Are you planning a website setup for your PT practice?
Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an old site, it’s important to the success of your practice to have a solid plan in place before going live. In today’s world, the opportunity to drive new patients online is bigger than ever – and I see clinics doing it every day!
That said, there are also traps out there that could threaten your success. A website can be a large investment, so it’s important to avoid a couple of common website setup mistakes.
Here are 7 pitfalls from my personal experience both as a practice owner and working with other clinics (and what you can do instead):
I call this the Kevin Costner Delusion…
“If you build it, they will come” certainly didn’t apply when you opened your practice and it doesn’t apply to a website either.
Unfortunately, I still talk to a lot of PT Owners who have been let down by a flashy web designer whose site looked great but isn’t getting new patients.
This is truly disheartening to hear about because nobody wants to start over, and they understandably feel they no longer have the cash to invest in better website/marketing. They’re stuck, and I truly feel bad for them because as a former practice owner, I know the feeling.
Marketing your website takes planning, the right tools, and adjustments as you discover more about what is or isn’t working. Paying a bunch of money for a 1-time website setup while expecting results to last for years is one of the most expensive mistakes I’ve ever seen.
It’s not a bad idea to treat your website as an employee. A living, adapting asset that takes some setup/training costs but will generate monthly results. Choosing a website company who can also provide monthly digital marketing services almost always leads to more steady, reliable results and will typically require less investment in the actual design phase.
I can hear some of you saying… “What? Shouldn’t I tell people what I treat?”
Absolutely. People need to know what you can help them with, but (and I’ll touch on this more in point 7 below)… a list of conditions on a single page doesn’t get your website discovered online.
Additionally, each condition you treat is an opportunity to appear in a different search or connect with a different prospect on Google, Facebook, etc. But when you have a chance to connect with someone suffering from back pain, it would be a mistake not to give them information about that specific topic instead of 15 topics.
Put the conditions you treat in a menu and have a dedicated page for each one. On the page, you can (and should) include specific images, advice or basic exercise examples, and finally a strong call-to-action to book an appointment to see how physical therapy will help that condition. (Pro Tip, be sure to include at least 300-500 words).
These pages are fantastic for ranking on Google and build trust with people on an individual level.
If a blog sounds like a lot of work, that’s exactly why so many practices fall into this fatal flaw. Not including a blog in your website setup means you’ll be missing a huge opportunity to get found by the thousands of people looking for help online – each one a potential new patient!
Blogs are proven to boost search rankings, build trust in prospects, and done well they even convert website visitors into new appointments. It takes getting used to, but publishing even 1-2 blogs per month will make such a big difference in your marketing that it would be a big mistake not to.
Include a blog. Even if you feel you don’t have time now, have it set up so you can use it soon. You could also consider hiring a website company that handles monthly blog posts for you, as we do at Practice Promotions, or paying for articles individually from an online blog service.
Analytics are critical for practice owners – I probably don’t have to tell you that.
If you don’t know what’s working, you won’t be able to calculate return on investment or patient acquisition costs. And it’s these numbers that help you make informed business decisions. If your website analytics aren’t accessible or are hard to understand, you will be at risk for making mistakes down the road.
Talk about analytics with your web developer BEFORE you commit. Decide on Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and have them show you specifically how you will be able to get those reports.
Setting up tracking might be super technical, but you’re smart enough to read a report if the report is well made.
For example, here’s a screenshot of one of my client’s analytics dashboard. This is a custom screen he can see from his phone, tablet, or computer that shows the most important data in one place such as calls generated from the site, traffic, appointment requests, etc:
The worst website mistake I’ve ever seen thankfully didn’t come from a PT Clinic.
I bought a house, someone had smoked there in the past, and I needed my air ducts cleaned. There were two options in town. I visited the first website on my phone, the homepage loads, and the first button I see is …
For the homepage. Not kidding, the homepage was the first call-to-action on the homepage.
Now, this is an extreme example, but it highlights how easy it is for websites to have flawed Calls-to-action (CTA’s). There will always be more than one thing to click on a website but if a potential patient doesn’t clearly see the most important next step, then you risk losing them altogether.
Example: I’ve seen a lot of PT Websites where “Write a review” is the biggest button on the screen. Don’t get me wrong, reviews are important. But ideally 70% or more of visitors have never been patients, so why wouldn’t you show them first how to become one?
Choose one call to action and prioritize it. Hopefully, in your case, that would be “Request an appointment” or “Book Free Evaluation.” Next, make sure the button is in the main menu and is contrasting in color to most of the site.
If your practice logo and other things on the site are blue, make the button red/orange. If your site has a lot of green, try orange/purple. If your brand uses a lot of black and red, consider one green button.
Not every visitor will be ready to make an appointment but when they are, don’t make them search for it.
It’s no secret that mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic now for a couple of years in the US and in Canada.
In addition, Google announced in 2018 that their algorithm now determines site rankings based heavily on mobile experience (meaning speed, layout, etc). Because of this, ignoring mobile features could be a costly mistake.
No matter what your patients’ age or demographic, it is vital to have a mobile-friendly website. If you’re planning a new site make sure the designer shows you mobile versions of everything in addition to the desktop design.
Already have a site? Test your own site on your phone regularly – is it fast? Easy to read? Have someone else try to find how to contact you. How long does it take them? If your site doesn’t deliver an easy, clean, fast mobile experience you may need an upgrade.
This ties back to my first point – just making a new website doesn’t get you found in Google searches.
There are plenty of best practices you want to consider in the design phase of website setup, but the bigger mistake I see practices make is not knowing what they want to rank on Google for until after their site is done.
Make an SEO plan with specific PT-related keywords you want to rank for before you set up a website. Talk with your developer about a plan to include pages for each, menu items (as mentioned in point 2), and properly placed links. Here are some keyword ideas to get you started.
The best thing you can do to succeed with your practice’s website is to follow in the footsteps of successful clinics before you. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes, but I’ve also seen many practice owners experience the unmatched excitement of having doubled their monthly new patients 1 year or less after a website launch.
I highly recommend using a website company who specifically understands physical therapy and has that experience, but whatever you choose, take these tips as a guide, do your own research, then unlock the power of website marketing to change more lives in your practice – here’s to your success!
-Neil Trickett, PT
Former Practice Owner
CEO & Founder of Practice Promotions
SEO & Online Marketing Tools • Social Media & Email • Custom Clinic App & More!