Your homepage is the most valuable part of your website. Why? Because it is often the first impression a person gets about your healthcare practice. And these days, due to smartphone use, you only have about 8 seconds to capture a website visitor’s attention before they move on. Your website’s homepage shows current and potential patients whether or not your practice is a good fit for their needs. A good homepage design offers, at a glance, a gateway to everything a patient may need during all phases of the patient evaluation journey—from finding a provider to connecting with the practice, to building loyalty and returning for ongoing treatment and care.
A well-designed, thoughtful, patient-focused homepage encourages users to keep coming back to your website and to remember it as a reliable source for information about the treatments and services your practice provides. To achieve this, your homepage should address five main questions:
Does Your Homepage Define Your Practice’s Purpose?
Websites offer a convenient way to provide and gather relevant and timely information about your healthcare practice. Your website is also the easiest and fastest way to connect with your current and potential patients, which is why it’s important for your homepage to state what it is that your practice does clearly. The overall goal is to meet your patients’ needs while highlighting all that your practice has to offer.
Do: Add a tagline or provide a brief overview or a catchy, succinct headline that goes with your business’s logo. Whichever you choose, keep it simple, concise and easy-to-understand.
Don’t: Dedicate half of your homepage to telling your staff’s history or detailed descriptions of your services (keep that for your “About Us” and “Services” sections). Trying to include every detail about your practice on the homepage can be overwhelming.
Is Your Content Clear, Concise and Easy to Understand?
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write useful and effective content for your homepage. Simply providing the most important information a patient could need in an easily digestible manner can mean the difference between a website visitor sticking around or bouncing to a competitor’s site. It’s also important to ensure your content is accessible to all visitors. Your homepage should demonstrate that your practice understands this by making sure your website follows accessible design guidelines. Additionally, adding fresh content regularly and keeping the information up to date will give patients a reason to continue returning to your website.
Do: Limit jargon, keep sentences short, and use accessible language.
Don’t: Write down to your audience—keeping the language simple doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be professional and respectful of your audience’s intelligence.
Does Your Homepage Have Intuitive Design and Navigation?
When patients visit your website, how easy is it for them to find what they need on the homepage? Do the design and navigation make sense? Does your homepage highlight the most important information your site visitors might need? Design and navigation, though not the same thing, do tend to go hand-in-hand. Your homepage’s design should encourage navigation, while your website’s navigation should reflect the typical users’ journey on your page. A big part of providing intuitive navigation is making sure that users can access the most popular/most trafficked pages on your site directly from your homepage. If your practice’s contact information, list of services, blog or patient portal pages are in high demand, make sure your homepage highlights direct links to them.
Do: Highlight your most-visited pages and make sure first-time visitors can easily navigate your homepage to locate the information they need.
Don’t: Inundate users with too many options or confusing menus—keep things simple and direct.
Are Your Images High Quality and Authentic?
While stock images are easy to come by, finding ones that tell the right story for your website isn’t easy. Taking the time to procure real images of your practice’s office space, staff and providers is important. Relevant, high-quality images are a great way to show patients what they can expect when they visit your practice, as well as further differentiate your practice from local competition.
Do: Make sure your images are at least 300 dpi and use real, high-quality photos of your practice and staff.
Don’t: Use irrelevant stock photos or low-quality images.
Is It Easy to Find Your Practice’s Contact Information?
This may seem a bit obvious, but a lot of homepages bury this information, which leads to frustrated users. Your website should encourage open, two-way communication with patients. An easy-to-locate “Contact Us” tab is important. It should be placed in a fairly prominent location on your homepage so users can easily access it, as opposed to hidden at the very bottom of your homepage in small writing. And remember, there are a variety of ways patients can connect with their providers, including through social media. Making your social media accounts easy to find, access and follow on your homepage makes engaging your patients that much easier.
Do: Make your “Contact Us” page easy to find and highlight your social media accounts to provide a secondary means of communication and engagement.
Don’t: Bury your “Contact Us” page within mega menus or dropdowns or hide it away at the bottom of your homepage.
A good homepage encompasses many things, and the above are only five of the most basic questions you want to consider when designing (or redesigning) your practice’s website. To learn more about website homepages and what a great website design can do for your practice, contact us today.