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Top tips for your practice website

Your website is an important tool to get your message to pet owners so it’s important that it gives a good first impression

The internet is full of websites – in fact, at last count there were nearly 2 billion of them. That’s a truly vast number, but how many of those billions of websites are even worth looking at? When it comes to your own practice website, it’s important to know what makes a good website in the first place and how to ensure that you’ve created your site to be the best possible representation of your practice brand.

To start with, some basic features of a quality website are:

  • Clean, modern design
  • Easy to navigate
  • Fast loading speed
  • Well branded with your logo and colours
  • … and that it motivates the visitor to do business with you

Keep it simple

To ensure that your practice has a great website, start with a design that has a simple user-interface, meaning that visitors can easily find what they are looking for.

The fact is that most visitors to your website will be people looking for your phone number and address, so information such as opening hours, driving directions and contact details should be extremely easy for visitors to find.

People want a quick solution to their problem. Make it easy for them and they will reward you with their custom.

Avoid clutter

People are turned off by too much text and visual clutter, so it’s important to keep your homepage simple; resist the urge to cram everything in. If you feel you really must tell people more detail about what you offer, then use the menu section to link to separate pages with extra content.

Another tip to hook new visitors in right away is to ensure that you grab their attention by placing your brand message front and centre. Give your landing page a large title heading, using no more than one or two sentences to communicate your brand values or define how you solve a clear or unique problem for your practice customers.

Communicate your brand

Whilst undertaking the design phase of your website, use the opportunity to ensure that you create a design that embodies your brand identity, focusing on such things as a memorable or unique colour scheme, photography and modern fonts to bring across your brand voice.

At the same time, whilst you might think that your expensive operation theatre toys are really exciting, your customers probably either don’t agree or don’t want to know about things that sound painful or expensive – so don’t feel you need to display, or talk about, lots and lots of technical and medical things (unless you’re a referral clinic).

Instead, rather than talking about yourself, talk clearly and concisely about what problems you will fix for your customers and their pets.

Appearance is everything

The other part of the branding message that you can directly influence is the quality of images that you use for your website. Professional photos immediately define the brand identity you are trying to convey. The veterinary business is a people business and people want to see and feel that they can rely upon the team that they are entrusting their beloved family member to.

Your photos should feature smiling staff fussing over animals in clean, brightly lit rooms. Convey an image of warmth and friendliness that customers can immediately feel upon opening your website; in the blink of an eye they can decide if they like you or not, so ensure first impressions count.

Build trust

Client testimonials are another guaranteed way to build trust in potential customers. If you can, display them front and centre on the homepage for all your site visitors to see. You can also encourage people to give you testimonials by adding a review system to your website or using a plugin that displays your Google or Facebook reviews.

As a vet, showing that your team is up to date with all the latest web design standards and technologies builds trust. Your entire website is a visual representation of your brand and your business – if customers see a slick, professionally designed modern website, by inference they will also judge your veterinary practice to be slick, professional and modern and therefore a business to be trusted with the care of their pets.

Will Stirling

Will Stirling is a freelance marketing consultant who has worked in small animal practice marketing for over a decade, consulting on marketing strategy. He now spends his time helping independent veterinary clinics to grow and thrive.

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