website design tipsDuring this month’s marketing-themed month, in addition to covering overall marketing strategies, we’ve focused pretty heavily on the importance of developing an online presence when it comes to reaching potential patients. There’s a reason for that: it’s 2013—and in a blink of an eye, it’ll be 2014...and 2015...and, well, you get the idea. Time is moving forward, not backward, and in our ever-progressing technology-centric world, it’s going to become more and more crucial to present yourself and your practice well both offline and on.

Today, we’re going to talk about another way—quite possibly the most important way—that you can improve your online presence: improving your website. After all, that’s where future patients—and even current ones—will go to learn more about your practice, your services, and you. It’s often the first impression you’ll make—even before you get to make one in person. It’s where—and how—your patients will first decide whether or not you’re legitimate and worthy of their trust and hard-earned dollars. In other words, it can be a business maker or breaker. With this in mind, it’s time to design—or redesign—your website with these five helpful tips and tricks (modified from Advia Internet, an Ohio-based digital marketing and strategy firm):  

1. Clean Layout

Before you select a layout for your website, make sure you know who you are as a business—your brand identity, essentially—and make sure you have a marketing plan. Then, choose accordingly. And while you might be tempted to start experimenting with some crazy, flashy layouts, remember, you are first and foremost a medical professional—and your website should represent that. Aim for a clean layout—not boring or stodgy—that’s simple, classy, and, as Advia points out, compelling. “An attractive layout design catches the attention of visitors and maintains it. It’s what keeps visitors exploring further into the website,” the article reads.

2. Balanced Design

Remember the saying that everything’s better in moderation? Well, that applies to your website, too. Too many colors, too many interactive features, too many fonts—too much of anything, really—can completely throw off the aesthetics of your website. So focus on balance. Choose a font color (and maybe one accent color) that stands up well against your background color (black text on a white background is arguably the best for readability); choose a font style (and maybe one header style) that captures your personality but also is easy to read; and use images and videos to tease and captivate, not overwhelm. And please, for the love of all things pretty, do not use comic sans or any other super stylized font, more than two font colors or styles, or anything that blinks—ever.

3. Organized Content

Ultimately, the point of your website is to communicate relevant, well-written information about your practice and your field of expertise (think blog) to your audience. As Advia points out: “Whereas the look of a website design welcomes visitors, it is the content that keeps them around. A web design can look great, but unless it presents content in an inviting manner, it is meaningless.” Some of Advia’s best practices for content include:

  • Using “big, catchy headings” and “brief paragraphs separated with subheadings and bullet points”
  • Categorizing and displaying content in a way that will make sense to a new viewer
  • Being consistent in your content presentation
  • Creating content that is accessible quickly with “minimal clicks”

Put Me Back Together  also recommends keeping content fresh: “There is nothing more detrimental to physical therapists than having outdated information on their websites.” You never want your site advertising services, prices, hours, or locations that are no longer available or accessible. Furthermore, content that looks outdated may lead potential patients to believe you’re no longer in business. Put Me Back Together advises practices to “take a hard look at your physical therapy website [at least] every month to ensure that all of the information and services you offer are up to date.”

And while we’re on the subject of content, make sure you’ve got SEO covered.

4. Easy Navigation

You’ve chosen your layout, created a balanced design, and organized your content. Now it’s time to consider how your audience will move around your site. “Without navigation and ease of accessibility, a web[site] is just a pretty page,” writes Advia. “Navigation acts as a map, directing visitors through the site based on their interests.”

According to a Search Engine Watch article titled “25 Design Best Practices for Your Small Business Web Site,” you can make navigation easier for your audience by placing the content you feel is most important (including calls to action like registration or sign-up buttons) above the fold (the portion of a webpage you immediately see without needing to scroll). Why? Because a lot of the time they won’t scroll—and if they do, you may have already lost their attention. The more work a reader has to do to access information, the less likely it is that he or she will ever do so.

Search Engine Watch also recommends including a static site map with descriptive text to ensure that at any point within your website, viewers can find where they wish to go next. And speaking of finding things, make sure that you provide your audience with self-explanatory navigation tabs and a way to get back to your homepage, like linking your header logo.

5. Working Features

This last part should go without saying, but just in case: make sure your website is functioning—links and all. That means performing regular site maintenance and quality checks as well as asking for feedback from your audience. As Advia points out, “functionality also applies to how the website functions across all browsers, computer operating systems, and mobile devices. It must work perfectly and look great on older and current versions of browsers and be mobile-friendly.” Emphasis on mobile-friendly here. As David Straight and Put Me Back Together (PMBT) point out, mobile-friendly websites are essential for PTs. “In the three months leading up to March 2012, more than 106 million American adults owned a smartphone, according to a comScore report,” said Straight. “In the United States, nearly ninety percent of adults and over half of all teenagers have cell phones with Internet capability,” pointed out PMBT. So while you’re building and designing your website, don’t forget to check its functionality using different browsers and operating systems. After all, what looks wonderful on Mozilla might look horrendous on Safari and even wonkier on an iPhone.

There you have it: five tips and tricks for better website design. And there are plenty more where that came from. Seriously. Just Google “website design best practices.” But before you do, here’s one more tip: hire a web designer. Trust me, getting an expert involved from the beginning is well worth the money—and just think of how many headaches you’ll avoid in the process.

Modern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapist - Regular BannerModern Marketing Decoded: A Guide for Rehab Therapist - Small Banner
  • Beam Me Up: Why Your Clinic Needs a Website and How to Make One Image

    articleMar 9, 2015 | 5 min. read

    Beam Me Up: Why Your Clinic Needs a Website and How to Make One

    “Internet: the final frontier.” Okay, so outer space might not be the most accurate metaphor for the world wide web (may it live long and prosper ). However, if your clinic doesn’t have a website , my stretch-of-a-comparison might ring true for you on some level. For instance, if your clinic lacks online presence, its search results might closely resemble a black hole—seemingly non-existent and nearly impossible to detect. But don’t panic; you’re not getting sucked into …

  • Write Start: Intro to Website Copy Creation Image

    articleJul 13, 2016 | 10 min. read

    Write Start: Intro to Website Copy Creation

    Earlier this month, WebPT’s Courtney Lefferts told you everything you need to know about designing a physical therapy website . Today, we’re going to discuss filling in that design with captivating copy, persuasive prose, and warm words that will instill confidence in your audience about you, your practice, and your services. When done write (right), website copy can convert perusing potential patients into contacting customers. When done wrong, it can send readers running for the hills—straight to …

  • The Complete Guide to Creating a Physical Therapy Clinic Website Image

    downloadJul 1, 2019

    The Complete Guide to Creating a Physical Therapy Clinic Website

    Clinic websites are now a cornerstone of modern marketing—and every rehab therapy clinic needs an established and easily navigated online presence. But building a website is easier said than done. Between all the jargon (Hosting? SEO? Domains?) and the opportunistic companies that gatekeep website creation services, the whole process can be confusing, stressful, and downright frustrating.  So, if you want to learn how to create a fresh, new website for your PT clinic—no fuss, no muss, no …

  • 3 Keys to Establishing Website Confidence Image

    articleNov 11, 2016 | 4 min. read

    3 Keys to Establishing Website Confidence

    In today’s digital landscape, users are less forgiving of poor web construction than ever before – and for good reason. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of false or irrelevant information on the web, and it’s just as accessible and pervasive as the truly beneficial, crucial facts that users want to find. Thus, it’s critical that your physical therapy website begin establishing user confidence from the moment someone lands on one of your pages. Consider, for instance, the structure …

  • How to Design a Physical Therapy Website Like a Pro Image

    articleJul 1, 2016 | 6 min. read

    How to Design a Physical Therapy Website Like a Pro

    If you’ve spent much time on the Internet—which I’m guessing you have because you’re reading this article—you know there’s a website for almost everything. And when I say “everything,” I really mean it. Case in point: bees, bees, bees . But, I digress. My point is that to get your brand out there—yes, even in health care—you have to be visible online. And that means you must have a company website. Now, creating your own site might …

  • articleSep 20, 2013 | 7 min. read

    Death to Yellow Pages and Four Ways To Help Your Customers Find You Online

    Today's blog post come from WebPT Digital Marketing Specialist and SEO wizard Andy Rysdam. Thanks, Andy! I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. “$1,200 a month? Are you getting anything out of it?” I replied. "Well, not that I know of, but all my competitors are there, so I need to be, too.” This was my first big moment of surprise in helping private practice clinics. I was still new to consulting (this was 2007), and …

  • It Only Takes 3 Simple Steps: The Physical Therapist’s Guide to SEO Strategy Image

    articleMar 16, 2015 | 5 min. read

    It Only Takes 3 Simple Steps: The Physical Therapist’s Guide to SEO Strategy

    Let's face it: As the owner of a physical therapy practice, you probably have a shortage of hours in your day. You're not interested in learning the finer points of Facebook advertising. You don't care about the ins and the outs of crafting the perfect email drip campaign. And you're not even slightly amused by the cute black-and-white animal names in Google's zoo of algorithm changes (lookin' at you Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon ). And unless you’ve …

  • articleJul 16, 2013 | 5 min. read

    Your Marketing Emails Stink—and 5 Ways to Fix Them (a blog about email testing)

    Matt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic. The most sobering realization you can make about your clinic's marketing email program is that, despite what you think, it stinks. The sooner you accept this as a fact, the sooner you’ll be able to improve it. Email successes are generally measured at a rate that would get baseball players sent home packing (keep in mind …

  • How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns Image

    articleAug 17, 2016 | 11 min. read

    How to Spend Your Clinic’s Marketing Dollars for Maximum Returns

    As author and marketing guru Seth Godin says, “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” If you want to stand out in the rehab therapy marketplace—and potentially grow your clinic—then spending money on marketing is essential. But, to ensure a maximum return on investment, you’ve got to carve out—and carefully manage—your physical therapy clinic’s budget. Knowing where to put those dollars can …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.