7 Reasons Your Veterinary Website is Failing
We’ve all been to at least 10 bad websites in the history of our internet usage. They’re everywhere, they’re terrible, and they can happen to anyone. But the problem with bad websites isn’t just how they look, but how they function (or don’t function), and, most important, how they serve (or don’t serve) the business they’re representing.
Veterinary practices definitely suffer from this problem, often because they’re too busy to build a website, write content for the website, update that content, and make sure it’s responsive and optimized for search engines. That’s a lot of work, so it’s understandable if you end up with a vet website that’s mediocre at best, or useless at worst.
But your animal hospital deserves better! Things don’t have to be this way. Once you know why your website is failing check out our portfolio and see how we can make you a fantastic site.
Below, we’ve compiled some of the most common issues holding back veterinary websites and stifling their potential for greatness.
1. It Takes Forever to Load
Patience is a virtue, but it’s one thing that most internet users don’t have. Today, 47% of users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load fully, about 40% of users will abandon the page. As ridiculous as that seems, even just a couple of seconds of loading time can feel much longer (you know what we’re talking about). Unfortunately, we can’t make people more patient; instead, we need to make our websites faster. Site speed is one of the top priorities for veterinary websites.
2. Not Mobile-Friendly
A responsive, mobile-friendly website is essential for today’s animal hospitals. A majority of people visiting your website will likely be doing so from their phones, not their desktop computers. In addition, since 2015, Google has started penalizing websites that are not mobile-friendly. In 2016, it went further and announced it would be strengthening the ranking signals for mobile-friendly websites. Not having a mobile-friendly website means missing out on organic search rankings, traffic to your site, and, most important, more revenue for your practice.
When your website is optimized for mobile devices, it’s easy to navigate and gives visitors the ability to get the information they need quickly and contact your practice with just a screen tap. The last thing you want to do is make navigating your website via smartphone, iPhone, or iPad a needlessly cumbersome task.
3. No Calls to Action
If your website doesn’t have any calls to action (or any that are easily visible, anyway), why have a website at all? The call to action is a critical piece of your website. It does exactly what its name implies–encourages visitors to your site to do various things like “Call Now,” “Make an Appointment,” “Learn More,” and “Meet Our Team.” Not only are you asking people to carry out certain actions, you’re helping them navigate your website and make decisions that could turn them into a client.
Without CTAs, you’re not giving people any incentive to know you or establish a connection with your practice.
4. Confusing Layout/Navigation
Quality websites are designed to follow the natural movements of our eyes by providing the most important information where our eyes are most likely to settle. They also organize content and imagery into digestible sections that guide the viewer from point A to point B, and so on. A poor layout will make it difficult for a person to know where to look on the page, and the resulting confusion will likely prompt them to leave your site altogether. A cluttered navigation bar and a lack/proliferation of buttons and links can also muddle the user experience and discourage people from staying on your site.
5. Contact Information is MIA
If your practice’s phone number is not at the top and bottom of every page on your website, you should, uh, probably fix that. Quick. Because you want people to contact you, start a conversation, and initiate a relationship with your animal hospital. Placing your contact information right where everyone can see it says, “We want to hear from you! Call us now!” Hiding it or not including it at all can make your website (and practice) seem uninviting, which will discourage people from trying to get in touch with you.
6. Site is Never Updated…Ever
An out-of-date website is a sad thing, much like an old, well-loved armchair that has been abandoned on the side of the highway and left to the unforgivable vagaries of nature. Please, don’t leave your website to wither into obscurity and become a relic of the past, moldering away in the dusty, cobweb-shrouded corners of the internet. Websites need to grow and flourish with their practices and always provide their visitors with information that is fresh, up-to-date, and optimized for search engines. Make sure any team members that have left the practice are no longer included on the website, and review the content on your website regularly to ensure it is accurate, useful, and lines up with your overarching message.
An out-of-date website tells people that you don’t really care about your online presence, and this can reflect poorly on your practice as a whole.
7. Stock Photos Everywhere
One of the things veterinary practices need to do in their marketing is communicate warmth, compassion, trust, and accessibility to their clients. While certain, high-quality stock photos can make your website attractive, using generic pictures of models in white coats who are obviously not part of your team can be off-putting. Pet owners want to see your team. They want to know who you are, and put faces to the names.
Outfitting your website with custom photos of your team members and practice provides a much more authentic, friendly experience. It gives your animal hospital the opportunity to show its personality and truly shine. This, in turn, makes your website (and your practice) much more approachable.