Veterinary Website Design
Anatomy of a Great Veterinary Website Design:
Effective Engagement with Owners
The moment your Veterinary Home Page appears on a screen – desktop, tablet or mobile device – you have approximately three (3) seconds to pause your visitor in their tracks, convey professionalism, and enable them to determine the website’s navigation. Excluding direct visitors that might be looking to access your scheduling system, three seconds is the attention interval that visitors give to your Home Page when finding it on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. If they’re not impressed or can’t figure out the website, your visitor is destined to move on to the next search result.
Engaging Visitors with your Home Page
Motion and animation are key. Movement especially on the eye's peripheral edge – instinctively focuses attention on the motion. Visitors will wait to see what has happened and what will occur next. Three seconds is definitely short, but it’s enough time for a visitor to process two other items on your Home Page.
Every visitor has an internal expectation of the likely appearance of your website. Therefore, your Home Page needs to convey a sense to visitors of whether your practice is large, small, efficient, businesslike, friendly, comfortable, etc. Your practice needs to define the likely audience and select the most appropriate style a style.
If companion animals represent the bulk of your practice, your Home Page should demonstrate that the doctors and staff love all kinds of pets and appreciate each pet's relationship with their owner. Images of caring staff members attending to pets work best in this area.
When choosing stock images, photographs of the types of pets you see most often are the most effective. Combination photos that show veterinarians and staff attending to various animals are great selections. These images demonstrate compassion, concern and direct interaction.
Dr. Leonardo contains hundreds of high-resolution images of all kinds of animals that can be used on animated section of your Home Page. This includes dogs, cats, exotics such as birds and reptiles, and horses for equine specialists. You can also upload high-res photos of your own – images of the waiting area, operating area, examination rooms, veterinarians, staff, etc. Dr. Leonardo features more than 40 different design themes for animal health. Varying the Home Page banner images allows you to create a unique, customized version of your Dr. Leonardo website.
General Navigation - Quick & to the Point
A practice website typically consists of many different pages – doctor and staff biographies, educational content, pet owner portal, etc. It’s therefore important that visitors immediately grasp how to navigate the website. A website establishes a navigation trail with multiple ways visitors to explore the site, so icons and graphics which lead directly to popular pages are helpful.
Dr. Leonardo websites feature intuitive menus with multiple shortcuts to the online appointment scheduling systems, pet owner portals, social media links and more. Each are completely editable for a custom presentation.
The Supporting Pages
Once a pet owner has reached the Home Page, the goal is to engage them by leading them through supporting pages. Visitors can spend a good amount of time educating themselves on the veterinarian’s biographies, and reading up on the conditions, treatments and procedures that affect their pets. First time visitors are often ‘vetting’ the practice, and this level of engagement is generally at a direct expense of other, similar veterinarians that the visitor is potentially considering as well.
Clinical Content on Animal Health
Deep clinical content on conditions and treatments achieve two purposes:
Content is the primary information for search engines.
Many factors are at play in top-of-page search results – relevant links, responsive site design, load speed, etc. But content remains as the greatest component of effective organic search placement.
The reason is simple: the primary objective of any search engine is to answer questions posed as queries. Whenever a search engine provides accurate and comprehensive answers, visitor return to use the search engine again. This is Google's formula to maintain dominance in the search market – it provides the most relevant answers to its visitor's questions.
Every page on a website is robotically reviewed on the Internet by search engine web crawlers (also referred to as 'bots'). A site which features in-depth written content with clinical terminology is ranked as an authoritative source. The results are high placement for queries that include animal health conditions you treat, and the associated treatment regimens you prescribe. This authority translates to website visitors.
Pet owners want to see information about their pet’s condition on your website.
Many visitors are at your website in order to vet you as a prospective veterinarian. Your current pet owners are seeking reassurance they have selected the right veterinary practice with the right doctors. When your website contains information about their pet’s health condition, it makes them feel comfortable in having chosen you and your practice as their provider.
Pet owners also use the content on your website to educate themselves on caring for their pets.
Dr. Leonardo features detailed content on more than 8,800 healthcare conditions, treatments and procedures. Discussions average 400 – 700 words each, and include clinical illustrations and professional medical photography. Rich-text, print-ready functionality lets you distribute point-of-care information at your office and on your patient's desktop and mobile devices.
Online Appointment Scheduling
It is estimated that by 2019, 64% of the U.S. population will schedule their medical appointments online, with almost one billion appointments booked this way each year [Accenture]. Expect two-thirds of your own patients to book their appointments on their own.
Most appointments will be made through the use of a phone, which can often be clumsy to use to enter data. Keep it simple and get the basics needed to schedule the patient on your calendar: Name, telephone, email address, and appointment time. Detailed medical history and insurance questions can saved be for appointment confirmation notices by sending the patient a link to the appropriate place on your website to log in to your Patient Portal.
Dr. Leonardo’s intuitive appointment interface collects:
- Date, time and office location of the appointment
- The patient's first and last name
- Primary and mobile telephone number
- Email Address
- Preferred contact method (phone or email)
- New or existing patient
- Reason for visit
Your office is automatically notified of the appointment basics by email, with any Personal Health Information (PHI) being automatically encrypted using SecureForms™ on our HIPAA-compliant servers.
Patient Portal Access
Since patients often struggle to remember how to access the Patient Portal, the best place to find your Patient Portal is on your website. As a core component of Meaningful Use Standards, Patient Portals extend the functions that patients typically call about each day onto your website. This frees up time for your office staff and relieves congestion at the front desk. Additionally, referring healthcare providers can be given access so they can review your office's EHR notes on joint patients.
Dr. Leonardo allows you to select from our list of more than 100 EHR systems to feature your Patient Portal with a short-cut from every page of your website.
Patient forms remain a necessity to every medical office. Place those patient forms on your website as PDF files that patients can download and complete before their appointment. Today’s forms are often available as interactive PDF files to be completed online and imported directly into your EHR system. If your Patient Portal offers the forms as part of registration, patients can be directed to the portal to register in your EHR before they arrive at your office.
Dr. Leonardo lets you upload patient forms of various format including Adobe PDF, Word files and other documents.
It is important to provide a page listing the insurance plans that your practice accepts. Equally important is to keep this list up-to-date as well. Patients frequently attempt to match providers with their insurance plans when search the web. Like all content on your website, this list becomes associated with the practice name and the providers.
Responsive Mobile Optimization
Search queries are now conducted on mobile devices more often than not. As a result, search engines now give greater preference to websites that are mobile-optimized, and in particular to responsive websites. The user experience with a responsive website is far better when using a smartphone, and the speed to load is a factor as well.
Dr. Leonardo website designs are responsive and mobile-optimized, so they automatically adjust to the size of the device – desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Websites which use a Content Management System (CMS) give the practice the ability to edit and change the content on their website themselves. This can also include the ability to access and modify the On-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features. While a practice administrator might not care to learn the ins and outs of this feature, an outside Digital Marketing Agency most certainly will.
It's not uncommon to want to switch from one digital agency to another. Whenever this happens, many agencies require that an entirely new website be created with them. With Dr. Leonardo, you can provide access to any third-party agency for on-page SEO work, and continue to keep your existing website.
Important Notices Found in the Website's Footer
HIPAA regulations require that the Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) be posted on a medical practice's website. You must have webpage for this, or at least a link to a PDF file of the notice that patients can download.
For more information on Dr. Leonardo PRACTICE-Sites, build yours today.