If you’re engaged enough to be reading this blog, you probably already know that in the fall of 2015 Google changed its search algorithm to overcome the reliance on keywords in search ranking, instead rewarding content. That content applies to everything on a website, from headlines to page copy to blog posts.
At Advice Media, we’ve been building engaging health care websites for over 15 years, and we prefer to have our stable of professional writers provide the content for your site. But that doesn’t always happen, and sometimes clients get caught up in the visual appeal of the site we’ve created but seriously overlook the value of the content they are providing to populate the pages.
That’s a big mistake. The content on your site needs to be engaging and speak directly to your potential and current patients. It can’t seem as if it were taken from a medical treatise on one end of the spectrum or written by your 18-year-old nephew on the other end. It needs to be casual, friendly, and, of course, informative. That’s not always easy to do, but here are some tips for keeping the content of your site as engaging as it is good looking.
What is your content trying to do?
When you think about it, these days your website functions as a de facto practice tour guide. It shows visitors around, explains the procedures you perform, answers questions, and even provides an overall sense of your practice’s personality. Who wants a boring or inarticulate tour guide?
The goal of your site should be to first pique the interest of your visitors and then provide them with the information they’re seeking as easily as possible. Your content will tell the visitor if you provide the service they seek. It will provide insight into that procedure, and maybe other procedures that could be useful down the road. And it will reassure the potential patient that you’re the right provider for the procedure.
Keys to engaging content
At Advice Media, we prefer to provide both the layout and content for your site, with your thorough input, of course. But in cases where you opt to provide the content, there are certain standards you need to meet to make it work hard with our design.
Be friendly, readable
Your site’s voice needs to be the personality of your practice. Each page within the site should have the same voice, if possible being written by the same author. The tone of the content should be authoritative, yet as casual as is fitting.
It needs to be clean
One problem with the Internet is the ease of posting content. Reading the comments section after a news story is an exercise sure to make any fifth grade English teacher cringe. Unfortunately, this same sloppiness can make it onto webpages whose copy may remain unchanged for a few years.
That can’t be. Your content needs to be clean, free from typos and grammatical errors. While no one is perfect when it comes to proofing and making sure every subject and verb are in agreement, more than an occasional error is a no-no. Remember, your site needs to tell potential patients that you’re a detail-oriented, thorough practitioner who is the right choice to perform the procedure in question. If your website is riddled with grammatical errors, is difficult to read, or sounds as if plagiarized from a medical journal, what does that say about your practice?
Make it easy to skim
Your visitors aren’t going to be interested in every page detailing every procedure, so make your content skimmable. Use lists of benefits or procedure methods. Use subheads to spell out paragraph content. Keep paragraphs as short as possible without being obnoxious.
Help your visitors understand if a procedure is right for them
It’s important that your content speak directly to your patients, potential and current. Directly spell out the conditions that would fit for a person needing this or that procedure. Spell out the benefits achieved by having the procedure. Tell them how the procedure is done to lessen any anxiety they may have about it. And be honest about the recovery that will be involved afterwards.
Be careful with calls to action
Medical practice websites aren’t like bike store websites, so don’t think that every page needs to make a sale. After all, buying a new tire for a mountain bike is a far cry from opting for major surgery. Provide the information your visitors seek and offer to answer any questions through a consultation or over the phone, but don’t get caught up in the “Call now” lingo of a more retail-oriented site. That quickly becomes irritating for the reader.
Content is king of the Internet these days, and it’s likely to stay that way. So, if you’re adding content to your existing practice website or if you’re providing page content for a new site we’re building, weigh the strength of the content that will be filling each page.
If you have any questions about the content on your site, contact your Advice Media representative and ask away.