Practice Guide: How to Evaluate and Improve Your Website

Internet Marketing for Attorneys, Surgeons, and Dentists

By Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing

Your Internet marketing is now a primary focus of your practice.  No longer is a quick glance at reports your marketing agency feeds you enough to take your practice to the next level.

The following is the first of a series of “How-To” guides to help you take back some control over the results of your online marketing investments.  The first will address your website design.  The following guides will share tips, strategies and resources for SEO, PPC, Social Media, Facebook Ads, Google and YouTube display and video ads, Intake and Conversion Strategies. Whether you developed your website 5 years ago, or 5 month ago, high-ROI digital marketing needs to constantly evaluate the performance of your website and identify new opportunities for updates.

Get Access to Real Data

In many cases, the only data practices view is superficial Google Analytics reports that their marketing agency sends them.  In addition, the information is merely provided and presented in a manner to demonstrate they are “doing a good job” and justify their monthly fees.

Of course there is some value in that, but the real upside to data is identifying new opportunities to continually improve your results.  The key is more comprehensive data. 

If your website does not have Google Analytics data tracking programming, it needs to (it is free!).  If it already has it, your practice needs access to view the entire program. 

Also, if your website and marketing landing pages do not have designated call tracking numbers it is essential to add them.  You can only measure and improve your lead generation with accurate data.

Google Analytics Review Checklist:

  1. Focus on trends not small, isolated time frames – 6 month minimum.
  2. Overall site performance (traffic trends, time on site, bounce rates, number of pages per visit).
  3. Priority page performance - Identify the visibility and effectiveness of your most important pages and update accordingly.
  4. Check your overall mobile activity and on the most important and high-traffic pages. Make updates that improve your mobile display and user experience.
  5. Go through your Search Console section and identify the actual queries consumers are searching to reach your site.  You may find the need to update your SEO strategy and content.
  6. Check the demographics of your visitors to make sure your design, image and brand is in line with your audience.
  7. Also check the volume of traffic to your site by the hour. Identify when people are visiting and create appropriate conversion elements that meet their convenience.

Tips To Assess Your Website

The challenge most practices struggle with evaluating their website is going beyond just the images and colors to make more educated layout, design and conversion design updates.  Use the following tips to make more strategic design decisions.

Tip #1 - Start With Mobile-First

A pitfall that most practices fall into is only reviewing their website, as well as samples and competitors’ sites almost exclusively on desktop.  In most cases, your analytics data shows that the majority of website visitors are viewing your site using a smartphone.  Therefore, it makes sense for you to review, and develop your website from a “MOBILE-FIRST” perspective. 

User-Friendly Guidelines

Design for Fingers – Fingertips are 40-80 px wide, so design touch-friendly navigation.  Remove “hover” events and focus on Active events.  Use whitespace and avoid clustering too many elements that lead to mistaken clicks. Design for vertical scrolling to enhance navigation to prime areas and be aware of large hot click zones that can also lead to accidental clicks during scrolling.

Design for Holding and Display – How people hold phones and navigate can make a big difference in where your “Hot Zones” are located. Not surprising, 87% of users are right-hand dominant and the majority of users orient their screens for vertical viewing (60%) far more often than using a horizontal view (11%).

Earlier research (UX Matters) indicated that most people (49%) hold their phone and navigate with one hand (right).  In this case, the hot zones of your mobile design should be based on a dominant right thumb navigation layout.  

However, some more recent research (Tristan Denyer) indicates that “cradling” the phone in the left hand while using the right index finger as a mouse to navigate has become the preferred method for browsing the Web (still 30% still use one hand to hold and navigate).  In either case, it makes sense to make sure you focus on right thumb-based design and layout.  

Site Speed – Mobile websites that load exceptionally fast is an essential part of mobile-first design strategy.  In many cases, trying to simply squeeze your desktop design into a smaller screen will lead to slower mobile site speed. You can check your mobile and desktop website load times with this Google PageSpeed Tool.

Forms – Minimize the number of form fields and required data as much as possible.  Other tips include making the form fields large enough to easily complete, and if you need more fields, lay them out more vertically rather than horizontally (for easier scrolling).  The focus is on maximizing convenience and immediacy to communicate with your practice.

Tip #2 – Read and Improve Your Content

Most practices wrote their initial website content years ago when desktops were the only way to view it.  Unfortunately, that same content has been simply passed on to their more recent designs and are not written or structured in a mobile-friendly manner.  That would include the overall amount of content, the length of the sentences and paragraphs, and even the font type and size.

Since some of the content may be quite old, outdated, inaccurate or duplicated from other websites this would be an opportunity to correct, update, or remove ineffective copy.

Other considerations is that key pages can also incorporate more visual types of content, including infographics and video content, as well as interactive content such as SlideShare presentations and quizzes.  Creating more engaging content will not only attract and keep more visitors, it will generate more quality leads.

Tip #3 – Image and Branding

In addition to providing outstanding, useful content and positioning your practice as an authority resource, your website needs to immediately project a branded image and more quickly develop a rapport with your visitors than competitor websites.  Studies have shown that users will form an opinion of your website in less than a second.  

The strategic use of your logo, colors, and positioning text becomes increasingly important with today’s quick to judge consumers.  It is also essential that your website incorporate custom, engaging photos and videos, particularly on key pages and sections.  Do not undersell the importance and conversion value of breaking down walls and creating a connection with visitors.

Tip #4 – Conversion Strategies

Speaking of conversions, your site needs to have a plan to move visitors through the research and decision-making process and stimulate them to actions we want them to take. 

Calls-To-Action – Visuals are crucial to stimulate actions from your visitors so use graphics or images as part of your navigation and call-to-action strategies.  Also use key words and descriptions that connect with your visitors.  For instance, a “Check Our Reviews” link resonates much more with visitors who want to compare providers than “Check Our Testimonials”. 

Contact Form – This is a key “destination” page that has one primary purpose – generate leads and contacts.  Try to limit the amount of distractions and secondary calls-to-action that take them away from this page prior to them contacting your office.  This includes links to offers, sample results, blogs, social media and even locations. 

In addition, you probably recognize that phone calls are much more valuable than email form submissions, so make sure your primary call to action is a phone number. Include an obvious touch-to-call phone number at the top of the form.  Use color and font to make it stand out.  You may even consider making it more compelling by adding sense-of-urgency descriptions, like hotline, helpline, info line, quick consultation, etc.   

Next Steps:

These are just some of the fundamental areas you need to consider when assessing your website and identifying opportunities to improve your results. However, the key is implementation. 

Look for future articles where we will share other “How-To” insights.

However, if you need immediate and professional assistance to develop recommendations and strategies that are custom to your practice, market and competition, check out our marketing CONSULTING SERVICE:

  • No requirement to build or host a new site
  • No long-term SEO or PPC commitment
  • You can keep your current webmaster and we work them
  • Much more than just another sales evaluation
  • We monitor and support implementation of recommendations
  • Only a 3 month term and then month-to-month

Call 800-368-9910 for more details!