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Redesigning Your Healthcare Website: 5 Things to Consider

The information you need to know before you jump into a website implementation.

It’s time to redesign your website. Maybe this has been a long time coming, or maybe the decision was made recently and excitement in the air has driven the need for fast turnaround. No matter what your reason, redesigning your organization’s website is a big undertaking and it’s helpful to consider a few important pieces before you begin.

Set the right goals with the right people

Any major project like a website redesign should start with the right people in the room talking about what goals are needed now and in the future. Your goals could come from Google Analytics, user experience studies or just the need to have better brand awareness in your community.

It’s always a good idea to have a discussion with key stakeholders to define the scope of the project and set the stage for what the priorities are, and what kind of things will be addressed in future phases.

Match your goals with your vendor

Whether you’re about to launch a new microsite, or sink your teeth into a full website overhaul, understanding the partnership with current vendors or building relationships with new vendors is a big piece of the puzzle.

And finding a vendor isn’t just about fulfilling the project. When shopping for a vendor, think instead about a partnership – one that is met with strategic planning and goal setting to keep you on track. Consider the following questions:

  • Is this vendor healthcare specific?
  • Does this vendor offer an array of digital services?
  • How has this vendor worked with other clients like us? – Don’t be afraid to call references for confirmation!

Of course, you’ll want to work with vendors that align with your own organization’s values and approach to digital marketing. When you’re bringing in outside vendors, consider how you’ll craft the perfect RFP to attract the right candidates.

Identify your internal resources

No matter how pie-in-the-sky your project might feel, with the correct number of internal resources and an all-hands-on-deck approach, anything is possible. But identifying those internal resources is critical.

After you’ve gotten buy-in and approval from key stakeholders and your vendor(s) are selected, consider who internally will be involved with executing the project. If you have a team of five, for example, how much time can each of those people devote? What are their skillsets? Where will you need to fill in gaps?

In our experience creating new content for a site is one of the biggest constraints healthcare marketing teams encounter. Current teams often don’t have the skillset to refresh content and/or write content from scratch, and if they do they often don’t have the bandwidth to do it for hundreds of pages. That’s where having a partner that offers complimentary services like content development comes in handy if you want to meet your go-live date.

Your vendor(s) will likely work out a timeline with you, and at Geonetric, our redesign team is ready to find a flexible timeline that will work with your team. We also work with clients to identify what their internal team can tackle, and what they might need help with to keep the project on track.

Understand and prioritize your audience needs

No matter how many people in your organization might think otherwise, your website has a primary audience and that’s usually your patients. Many groups in your organization will likely identify other key audiences, but it’s helpful to start from a single point of view.

Finding out what your audience wants is a great investment for any redesign. From website surveys to in-person focus groups or usability studies, getting your audience to point out what does and does not work for their experience is a great way to establish goals and make a list of needs (not wants) for the first phase of your redesign.

Prepare for SEO

This might be the most technical consideration as you start discussing a redesign. Keep in mind, however, that even with proper SEO measures in place before launch, search engine rankings may drop initially as search engines work to understand the blueprint of your new site.

In planning for site launch, keep in mind:

  • Rankings – Verify a sample of rankings to establish benchmarks
  • Traffic – Especially organic traffic for your current domain
  • Links – Review sources of inbound links so they’re aware of any changes after launch

At the site launch, you’ll want to be prepared for 301 redirects from the former website to the new one, and you’ll want to register and configure the domain – especially if it’s changed – in Google Webmaster Tools.

It’s always a good idea, too, to send Google a new sitemap after launch so it can find all the great, improved pages of your redesign effort.

Watch our redesign webinar

Want to know more about planning for your hospital or health system’s redesign? Watch Redesign Smarter: Make Your Next Hospital Website Your Best and hear a first-hand account from Owensboro Health, who recently launched their redesigned site. We’ll be talking process, decision-making, SEO and more. Don’t miss it!

Redesigning Your Healthcare Website: 5 Things to Consider

Erin Schroeder