Wednesday
Mar082017

Rural Hospital Website Checklist

Websites are among the most important components of a rural hospital’s marketing strategy. For many patients, they are a major source of information about your facility and medical staff, and they often serve as the first impression of your services.

We all know how crucial first impressions are in bringing in new patients, so optimizing your hospital’s website is very important to the success of your hospital’s marketing strategy.

A poorly designed website sends the wrong message about your hospital. If a patient encounters an ugly or confusing website, just imagine what they will expect to find at your hospital.

Would you describe your website as “clean and simple”?

Cluttered websites are not only ugly—they’re also confusing to navigate. Cutting extra text and graphics will help ensure that your website is easy for patients to use. Think about the most important elements—contact information, location, hours. That information should be in an obvious place that’s easy to find.

There is a tendency to take a democratic approach to building a website. Each department has an interest in having its content front and center, but cluttering your homepage can spell disaster. Instead, focus on providing an easy-to-manage place for your key services. A “clean and simple” philosophy for Web design will help you focus on usability. Your patients will thank you!

Have you updated your content recently?

Fresh content is critical for any website, and it’s especially important for healthcare providers. When users visit your website, they should be able to find up-to-date information about your services, upcoming events and news from your hospital. Broken links, doctors who have left, and announcements for events or holidays that have passed are a clear signal that you aren’t interested enough in your Web presence.

Is your website easy to find through search engines?

Though you may be the only hospital in town, search-engine optimization (SEO) is still important for ensuring that people are finding your website, and for finding you rather than the larger hospitals down the highway. You can make a lot of tweaks to your site to help search engines such as Google and Bing find it, but fresh contest is the most critical element. Keeping your site updated will help keep it closer to the top of search-engine results.

Is your website mobile-ready?

Mobile devices are quickly overtaking desktop computers in the United States. This trend will continue as phones and tablets become the primary way people get their Web content. Mobile optimization is no longer an option.

Web designers are moving toward responsive design to ensure that websites look great across all platforms. Responsive design ensures that websites can automatically resize to fit different devices—from the smallest smartphones to the biggest tablets. If your website isn’t mobile-ready, it’s time for a redesign.

Does your website fit your overall marketing strategy?

A website should not be treated like an afterthought. It’s an important component of your hospital’s marketing strategy and should thus be treated with a high level of attention. Make sure that your website speaks with the same voice as your other marketing material and complements your other tactics.

Taking your website seriously and putting some effort into optimize the user experience will improve your reputation online and your marketing effectiveness. If you are ready for a redesign, talk to SRJ Marketing Communications.

SRJ’s Web team has years of experience working with hospitals to develop websites and online marketing tools that work. For a free consultation, please call 528-214-5775 for a free consultation.

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