4 Websites That Say “Nope”: Lessons In Good Web Design
In my industry, we call it your “bounce rate”: the percentage of visitors who land on your homepage, then hop on down the bunny trail to some other website.
That means they never click on any of your links. Never look around. Never get to know who you are. And never become your client.
What causes it? Many things, even just typing in the wrong web address. But visitors also tend to switch channels when they see outdated content, eccentric design, links drowning in a sea of copy … visual blunders.
This is why smart web design is so important.
Good Web Design Gets You Good Metrics … Relatively Speaking
Now, it’s true that about 55% of people spend 15 seconds or fewer on most webpages. So don’t feel bad if your bounce rate is high. We all seem to have a shorter attention span than a goldfish these days.
On the other hand, some websites do hold visitors longer. What’s a “good” span of time? Viewers who spend 3 minutes on your website are twice as likely to return as viewers who spent just 1 minute there, researchers have found.
Three minutes. Not really a long time. So, here’s the question: How do you grab them?
Generally, your website has to:
- Interest your target audience
- Answer questions with up-to-date content
- Inspire trust
- Be easy to use
- Be visually attractive, with things like bullet points (see what I did there?)
You can find dozens of tips to make a website user-friendly on the web. But it starts by asking a basic question: At first glance, what does our website say about us, as an organization?
That said, here are 4 statements to avoid at all costs.
1. “We forgot to take our Adderall.”
This is the Yale University School of Art, so we’ll give them a pass for the, er, outre design. However, a business needs to be more “Bill Gates” and less “Andy Warhol,” obviously. Being taken seriously is kind of a prerequisite to inspiring trust.
Here’s a far more powerful design from Cardinal Health’s website:
A splash of color, some beautiful imagery, and a message that goes to the heart. Nothing wrong with this artistic approach.
The takeaway: It’s best if “artful” is also tasteful.
2. “We’ll give you 3 guesses to figure out what we do here. Ha! Strike one.”
This is AintWet.com, and it takes several clicks to understand what they’re actually selling. (It’s hats and T-shirts, by the way. I think.)
This website is an extreme example of a communication breakdown. Forget brand identity: Your website can’t make any statement at all if the nature of your business isn’t clear.
That seems obvious, but it’s a basic step that gets overlooked. Compare Aintwet to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital:
They could have picked a generic hospital building. Instead, they picked a kid. This really says “we’re all about children,” and it hits a home run. (Bonus points for matching the kid’s shirt with the U.S. News and World Report badge.)
The takeaway: Your website should communicate who you are, instantly.
3. “Working with us is as exciting as watching paint dry.”
I don’t know Suzanne Collins, and I’m sure she’s a nice woman. But glancing at her website, you’d never know she authored the best-selling novel The Hunger Games.
You’ve got a great company with great people, products, and services. Don’t turn visitors off with a boring “opening act.” Put on your top hat and coattails, and have some stage presence.
When you get a second, pay a visit to Clarity.io:
Air quality data could be boring. So could the technology that measures it. But Clarity launched a website with sparkling filaments, spinning globes, orbiting electrons, and other eye-catching animation. The Clarity website even won an award this year.
The takeaway: Even a “dry” product or service doesn’t have to mean a dull website. The sky’s the limit on design.
4. “Walk into our lobby and you might see Granny Clampett in a rocking chair.”
This is Mortimer Lumber, a company in Michigan. If their website works for them, more power to them. But I wouldn’t recommend rolling out the “ye olde jalopy” look for your own website.
There are fine antiques, and then there’s old junk. Here are a few signs your website is evoking the Internet’s “Wild West” days from the early ’90s:
- Busy, jumbled pages
- Flash animation
- Tiny fonts
- Wild colors
- Slow loading
- The word “welcome” on your homepage
- No call to action
- A lack of responsive design for tablets and smartphones (Google actually penalizes you for this)
If you’re going for a “classic” look, try something like this, from Kraud.de:
Basic, but sleek and beautiful. Just enough color to make you click. This website got it right.
Granted, Kraud is a home decor firm, so they’re starting with a visual advantage. But your website can soar creatively, too. Ask a web designer about the possibilities.
The takeaway: Simple, elegant web design is always welcome to the eye.
In the end, it’s your website. You can do whatever you want with it. But when you have only a few seconds to capture a visitor’s interest, it’s important to make an instant impression.
Your website says everything about you. Let it make a statement that says, “We’re smart, we’re savvy, we’re on top of the world. And we’re the company you want.”
Need to talk about a website revamp for your healthcare organization? We’re here for you. Get in touch with us and set up a consultation.
Social Media For Healthcare Marketing: Snaps, Pins, And Shares, Oh My!
If you are one of the millions of adults in the US who use Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably followed—or at least seen—a company’s account on one of these social networks. Many businesses create Facebook profiles (called pages) or Twitter accounts (called handles) in order to further their brand recognition and boost their marketing efforts.
But Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only networks to consider. As more social media platforms sprout up, businesses are taking advantage of marketing opportunities across platforms.
So, how are companies using social media for healthcare? Here’s a look at three of the more popular platforms: Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
How It’s Used In Marketing
Businesses can create their own Snapchat accounts. Snaps are used to create a tone for the company or organization, promote specials, and give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the business.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
There are two major players in the healthcare scene on Snapchat: Plastic surgeons and children’s hospitals.
Several plastic surgeons have garnered Snapchat fame by posting snaps from surgical procedures (with the patient’s consent, of course). These snaps serve many purposes, including:
- Marketing the providers and their organizations—and establishing themselves as experts
- Providing opportunities for medical students to learn about surgeries and explore the field of plastic surgery
- Giving prospective patients a chance to see what a specific surgery entails, and if it’s something they might want to pursue
Snapchat is also becoming a popular marketing tool for children’s hospitals. It makes sense—the target demographic for these hospitals is Gen Zers (between the ages of 10 and 22), and Generation Z accounts for more than 50% of Snapchat users.
Like plastic surgeons, children’s hospitals don’t use Snapchat solely for marketing. They also use it to engage their patients, promote fundraising opportunities, raise awareness about various health issues, and improve the overall patient experience.
Healthcare may be a growing presence in the world of Snapchat, but not everyone is on board.
One of the most vocal critics is Dan Mills, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Dr. Mills questions the ethics of using Snapchat during surgeries.
With the operating room staff occasionally cracking jokes, and breaking out the costumes and hats, and the front-of-office staff occasionally treating the Snapchat account as a way to perform a soap opera for viewers, Mills says that some offices are acting unprofessionally and with no integrity. He also raises concerns about patient safety and infection control issues.
How It’s Used In Marketing
Similar to Snapchat, Pinterest can be used to solidify a company’s image and tone. It’s also a way for businesses to establish themselves, so they can gain followers or customers.
The more a pin is repinned by other users, the more visibility the company receives. And if companies can get a good grasp on creating content that makes for shareable pins, they’re on the right track toward major visibility—pins on Pinterest are considered 100 times more shareable than tweets.
This may be partially due to the fact that most adults respond better to images and visuals more than text—and you would be hard-pressed to find a pin without an image.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
Hospitals large and small, from academic medical centers to community healthcare systems, have jumped onto the Pinterest bandwagon.
Each hospital has its own way of grouping pins, but most tend to have a few in each of these categories:
- General well-being: These are boards with titles like “Healthy Recipes,” “Mindfulness Techniques,” and “Exercise Tips.” Children’s hospitals also tend to have boards with parenting tips and basic information about children’s’ health and well-being.
- Medicine and health conditions: These boards have information about specific medical topics, like cancer, diabetes, or cardiac care.
- Patient stories and testimonials: These boards have links to personal narratives about dealing with a specific disease, and testimonials about the healthcare organization.
- Research: These boards feature the latest in medical research and technological advancements.
- About us: These boards include general information about the organization. They may highlight specific services or areas of interest—like therapy dogs, virtual tours of the facilities, a history of the organization, or suggestions for what else to do when you’re in the area.
There aren’t many downsides to Pinterest. Fortunately, Pinterest hasn’t been the subject of arguments about ethics. Since it’s generally run by hospital administrators, there isn’t a big concern about providers being distracted by it.
The only downside—if you can call it that—is that there are several rules governing business Pinterest accounts. In addition to the Acceptable Use Policy and Pin Etiquette Policy that all users must follow, businesses also need to stick to Pinterest’s business guidelines.
How It’s Used In Marketing
When LinkedIn was first created, it was mostly thought of us a place for businesses to post job openings and professionals to look for work. LinkedIn is still used for recruiting future employees, but its purpose has expanded.
As with other social media platforms, LinkedIn is a great way for businesses to gain exposure and build their brand. By creating an engaging profile, posting articles about the latest trends, and sharing informed opinions about those trends, a business can establish itself as a thought leader in the industry.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
Healthcare organizations are mainly using LinkedIn for one of its original purposes: recruitment.
For instance, WellStar Health System in Georgia uses LinkedIn to boast about its benefits packages, workplace culture, and provider resources. Reading Health System in Pennsylvania uses LinkedIn to highlight employee testimonials. At Florida Hospital, LinkedIn is used specifically to target potential nurses.
In addition to recruitment, healthcare organizations are taking advantage of the opportunity to build their brand and reputation. These organizations post several types of content, including:
- Humble (but proud) brags: If the hospital has a world-renowned cardiac care center, or was the birthplace of a current standard of care, they aren’t afraid to promote their accomplishments.
- Medical, health, and wellness articles: Readers can find information on breastfeeding or healthy eating, or learn about cutting-edge research. Companies can open up the comments section, inviting readers to engage with their brand.
- Hospital happenings: Organizations post promos for upcoming events or fundraisers, new hires, and information about what’s going on at the hospital.
- Current events: Many organizations tie their content into current events. For example, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago posted a story about the upcoming solar eclipse and eye health.
- Patient testimonials: Whether the stories are about why patients chose the hospital, or about the quality of care they received, these testimonials can be an excellent way to bring in patients.
Businesses probably won’t run into many hurdles when using LinkedIn. As with Pinterest, there is little room for ethical ambiguity, and it typically does not distract providers from doing their job.
However, LinkedIn does come with its share of frustrations. Of the main social media platforms, LinkedIn has one of the lowest engagement rates—a measurement of how readers are interacting with the content (e.g., likes, shares, comments, etc.).
And, while the number of LinkedIn users is growing, membership is still significantly lagging compared to other platforms like Facebook.
That doesn’t mean that businesses should not use LinkedIn—they just need to stay on top of their other social networks as well.
Now that you’ve learned about Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, you may be tempted to set up accounts on all three. That’s fine for some companies—but other companies benefit from quality over quantity when it comes to social media.
Bottom line: Choose your social media platforms wisely. Look for the platforms your target audience uses, and focus on creating quality content, rather than content on every single platform.
Want to learn more about using social media for healthcare marketing? Let the team at CareContent help.
I’m Pregnant! My Experience Choosing a Doctor Online
Here’s a very candid look at how I used the web to choose a doctor after finding out I was pregnant.