The Omni Advantage

The Omni Advantage is simple – we provide the services our clients want, nothing more and nothing less. Not every market is the same, not every medical practice, bariatric surgeon, plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist, etc. is the same. Why should online marketing companies only offer you one package without understanding your needs and desires?

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Mobile Medical Practice Websites – What Google Has to Say

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Here are Omni Medical Marketing, we pride ourselves on staying in line with Google’s best practices when comes to building websites for our medical practice clients. In addition, we find it even more important to listen and follow closely with what Google has to say in regards to optimizing your website to appear high on their search rankings.

Because we mimic rather than try to manipulate Google, we encourage all potential clients to double check our advice directly with Google.

Last year we moved strictly to responsive design websites. Responsive design allows our clients’ sites to morph or scale for a great user-friendly mobile experience. Some of our competition still sells (at a great cost and profit, mind you) M.dot websites as a mobile solution. While these M.dot websites do offer a nice looking home screen for mobile users, much of your content will be unavailable for mobile or tablet users, yielding a frustrating experience for both you and your potential clients.

Notice in the article on Google’s developers page, item number one is “Stop frustrating your costumers” . The bottom line is visitors or customers will be attracted to the website that is the easiest to use and the most informative. Don’t let your competitors steal your business because your website doesn’t provide what they are looking for. If your competition’s website is less frustrating, which office do you think they will end up visiting?

Take a few minutes to read the article, have questions? Give us a call, we will be glad to help!

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/website-improvement-checklist

Is your medical website part of a link wheel?

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For many of you, your first question will be “What is a link wheel?”

In short, a link wheel is to create a pattern of links which flow from one website to another which would finally link to a targeted website for the benefit of promotion.  That is to say that building quality links can be a time consuming task, and by building out a link wheel consisting of sites you control, it’s essentially taking a short-cut.  What’s astonishing is that most medical practices don’t know that their medical marketing firm is even adding these pages to their site for the purpose of link-building.

Google has said time and time again that building link wheels will hurt your own online marketing efforts in regards to SEO.  While passing a link from your site to another may be a good thing if you are referring or recommending another practice or company, doing so for the sole purpose of gaining higher rankings could significantly impact your rankings in a negative way, if and when Google catches on ( and they will).  It’s also important to note, that if you don’t know the page is there and a potential patient finds it, what links will they actually find?  Will they find links to your competitors?  While it seems hard to believe, this actually happens more often than you would think.

How do I know if my site is part of a link wheel?

For some it may be easy; we found a large number of plastic surgeon websites designed and built with a page called “resources” . For these sites you can usually enter your URL this way to land on this page. “sampleplasticsurgeonwebsitedesign.com/RESOURCES”. Once you find this page, you’ll be able to see a number of outbound links to other medical practices and related websites.  For others we need to do a little more digging to find these pages that are often buried within the site structure. At no cost, we can research this for you to see if there is a hidden page on your site that you may not even know about.   Just shoot us an email with your website name and we will let you know the results (contact@omnimedicalmarketing.com).

What can I do if my website is part of a link wheel ?

First, ask your provider to take the page down and request in writing an agreement that they will not link to any other websites without your permission. For some, your provider may have included permissions in your contract for them to add links. This will obviously make removing links difficult and you may have to wait till your agreement expires in order to remove the links.

There is a right way and a wrong way to optimize a website for rankings. Easy come, easy go applies. We have witnessed many of our competitor’s client sites drop significantly in the rankings over the last year, mostly due to Google’s SEO updates. If a medical practice SEO company is using spammy links or links wheels, someone is going to get burned.  In these cases it is always the clients and not the SEO company.

Call 800-549-0170.

Keep Your Medical Website Design Clean and Lean

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Previously, we have explored the benefits of Improving Calls to Action and optimizing traffic through A/B Testing. However, you might have wondered why we don’t just put every possible trick we have up on a page and see what sticks? Why waste time trying to perfect all of these little elements when we can shotgun test them all at once? Well, the answer is fairly simple: Less is More. Keeping your website clean and clutter-free will keep conversions high, improve website performance, and impart trust in your expertise.

Simplicity in Medical Website Design

The key to a good conversion rate on your website is to maximize content and interaction with the fewest possible number of elements. Just like with the 80/20 rule, the majority of your audience is generally only looking for a small number of items. By placing emphasis on these items and organizing your site around them, you can funnel traffic to where it is most important. Take Hick’s Law for example: it states that with the increased number of options presented to a user, the longer their decision time will be. If you overload a user with too many buttons, lists, and menus, the better the chance that they will make no decision at all and simply leave your site not knowing where to begin. Similarly, Occam’s Razor states that the simplest solution is more often than not the correct solution. Keep your layout and navigation simple, and users will be more inclined to stay on your site and visit more pages, drastically improving their conversion rate.

Hick's Law: The more options presented, the longer it takes to make a decision

Hick’s Law: The more options presented, the longer it takes to make a decision.

Medical Website Design Performance

On a technical level, keeping your site clean and clutter-free will help your page load and speed up your site. The less the browser has to render, the faster it can convey content to the user. In the mobile space, this distinction can be all the difference in the world, as users who have to wait over 4 seconds for a page to load are overwhelmingly likely to exit your site altogether. In fact, stats show that 61% of users who visit mobile unfriendly sites are likely to leave and visit a competitor’s site instead.

Statistic: 61% of internet users who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to leave to a competitor’s site.

Statistic: 61% of internet users who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to leave to a competitor’s site.

Medical Website Design Expertise

Clean design also imparts on your website visitors that you are an expert in your field. How so? When we are in the process of making a purchase decision, we weigh a variety of options including those called “surrogate indicators of quality.” Research has shown that people are more likely to buy more expensive versions of the same product because of a perceived increase in value (it costs more, therefore it must be better). Much in the same way, relaying content in a clear, straight-forward manner, with only a handful of incidental elements such as forms and Calls to Action, tells your visitor that you know precisely what matters, cutting out the fluff. This seemingly innocuous difference is an indicator of the quality of your services. In your audience’s mind, a good medical website design means a good medical professional.

If you’re ready to take the editor’s pen to your site, contact Omni Medical Marketing for a Free Medical Website Analysis where we will evaluate your site and give you recommendations for improvement at absolutely no cost. We think you will quickly see why the knowledge and insight behind every Omni Medical Marketing website makes them the best in the industry.

Medical Website Development Best Practices – Cross-Browser Compatability

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In the early days of the medical website design and development, there was only one popular web browser: Netscape Navigator. Creating websites that worked for everyone was pretty simple, as most everyone (around 90%) viewed websites using the same web browser. Designers didn’t have to ask, “How will this website look on a cell phone?” or, “What happens if my visitors use an old web browser?”.

That all changed when Bill Gates finally decided that the internet wasn’t really a fad. Microsoft unleashed Internet Explorer in 1995, initiating the first “browser war”. Netscape and Microsoft competed for market share, with Internet Explorer peaking at 95% of the market in 2002. The competition between browsers caused a lot of problems for medical website designers, cost businesses a lot of money, and slowed down innovation for almost a decade.

The Feature War

The fight between Microsoft (IE) and Netscape (NN) wasn’t fought on Madison Avenue. Instead, the two companies competed by introducing new browser features. Each feature was intended to either enhance the user experience or to create new opportunities for web designers. One example was <blink>, which allowed a designer to create text that flashed on and off. This was a Netscape feature, and wasn’t available in Internet Explorer. In response, Microsoft introduced <marquee>, which allowed designers to create text that moved across the screen, horizontally or vertically. This feature wasn’t available in Netscape Navigator.

As you can imagine, this created chaos for medical website designers. As each browser introduced more unique features, designers were forced to make some difficult choices. The most difficult choice of all should have been the easiest.

Either/Or

If a designer’s client wanted some blinking text, the designer created a website that worked best in Netscape. If the client wanted scrolling text, the designer worked to make sure the website looked great in Internet Explorer. No big deal, right? WRONG. Clients didn’t want to cater to only a portion of web surfers…they wanted their websites to look and act the same way, no matter what browser they viewed it with. Designers, of course, couldn’t comply. They couldn’t make Internet Explorer use <blink> or make Netscape use <marquee>.

The solution? Designers began creating separate websites for each group of visitors. Surfers using IE would see a website that worked for them, and surfers using NN would get their own website as well. Problem solved!

Not really. Designers like to get paid, and they don’t like making two websites when one will do. They began to put pressure on browser manufacturers to work together.

It’s 2013 Already

Fast-forward to today. This problem has been solved, hasn’t it? Don’t all browsers work the same way?

Not really. There are somewhere close to 40 popular web browsers, sometimes with a half-dozens different versions being used. The best medical website designers know how their websites will look in each, which requires both some homework and some testing. Your website looks fine in Firefox 10, but is that on a PC, on a Mac, or on Linux? They’re not the same, and an effective web designer knows this. How many of your website’s visitors use Flock, or Konqueror, or Safari? The same website might look drastically different with each, and might even be broken.

But wait…there’s more! How does your website look on a new Windows 8 smartphone? The iPhone 5? The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.0? The Google Nexus 7? Does your website break on the newest version of Amazon’s Kindle, or is it okay? Can you afford to lose revenue with those visitors?

What Now?

Nobody in their right mind would consider making different websites for 40 different browsers (or even just 5), yet we must make sure your website works for everybody. This is where “cross-browser compatability” comes in. There are lots of different ways to create a website, and every designer has a slightly different approach. Set aside a designer’s style and personal preferences, and what you have left is their ‘best practices’ for making websites. The same code must work for all of your visitors, provide them with an effective call to action, and allow them to contact you easily. To accomplish this, your website must be written with all of those different web browsers in mind.

This doesn’t happen automatically. Here at Omni Medical Marketing, our medical website design team is constantly learning. We keep up on trends and best practices, and we’re on the lookout for new and innovative ways to future-proof your website. For example, see responsive medical website design. If your current medical marketing company doesn’t do the same, your website may be out of date in less than one year. The internet landscape changes that quickly, and you don’t want to be left behind. Give us a call. We can help.

Call 800-549-0170.

Mobile Sites Versus Responsive Design for Medical Practices

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One of the current hot button issues in Medical Web Design is whether it is better to go with a separate site for mobile users (commonly referred to as m dot sites – ex: http://m.yourdomain.com) or use Responsive Design to simultaneously optimize for all device sizes. While mobile sites are specifically enhanced for smaller devices, they come with a few drawbacks. Since mobile sites are entirely new sites to build and maintain, there are increased time and monetary costs to be considered. From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) standpoint, duplicate content on two domains can hurt your search rankings. Likewise, on a technical level, detecting mobile devices can also be problematic, leading to lost leads from confused visitors. Ever try to follow a link on a phone, only to be redirected to the m dot site’s homepage? Frustrating inconsistencies such as link sharing and redirects can end up losing valuable visitors.

Responsive design’s answer to these problems is to make a website automatically adapt to different screen sizes, without the need for a separate version of the site. This approach doesn’t rely on sniffing for specific devices, so no adjustment is needed for the next technological wunderkind; the site is essentially “future-proof.” The trade-off with responsive design, however, is that these sites are generally more difficult to code and design, as one must consider a wide array of possible factors to account for different screen sizes and options. Additionally, if page load is not optimized, slow load times can kill traffic.

Mobile (m dot sites)
Pros Cons
Easier and faster to create initially One more site to manage
Enhanced for a specific experience New mobile devices may not be identified correctly
Generally perform faster Sharing links can be problematic
Duplicate content can hurt SEO
More budgetary costs
Responsive Design
Pros Cons
Only one site to edit – less maintenance/cost Page weight and load times can be a concern
Covers more than just phones (Tablets work too!) Can be more difficult to enhance for touch
Future-proof – covers yet-to-be-created devices More difficult to code and design

Currently, there is no one right answer. Depending on the problems being faced, one solution may be more viable than the other. While Google recommends responsive design over m dot sites, we at Omni Medical Marketing favor a balanced approach that examines the intended goal before determining a course of action. However, we do expect responsive design to become a huge force in medical website design, so we have made investments in employing the best, cutting-edge techniques to create the finest possible experience for all of your website visitors. Contact us to see how we can better tailor your website to your audience.

Call 800-549-0170.

Five fast ways to improve any medical website on a budget

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1.  Stand out from the competition 

If your current site is a template or a customized template, chances are you are losing out to your competitors right from the start. You only get one chance to make a great first impression.  While this has been heard a million times, seldom do practices understand this could be your only impression. Design cost has dropped significantly over the years. What used to cost 10-30 thousand dollars can now cost as little as $2,000, depending on your exact needs and desires. Keep in mind on your quest for a world class look and feel to not overdo it. Often, sites that are overdone, heavy on color, and heavy on Flash will look more like a site marketing something. While marketing online is critical in today’s world for your medical practice, no one wants to feel like they are being sold or marketed to.

2. Content management system

If your current site does not have a content management system, make sure your next site does. With 20 minutes of training or a little time invested in reading blogs, anyone can make small changes to a content management based site such as WordPress. If you are the type who wants nothing to do with editing your website, a content management system still makes sense as it will save you money. Anytime you ask your provider to make a change, it will take minutes of labor not days. If your current medical website and SEO provider is charging for small changes it is for two reasons; 1.They love to find reasons to make you pay for anything and everything or 2. They build on a platform that requires hard coding for simple changes.  Either way it is costing you more than you need to pay.

3. Get feedback on your current medical website! 

The best place to find solid feedback on your current site is from your patients who found you online. Asking an employee, partner or spouse hardly gives you the honest feedback you need. If you ask someone an opinion, you will always get one. If you ask what changes should I make, people will always offer up suggested changes, because that’s what they think you want to hear.   If it’s not broken, don’t fix it! Everybody loves to solve problems and fix things. Who doesn’t love a project, especially when it’s not theirs?  Simply ask a handful of patients who found you online the following questions.

1. What did you like about my website?

2. What didn’t you like about my website?

3. What specifically did you see on the site that made you come in to see us?

Not only will asking your patients give you a better understanding of what triggers the general public, it will also make them feel special.  Everyone loves to be asked for their opinion; it makes us all feel special.

Have a professional medical website and SEO analysis completed. 

Make sure the company performing the site analysis is using non biased information. The last thing you want to do is fix something that isn’t broken. Here at my company, Omni Medical Marketing we not only do them for free, we do them fast.  We generate reports in 24 hours or less, Monday-Saturday. We use third party companies to provide us with accurate and non-biased data, giving you a complete picture of where you are and where you should be. Often times we tell people who have requested an analysis to do nothing at all. I suspect this is because the people requesting them are on top of their game in regards to web marketing which means they are constantly looking for ways to improve their overall marketing.

4. Integrate social media.

I could spend hours making the argument why medical practice social media works and why it doesn’t work, but that isn’t the point. Today, a Plastic surgeon, dental, or any other medical website with great SEO can be a marketing machine.  However, when the web first began to gain popularity 15 or so years ago, having a website to market to the general public worked marginally, if at all. The most important reason to have a website 15 years ago, was the fact it brought validity to almost any business. Patients saw your site, or the fact you had one, as a sign that you were cutting edge, modern and in-touch with the world.

With that being said, adding and integrating medical social media and branding into your site will show your potential patients the same things your site showed them 15 years ago. No one wants to visit with someone who is out of touch, 40 thousand miles from earth, or doesn’t portray themselves as someone who wants to connect with their patients. Social media played a huge part in the last presidential election. I don’t think the message that was being sent out had much to do with it; it was the appearance of wanting to connect socially.

5. Blog Blog Blog ….Maybe

If you and or members of your staff love to write and share the happenings of your office, medical news, breakthroughs, changes in way patients are treated, consider adding and integrating a blog into your site.  We all know people are self-diagnosing themselves online.  How many times has a patient told you, “I read this online,” or “I looked it up online and I have ____ and I need some ____ to treat it.”?  I want to be clear, don’t list symptoms and treatments; do the opposite.  Encourage your readers to NOT self-diagnose, and do it often.

Don’t be afraid to write on personal matters such as family or last year’s Christmas party. Share some of the “bed side manner” people are looking for. If you are going to add a blog, make sure to update it at least four times per month. The more you blog the more often people will come back to read more. The more they come back, the more likely they will be to refer their friends to you!  It’s also important to note that the more you write, the more Google loves your site.  The more they love your site, the higher they list it in their search engine.

Maybe……

If blogging is something you would enjoy and will do often, stop reading here. However if you are not committed to blogging regularly, don’t do it. It will look empty on your site, turning readers off. It will also offer no benefit in the search engines. The last thing I want to do is to suggest you waste your time. Only blog and reap the benefits if you are committed to it and enjoy writing about your practice.

Patrick Chavoustie 

CEO Omni Medical Marketing

patrick@omnimedicalmarketing.com Direct line (303)588-8187