screens and to find important information.
An effective homepage will also help you to build your subscribers. Consider adding a contact form to collect email addresses and phone numbers of site visitors.
Whether it be busy schedules or general anxiety, many patients today look to book their appointments online. Having a “Find A Doctor’ function allows new patients to search for doctors within your medical center and find medical professionals who best fit their needs or availability.
Today, most people searching for anything are using their cell phones for it. Smartphones and tablets have replaced computers and laptops in most homes, so you should make adjustments so that your website is easily navigable on a smartphone.
Most website building services today have an option to create a responsive design that recognizes which device a person is visiting from and adjusts the format for the device.
Ensuring You Are HIPAA Compliant
A healthcare website that also manages protected health information (PHI) should maintain HIPAA compliance on your website. If you plan to collect a patient’s name, phone number, and other personal information to schedule appointments, you need a HIPAA compliant website. This also applies if you plan to store or transmit PHI.
Some popular website builders like WIX and Squarespace are not currently HIPAA compliant, but you can still find popular, easy to use builders that are. Here are the top HIPAA compliant websites to build your medical website.
- HIPAA Vault
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
While a basic WordPress package is not HIPAA compliant, there are steps you can take to confirm your WordPress account to these standards. Host your WordPress site through a HIPAA compliant hosting service, and ensure that safeguards are in place to protect private information by verifying access, audit, and integrity controls.
There are also easy checks you can do to make your WordPress account HIPAA compliant.
- Create strong passwords and change them frequently to increase security
- Use additional security plugins
- Ensure all plugins are from trusted sources and up-to-date
- Store your online PHI outside of WordPress
- Create measures to properly vet new accounts
Maintaining a HIPAA compliant website will prevent legal issues and keep patients at ease, knowing that their personal information is protected.
Increasing Site Traffic
Building an informative and safe website is only half of it. Once your site is up and running, you need to attract potential patients.
Search Engine Optimization
Building your website for search engine optimization (SEO) bumps it up in search results on Google and other search engines. Many website builders have SEO tools built into the packages that they offer. However, there are different ways to increase traffic to your site.
While having a website for your medical practice may not require you to create a blog, having a constant flow of relevant information helps maintain an online presence, increasing your SEO and driving traffic to your page. Use your blog to provide helpful patient education, new technologies, or treatments in your field, or highlight your staff.
Blogs and other internet marketing strategies like videos, podcasts, and infographics can all easily integrate into your medical website design providing your site visitors with information that is easy to digest and promotes your practice.
If you already have a large following on social media channels like Facebook or YouTube, consider linking them with your website. There are also ways to increase your SEO by building your Facebook page and linking it to your website. Depending on the age range, some users may also search for a medical practice on Facebook rather than Google.
While you can include a testimonial plugin on your website, social media channels like Facebook make it easier for existing patients to give real-time testimonials of your practice and reach those looking for the services you offer.
There are so many social media platforms to choose from, but you should only select the ones that make sense for your medical center and that you plan to update frequently. Search engines rank by relevance, so inactive accounts will not help drive traffic to your pages and website.
Doctor website design is essential to help you reach new and existing patients, and it is easier than ever to create your own page. Hosting and building services provide customizable website templates that you can match to your logo and color scheme.
Today’s website design also provides security and office management plugins that help streamline your scheduling and billing as well as SEO tools to increase your site traffic. Take advantage of these modern design services that get patients.
Here is some additional information on website building for healthcare providers.
Do Website Hosting Services Offer Email Services?
Many website hosting services also provide email hosting. Some website builders like GoDaddy provide hosting through Microsoft Office 365, while others integrate with Gmail. Most email hosting services are offered at an additional cost, so make sure to check your plan before you sign up for email hosting.
Can I Switch Website Hosts
Whether you are looking for a discounted plan or additional customizable design tools, you may want to switch your website host. This can be done but maybe more challenging, depending on who your current account is with. If you host your domain through a third party registrar, switching websites may be more straightforward.
You should be able to export all of your content from your website to your computer or hard drive so that you can import it to your new host. Hosts like WordPress make it easy for you to export your content and move it to different builders.
Does My Website Have to be HIPAA Compliant?
While HIPAA doesn’t cover compliance regarding websites specifically, any form of electronic capture or transmission of protected health information must comply with the HIPAA security rule to ensure integrity and confidentiality. Therefore, it is a best practice to ensure your website is HIPAA compliant since some helpful features like appointment setting, bill payment, and record transfer require the transmission of protected information.
How Do I Design My Website to Better Display on Smartphones?
Most website designing services have responsive design features that change depending on the screen they are being viewed. Website builders also typically have different website preview options that allow you to view your website on a desktop browser vs. a smartphone or tablet.
One of the easiest ways to determine if your website is mobile-friendly is to view it from your own phone. Perform a few dry runs of your website from your smartphone to make sure that you can easily navigate the website template, features, and buttons.
How Do I Display Videos on My Website?
Videos are a great way to visualize the information you are presenting. Showing patients how a new piece of technology or a new technique will work is often easier than writing it down. Traditional website builders require you to embed the HTML code of your video, so it appears on your website, but more user-friendly builders have created ways around this.
Most website builders have plugins that allow you to link videos from YouTube or Vimeo or upload files directly to a stored library. Depending on your plan, you may have a limit to your storage capacity for elements like photos and videos.
Can Website Design Impact SEO?
Information and words are not the only elements that impact SEO. Page speed and bounce rates can positively or negatively affect where your page shows up in search results. Google now indicates site speed as one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.
Most website building services have built-in code optimization that diminishes crash rates and improves site speed.
To help improve site speeds, make sure that your medical website design only includes optimized images and photos, minimizing colors on graphics and putting all visuals in the right file format. Upload graphics as PNG files and pictures as JPG files for the best results.
How Often Should I Update My Website Design?
A consistent stream of fresh content will improve your search result ranking. This is why elements like blogs are important to include on your website. You can also drive people to your website by having blog updates in regular e-newsletters that you email to subscribers.
If you do not have time to update the rest of your website’s design and layout, try to use evergreen photos, images, and information on your homepage that will not look dated after an extended period.