Practice websites: The Good the Bad and the Ugly.

A good clinical website is a bit like love at first site. You know it when you first see it, even if you can’t quite put your finger on why it’s so wonderful. Sometimes, however, love ain’t so grand.

Here are five of the top crimes committed, when it comes to clinicians’ websites.

1. AWOL (Absent Without On Line (presence).

This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s amazing the number of clinicians that we work with who fail to have a website in this day and age. Sometimes they tell themselves that they will ‘save up for it and get around to it later’. This is a big mistake because the quickest way for patients to reach you is via the internet of things.

If you haven’t got an on-line web presence you basically don’t exist. A website is an investment, and something that will grow with you, going forward. It’s therefore not a great idea to have your brother’s thirteen-year-old son knock something up for you on a flaky platform, because it’s hardly going to present you well professionally.

70% of patients will view websites on their mobile device, so it needs to be clean, precise and smart-phone friendly. Hire a professional. You wouldn’t want your baby sitter carrying out your cholecystectomy, now would you?

2. It’s all about Me Me Me!

This is probably the biggest crime committed when it comes to websites. So frequently we see websites that are written for the owner. For some clinicians, it’s a hall of fame for all of those research papers, exotic places they’ve trained at, and weird and wonderful procedures they’ve performed. Orthopaedic surgeons, be particularly aware. Whilst patients are interested in learning about innovative new practices, they are less likely to be excited about your ‘ORIF upper limb morbidity’ audit. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Your website is not meant to please you, or be used as eye candy to show off with to your colleagues. It should be an informative platform for patients. Use language that resonates with them, so let’s bin terms like ‘sub-spine impingement’ and instead talk about groin pain.

3. Rigor mortis.

Is your website engaging and lively in conversation, or, is it an insomniacs paradise? Websites are about appealing to patients on an emotional level, as well as demonstrating your clinical skills. If your copy writing is less Bafta and more boring, it’s time to get some help! Quit the long Latin sentences and instead describe the kind of conditions and problems you can help with. This means using descriptive and more colour full terms that patience can relate to. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them.

Repeat after me …it’s not about me, it’s about them.

4. Couch potato.

There is absolutely no benefit in having an expensive shiny website, if frankly, it’s sitting there on its ar*e. Websites need to serve you, and this means that it should perform several functions. Not only should it be a place where patients can come and gain validation of your skills and expertise, it also needs to be something that gives them a nudge towards action.
This could mean that your copy encourages some kind of change in their behaviour. For example, if you are diabetologist, you might give advice about the best way for them to optimise their glycaemic control. Your website also needs to give them a specific call to action. For instance, it should usher the patient to ‘click here’ to book in to see you/ to connect via an email link /or to share the wonderful news you’re bringing.

5. Jackanory.

No website is ever perfect, but the websites that are most appealing tell stories. Imagine you are a marathon runner who has knee pain close to marathon time. The last thing you want to hear from a clinician is to ‘stop running’. They want to hear that you treat run-mad patients like them and that you get them.

The simplest way to do this is to tell stories about clinical scenarios where patients have benefited.
Think about writing a little vignette, about a case you really loved treating. It could highlight the problem that the patient was experiencing both on a physical level, but also on a personal and emotional level. How was their problem impacting on them? What was preventing them from being able to do what they loved, and how did you help them to turn the situation around?

Let’s use the example of skin. Imagine you are a dermatologist and you specialise in psoriasis. You have an interest in helping patients who feel unhappy about their nails. Put yourself in the patient’s shoes (forgive the pun) and imagine that you are about to go on a summer holiday. You are female and you are going away with a group of girlfriends. You might be feeling a little bit reticent about revealing those gnarly trotters in front of your chums, even though they know and love you well. Imagine how that same patient might feel about the prospect of having to wear spangly new sandals in front of a potential love interest.

Whilst this might be an extreme example, it’s a great way to demonstrate how you made an impact on what really mattered in that patient’s life. Ask yourself what’s really important to them? How have you helped them? Allow these stories to be your passport for demonstrating that you really know your stuff, that you give a damn, and you understand what their problem meant to them.

If your copy writing skills are in need of resuscitation, why not meet with us at Private Practice Ninja, by clicking here