Five Reasons to Improve Your Site’s Security

Is your medical website secure? You probably understand why it’s important to have a secure site, especially when you’re dealing with sensitive medical information, but there are plenty of other reasons why cyber security is essential if you are providing medical care.

Patients put their lives in your hands. They trust you to provide the best care and look out for their well-being, and this goes beyond their bodies. They also want to know the information they share with you is secure. Securing your website and the information it contains is as important as protecting your patient’s medical privacy in your office.

These days, doctors’ websites are used for a variety of things: patients are able to schedule appointments, pay their bills, view test results… the list goes on and on. Securing the information you exchange with patient is crucial to maintaining their trust and ensuring your office is viewed as professional.

According to security experts, medical information is big business. Some believe it is more valuable to hackers than credit card information because it allows criminals to buy medical equipment and drugs for resale, and create fraudulent insurance claims. To avoid leaving your patients vulnerable, you must establish a secure system featuring SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypts patient data and ensures privacy.

Why is SSL one of the most important features you can add to your practice’s site?

Improves Trust with Patients

Patients are more aware today than ever before about their privacy rights and if they believe you are putting their medical information at risk, it’s going to affect your relationship. It’s your role to restore and build trust with your patients, and the last thing you need as you are working to do this is to expose your patients to a security breach. Not only is securing your site the right thing to do, it’s going to prove to your patients that you really care about their well-being and will do what it takes to protect their security.

Increases HIPAA Compliance within Your Site

All exchanges of information on your medical site, even something as simple as a comments form, should be encrypted with SSL technology. This ensures the data traveling through the internet is safe and, the system authenticates the receiving server to verify its identity, reducing the risk for information to be intercepted.

Keep in mind, not having a HIPAA compliant site can get you into trouble, not just within the medical field, but also within the civil and criminal court systems. SSL is an investment you won’t regret.

Boosts Website Conversions

You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your website, so you need it to convert site visitors to patients. The best way to ensure a high return-on-investment is to provide a secure site that establishes trust with visitors. Most people consider and verify site security before moving forward with a relationship with a medical provider. If a patient is reassured during his or her visit to your site, they are move likely to take that next step.

Increase PCI Compliance

If patients make bill payments or buy products or services on your site, you need to be sure their credit card information is secure. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) offers a guideline for businesses dealing with the major brand credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. They can help you implement security policies and online processes to protect breaches and cardholder data theft.

Credit card institutions can levy fines as punishment for merchants who are PCI noncompliant and increase the fines steadily. They can also levy fines if there is a data reach and those fines can legally be based on the amount of money stolen in a breach. These institutions also fine a merchant when a data breach occurs and base the fines off of the amount of cardholders affected by the breach.

Boost SEO

One final reason to increase the security on your site? It makes your site more valuable to your marketing plan. Google places a high priority on user security and the search engine tends to emphasize sites that are doing it right. Here’s more information about HTTPS at Google.

Granted, improving your security alone isn’t going to get you to the top of the results, but it is going to make a difference, and since successful SEO is all about putting together all of the puzzle pieces, security needs to be a priority. And there’s speculation that the emphasis on SSL is only going to increase with time.

When patients see the small lock sign in the address bar when they visit your site, it makes a difference. It establishes trust and shows you take your obligation as a medical professional to protect your patients seriously. If you’d like to know more enhancing your website’s security, give us a call! We include SSL with our Website Management service.

Building a Following: How Your Facebook Page Can Help Your Medical Practice Grow

Social media is a must for successful medical practices. Presence on social media platforms should be a part of every healthcare marketing plan, but the key to success is to focus on the platform that works best for your practice. For many, this will be Facebook. Not only is it used by the most people, it’s also conducive to building relationships with your patients and sharing information about your practice.

With more than one billion active users, Facebook lets people connect with friends and family, and keep up-to-date on the latest news from their favorite brands and businesses. As a medical practice, you fall somewhere in between here – your relationship with patients is on a personal level, but you also want to establish and grow your brand. Facebook can help.

The key to Facebook success is to organically attract engaged followers. Never pay for followers – this will only hurt you in the long-run. For ways to build a strong following and build a strong presence in Facebook’s ever-growing community, here are some tips to follow:

Start with a Solid Foundation

First, you want to make sure the basics are taken care of. Whether you set up your practice’s Facebook account years ago or you just went live, make sure your page features:

  • Your current location, email address, phone number, and hours of operation
  • Username and Facebook URL that matches your practice name
  • Brief and extended descriptions of your practice
  • Your practice’s website address in the About Us section
  • Profile and cover photos (don’t use stock images!)
  • Special information, such as directions or parking instructions

It’s also a good idea to make sure you choose an appropriate primary page category and subcategories that target your ideal patients.

Spread the Word

Don’t be shy about letting everyone know your medical practice is on Facebook. You want to generate as much buzz as possible. Link your page to your personal Facebook account and encourage your staff to do the same. Also consider any of these promotional tools:

  • Including your Facebook URL on print marketing materials
  • Adding social media widgets to your practice’s website
  • Including a link to your Facebook page in your email signature
  • Sending an email announcement about your Facebook page to current patients
  • Use hashtags to attract new followers when you share posts on Facebook

Make Sure You’re Part of the Right Crowd

At least as far as Facebook is concerned! It’s important to connect with other local businesses that are relevant to your field. This is a great way to build relationships and to attract local followers. For instance, you might follow area health food stores, pharmacies, or other health professionals or medical facilities. Also seek out reputable medical news sites that will enable you to share useful content with just the click of a button.

Be Smart about Your Posts

The key to Facebook success isn’t a specific number or type of posts, it’s just being consistently active. You can start with two to three posts per week, but it’s going to take some time to find your sweet spot. You’ll also begin to see patterns in what types of posts generate the most activity for you. Pay attention, keep careful tracking notes, and once you find what works keep doing it.

Here are a few general tips for posts that tend to work:

  • Include an image with every post. They generate about 45 percent more clicks than text-only images
  • Keep your self-promotion to only about 20 percent of your posts. In the other 80 percent, share information that is useful or relevant to your patients.
  • Keep posts length short. There’s no need to write paragraphs in every post.
  • Be sure to respond to any comments you receive on posts, ideally within 24 hours. You should try to generate responses by asking open-ended questions and encourage followers to interact with your posts.

Assess the Situation on an Ongoing Basis

It’s important to do a Facebook audit every now and then. Review your page to make sure information is accurate and up-to-date. Add anything new and weed out any pages you follow that seem to have gone dead. Consider refreshing your cover photo every so often, especially if there’s something new you want patients to know about.

You might want to take 10 to 15 minutes each month to browse through your information and make sure things are in order. This is also a great time to check Facebook Insights, which provides information about the popularity of your posts, so you know what works I the future.

With a little effort, you can turn Facebook into a valuable marketing tool for your practice. If you’d like more information or you need help setting up an account with any social media platform, give us a call!

Is Your Patient Communication Strategy Working?

Communicating with patients is one of the most important aspects of a successful medical practice, but creating a communication strategy can be a challenge. Communication is a fluid practice and something that is different for every medical practice. Fortunately, there are ways doctors can enhance their communication strategies and one of the best tools they have for communicating is a website for their medical practice. Using your medical practice’s website to overcome communication barriers can be the difference between a moderately and a widely successful practice and its marketing campaign.

The website should be used to provide information about medical services, physician bios, and areas of expertise.

There are three parts to building a successful communication strategy. The first is to develop the components of the strategy. Using all of the available tools at your disposal to enhance a communication strategy speeds the results and helps you grow your practice. What is the best way to organize the three components of this strategy?

Create Accomplishment Markers
Setting up goals for your communication strategy is one of the best things you can do to ensure your efforts are successful. This gives you an opportunity to plan each thing you will do to improve your communication with patients and then requires you to evaluate each of these things.

For instance, if you implement a social media campaign, you should set a goal regarding your efforts. Goals can be extremely simple. Consider setting a target number of patients to engage in social media, a target number for how many responses you would like to get in social media in one month, or a target for an improvement in search engine rankings within six weeks of implementing social media. This allows you to connect with patients in an entirely new way and helps you evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program.

Accept Resistance
Most people are excited when they implement something new into their business. If your healthcare web design up until this point has included only static content and you suddenly launch a blog and social media campaign, it is an exciting time for your practice.

Unfortunately, not all of your patients will take part in these changes. No matter how much you play up your new methods of communication, some patients are comfortable with the status quo. Do not view this as a failure. As long as your new communication strategies are reaching some people, you are succeeding.

The goal is to offer additional methods of communicating, not force a person into something that makes them uncomfortable.

Encourage Patient Input
One of the best tools you have for determining the effectiveness of a new communication strategy is the people with whom you are communicating. Ask patients how they feel about the changes you are making and ask if they have any suggestions they would like to offer.

You might find out patients rarely bother reading the new blog on your website, but they enjoy receiving newsletters in their email inboxes. Take the content on your blog and package it into a newsletter. The same content serves you twice: you generate search engine attention for your blog, but you also reach out to those patients who prefer the personal attention of a direct email.

How is your patient communication strategy working for you? Is there anything you can change about your content marketing strategy that would allow you to communicate better with the people most important to your practice?

At Physician Designs we can help guide your medical practice and provide options for having an effective communication strategy. Along with custom website design, our services include social media management, targeted ads, and AdWords management.

AdWords & Pay Per Click Marketing for Physicians

There are many different ways physicians can grow the online presence of their medical practices, but one of the most effective options is by using Google Adwords, aka Pay Per Click (PPC). PPC ads are sponsored ads that show on search page results and other ad areas of websites.

google-adwords-logo

The main reason AdWords are so effective and provide a high ROI is because you get you decide how, when, and where your ads show and you only pay when someone clicks on the ad.

AdWords marketing and PPC should be part of every medical practice’s internet marketing strategy. This is especially true for doctors or healthcare professionals interested in growing their online presence with a focus on local or even national marketing. Working with a PPC strategist that understands how to leverage PPC to achieve optimum results at the lowest possible per click rate is essential for a successful campaign.

A PPC strategist at Physician Designs will start by understanding your objectives. We will then setup a campaign, select keywords, and write ads based on your goals for your medical specialty and services.

What is Pay Per Click Marketing?

AdWords and PPC ads are the ads that show up at the very top and along the right side of Google results pages. AdWords give you a lot of control of how, when, and where you’d like your ads to show:

  • Target searches using specific keywords
  • Control what time of day your ads run
  • Target ads based on specific cities or radius

PPC advertising is an easy way to generate relevant traffic to your site. PPC works by placing ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) or on websites that are related to the keywords you have chosen to represent your field. What you pay for each click that leads to your site is based on how much you are willing to bid, as well as an established quality score.

The higher the bid and the higher the quality score, the better your chances for getting an ad listed at the top of the ads displayed on a page.

How Does PPC Help Physicians and Medical Practices?

PPC helps physicians attract potential patients to their site, as long as the campaign is managed properly. In order to manage a PPC campaign successfully, it must be closely monitored to ensure proper bidding for keywords and ad copy. Understanding when something works and when it does not, and making adjustments as necessary, is an imperative part of ensuring your PPC campaign is a smart marketing investment. The goal of a successful PPC or AdWords campaign is to create the greatest impact for the lowest financial investment. If you are paying a lot for your PPC efforts and seeing few results, it is time for a change.

Using Google Adwords and building a successful PPC campaign can help you generate new referrals and grow your practice. It is a proven and effective method for helping physicians and making the most of their internet marketing dollars.

If you’re interested in AdWords management, please contact a project manager and receive a free consultation and quote. Our management service includes:

  • AdWords strategy
  • Competitor analysis
  • Ad copy
  • Keyword research
  • Budget management

AdWords can be very competitive so it’s important to choose a company that understands your medical practice and the PPC landscape.

Responsive Website Design – Benefits for Your Medical Practice

More and more people and prospective patients are accessing the Internet using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, not all websites are designed for this type of access and those that aren’t are not creating a great user experience.

responsive medical website
It is becoming increasingly important for websites to provide a web presence that is usable and user friendly for mobile devices. Responsive website design makes attractive and efficient sites possible, regardless of the device used. With a responsive website for your medical practice, prospective patients can access one website on all devices.

Understanding Responsive Website Design for Medical Websites

Responsive website design was named for its ability to respond to a device regardless of how a site is accessed. The images, content, and structure of the site are the same no matter the device. When a responsive site is accessed using a smartphone or tablet, the site “reacts” to fit to the smaller screen, so there is no need to worry about creating different sites for various devices.

A responsive site uses grids and proportions instead of pixels to fit into the screen. More and more people are using mobile devices – we see 20-25% of all traffic for our medical websites being from mobile devices.

A prospective patient is very likely to search on their iPad or iPhone for a physician after work rather than sit in front of a home computer; especially if they’ve been sitting in front of a computer all day.

In the past, websites needed a regular version and a mobile device version, but responsive site design has eliminated this need. In addition to creating efficiency with only one site, there are numerous other reasons you should consider a responsive design for your medical practice.

Mobile Market is Growing

There are few people out there not using a smartphone, tablet, or both. Statistics show about one-fifth of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device. It is predicted that mobile usage will surpass desktop usage during 2014 and that the mobile market will only continue to grow.

Not only that, Google also prefers responsive design. Responsive website design is more efficient for Google bots to crawl, index, and organize because they have only one URL and the same HTML across all of the various devices. Not only does this mean less work for Google, it also means it is easier for users to share and interact with content.

Responsive Design has the Ability to Increase Conversion Rates

More and more people are using their mobile devices for finding information online. Research has recently shown nearly 70% of all mobile device users made a purchase within the last month. The less work users have to do to finalize their purchase the better, and responsive design makes the process easier. Responsive designs are able to adjust to any screen, so developers control how the conversion elements display on mobile devices.

What does this mean for a medical site? It means patients are more likely to follow through once they arrive at your site. The information you want to share with patients will be easy to access and you stand a better chance of getting visitors to your site to take the action you want. Also, since responsive sites aren’t prevalent, you will stand out from your competition. A prospective patient may visit a competitor’s non-responsive site and find it difficult to use, and then leave the site.

Social Media

If there is one thing users of mobile devices access when online, it is social media sites. Estimates show more than half of all social media interaction occurs on a mobile device. Social media also continues to carry a great deal of weight in the marketing world and as more and more Internet users incorporate social media into their everyday lives, its impact in physician website marketing will continue to grow.

One of the main things people are doing when using social media is sharing content. In order for this to have the greatest impact, the content must be accessible to as many people as possible.

For instance, if a Twitter user posts a link to the medical content on your site and 30% of people clicking the link from their phone are unable to access the information, you just lost nearly a third of your potential audience. However, with a responsive medical website, people are able to access your content, regardless of the device they use. You ensure your content is accessible to 100% of users. As more and more medical websites feature important content, easy access across all platforms is essential for making the most of your investment.

Optimal User Experience

Responsive website design results in medical sites that are more user-friendly. Instead of zooming and shrinking to see everything on a screen that is smaller than a desktop, all of the content automatically adjusts when the site loads. This makes it as easy as possible for visitors to utilize your site.

Studies have shown that when a visitor arrives at your site and is not happy with what they see, there is more than a 60% chance they will head elsewhere. A positive experience with a site increases the likelihood a person will trust the site enough to follow through and make contact.

When your site does not offer responsive design, the message you give patients is that you care very little for the experience they have when they arrive at your site. Think about your use of responsive site design as you would designing a brick and mortar office: If a patient walks in the front door and is greeted by a wall that prevents further access, he or she will turn around and leave. On the other hand, if the patient enters and encounters a pleasant atmosphere that feels friendly, inviting, and comfortable, the odds of that patient settling in and feeling comfortable increase. Your site should create this environment regardless how the prospective patient accesses your website.

Easier to Manage Marketing

Every medical website owner knows how much work it takes to manage a site and ensure it ranks high on search engines. Imagine having to do double or triple the work. That’s what happens when you do not implement responsive design. You will need to run separate SEO campaigns for each URL. A single responsive site means a single SEO campaign.

The bottom line is, as a business and website owner, you need to stay on trend and adjust to the market, but you also need to make smart decisions. Responsive website design allows you to do both. Not only are you able to keep up with the competition, you implement a strategy that makes everything about managing your site easier. Responsive website design is a win-win for everyone involved.

All medical websites developed by Physician Designs are now fully responsive. We can create one website for your practice that will work on all devices.

Is Your Medical Website Costing You Patients?

Did you know the design for your medical website determines how long a visitor stays on your site and whether or not visitors scroll to read all of the content on a page? Research indicates more than three quarters of all site visitors do not bother scrolling during their first visit to a site. This means that more than 75% of the people who find your site never see more than just a few words written “above the fold.”

Locating key content in the right location on your physician website means the difference between a visitor glancing at your site and that same visitor sticking around to learn more about your medical practice. As a matter of fact, good medical web design can improve conversion rates by up to 50%.

physician-website

Organizing Your Medical Practice Website

The first thing that can be done to improve a website for your medical practice is to organize the site and its content to make it easy to navigate and find information. The quicker visitors find the information they need, the more likely they are to stay on the site and learn more about you and your medical practice. Providing easy-to-find information about your bio and medical services also helps you build trust with visitors. The best way to organize a site is to think about why visitors searched for the site in the first place. The most likely reasons a person searched online for a healthcare professional are:

• finding a local physician to treat their medical problem
• determining if their insurance is accepted
• learning more information about the practice and physician
• Scheduling an appointment

Improving a visitor’s ability to accomplish these tasks increases the value of your site and increases the chances of converting that person into a patient.

If your site is not already doing these things, now is the time to make a change. A medical practice’s website design can be improved with the following three items.

Your Home Page Should Clearly Describe Your “Brand”

The home page of your site needs to share important information with site visitors. It should include what your medical specialty is, who you are, who you provide care, and why what you offer is different than anyone else in your field. Your home page does not need to include elaborate details, but it must offer clear information about the heart of your practice.

Good medical website design communicates important details about your brand and determines whether or not visitors want to learn more about your practice.

Create an Easy to Navigate Design

Too many websites are confusing and not user friendly. The easier your site is to use the likelier patients are to use it. Remember, not all of your current and potential patients are web savvy and even those who are do not have time to waste searching all over your site for what they need. Burying important features beneath layers of pages someone might like to read will not enhance your site.

Good website design features a navigation menu that is prominently featured and consistent on every page of the site.

The menu needs to direct visitors to the important parts of the site before they do anything else on the site. Making things easy to find actually increases the time people stay on your site and it improves conversion rates. Be sure to include a services page that includes a sub-menu featuring each of your services separately. We recommend at least the following pages for our physician clients: Home, About the Staff, Services, Patient Information, and Contact Us.

Encourage Visitors to Take Action

Encouraging visitors to take action on a website is known as a “call to action.” It encourages visitors to follow up and contact you directly. There might be a contact or email button on each page or you might include a contact page. Most of our medical websites use a “Request an Appointment” form that makes it easy for visitors to submit their name, phone number, and email. The form can then be forwarded to your front desk which can follow-up and schedule an appointment.

In addition to contact information, we also include Google Maps that makes it easy for patient to find your medical practice. This can be at the bottom of every page or just on the Contact Us page.

Is your medical website design missing any of these important components? If so, it could be costing you business. Now is the time to make a change. Contact a Project Manager at Physician Designs for a free consultation and quote.