“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 that dying star just yet. The first step for lighting up your online presence is creating a quality website for your clinic. Here’s why—and how—to make your own website:

Top of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Regular BannerTop of Mind, Top of Search: 4 Ways to Help Patients Find Your PT Practice Online - Small Banner

First Impressions

Before a patient walks through your doors, there’s a good chance he or she has formed a first impression online—long before a live person has the opportunity to impact that opinion. So, what happens when your patients are searching good ol’ Google (or any other search engine), and you don’t have a website? Your clinic simply won’t show up in the search results—thanks to that black hole I mentioned earlier—which means prospective patients won’t know you exist. And I think we can agree that it’s important for potential patients to know you exist.

But, what if you have a steady stream of physician referrals to make your existence known? In that case, you might argue against the need for a strong online presence. But the truth is that with some form of direct access available in all 50 states, patients are increasingly taking health care into their own hands and finding answers with the help of search engines—not physicians. This Pew Research Center article highlights the magnitude of this trend: “77% of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.”

Ultimately, if the number of people searching for health information online continues to increase—and all signs point to that being the case—your online presence (or lack thereof) will greatly affect the size of your new patient pool. As it stands, if you currently operate without a clinic website, you aren’t only missing out on bringing new patients into your clinic, but you also might be causing unnecessary confusion and frustration for your current patient base. You want your clinic’s phone number, address, and other pertinent information to be online and easily accessible—especially as healthcare continues to become more patient-centric. If it’s not, a lack of readily available information might prove so frustrating that your patients decide to jump starship. Why take that chance? In this day and age, the truth is undeniable: Your clinic needs a website to both bring in new patients and keep your current ones in-the-know.

Design Dos and Don’ts

Your website should be easy to navigate, with a clean design and a clear representation of your brand. It might be tempting to include flashy graphics and bold, bright colors in an effort to make your website stand out. This is a no-no, as it can cause online visitors to become overwhelmed—which means they’re more likely to navigate away from your page in search of a more palatable website. In the name of simplicity, it’s best to stay away from gaudy and overly ornate—or cutesy—fonts. Google Research further emphasizes this point: “We know the first impression a website’s design creates is crucial in capturing users’ interest. In less than 50 milliseconds, users build an initial ‘gut feeling’ that helps them decide whether they’ll stay or leave. This first impression depends on many factors: structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and more.” So, what’s the moral of the story? Patients will judge your clinic based on its website faster than the blink of an eye. So, K.I.S.S.—keep it simple, stargazer—and stick to a clean, easy-to-navigate design.

Template Tools

Building a simple, yet effective, website might sound like a costly endeavor. And while website design can be pricey, the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a holographic arm and leg. DIY (i.e., do-it-yourself) website templates are more beautiful and easier to use—not to mention less expensive—than ever before. Just hop on over to sites like Wix or Squarespace and build a website from one of their pre-existing, user-friendly templates. And if you happen to have some basic coding knowledge, you can customize most templates to better fit your brand. Not much of a developer (or designer)? No worries. Most templates have drag-and-drop functionality, allowing you to easily control your site’s appearance. Finally, if you still feel like you simply don’t have the time—or desire—to build your own website, consult with our friends over at E-Rehab for help.

Beyond giving yourself a platform to promote your own services, your clinic’s website also allows you to promote the PT profession as a whole. Regardless of whether you plan on going where no person has gone before, you’ll definitely want to make building a website part of your voyage. Stay tuned to the WebPT Blog; we’ll spend the entire month of March teaching you how to take over the Internet. Have a lingering question? Leave it in the comments section below.

  • 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 …

  • 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 …

  • 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 …

  • articleSep 23, 2013 | 6 min. read

    5 Tips and Tricks for Better Website Design

    During 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 …

  • 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 …

  • articleSep 17, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Collecting Email Addresses (a.k.a. The Digital Social Security Number)

    Matt is WebPT’s email marketing specialist. His monthly column covers all things email marketing and how it can help your clinic. When it comes to personal information, these days it doesn’t get much more personal than your email address. This might seem like a bit of an exaggeration, but just think about how often businesses try to get you to dish out your email—there has to be a good reason, right? The email address is practically your …

  • 5 Steps to Create an Advertising Plan for Your Clinic Image

    articleJun 25, 2013 | 6 min. read

    5 Steps to Create an Advertising Plan for Your Clinic

    The purpose of this month’s blog theme—small business best practices—is to help you be better in business. And as any business guru will tell you, advertising is a huge factor in not only creating new business, but also in solidifying brand identity. As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of money to throw at media buying opportunities. But if you’re smart, you can get a lot out of the ad spots you do …

  • articleJan 29, 2013 | 5 min. read

    A PT’s Guide to Reputation Management

    Today’s blog comes from E-rehab.com President David Straight, PT, DPT, OCS. E-Rehab provides physical therapy websites, video, email newsletters, search, and social media for physical therapy-owned private practices. Contact David at 800.468.5161 or dave@e-rehab.com .   As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one negative one to lose it.” With this statement in mind—and 21 st century technology—let’s talk about reputation management in 2013. Here are a few questions …

  • articleSep 26, 2012 | 5 min. read

    Seven Tips for a Successful Physical Therapy Website

    Today’s blog post comes from David Straight, PT, DPT, OCS, and President of E-rehab  Millions of Americans search for solutions to their movement disorders every year—and most don’t even consider physical therapy an option. Physical therapy, in most states, is still a referral-based business. In fact, a recent article in Spine stated that less than ten percent of the 32,000 back patients studied actually saw a physical therapist. However, physical therapy websites have seen a steady increase …

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