No more ugly websites, please!

I am still surprised by how many ugly websites are floating around the Web. I’m not talking about abandoned sites from the 1990s, but active websites used by small hospitals. Your website is often the first thing people see when they look for your healthcare facility online. If it’s poorly designed, confusing or too old and clunky, just imagine what kind of images it will create in the minds of those who are considering your hospital.

A bad website speaks volumes. If it looks amateur, visitors will expect to find that kind of service at your hospital. Remember that in today’s market, even a rural hospital is being compared with the big boys in the big cities.

Focus on simplicity and functionality first

We live in an incredibly visual culture, and that is even more true online. There is no need to go overboard with flourishes or flashy graphics. No one is going to your website to look at an animated introduction or to check out all the “cool” clip art. Keeping things simple and putting the most important information in a place that is easy to find prevent a lot of headaches. If you don’t have a big budget for building a boutique website, stay simple. It’s better to be minimalist and functional than to try to overcompensate.

Go mobile

More than half of U.S. Web traffic now comes through mobile devices. Desktop computers are quickly going the way of the dinosaur for a lot of regular consumers. That is why it is so important to ensure that your website looks great on mobile devices. I’m not just talking about your iPhones. With so many shapes and sizes of mobile devices, websites need to be responsive to different types of phones and tablets.

The best way to ensure that your website looks great on any device is to use a website that takes advantage of responsive design. These websites automatically resize themselves based on what kinds of devices are accessing them. If your website is stuck in the pre-mobile days, it’s time for an overhaul.

Content is the reason why you have a website

Most people who drop by your website are looking for a specific piece of information. Your Web designer has a responsibility to make sure that important information is easy to find. Phone numbers, information about doctors, descriptions of services and hours of operation should be easy to find for anyone who opens your website.

And don’t forget to update regularly. I’ve seen too many hospital websites that haven’t been updated in years. Broken links, doctors listed who have moved on and announcements of events that have already taken place are endlessly frustrating and tell your potential patients that you don’t pay attention to detail.

A website is just one tool in your marketing kit, but it’s an important one. A website is one of the first things—if not the first thing—that people turn to when they look up your hospital. If your site looks disorganized or is simply outdated, potential patients will get an image in their heads about what kind of hospital you run.

Quality is just as critical for your marketing tools as it is for your nursing staff. If you are ready for a fresh start online, talk to SRJ. The Web team at SRJ builds effective, mobile-ready websites that look great and provide the right content. We specialize in Web solutions for rural hospitals, providing cost-effective Web designs that won’t embarrass your marketing team. To learn more about Web design at SRJ, please call 214-528-5775 for a free consultation.