Top 9 Tips for Optimizing Engagement on Healthcare Sites

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
August 14, 2020

Healthcare continues to be a hot topic on everyone’s mind in 2020. With everything from the COVID-19 outbreaks and heart disease to insurance policies and rising obesity, there is no shortage of health concerns that plague our world. The truth is, healthcare impacts the lives of everyone around us. Whether you’re refilling a prescription or seeking treatment options, healthcare isn’t going anywhere.

With shrinking budgets and an increase in yearly patients, the healthcare community has more challenges than ever when it comes to patient education and lead generation. Eighty percent of all internet users – roughly 93 million Americans – have searched for a health-related topic online. Out of those searches, 63% were related to a specific disease, 47% a procedure, 44% for nutrition, and 36% fitness or exercise.

Globally, there are approximately 70,000 search queries every second, translating to around 5.8 billion searches a day. With health-related topics being one of the most popular online activities, the healthcare industry has a large responsibility not only to educate consumers but also to provide them with treatment options.

However, medical practices compete in the physical and digital space, so driving more patients through your door goes hand in hand with creating a digital experience that’s easy to navigate and understand. Your healthcare website needs to provide a seamless user experience (UX) that helps consumers make easy, smart, and convenient health choices.

Let’s dive into how you can optimize engagement on your healthcare website to increase the customer experience and conversion rates.


How to Develop an Engaging Healthcare Website

Healthcare can no longer depend solely on market share, brand, or health insurance partners to drive business to your practice. When it comes to the digital landscape, current healthcare facilities face a regulated industry with “safe” content, similar logo designs, inaccessible designs, and more.

However, 85% of patients claim they are confident in taking responsibility for their health and researching online resources to do so. With an increase in consumer demand for more healthcare information, your website needs to empower and engage your patients by:

  • Providing a value proposition around your company as a healthcare provider and treatment option
  • Allowing patients to access medical records like test results and other health information
  • Permitting options for online payment and scheduling

What do all these have in common? An understanding and development of UX fundamentals that allow users to easily accomplish their goals, engage with your content, and convert into loyal patients. With it only taking consumers 0.05 seconds to form an opinion on your website, your design needs to meet modern patient expectations and establish your credibility within their first visit.


Best Practices to Increase Engagement on Healthcare Sites

So, how can you optimize the user experience on your healthcare website? Follow these nine tips to develop better digital user behaviors that lead to more patients and increased return on investment (ROI) for your healthcare practice.

1. Develop a Simple and Easy Navigation

Your audience may be in distress – searching for answers for their medical concerns and questions. By developing a simple navigation, you’re able to guide users to their desired information in fewer clicks and less time than otherwise. The simplest way to create a user-friendly design is to develop a navigation that encourages your users to learn more. Depending on your layout, you can implement either a hamburger navigation in the top left or right corner or a top navigation bar that organizes your web pages.

Additionally, don’t forget to create a site map for search engines to crawl and decipher your web page hierarchy. A site map helps to improve your search engine optimization efforts and has the potential to rank you higher in health-related search engine results.

2. Include Robust Search Functionality

Typically, users will enter your site with a purpose. Whether they’re looking for location information or to schedule an appointment, your website needs to easily direct them to the right content. Within your navigation, you need to include an in-depth keyword search and filter feature. When a user searches for a keyword like “high blood pressure,” not only relevant results should appear. Users should also be able to further filter results by medical content, services, events, providers, and more. An advanced search filter empowers users to find exactly what they need.

3. Display Emotional and Relevant Imagery

For aesthetics, design a minimalist website that focuses on the emotional reasons users enter your website. Minimalist designs have faster download speeds, focus on content, and serve fewer distracting features, like popups. Depending on your healthcare niche or service, display imagery that sparks emotions and optimism. Utilize high-quality imagery with deep colors and promote optimal wellness. For example, the color green sparks feelings of wellbeing, so displaying green with grandparents playing with children drives home the emotion of good health for all ages.

4. Film Quality Health Video Content

Investing in video marketing is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website and engage with new users. In fact, including videos on landing pages can increase conversions by at least 80%. Videos also help to establish trust between providers and patients through an interactive format. To promote your healthcare facility through a website, consider the following video types:

  • Facility tours
  • Provider interviews and profiles
  • Patient reviews
  • Procedure and treatments
  • Educational videos on medical conditions
  • Frequently asked questions

With the right videos, you can increase website engagement through visual storytelling that compels users to learn more and convert. Beyond videos, it’s also essential to display prominent news, articles, social highlights, and more to demonstrate your credibility.

5. Build Credibility with Your Medical Expertise

Patient reviews, success stories, and notable achievements all help users become more comfortable with your facility and add credibility to your providers. Why? Consumers are constantly influenced by the choices, opinions, and actions of other people. In fact, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations and often read at least 10 online reviews before making a decision.

To add social proof to your website, consider adding the following:

  • Patient reviews
  • Patient success stories or testimonials
  • Awards and notable achievements
  • Doctor credentials and affiliated associations
  • Research papers and studies

By adding credibility to your healthcare website, you will establish greater trust among patients and improve your conversion rates.

6. Develop Responsive Mobile Design

Seventy-seven percent of smartphone owners use their devices to find healthcare providers, and 79% claim to revisit the facility if their mobile site is easy to use. Your healthcare website needs to be mobile-friendly and responsive on every possible device. With a responsive layout, your healthcare website remains accessible for all viewers so mobile searchers can have the same digital experience as those on a desktop.

7. Design with Accessibility

For user experience, web accessibility means developing a resource that everyone can use despite visual, physical, speech, auditory, neurological, or cognitive disabilities. Your healthcare audience may comprise different ages and impairments, so including accessible elements is crucial to helping users understand your website.

Key website accessibility features to consider are as follows:

  • Do not rely on color as the only navigational tool to differentiate website elements
  • Include alt text on all images or captions to describe the images
  • Functionality should be accessible through the keyboard, mouse or voice
  • Create high-contrast and large fonts
  • Format the layout so users can read left-to-right and top-to-bottom

By making website accessibility a priority, you ensure that all potential patients have a seamless user experience and can easily access your information.

8. Include Online Scheduling and Bill Payments

Did you know that 71% of millennials prefer online scheduling? It won’t be long before Baby Boomers become more comfortable using digital technology for daily tasks as well. For healthcare websites to meet consumer demand and compete with other facilities, they need to allow patients to schedule appointments, pay bills, and renew prescriptions online. Display these features front and center on your website so users can feel empowered to put health in their own hands with your services.

9. Embrace Digital Messaging Capabilities

With a growing need for remote communications, telecare has become essential for healthcare facilities to provide exceptional patient care. The truth is, with the emergence of COVID-19, virtual appointments are a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. According to a survey, 78% of consumers say they’re interested in receiving virtual health services.

Include virtual appointments and messaging capabilities on your website to make your patients feel more comfortable and quickly communicate with providers. You could also include functionality like doctor video chat or an automated chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. All these services will give your patients a better user experience and result in more referrals.


Optimizing the User Experience on Your Healthcare Site

Healthcare is an essential need for everyone across the world. However, consumer demand also drives competition among providers looking to stand out and earn new patients – especially in a digital environment. For healthcare facilities to optimize engagement and increase conversions, your website needs to:

  • Include a clear navigation that promotes users to take action or learn more
  • Promote quality content like videos, blogs, and case studies
  • Display a minimalist design with thought-provoking imagery
  • Establish credibility through patient reviews and achievements
  • Put web accessibility at the forefront of design
  • Use technology to empower users to schedule appointments, pay bills, or speak to a provider

Ready to boost engagement and drive new patients for your healthcare facility? Download The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Digital Experiences for Enterprise today to improve your user experience.

Topics: Marketing, User experience, Website Performance
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