Put a room full of eye care professionals together, and if one of them brings up marketing you’ll invariably hear about the singular desire to own a site with custom design and branding. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that most practices would prefer a site that’s beautiful and unique. But it does beg the question why so many think their site has to be custom, OR beautiful, OR functional, and not ALL of these things.
A Marriage of Beauty & Function
Your website may not be the first interaction that patients have with your practice online. But it’s likely the first space where they spend more than a minute or two early on in their search for an optometrist. And when they visit your site, it’s the first time they really get a sense of your practice’s personality, to see if you’re the right fit for them.
We know your current patients and prospective patients are visiting your site. Sell them on your brand by telling its story with custom content and design. A perfect site should be unique, a marriage of beauty and functionality, where your branding and design are aligned with performance optimization strategies.
A successful eye care website should make it obvious to patients to find out who you are, where you are, what you’re about, how you can help and when they can come see you. The goal is to make it easy for them to schedule an appointment. Unique branding and design are an art form when done successfully, but so are site functionality and search engine optimization.
A Faster Site for Patients
Here are a few pieces of research on design and site speed to get you thinking: Research shows that 94% of website first impressions are design related. Everyone likes a nice-looking site, so that study makes sense, right? Well, the next bit of data gets scarier: approximately 1 in 4 website visitors will abandon a website if it takes 4 seconds or more to load.
Pull up Pingdom right now on another tab and test your page’s site speed.
Are you done? Was it a little too close for comfort?
Now imagine a prospective patient with 30 apps open in their browser. Websites are already going to be loading slowly for them, and there’s nothing you can do about that. But what you can do is realize that you need to do everything in your power to improve how quickly your site loads for them. There are simply too many other factors outside your control that can slow down your website.
A site bogged down by speed issues can affect you in a few ways: First, it’s like the web equivalent of putting an obstacle course in front of your practice’s entrance. Second, a poor mobile loading speed negatively affects a site’s SEO, meaning Google will lower your search ranking, making your page harder to find. Third, and most importantly, the average human attention span is 8.25 seconds. If 6-7 of those seconds are spent with the site loading, that visitor will navigate away from the site to another faster loading option.
If your site is just a wall of words on a screen it may load fast but isn’t very enticing. On the other hand, a site full of animation, videos and custom design may look good but may also never load. It can be a fine line to walk, but if you find the right balance, you’ll have everything you would need from a website to wow patients and book them into appointments.
A Better Ranking & ROI
Whether or not your marketing plan begins and ends with a website, optimizing your site’s search engine ranking should be a cornerstone of your strategy. Consider SEO like an insurance policy for your practice. 46% of Google searches are looking for local information, so no matter your other marketing activities, SEO is working in the background helping you get found sooner than the competition.
Many factors play into a site’s SEO ranking, including the inclusion of commonly searched keywords, metadata, the number of users your site has, and how long your users stay on your site, to name a few. The more eye care specific SEO tactics used, the more likely you’re found sooner when local residents search for “optometrist near me,” or for info on eye-related conditions, resulting in more booked appointments for your practice.
A Delicate Balance
The key to a perfect website is in its balance between beauty and functionality. Custom design can help practices like yours more accurately tell your brand’s story and reach your ideal patient. And if your site is also built with patients in mind, utilizing SEO and mobile-first optimization, you’ll reach that patient sooner, earn their trust and book them into your practice.
Contact EyeCarePro today about CustomPro, an optimized custom website with unique branding that you can own.