Thursday, March 25, 2010

Randall Wong, MD: Start building your Web site

Here is a list to get your new Web page started. Remember that not all components are easy to implement nor will they be ready in a day. Get started, but be patient. You most likely do not have all the components ready or figured out, but move forward.

A Web page is always a work in progress. This means it can always be better, but it also means that you can change things you don't like! Your Web page will not be built in a day. It will be impossible for your Web page to be everything to everyone. I would suggest you pick a few items that you feel are important.

You may want to make this a team building exercise by asking the staff, the administration, and your co-doctors for their suggestions and top choices for a Web page. You will be surprised how much this will validate your office staff!

I would suggest easy-to-complete items to start. This will give you the feeling of progress and accomplishment.

Here are my suggestions:
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• Contact page — Here you will list a name of a person. You need to include the practice/business address, e-mail (preferably of the contact person), phone number, and fax number. You are a service-oriented business. You want to add a personal feel by giving your patients a specific name.

• Map — A few weeks ago, we went over how easy it is to put yourself on the map. Just as easy is creating a link to a Google map of your office.

• Hours of operation

• Accessibility — Is there free parking? If not, do you validate? Which floor and where is the wheelchair access?

• Insurance list

All of these are easy to complete and can be done in a very short time. These are also the basic elements patients are looking for on the Web.

Items to add later:

• Bios of the doctors — Include a short biography about who you are and what you do. Keep it short and less than a page ("above the fold"). A picture is really important for the same touchy feely reasons as listing a real name on the contact page. People want to see what you look like. Use this same picture in other places to start branding yourself.

I would take the time to have each bio written in the same format and style and preferably by the same person. This will make it easier for a patient to find the information. Regarding style, it may be time for all of you to get new pictures taken for the sake of consistency and maintaining style (hint: go to Sears for a digital portrait).

• New patient forms — Have these available for download from your Web site. It saves everyone time. These are probably best if available as a .pdf file. They are more secure and will print exactly the way you want them.

• Staff pictures — These are highly underrated. People love to see who they are talking with when they call and schedule appointments and surgery, etc. Realizing that turnover may be high, you may want to include a picture and only one or two lines about them. Update only every few months if you like. Stick to first names only. Here’s an example: "Bill schedules appointments and works in our downtown office. He has been with Acme Associates for five years and loves to get to know everyone!"

The items above should take precedence over adding graphics, although you may need to choose a theme and color scheme early on. They can all be changed later on. Remember, you want your Web page to provide information first, then look pretty.

More next week.

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