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 sound overwhelming—not to mention expensive. But, with the right tools, you can easily design a functional and beautiful website while still being able to afford your daily Starbucks habit. You just need to know where to start.
Consider Your Audience
Because you’re creating a physical therapy business website, you’ll want to think about what’s most important to your audience (i.e., your patients).
Your current patients are likely looking for:
- scheduling information,
- clinic news, and
On the other hand, your new and prospective patients are probably searching for:
- insurance information,
- contact information, and
This is why it’s important that your clinic website is designed in a way that makes it easy for all members of your digital audience to find the information they need. Specifically, I recommend that you have:
- A clear headline—ideally, one that grabs your audience’s attention within three seconds.
- A concise sub-head that describes what your clinic does and the specialties you provide.
- Succinct calls-to-action (CTAs) that prompt your site visitors to contact you, schedule an appointment, or learn more about your business. It’s best practice to incorporate CTAs into your design as linked text to help boost your SEO ranking.
- Visible site navigation at the top of the page. Best practices for this organizational element include the following, as adapted from this Kissmetrics article:
- Having user-friendly—but descriptive—navigation terms (e.g., “Schedule an Appointment”; “About our Providers”; and “Our Specialties”).
- Avoiding dropdown menus, as they are confusing for users and take attention away from the more important site features.
- Using five or fewer navigation terms.
- Putting your contact information in the upper-right corner to ensure high visibility.
Once you have all of that nailed down, you can start mapping out the other aspects of your clinic that you want to highlight within these sections—like your state-of-the art gym space or stellar employees.
Think About Your Brand
Next, think about the overall feel of your website. You want the design and colors to be simple—in this case, less is truly more (for inspiration, check out this site, this one, and this one). And you’ll also want to make sure that the colors you select complement your current logo and any other brand assets (like shirts, mugs, and flyers). Finally, if you’re having trouble pinpointing which elements you want to include on your website, look to your competitors. Their sites should give you a good idea of what you like—and what you don’t.
Don’t Forget About SEO
Speaking of competition—you can’t forget about search engine rankings. To ensure your site ranks as highly as possible in search engines like Google, you’ll need to embrace search engine optimization (SEO) best practices as you build out your site. Now, we’ve talked about SEO previously on the WebPT Blog. And quite frankly, it can be a lot to manage. That’s why we suggest hiring an expert to help you get your online presence in tip-top shape. But, before you even start building your site, there are a couple of SEO basics you can consider, as adapted from this E-Rehab Article:
- Keywords: What words are your patients searching for (e.g., physical therapy, physical therapist in your area, your company’s name, typical injuries, therapy modalities, etc.)? Once you have your list, try to include as many of these words as possible in the text on your website.
- Context: Keep in mind that all of your written text influences your SEO ranking. But, that doesn’t mean you should use “physical therapist” in every sentence. If it sounds unnatural, it probably is—and that could actually have a negative impact on your ranking. The SEO crawlers that penalize this kind of thing are smart, and you don’t want to be on their bad side.
If you want to go the DIY route for SEO analysis, then “as you categorize your terms, you should use research tools to help you narrow down your list,” recommends rehab therapy online marketing expert David Straight, PT, DPT, OCS. “If you’re on a budget, free tools like Buzzsumo or Moz.com can help you find websites similar to yours, and will allow you to study what makes these sites work.”
Build Your Site
Now that you have an idea of what you want your website to do, you need to find a designer, a service, or a software to help you build it. In terms of affordable site-building software, we recommend Wix or Squarespace. Wix offers both free and premium pricing options, and depending on which level you choose, you’ll get access to analytics, support, and free hosting. Squarespace offers month-to-month pricing with options for both simple and complex site designs and services. Both software have easy-to-use drag-and-drop features and beautiful templates that’ll certainly get the job done.
Now, if you want to hire a company that specializes in building and maintaining rehab therapy clinic websites, we recommend E-Rehab or Practice Promotions. Finally, if you want to outsource the whole thing—and you have the budget to do so—you can hire a designer to create something totally custom for you. This route may be more expensive, but it gives you more control over the end product without having to spend any time on the project yourself.
The Internet is a vast and time-sucking space, and you could certainly spend all day on sites like this one. But, fortunately for you, you’re in the business of treating patients—not creating infinite loops of useless puppy video. So, take some time to determine what’s right for your business, and get to creating your design. You don’t have to be pro maximize your online presence; you just have to take thoughtful action.