What makes a great veterinary website?

News
Article

Your clinics website is a virtual representative of your mission, culture, and brand

N.Savranska/stock.adobe.com

N.Savranska/stock.adobe.com

A practice’s website has a job to do. It's not just a digital storefront; it’s your first impression and handshake with potential clients. Most importantly your website plays a critical role in delivering on the clinic’s mission, and whether your practice will be able to attract doctors and staff. It’s also the cornerstone for the entire online presence of your practice. When you understand your website’s job, it’s not a stretch to consider it one of your most valuable employees.

A well-crafted website has the power to transform a veterinary practice. Unfortunately, most practice’s websites are not doing their job. Let’s consider the job of a receptionist for a moment. If you hired a receptionist who showed up well-dressed and smiling presently, you naturally feel like they were ready to do a good job. But, if the phone started ringing and they just sat there smiling, and then clients showed up asking questions, and they just sat there smiling, it would quickly become obvious they are not doing their job. However, most practice owners are less clear on the responsibilities and performance expectations of their website which allows them to just sit there smiling.

What sets great veterinary websites apart from the competition?

Let's dive into what can makes a clinic’s website great, and how it can seriously impact your practice's success and profitability. Let’s put your website to work.

Purpose

Before you can tackle any project, you need to understand its purpose fully. What should your website do for you? These 3 objectives should be on every clinic’s checklist for a great website:

  1. Deliver on the mission of veterinary care by being a good info resource for pet owners in your community: How much time does the average client meet with a veterinarian to ask questions and get answers? Knowing the typical client has a couple of questions a week about pet health, where do pet owners turn in times of trouble? Google. Through Google, they can find misinformation from well-meaning bloggers who don’t have veterinary medicine expertise. Every veterinarian has stories upon stories of clients who received the wrong information and did the wrong thing when trying to help their pet. One reason this is happening is because clinic websites aren’t putting out good or enough information, leaving people to go elsewhere. Your website should be a source of truth for your community. If it’s the job of the veterinarian to be the expert, it’s the job of their website to be the resource clients can lean on when they are not available. This creates better clients who are more trusting, have better compliance, and have higher average invoices.
  2. Put out the “bat signal” to high quality doctors and staff: If your website refers to your practice as “the best care around,” it's time to show the community what this really means. Allow your culture to come through visually on every page of your website. Show off and lift your team!
  3. A tool to align your team: When you turn the website into a resource that represents how you deliver your services, your staff will be able to read and align with your mission. Your website is a template for your team to work off of. The best part is an aligned team is more efficient, happier, performs better, and generates more profit.

Form and function

Websites that are accessible, aesthetically pleasing, intuitive, and user-friendly navigation not only make a great first impression for prospective clients, but also encourage users to come back to your website as a trusted and reliable source of information.

Run-of-the-mill veterinary websites typically aren't up to date with user experience (UX) best practices and have confusing layouts or navigation schemas. This makes finding basic information on the website feel more like a scavenger hunt, which is bound to frustrate visitors. A website with poor navigation and design is like a maze that no one wants to get lost in, and UX and user interface (UI) research heavily supports this idea. According to HubSpot, 88% of customers are less likely to return to a site after a poor user experience.1

Making your website great

Prioritizing form and function on your practice’s website doesn’t necessarily need to be a time-consuming or expensive task. I recommend regularly conducting thorough walk-throughs of desktop and mobile versions of your website to see if it has logical and user-friendly navigation. Every interaction a user has on your website influences an opinion about your clinic and your brand so make sure you’re doing everything to make those opinions positive.

Optimized service pages

A great website speaks the language of 2 different audiences – its visitors and search engines. If you’re a veterinarian, the latter may be a foreign language, but don’t worry; understanding and implementing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies isn’t something that you have to do alone. Trusted marketing partners, like GeniusVets, regularly share educational resources on what steps you can take to do SEO like a pro.

One of the most important aspects of a veterinary website – for both visitors and search engines – are service pages. These are dedicated sections on your website outlining the services your clinic offers. Service pages offer current and prospective client’s key information about what your practice can provide and help search engine algorithms better understand the specific keywords relevant to your website. This allows them to accurately serve them to the appropriate searchers.

What you can do to make your website great

Because service pages are so important for informing clients and helping drive traffic to your website, you will want to invest some extra time in giving your service pages the attention they deserve. Here are the 4 items every effective service page should showcase:

  1. Clear and concise service descriptions
  2. Use of targeted keywords
  3. Engaging visual content
  4. Clear calls-to-action

Reviews and testimonials

Search engines value fresh, relevant content, and regularly updated testimonials and reviews can significantly improve SEO performance. Positive reviews, especially those containing keywords related to veterinary services, can help your website rank higher in search results. This increased visibility makes it easier for potential clients to find your practice online, driving more traffic to your website.

Reviews and testimonials are social proof to showcase on your website to help convert visitors into clients. Reading positive experiences from other pet owners provides reassurance and builds confidence in your practice.

What you can do to make your website great

While the benefits of positive reviews and testimonials are unmatched, you will need to put in the work to get them from clients. Build relationships with clients and encourage them to share their experiences with your clinic online via review platforms like Google or Yelp. Once you’ve built up a solid bank of reviews, use them on your website strategically as social proof and regularly dedicate time to “review upkeep” by responding to reviewers by thanking them for sharing their thoughts or by addressing concerns and other feedback.

Doctor bios

Everyone should have a bio. Doctors' bios specifically should be more in-depth to personalize the experience and give pet owners the opportunity to get to know the team outside of the clinic. Highlighting each doctor's expertise, interests, and personal connection to veterinary medicine builds trust and rapport before a pet even walks through your doors.

  1. Building trust and relatability: Introducing your team through detailed bios helps pet owners feel more comfortable and trusting of the care their pets will receive because it creates a personal connection.
  2. Showcasing expertise and experience: Bios allow you to highlight the qualifications, years of experience, specializations, and continued education of your staff, reassuring clients that their pets are in capable hands.
  3. Enhancing SEO: Well-crafted bios with relevant keywords can improve your website's SEO, making it easier for pet owners searching for veterinary services or specific animal care expertise to find your practice online.
  4. Differentiating your practice: Bios can showcase the unique personalities, hobbies, and interests of your team members, differentiating your practice from competitors by highlighting the human aspect.

Be a resource for your community

The first step is understanding that the websites serve as comprehensive hubs for an ecosystem of reliable pet health resources and information about your clinic's role in providing exceptional animal care. A great veterinary website requires more than just a good design and some basic information about your practice, but by dedicating some time and resources to following the best practices, you can step up your website game and take your practice’s website from good to great.

Reference

  1. The Complete Guide to UX Audits. HubSpot. Published September 18, 2023. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://blog.hubspot.com/website/ux-audit

David Hall was named a “Top 100 Marketing and Advertising Influencer” by MARsum, invited by Forbes to join their prestigious Agency Council, has been Director of SEO for four award-winning marketing and advertising agencies, founded theSEOeffect.com, and Co-Founded GeniusVets. David is known for delivering incredible results for clients ranging from local and regional businesses to global Fortune brands.

Recent Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.