Getting New Patients In The Internet Age

improve potential clients opinion of your practice with professional web sites

When a second is too long, what do you do? Impressions are made about your website and your business in less than a second. Clients want to know much more about you before they choose you as their provider than they did in the past, and this is all done without even a phone call. Does your website stack up?

The population that has grown up with the Internet is now adult. They are accustomed to doing research on the Internet and will use it to inform their choice of providers.

If you don't have a website, you are missing the opportunity to meet the 73.6%¹ of the population with Internet access. If you do have a website, a review of this article will help you to determine if updates are needed to improve your ability to attract new patients online.

How to Make Your Website Work for You

Create a Positive Impression:

Researchers have found that people form an opinion about your website within 1/20 of a second after first seeing it. That visual image, the Look and Feel of your website, must be created to attract your target market and give a clear presentation of your message. The good news is that an initial positive impression usually carries over to other areas of the site, such as the content, providing a halo effect. The bad news is that if the first impression is not favorable, this also carries over, and visitors generally will leave your site to find one that is more appealing. Often they will view only the one page and bounce back to find the next website of interest in their search list. The search engines track these bounces, and a high bounce rate will hurt your search engine rankings.

Increase Website Stickiness:

After creating that positive impression for a prospective patient to be motivated to choose you as their healthcare provider, your website must be "sticky", meaning that people will stick around to learn more. Studies reveal that stickiness increases when the visitor is able to find what they want easily and feel that the information is interesting, relevant, and thorough enough to answer their questions. When these characteristics are missing, they will spend very little time on your site before moving on. The search engines also track the time spent on a site before people return to go to the next site. The longer people stay on your site, the more favorable your rankings will be.

Develop Relevant Content:

Pretend that you have an injury and are looking online for help. What do you want to know? Who's the best person to help me and stop this pain? Does your website do a good job of providing relevant information?

Pretend that you have an injury and are looking online for help. What do you want to know? Who's the best person to help me and stop this pain? Does your website do a good job of providing relevant information?

  • Do you have the skills to treat my injury? Have a section that reviews the injuries you treat. Details can include the medical term for this injury, some details the client can relate to, and your training that qualifies you to treat this injury. Of course, the training may be general in an opening paragraph relating to all injuries you list, or you may choose to give specific additional training you have completed relating to a specific injury.
  • How much experience do you have in this area? Include the school you attended, the hospitals you trained and/or practiced in, relevant affiliations, and ongoing accredited training.
  • How successful are the outcomes as a result of your treatment? Will I be 100% better after treatment, or will I have some impairment? How will I adapt to changes in my life?
  • I wonder if I would like this person? The following information will help people to feel more comfortable about taking the next step to call and make an appointment: Share a little information about your interests so that potential patients can relate to you on a personal level. Describe your community involvement. What are patients and other medical professionals saying about you?
  • Will my insurance pay for this? List the insurance companies you work with and the reimbursement procedure.
  • Where's your office? How can I reach you? List your city, state, and phone number on every page. Give the specific street address, phone number, and way you can be reached electronically on the Contact page. Directions should also be included on a Directions page or the Contact page.

    Make it easy for visitors to find all of this information, and present it in a way that leaves no question unanswered. If you do this successfully, they will have no need to look further. If you don't, they may move on.

Search Engines:

Getting traffic to your website will be easier if you have done a good job of creating a positive impression and creating a sticky website with relevant content. There is a wealth of free information online about optimizing your website for search engines. Google is a good place to start. On the other hand, you may prefer at this point to contact a professional who can help you with your website strategy, development, and website marketing, so that you can focus on your patients and stay on top of the developments in your healthcare practice.

In that case, be sure that you choose someone who takes the time to understand your business and will implement the best solution for your budget. Choose a consultant with at least five years of experience in developing successful Internet solutions. Taking the right first steps not only will save you money, but also will provide you with opportunities to be more profitable.


Pamela Gleeson is the president of Consensus Technology, Inc., ( an Internet consulting and web development firm in Peterborough, New Hampshire, serving clients in New England and beyond. Ms. Gleeson can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (888) 309-6521.