Woman planning out her marketing plan

What the Best Hearing Practice Websites Have & Do

Website design across industries has reached a pinnacle in aesthetics, versatility, and user-responsiveness. Gone are the days when a sleek image carousel or flash-based entry on your homepage was enough to have your website stand out. With the nearly 500 new websites joining the Internet each minute, the competition for attention online is more intense than ever before. Ensure that your website has the latest features and installments to capture more online visitors and turn them into satisfied patients.
In the hearing healthcare industry, it’s rare to encounter a practice without a website. Most hearing professionals recognize that more and more of their potential patients are going online to look for local hearing services. They know that having a stand-out website is their best way to attract these patients online.
But surprisingly, many of these websites are missing one or several of the key elements of a modern website. These elements go far beyond simple design aesthetics (but those are important, too), and involve critical structural and functional elements that often determine how easily search engines like Google can find a website related to a search query. Ignoring the latest developments in website design could mean that your website languishes in the far reaches of the search results—effectively becoming invisible.
Consider the following trends that the best websites in the hearing healthcare industry are using to increase traffic to their websites and patients to their offices.
Intuitive Interface
Have you ever landed on a business’s website and found yourself frustrated trying to find the most basic information, like the hours of operation? Most of us have, and this frustration is the result of a poor organization and unintuitive design. When laying out your page design throughout your website—especially for your homepage—the one guiding question you need to ask is, “what are my patients here for?”
Let’s be clear: your website exists for one main purpose: to direct more potential patients through your office doors. In order for it to be effective in this regard, the pathways of information need to be easy to navigate, for both novice and experienced Internet users.
Up to Speed
This is a timeless necessity for every website, but unfortunately, it can quietly creep out of the equation. Unless poorly designed from the start, a website’s speed can be diminished over time by the accumulation of oversized images (added to blogs, for instance) or widgets (like social media feeds added to your homepage, etc). Failing to update your website’s various operating programs and plugins can also slow down its overall speed.
Site speed plays a large role in how well your website is ranked by search engines, so it’s a very important element to maintain. Luckily, checking on how it’s doing is a simple task. Many websites, such as this one, exist to provide a free analysis of your site speed and can help you determine if further action is needed.
Cohesiveness
Ask any branding expert what the single most important element of a successful branding campaign is and most will tell you immediately: consistency. The entire purpose of your branding—those colors, images, shapes, logo, the overall look and feel of your marketing materials, and even the office design you’ve chosen—is to inspire a certain set of ideas about your practice. Maybe you chose to go with soft and neutral colors to encourage a gentle and nurturing impression for your patients. Or perhaps you’ve gone with sharp design elements to translate a more cutting-edge, modern impression throughout your branding.
No matter what you’ve chosen to represent your practice, it’s important that those elements remain consistent throughout your entire design, from your physical office to your printed materials, and yes, even to your website. This consistency provides an intelligence and cohesiveness to your overall marketing approach, and makes anything you produce (be it a digital newsletter or a printed mailer) quickly recognized as coming from you. Brand recognition is always step one, and it’s an important one.
Content over clutter
These days, the most effective way to boost your ranking in search results and establish yourself as a knowledgeable professional for inquiring patients online is to create informative content on a regular basis. Thorough descriptions of services, a complete “About Me” page, blogs, articles, updates, and even newsletters that are then published on your website all serve this purpose and can gain you important traction with search engines and how they rank your website
The best websites recognize the importance of highlighting this valuable content throughout their various web pages. They are careful to use design elements to support and highlight useful content, with a common theme of minimal design. When this rule isn’t followed, helpful and informative content can quickly become buried under cluttered pages trying to “do” too much. The result is difficult-to-find information and an overwhelming experience for website visitors.
Optimized for Mobile
With more Internet browsers using their mobile smartphones or tablets over computers to search online these days, having a mobile-friendly website is imperative. In fact, it’s so important that Google has even declared that non-mobile responsive websites will be ranked lower in search results. That is a pretty cut-and-dry reason to ensure that your website is fully optimized for mobile devices. If you’re unsure whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, simply visit your website from a smartphone or tablet. If it looks identical to how it would on a computer screen, but with much smaller text, buttons, and images, then it’s likely not been optimized for responsive design.
 

Photo selection for website

How to Choose the Best Photos for Your Website

 
Your website is your digital office and your home page is akin to your waiting room. It’s the first place potential patients experience you and your practice online, so it’s important to get it right.
While many try to ignore it, appearance is everything. We humans are visual creatures and studies confirm that 90% of sensory information sent to the brain is in fact visual. We even process visual data 60,000 times faster than text. It turns out that a picture does indeed say a thousand words… if not more.
So the question is: what are your website’s images saying about you?
It’s not uncommon for practice owners, in their eagerness to get their website going (in between managing countless other tasks), to overlook this critical detail. After all, finding some hearing-related stock imagery and placing it throughout your website is easy enough. However, it’s worth reminding yourself that today’s online marketplace is a visually rich one, and website visitors, in general, are more sophisticated image-wise than we might realize.
Consider how you approached decorating your physical office: Did you quickly choose your furnishings and wall decor, or was it a fairly intentional process? Have you created a space that gives new patients a strong positive impression of you and your services? Are you willing to do the same for your website?
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to get the right images for your brand on your website. Gone are the days of needing to spend a fortune on stock imagery or to hire a professional photographer to have anything of decent quality. Now, with a relatively small investment of time, effort, and even a mildly artistic eye, you can create a visual experience on your website that conveys the strengths of your practice.
Below are some key tips to guide you in selecting the best images for your site:
High Quality
The most important aspect of any photo you choose for your website is the image’s quality or resolution. A low-quality image is slightly blurred, lacking crisp detail. High-quality images are seen throughout the Internet, making anything less-than stand out as awkwardly outdated. You want your practice to convey cutting-edge knowledge and tools, so be sure to use only high-quality images throughout your website.
Personalized
In general, the more personalized your images are, the better. Photos of you and your staff, your office, and even you in action with (consenting) patients are all attractive photos for a hearing practice website. But the caveat here is that they still need to be high quality and visually appealing. In other words, they’re best taken by a professional photographer to ensure the best resolution, angles, lighting, and effective cropping.
Sound too expensive? Consider reaching out to a photography class at a local college or university. Most photography students are very savvy with their fancy digital cameras and are looking for cheap ways to build their portfolios. And remember that not all of your images need to be personalized, but at the very least, your staff photos should be.
Brand Consistency
Have you defined your brand’s style? This is more than the palette (or set of colors) for your logo and extends into the overall “look and feel” of your branding. It’s what all of the visual elements of your practice (website included) are communicating to your patients and visitors.
Perhaps you like your marketing materials, website, and physical office to have a “light and clean” feel to them. Or maybe you want a more “modern and high-tech” look to all of your materials. Whatever the style of design you choose for your brand, be sure to apply those parameters to the images you select for your website as well. In fact, images are one of the key ways to communicate your brand’s style to your online visitors.
Emotive
Ideally, potential patients who learn about your practice through your website are impressed with what they see enough to contact you for your services. Having images that speak to the emotions of your visitors can greatly aid in this process. Hearing loss is a deeply emotional journey, often fraught with fear, embarrassment, frustration, and more. Choosing images that speak to the relief of those emotions and give visitors a sense of what is possible through your services is worth your time and effort.
While looking for emotive images, avoid using overly-obvious stock imagery of people (i.e. people winking, giving staged smiles, etc). Consider that even abstract imagery of nature or unique angles can convey this emotional journey as well (i.e. a peaceful horizon, a trail into the mountains, a close-up of someone holding another’s hand, etc). Choose images that feel consistent with your brand while inspiring hope and new possibilities. If they have people in them, simply ask yourself if the scene looks authentic or not. You might be surprised by how impactful these kinds of photos can be.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of revamping your website’s images, remember that it truly is easier than ever. There are many websites offering high quality, professional grade, and free stock images (
conveniently listed here). It’s important to note that you want to ensure that all images you use on your website are appropriately licensed. The aforementioned free stock websites offer images under the Creative Commons (CC) license, meaning they’re free for all types of use (commercial included). Purchasing your images from stock photo websites like AdobeStock or iStock means that you’re purchasing a license to use those photos on your website. Beyond these options, or using your own photos entirely, the legality of using an image can get tricky, as it’s not always clear if an image sourced online is actually filed under the CC license or not. Our advice is to always play it safe, as there are too many options for excellent images these days to risk getting sued over a poorly-sourced one.
It’s no secret that the hearing marketplace online is growing faster now than ever before, meaning that optimizing your website for the best user experience is critical for the highest visitor-to-patient conversions. By using the tips above, you can quickly and easily improve your online appeal for new and returning visitors alike.
If you’d like professional help optimizing your website, both visually and digitally, remember that we’re always just an email or call away. Simply put, it’s what we do best.