How to avoid common mistakes on surgical web pages?

How to avoid common mistakes on medical web pages?

Surgical web pages are critical for the patient and for you as a doctor in private practice. They are a communication channel before a patient chooses you and throughout the patient journey. In this article, we cover the biggest strategic mistakes and reasons why you deserve the best for your medical website.

surgical web pages

How to avoid common mistakes on surgical web pages?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

August 8, 2022

Why you may have a static website

static websites

One of the biggest mistakes is to treat medical web pages as digital brochures. Doctors who launched their practice 10 to 15 years ago have seen the digital space evolve from an experimental thing for the young generations to a backbone of society. It comes with disappointments, grey areas, marketing fatigue, and often a cynical attitude toward digital marketing and agencies. 

That is one of the reasons why so many doctors have static websites. They have it built and then forget about it. They expect it to live a life by itself and when it doesn’t, they are disappointed in digital technology and go back to old-school tactics. They visit GPs and attend networking events which is great. But you can’t ignore the digital revolution forever.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Having a static website is not a drama in itself. When you put your head in the sand and expect your practice to thrive without doing anything about it, it can cause long-term business challenges. The solution? Shifting your mindset and thinking about it as a 24/7 channel."

So what are the symptoms of a static website?

  1. There is no flow in the content: With a website that looks like a brochure, there is no journey for the visitor. The website serves as a collection of information but there is no guidance to enter the website, follow a specific path and follow a call-to-action. Dynamic websites hook the visitor, guide them to specific content and focus on converting with powerful call-to-action functionality.
  2. There are no updates: Quite often the developer has disappeared, the contract has ended or there have been misunderstandings in what was included. As a result, many doctors have blogs that have dried up a long time ago, outdated photos of themselves or their team members or worse – no photos at all and just a standard avatar that was included in the website template. Not only does it give your visitors a feeling of entering an abandoned place, it only tells Google that you have given up in the digital space and that your competitor down the road might deserve a higher degree of Google visibility than you do.
  3. There is no motion: Does it surprise you that motion works in the digital space? I used to call it bells and whistles when we discussed medical websites half a decade ago. But our data shows that consumers/patients stay on medical web pages for longer if there is a form of motion or animation. A dynamic title that slides in. A section that appears only when you scroll down. An animated Gif image or a video. Motion can be simple or more advanced and it has become something our eyes and brains are used to as consumers.

I assume that as a leading doctor, you want the best. Whenever I attend surgeries, I see the concentration, the attention to detail, and the years of study and training reflected in an amazing level of focus and presence.

Wouldn’t it be great if that quality were visible from the first second your next ideal patient lands on your website? Yes. You deserve better.

10 reasons why you deserve better surgical web pages

best surgical web pages

The best surgical web pages are tailored to do what you want them to do. That’s right. There is no one size fits all. Your online presence attracts and converts the patient leads you want, and if it is not built strategically, it may not be doing that at all. 

Let’s go over the 10 different reasons to grow your practice with a more targeted digital strategy.

  1. I need patients:
    You are starting up in private practice or moving your practice to the next level. If you want to increase your patient numbers, the first step is to set up a data-driven lead generation system that optimises your organic visibility for your main income earners.
  2. I need a presence:
    You may not need higher numbers but just an updated online presence that offers your current and future patients as well as referring GPs a realistic and optimal representation of your practice.
  3. I need staff:
    You want to attract the best surgeons, practice managers, allied health professionals, admin staff or receptionists. Your online profile is also a filter for those who are checking you out as a potential employer.
  4. I need to be more efficient:
    You want to optimise your referral flows, the way patients prepare for their surgery, the admin side of a procedure, rehabilitation protocols or referrals to other specialists.
  5. I am the best:
    You feel your peers don’t see you in the most optimal way when they check you out online. You feel your profile does not do you justice. You feel you deserve a more unique profile that positions you as a personal brand.
  6. I want to travel:
    You want to be invited to the major medical conferences in your niche as a leader or a speaker.
  7. I want to retire:
    You want your brand to be consolidated so you can sell your clinic as a strong healthcare brand.
  8. I want to delegate:
    You want other surgeons to come on board as partners so you can take an extra day off.
  9. I want to negotiate:
    You want better theatre lists, a bigger office, a better view or a seat on a board at the College.
  10. I am an innovator:
    You want everyone to spot and remember your innovative role in your niche.

Let me say something really contradictory here.
The best medical web pages allow you to say: I want it all!

The best medical web pages are also the ones that focus on one thing and do it well.

When we discuss your marketing budget, you will understand that it’s best to pick one or two goals and totally focus on them.

Mistake #1: Underestimating the work

web design

Web design can mean many different things. It is often the first thing practice owners or practice managers think about when they decide to upgrade their online presence. The first step is not about designing your website! 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"It’s easy to think that you need a web designer to create your medical web pages. It makes sense but it leads to many small dramas. The first step in healthcare is to investigate the communication process with the patient and to make your choices based on real market data, not on design considerations."

The words I find most often on medical websites are Lorem Ipsum.

Not because they are part of a medical condition or a surgery type.

surgical web pages

It’s a placeholder used since the 1960s and it flags that a website was designed based on a template. There is nothing wrong with that, except when you pay for custom design and get a copy of a template. 

Web design in actual fact contains – or should contain – multiple steps and layers:

  • Strategy: What are we communicating to who? What is the key message? The unique value? The audience’s demographics? The competitive edge? The human story?
  • Visual: What are the colours, fonts, shapes, and images to match this strategy?
  • User experience: What is the flow for the visitor, what do they land, how do they click, and what is the information they are after?
    Content: What are the user’s most common questions when they use Google?
  • Development: How are the medical web pages built and how are they displayed on smartphones, tablets and desktop screens?

Yes, building medical web pages to the highest standards is hard work. It’s not a quick and dirty drag-and-drop process.

Mistake #2: Underestimating the expertise

cheap websites

Who can help you with your medical web pages? Typically, doctors google for one of the following services, depending on their perspective on what needs to happen: 

  • Cheap websites: If you buy peanuts, you get monkeys.
  • Websites for doctors: It helps if someone truly specialises in medical web pages but beware of superficial ads that have just been set up by factory-style agencies that actually also serve cafes, retail stores and car mechanics.
  • Business development: A solid angle and often the first step before anyone would build your new website.
  • Web development: Web design and web development or website development are often used as synonyms. There are nuances and differences but as a customer you shouldn’t have to worry about them.

Cheap websites are made based on the ability to do digital work from anywhere, anytime. Many providers of cheap websites for doctors simply put on a spiel to sell as much as they can, to then outsource to white-labelled marketing services in low-income countries. That in itself might just seem smart and a brilliant business move but what do you get? Junior team members on low salaries, with little or no understanding of your local market situation as a surgeon or specialist.

This process is cutting multiple corners:

  • The provider has no understanding of the private practice as a business
  • The creative agent has no understanding of complex medical procedures
  • The outsourced and white-labelled service works like a factory without autonomous thinking, just following orders
  • The entire team has no understanding of AHPRA Advertising Guidelines For Healthcare Professionals
  • There is no creativity involved to position your practice both visually and verbally as unique, and to make your profile or your team’s profile stand out from the competition.

Mistake #3: Underestimating maintenance

website maintenance

Quite often, doctors will tell me they have ongoing marketing contracts for thousands of dollars running. When asked what exactly is being delivered on a monthly basis, there is a painful silence. Some SEO. Some maintenance. 

We noticed that website maintenance is often not clearly explained by marketing agencies, when it comes to generating patient leads.

The essence of good website maintenance for a medical practice can be summarised as follows:

  • Technical: Updating the back-end software of the website and the server the website is hosted on. Needs to happen on a monthly basis to avoid security and hacking risks.
  • Content: Google wants to see fresh content on your website to rank you higher and a minimum rhythm of one decent blog or news update per month is recommended to build organic Google visibility. Adding a blog also boosts the visibility of other relevant and well-written pages on your website and they work together like compounded interest: the longer they are attracting visitors, the more they amplify each other as lead magnets.
  • Monitoring: It’s not just your website that needs maintenance. The associated software tools that keep track of your backups, your web forms, your analytics and your Google Business profile, your domain renewals, your SSL security certificate. All these aspects need monitoring and attention and not just by an automated bot. Ideally, all this is managed by a team that takes ownership of your online presence as if it were their own.
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marketing management

Marketing management is not an empty term and it means that someone partners with you to make the most of your online presence. In a digital society, it is possible to make your online presence work for you, and unfortunately, it is also possible to completely miss out on the opportunities presented by the new digital technology. If your website is poorly built, not managed and updated with care and attention to detail, you might be missing out on growth, business development and new partnerships. So why not book a Strategy Session and go over the state of your digital assets? 

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