13 Easy Ways to Improve Physical Therapy Websites and Attract More Visitors

atract more website visitorsSome of the private practice clients we speak to have spent huge amounts of money on their websites, but are still unhappy with the results. The majority don’t do anything about it, as they think it is going to incur more huge expenses and make the assumption that having a better website actually means having to start creating a brand new website from scratch.

In some cases that might be true, but from our experience, just a couple of tweaks here and there are enough to make the difference between a site being successful or not.
If your concerned that your physical therapy practice’s website isn’t attracting enough visitors and new patients, here’s a list of our top 13 quick fixes that have converted non-performing websites into 24-hour sales machines:

1) Have a Call to Action on Every Page

Every single page on your website needs to be working for you by making every visitor take some sort of action. For example, you might want them to give you a call, leave a testimonial about successful therapy, watch a video or leave a comment.

Whatever it is, make sure you tell them what it is you want them to do. Make it easy for them. The last thing you want is for them to be wondering what to do. Don’t assume that they know what to do, even if you think it’s perfectly obvious. Tell them instead.

2) Put Your Phone Number on Every Page

Although this might seem like common sense, it is surprising to see how many companies bury their phone number deep within a site, making it hard for potential customers to contact them.

[note_box]In a lot of cases, visitors have actually come to the site to look for your phone number, so don’t make them hunt for it. Putting it at the top right hand corner is best, but you can also put it in the footer of your site. Remember, patients are visiting your website to find you, contact you, and get directions to your office.  Make your contact information easy to find. [/note_box]

3) Add an ‘About Us’ Page

“About Us” pages often help customers better decide who you are and whether or not they want to take their business to your practice.

Whether they are a businessperson or a consumer, when a person selects a company to do business with, they like to know a bit about their background, so don’t be afraid to give your visitors a brief history that will help them better understand what your practice is all about.

NOTE: The Staff page and About Us page serve different functions.  On the staff page, adding photographs of you and your team with short bios about them, helps you and your clinicians become real people, not just a faceless practice.

Listing your experience and credentials is important, but also engage your visitors, tell them a bit about your hobbies, your family life and things you like to do for fun. Letting the visitor see the real you builds their confidence and trust when doing business with you.

4) Add Your Opening-Closing Hours

There is no such thing as typical opening hours these days, so you need to tell your visitors when you are available.

Making your business hours known is very helpful to patients and can solve their frustration if they visit or ring you when you are not open.

5) Don’t be Afraid to Use Big Bold Images

Images speak louder than words. The Internet is very visual and people respond well to images, so include images on your site that a potential patient will engage with.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy graphics. Simply take pictures of your team in action performing therapy on other patients, shots of your local area, your premises, recent community or team events you all have participated in.

All of these things help to engage your patients and lets them know more about you and your practice.

6) Make Your Site Mobile-friendly

Mobile is huge.  Thirty percent of your visitors are using smart phones and with over 200 million in use in the States today, more and more people will be visiting your site via their smart phone or tablet.

You need to make sure visiting your site on a mobile device is an outstanding experience. Sites that are not optimized to be seen on tiny screens can be frustratingly difficult to navigate around for your potential patients. They won’t persevere, they will simply move to another site.

There are a number of ways to make your site mobile-friendly and we will be happy to give you advice on that.

7) Add Success Stories

Your existing patients are a huge asset to your practice.  They can provide real-life case studies and testimonials that will inform potential new patients of how successful their treatment was, how you saved them time and money or how knowledgeable and efficient your staff is.

How do you get testimonials? Just ask right after you receive a compliment.  Most patients will be more than happy to oblige if you ask them.

8) Match Your Company Branding Always!

For continuity and to help create instant brand awareness ensure your online presence matches your bricks and mortar business. It helps patients to both recognize your practice and to remember you.

9) Take Off the Music

Do you enjoy listening to elevator music? Probably not. Neither do your patients. Never put music on your website. It isn’t relaxing or funny. It’s just annoying. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean that you should.

Remove anything that might appear annoying to your customers (music, flashing images, etc.) or anything that might distract them from doing what you want them to do: navigate your website, get a good impression of your practice, and hopefully commit their business to you.

10) It’s Time to Get Social

Have you embraced social media yet? Your patients sure have. They interact with thousands of people on the Internet all the time and are very influenced by it. People listen to other people’s recommendations and are interested in their like and dislikes.

If you haven’t already done so, it’s time your business went social. Get started with a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Focus marketing on that platform, and then move on to another network.

We know it can be quite daunting, but we have some great tips for you, so please contact us at E-Rehab or read other blog posts on the subject if you want to know how and where to get started.

11) Be an Authority Website – Add a Physical Therapy Library and More

If you want to be known as an authority site in physical therapy, add some resources to your site that show potential patients how well-versed you are in the field.

These resources could be reports, research papers, infographics, helpful physical therapy website links, videos and more. They all add credibility and will encourage visitors to buy from you rather than from a competitor.

12) Know Your Site’s Main Purpose

So many businesses forget about this. All they know is they need a website, so they just slap one up without thinking about who the target audience is, how they will use the site, and what their objectives are when visiting your website.

Ask yourself: Who will visit your website?  Why do you have/want a website? What do you want visitors on your site to do?

Spend some time thinking about your answers, then make it your top priority to see that your website accomplishes that goal.

NOTE: Avoid putting your mission on your home page.  Put some additional thought into it.

13) Start Again from Scratch

While starting again is not ideal because it takes a lot of time, money and resources, sometimes a site is so badly designed that you have no other choice.

For example, if you have an old site that was set up in the 90’s, it probably looks old and dated by now. Starting again with brand new technology and a new fresh design, instead of trying to patch up the old site, could be a smart move and pay for itself many times over.

Even if you have zero tech skills, you can still determine your site’s purpose and what you want it to do. Sketch out a quick design, along with a plan of what you would like the site to accomplish, then hire a team of professionals who can make it happen.

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Take Home Message: Hire a Professional

The Internet has changed so much in recent years. What worked well five or 10 years ago doesn’t work now.

If you have been looking after your site yourself, or used an unprofessional friend or relative to create your site, it may well be worth calling on our professional services at E-Rehab to come in on the project. Not only will we bring in fresh new designs, but we’ll also share our experiences, expertise and creativity to improve your website. That is what we do. Not only can we give your site a fresh new look, more importantly, we share our marketing skills to make sure your site converts customers 24 hours a day.

Even just applying one or more of the tips here will have a significant effect on your site and increase your business profits. Simply pick a couple that you can identify with and make the changes to your site.

Don’t forget that at E-Rehab we are always here if you want any website or marketing advice, and we help take physical therapy websites and physical therapy private practice to the next level.[/colored_box]

6 Physical Therapy Marketing Ideas for Your Website

physical-therapy-marketing-ideas
Here are 6 physical therapy marketing ideas for your website

Most practices could do with more patients. That’s where physical therapy marketing comes in and physical therapy websites are an important part of the plan and process. Here are 6 simple tips, that if put in place, could help your clinic’s bottom line.

1. Show Off Your Testimonials
When choosing a new practice, reading testimonials from other patients will confirm to users that they are making a good decision by choosing your clinic.

Place your testimonials on their own page. Consider placing one testimonial on each page as well. Also, highlight them not only on your home page but also give them their own place in your navigation. Photo testimonials are great.

2. The “One Benefit Focus” Technique
What is the ONE super thing about your Clinic that you are offering?

If you offer too much choice then people find it hard to make a decision. So concentrate on just one amazing service or program that shows potential patients why they should choose your practice.

3. Behind the curtain
Some potential patients get nervous about what will happen if they see you for care. If they have never had physical therapy before, they don’t know if it will hurt, what you are going to do to them, and they will draw on past experiences with other healthcare providers that might have been less than satisfactory.

Why not make “first-visit video” showing exactly what will happen once they come in for their initial evaluation, guiding them through the process from the reception desk to scheduling their follow-up visits.

This will be reassuring to them and provides a higher level of customer service which is definitely a great way to separate yourself from the competition.

4. Demo – let them see the “hands-on experience”

Why not create a video giving a demonstration showing how awesome your clinic is? For example, if you have a staff member with an exceptional skill, or a program with unique results, then demonstrate how great they are!

When a potential patient can see end results, then will likely be more inclined to choose your clinic.

5. No Risk
Offer free screenings, next-day appointments or educational events to educate the public. This can offer peace of mind to potential patients before their first regularly scheduled appointment.

6. Positive Passion
Of course, and most importantly: You will always be more successful when the audience can feel your excitement for your practice. Your passion and enthusiasm will shine through and help generate new and retain current patients.
[info_box]Action Items
1. Go back and look at your website.
2. Really try hard to view it from the perspective of a new patient shopping for a PT practice.
3. Then review the items above and update your content to differentiate yourself from the competition.[/info_box]

Physical Therapy Web Design -Making It Boomer Friendly, Part 2

In part 1 of physical therapy web design for boomers, I shared with you a number of points mainly surrounding the content (grammar, organization of your message, etc.).  This time, I will share with you some thoughts on formatting your physical therapy website.  I went for a bullet list format for this post so you can go through things quickly and check off things that you have in place and opportunities for improving the web design of your physical therapy site.

Putting Together Readable Text for Boomers and Seniors

As we age, the eyes become less sensitive to light gradients, fine detail and color.  Therefore, here are some things you should keep in mind when formatting your text for your website:

The Font

  • We recommend a sans serif font.
  • Avoid narrower fonts (also called condensed fonts).

Verdana, Arial, Helvetica (Mac), and Tahoma are all common sans serif fonts that are easier on the eyes.  Google offers a number of other free fonts that can be integrated into your site.  The differences can be subtle between san serif font types but if you want to maintain a unique stylized look, check out Google fonts.

Fonts for easy reading
Fonts for easy reading

Lettering and White Space

  • Make sure you have enough empty space (called white space) so your site doesn’t look too busy.
  • Make sure you have adequate spacing between paragraphs.
  • Make sure that you have enough space around links, banners and buttons so each one is easy to click on with the mouse.

 Font size

  • 12 to 14-point font size is best (note pixels sizes on this blog post are slightly different than font points).

Here is 12-point (16 pixel) type.

Here is 14-point (19 pixel) type.

  • Make it easy for people to change the font size.
Have Tools to Change Fonts
Have Tools to Change Fonts

Font weight

  • Use bold type or a medium weight.
  • For headings, increase the size and weight or use a color. If you use bold for body text, make headings stand out with size or color.
  • For <H> tags, known as heading tags, increase the size of that font and also it’s weight.  Also, consider using a different color.

Lowercase versus Capital Letters

  • Make sure that you use uppercase and lowercase words.  Using all capital letters is much more difficult to read.
  • Italics are harder to read as well so use them sparingly if possible.
  • THIS IS ALL CAPS – IT IS HARDER TO READ FOR MOST.

 Justification (Alignment of text to the left)

Older readers are used to left-justified columns of information.  Left justification means that there is an even left margin and the right margin is uneven.

Color

  • Use high-contrast color combinations, such as black type against a white background. Avoid layering shades of the same color, such as dark blue type on a light blue background. Avoid colors that clash. For example, dark blue on red is very difficult on the eye.
  • Colors that contrast well are good combinations.  Black text on a white background is a great example of high contrast.  Try to avoid harsh color combinations (e.g. red with a dark blue background).
  • Also, avoid yellow and blue and green in close proximity. The differences in these colors are difficult for many older people to see.
  • Group information visually be using good color combinations.

Use Good Navigation, Layout and Contrast to Make Things Easy to Find

website design and navigation
Clear navigation helps with usability

Have you ever watched a child or grandchild use a technology device and marvel at their ability to use it with such ease?   While younger generations may find your physical therapy web design easy to navigate, here are a few steps you can follow to make it easy for boomers as well.  It’s especially important for navigation elements to be consistent, explicit, and predictable.

Web Design and Layout

Consistency will help older adults better understand how to use your website.

  • Have a consistent look and design throughout the website.
  • Use consistent icons, banners and symbols.
  • Have the title of the page in a consistent color, font and site and in the same location across all the pages.
  • Avoid distractions like pop ups

Navigation

  • Make sure the navigation is the same across all the pages.
    • Use bread crumbs when it takes multiple clicks for the viewer to arrive at a desired page.
    • Try to structure your navigation so it doesn’t take more than one click to get to information.
    • Make sure that a “Back to Top” or the “Go Back a Page” browser icons behave predictably.

Menus

Make menus easy to use.

  • If you use pull-down or fly-out menus, make sure they are visible for long enough time for the viewer to take action and click on a link.
  • Do not use menus that require users to slide the mouse and click all in one movement.
  • In the menu below, note that there are pictures of the therapists as well for clarification.  This is called a mega menu system.

Screenshot_48

Links

  • Write descriptive, easy-to-read links that help people predict what will happen next.
  • Make sure your links are easy-to-understand, and people can predict what will be on the next page.
  • Underline links for clarity.
  • Use action words (verbs) when the link is about taking an action.  If a link is meant for the user to take action, use action words (verbs).  For example, “Click Here to Download Your Patient Paperwork”.
  • Make sure the entire sentence is underlined, not just “Click here” in the example above.

Buttons, Banners, Icons

  • Icons and buttons are easier to find when they are large, bright, and in a color that contrasts with the background.
  • Make sure that your physical therapy web design includes buttons, banners, and icons that are bright, have good contrast, are bigger than just body text and it’s obvious that they link to another page.
  • Make sure icons and banners do not require exacting movement for the viewer to click on them.
  • Make sure they are a different color than surrounding text and images.
  • If a bullet in a list is a link, make sure the text that follows the bullet is also a link and goes to the same target web page.

Mouse Functions

  • Use single mouse clicks to access information.  Use a single mouse click to allow the viewer to take action.

Scrolling

  • Avoid the scrolling marquee text.
  • Avoid any horizontal scrolling.
  • Limit vertical scrolling.
  • Keep key information above the bottom of a web page in a 1024 x 768 resolution monitor.

Search

  • Use a search box if your website has pages that are greater than 2-3 clicks deep
  • Use a search box as an alternate to viewers clicking through your navigation.
  • Keep the search box in the same position across all of your pages.
  • Try to offer alternatives for misspellings when people are using your search function.

Your Practice Contact Information

Contact information at the top
Contact information at the top
  •  Have your contact information present on all of your pages (name, address, phone number).  Placing it at the top right of your web page and in your footer, is a common convention.
  • Include your office hours on your home page and contact pages.
  • Include your contact information on your Location/Map page if possible.

Audio, Video, Rich Media

  • It’s good practice to use video (with audio for those that are visually impaired) and still pictures to complement text on a page.  When you share the same information in different formats, it can help the viewer better retain the information.
  • Avoid the use of Flash-it’s not supported at this time by Apple mobile and pad devices.
  • Use mobile-friendly video and slideshow elements.

 Photos and Graphics

 Illustrations and photographs

  • Illustrations and photos should support the text to enhance understand.  Using them solely for decoration can be a distraction.
  • If your physical therapy audience is primarily seniors or boomers, make sure you incorporate pictures of seniors/boomers into your message.
  • Include captions whenever possible.  It’s been proven that captions are read by more viewers than any other part of your website.

Video

  • Use short videos (2-3 minutes max) to get your message across and decrease download times.  Some may still be using dialup Internet access.
  • Make sure it’s easy to understand how to play the video and adjust the volume.
  • For important video, include a transcription of the message.

[info_box]

Wrapping It All Up: Using Your Physical Therapy Website Should Be A Fast, Easy And Enjoyable Experience

By following the recommendations above and in our Part 1 blog post, you can make sure your patients get the information they need to have a better experience at your practice. If possible, ask your patients if they visited your website and seek out feedback to improve the user experience. Open up your website for a few boomers at your practice and watch them use it. Doing so could be very helpful in recognizing opportunities for improvements. It’s important to realize that your website user experience is a small but significant part of clinical communication. Baby boomers and seniors need physical therapy services more than ever and are using the web more too. Good physical therapy web design and content development can go a long way to enhance your customer service and efficiency. [/info_box]

Making Physical Therapy Websites Boomer Friendly – Part 1

Physical Therapy Web Design and Seniors
Physical Therapy Web Design and Seniors

This post offers guidelines that can help you create websites that work well for older adults, the fastest-growing group of Internet users. Besides sending and receiving email, older adults also routinely search for health information.  As the baby boomers age, the number of older adults using the Net will continue to grow.

Four Key Points to Consider During Physical Therapy Website Design

[info_box]Action Items

  • Keep it Organized-Break information into small, manageable sections.
  • Make sure you write for senior viewers too.
  • Number each step and give clear instructions.
  • Minimize the use of medical terms and technical jargon.

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1. Organizing Web Information for Older Adults

Many older adults have had little training in the use of computers and the Internet and are unfamiliar with the way information on websites is organized. In addition, changes in working memory may affect their ability to simultaneously grasp, retain, and manage new information. Declines in perceptual speed can increase the time it takes to process information. A website with a simple design, uncluttered layout, clear labels, and short sections of information can make it easier for older adults to select content, absorb and retain what they read, and avoid information overload.

Make it clear how the information on the website is organized. 

Users should easily be able to determine what information your site offers and how it is organized. They should be able to figure out a starting point and predict what type of information a link will lead them to. It should also be clear how they can find more information as well as how to return to previously visited pages.

Keep the website structure simple and straightforward.

A broad and shallow site hierarchy reduces complexity and makes it easier for visitors to learn how information is organized.

Break information into short sections.

Giving people a small amount of content at one time makes it easier for them to grasp and recall information.

Write a clear, informative heading for each section.

Clear headings give people anchors on the page and help them select desired content. For example, headings can be:

Topics

  • Back Exercises
  • Knee Conditions
  • Rehabilitation After Hip Replacement

Action Verbs (“ing” words)

  • Caring for Stroke Patients
  • Making Your First Physical Therapy Appointment

Questions

  • How do physical therapists help with back pain?
  • What causes arthritis?

Put key information first.

The most important information should be located where people can find it most easily—at the top of the website and at the top of a web page.

Put the sections in logical order: Think about how older adults might look for information.

Provide a site map: Make sure your sitemap includes every page.

2. Writing Online Text for Older Adults

Age-related changes in text comprehension can make it harder for older adults to understand written material that is not expressed in a straightforward or concrete manner. Changes in attentional functioning may make it more difficult for older people to stay focused on specific information and eliminate distractions. Many older adults may be unfamiliar with technical language and jargon. To keep the text senior friendly:

1. Limit the number of points you make.
Stick to one to five messages in each section. Keeping your information brief can make it easier for web users to stay focused.

2. Put the key message first.
Putting the main message at the beginning ensures that your website visitors will see it. 

3. Keep paragraphs and sentences short.
Paragraphs should express one main idea. Sentences should be simple and straightforward. 

4. Write in the active voice.
The active voice puts the focus on people and actions.

 

Things to Avoid and Some Possible Alternatives

Avoid: Prescription medicines are taken by many older adults.

Use instead: Many older adults take prescription medicines.

Write in the positive.
Be especially aware of words that have negative meaning such as “forget,” “until,” and “unless.” Instead of combining them with “not,” rewrite the sentence with a positive word.

Avoid: Don’t forget to take your medicine.

Use instead: Remember to take your medicine.

Explain clearly; don’t make people guess what you mean. 

Avoid: Restaurants that offer senior discounts may be a good choice for older adults who like to eat out.

Use instead:  If you like to eat out, go to restaurants that offer senior discounts.

Address your web users by using “you.” A direct instruction like “Exercise every day” is one way of writing for your web users, but not every message you want to give is such a direct instruction.

Avoid: No matter where a person is, a sudden fall can be startling and upsetting. If someone falls, that person should stay as calm as possible.

Use instead:  Whether you’re at home or somewhere else, a sudden fall can be startling and upsetting. If you do fall, stay as calm as possible.

Choose words your web users know. Minimize jargon and technical terms. Write in simple language. For example, to describe a place to exchange messages with other older adults on a website:

Avoid: Online Community

Use instead: Communicate with others online

3. Make Sure Instructions “Can’t” be Misunderstood

Give specific instructions. These examples tell people exactly what to do:

  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise twice each day.

If the instructions have more than one step, number them.

How To Do a Calf Stretch

  1. Sit securely toward the edge of a sturdy, armless chair.
  2. Stretch your legs out in front of you.
  3. With your heels on the floor, bend your ankles to point toes toward you.
  4. [The steps would continue like this.]

4. Avoid Medical Jargon and Unfamiliar Terms

Define unfamiliar terms. If you need to use a term that most older adults do not know, define it when you use it.

Active Range of Motion (AROM) – the patient lifts or moves a body part through range of motion against gravity.
Isometrics – muscle contraction without joint movement.

Provide summary information. Summarizing information reinforces it and helps with recall. If you repeat information at different places in your site, make sure the messages are consistent.

[note_box]Baby Boomers are big consumers of physical therapist directed services. It makes good sense to consider your audience when putting together your physical therapy web design and development plan.[/note_box]