According to the latest research, more than 70 percent of people will go online to check out a prospective health-care practitioner before booking an appointment. What will these potential clients discover when they get to your site? Is it easy to navigate and helpful or is it difficult to navigate and uninformative?
How people interact with sites has been the subject of extensive study. This, in turn, has given rise to a set of established practices for optimizing online content and layout.
Upon initial viewing, most people will scan the page with a pattern of eye movements that somewhat resemble an â€˜F.' This â€˜F' is made up of the following three components:
- First is horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the page (the F's top bar).
- Next, users move down the page and read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement (the F's lower bar).
- Finally, users scan the page's left side in a vertical movement: for some users, this is a fairly slow and systematic scan; others may move faster (the F's stem).
How does your site measure up?
With this â€˜F' pattern in mind, take a look at your own site. Ask yourself — or, better yet, a friend or co-worker — these key questions:
- Have you maximized the value of the top bar of the â€˜F'? In other words, does the first paragraph (or first section of text) contain your most important content, which will connect with visitors, answer their questions, and draw them in?
- Is the site's text easily digestible? Note that people don't read text on a website word for word, so long chunks of text are actually a deterrent to connecting with visitors.
- Does your site's content showcase what makes you unique? For instance, do you use MyOutcomes in your practice? If so, then detailing its benefits would help set you apart from other therapists in the eyes of prospective clients. Here's how one therapist's website capitalizes on their use of MyOutcomes: â€œNow there's evidence that therapy will work, thanks to a revolutionary new approach. This approach — Feedback Improved Therapy — has been clinically proven to double and even triple the effectiveness of therapy. It does so by measuring the strength of the relationship between client and therapist and tracking outcomes through a simple, user-friendly process.â€
- Are the strongest â€œinformation-carrying wordsâ€ on the left-hand side of the page where most visitors gravitate? If you have graphics or a menu on the left-hand side and all your text on the right, consider switching them around.
If you answered â€œyesâ€ to all of the questions above, pat yourself on the back and have a latte. If you answered â€œnoâ€ to some or all of them, you may want to revise your site to make it more user-friendly and funnel more clients to your practice. I'll explain you how can do that in upcoming Therapist Marketing Tip #3.