Covid has accelerated the digital shift for healthcare. We all know that It was probably going to take a few more years to happen but now as more and more people take the digital route for any requirement they may have, it becomes important for business owners to think about their online presence. This is true even for ophthalmologists. More so for those who have established their own practices versus working in an eye institute and this difference is because those who have established their own practices have in one way become entrepreneurs and whether they like it or not as time goes by the most important job as the owner of an ophthalmic practice would be to increase or drive patients to that practice. This is where online presence comes in.
So what does online presence mean?
When people look for you or for things you do there are places that showcase you or your practice.
These could be
- Youtube videos
- Listing in Practo and similar sights
- A Website
- Writing a Blog
- A Newsletter
- An email sequence that goes out to patients or potential patients
- Google my Business presence
- Google maps
- Google News
- Google reviews
In this first part of this series, we will be talking about our websites.
We all think of making a website when we start our practices and then when the website is made, we google our name or our website name and sure enough, it may pop up. We then click see our website, see our logo and our name, and are overjoyed. I know, because I did the same thing. Here I want to ask an important question. How many people do you think are searching for your name or your hospital’s name.
What we normally do for our websites
The usual process that we follow is to try to find a web developer who will make a website within a budget that we're comfortable with but we have no idea of anything else. Once the website is made we never know how many people visit the website and which pages they are looking at. We don't know how much time they spend on it. We don't know if they click a link on that page or just close the browser after getting on a page. We don't even know if our website ranks on google for anything. What this means is what position is your website on for anything that somebody may search for.
How many of you have heard of Google search console, google analytics, Facebook pixel, or crazy egg. These are tools available to measure all of the things that I mentioned above.
What does Google really want to do?
What does google want for people who visit Google and type something to search. Google wants to give these visitors the best answer possible and also the best experience possible. Best answers will be available in the most detailed and most complete content that someone has written. The best experience for the user will be when the website loads fast when there is no layout shift when there are links on the page to other pages talking about related topics, when you have pictures, and when someone clicks a link on that page loads fast too.So here are 10 pearls to keep in mind when talking to your web developer.
1. Choose your domains wisely and buy your own domain on google domains. That way you always have control of your domain. There are however many options where you can buy your own domains. I prefer Google because the whole process is very clean.
2. Website speed. Your website has to load in under 2 seconds. For every additional second that the website takes to load you will lose 30% of your visitors. A fast website is something that you should demand from your web developer before giving him the contract. The tools to measure website speed are google page speed insights and GT Metrix. Your score should be 90% for both mobile and desktop on page speed insights and A with a greater than 90 score for structure and performance on GT Metrix.
3. Hosting: There are 3 types of hosting. Shared hosting, dedicated server, and finally cloud hosting. Never go for shared hosting because it will not give you speed. Go for a dedicated server or cloud hosting. We don't really need cloud hosting because our patients are all local and if your hosting server is the local cloud is not needed. Thus we would be fine with dedicated hosting. AWS is the best but the most expensive. Cloudways is another good service. If you use cloudways combine it with digitalocean cloud hosting.
4. Most likely your website will be on WordPress. Developers use website builders to build their websites. The most commonly used builder is Elementor. This makes building sites easy. Unfortunately, elementor adds a lot of code to your website which makes the site slow. The newest builder is called oxygen builder which injects very little code into your website and thus your website is fast. Insist that your web developer makes the website in oxygen.
5. Image sizes - CLS ( Cumulative Layout Shift ) is a metric that Google will rate your site with. CLS stands for cumulative layout shift and if your layout shift is more than 0.1 then google will red flag your site. The biggest cause of layout shift is images and thus you will have to make sure that the images are correctly sized for the page. Its no point putting 1200 px images in your database where the actual size of the image on your webpage is only 450 px.
6. Install google analytics, google search console, and Facebook pixel which is something that you will have to read up about, and create a pixel in the business account of Facebook. By the way, this is the place Facebook is making its money.The next 4 points are what you have to keep ready before you go to your web developer
7. Structure of the website - this means what main headings will the home page have and then what subheadings will those headings have. For eg. www.eyesolutions.in will be your domain. And then www.eyesolutions.in/cataract will be one heading. Further, you would have www.eyehospital.com/cataract/cost-of-cataract-surgery-in-mumbai/ or monofocal iol or how is cataract surgery done or whatever. This structure is important because this structure will create permalinks.What are permalinks? The extensions in the links after the home page are called permalinks. The structure of the website should be thought about before building the website.
8. Think of the main menu bar headings that you will have on your website. Maybe an about us and finally a blog with some items in between.
9. Look at 10 other websites and make a note of all the things you like about them. Then take a pen and paper and draw what you want your website to look like. You will need to draw roughly the following page
- Home page
- Main blog page
- Blog post page
- Internal page
There are a few other pages that are not that important so let's skip that for now. Please remember in terms of design the web developer may be better so let him suggest changes to these pages that you have sketched out
10. Finally the web developer will ask you for content. It's very easy for him to make these 4-5 pages but you will have to provide all the content.
For Content, you must remember the following
1. People are not searching for you. They are searching for answers to their problems. They are typing in the questions using terms that they think are correct. These terms are not necessarily what you think is correct.
Do you know what is the term people use for refractive errors?Eye Power, Eyesight power
Do you know what they type to know how to get rid of glasses? How can I improve my eyesight power? How can I reduce the eyesight power? If you notice these questions are asking completely opposite things. But the intent of the user is the same.
2. Every page should have one main title. This is called the H1 Title. It tells Google what that page is about. The H1 title should be Eye Power or Cost of cataract surgery. No two pages on your website can have the same H1 title.
3. Every other title on the page will have to be H2 and H3 and H4 titles.
4. Each page should be focused on one keyword or two. So for eg one of my pages is focused on eye power. Another page is focused on eye lasers, and another on eye injections. I also have another page that is focused on Avastin injections.
5. Keyword research is a very important part of creating content. And I will tell you 10 pearls for keyword research in the next article.
Finally, please remember. This is the first step to get your online presence. Anything and everything else that you do will lead people to the website. If the website is not good then it is not ideal.
We will talk about keyword research in the next article