In my November 2017 post, I wrote about the role organizational culture plays in creating a theme for your veterinary practice. Whatever your theme may be, it ought to be reflected not only in your staff, your procedures and your physical environment, but also on your website.
Your website is one of the most important branding tools you have. It’s not a nice-to-have but a must-have that warrants as much consideration as other aspects of your business. With that in mind, I asked Cassandra Parsons of website design firm ViziSites for key website must-haves beyond the obvious hours and location. Here’s what I took away from our chat:
5 veterinary practice website must-haves
Make sure your website is user-friendly – on any device:
More than 80% of internet users are on mobile devices now.
[bctt tweet=”If your website looks beautiful on a desktop but is not mobile-friendly, you are losing potential business.”] Regardless of how users are accessing your site, will they be able to find contact information quickly and easily? What about location, directions, hours and services? If they get frustrated trying to find something, chances are they will leave.
Include multiple calls to action throughout your site:
Your website should spur people to act on what they are reading. The more often you ask them to call, schedule an appointment, place an order, etc., the more likely they are to do so. To further encourage action, it is a good idea to have your phone number in a clickable format if you are asking them to call, or a link to your online store if you want them to place an order.
Include online elements that garner trust:
Testimonials, an About Us page, profiles of team members — these and other website elements can help a potential client feel like they know your business, and trust that you are a good fit for them. Going back to what I previously mentioned about branding, if your culture or theme is based on transparency, you might want to list your prices. If you are going for that family feel, consider including reviews or testimonials to convey this idea, and incorporate appropriate buzzwords throughout.
Give your visitors the most essential information upfront:
Before they delve into your website, they need a clear picture of what your practice is about. Do you practice general medicine, specialize in one area, offer emergency services? Prioritize this information so it’s easy for them to figure out if you are a match for their needs.
Make your website stand out from the crowd:
You don’t want it to get lost in the clutter of other templated corporate websites. Does your clinic have a special niche that you want to highlight? A rescue that you support? These are areas that add customization to your website and more importantly can showcase your practice’s personality. Besides your unique logo, consider which colors and fonts will best complement your brand, and use these colors and fonts not just throughout your website, but throughout your clinic. Make sure the look and feel of your website is consistent across all pages of your site. Furthermore, make sure it’s consistent with brand and culture.
How can you be sure your website works?
Great question. That is where website analytics come into play. In simple terms, analytics allow you to measure your website traffic. More specifically, they measure:
Who is visiting your website:
Are you having the same visitors repeatedly? How many new people visit your site on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? There’s a lot you can learn from these measurements.
How are clients finding your website:
Are they searching for you directly? Being referred from a link posted somewhere else? Finding you through advertising? It is important to know where your visitors are coming from as this can help you determine where to spend your marketing dollars in the future.
How long people stay on your website:
What are they clicking on while they are there? How many people never click anything at all? The degree of user engagement is very telling, as is the bounce rate, which measures those who never get beyond your home page.
The effectiveness of your calls to action:
More in-depth analytics give you insight into whether or not those schedule an appointment and buy now links are actually working.
And much more!
Tracking website analytics may feel a bit daunting, but the sooner you start to dabble, the sooner it will all begin to make sense and the sooner you’ll be able to optimize your online efforts.
Want to begin analyzing the impact of your website?
Ask your website provider for help or check out Google Analytics, which offers a ton of free data, not to mention free academy courses to help you get started.
Just like Google Analytics tells you how well your website is doing, VetSuccess tells you how well your practice is doing. Given you’re currently in a data frame of mind, why not take a minute to check out their data-driven veterinary practice solutions.
Oh, and one last thing. Remember, data isn’t just for tracking; it’s for using. Best of luck!
Wendy Jureski, CCFE has worked in veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. She is the business manager at a small veterinary practice in Jacksonville, FL. She is also a Social Media Manager for a website design firm that supports clients in the veterinary industry. You can reach Wendy at [email protected].