How effective is your veterinary practice website?

Posted in: Articles

Posted on: 12 November 2012

In the twenty-first century most people are online and social media is the current hot topic. Surprisingly, although most businesses now have their own websites, many vet clinics do not. If your veterinary practice doesn’t have a website, it’s important to get one as soon as possible. As well as chatting with friends, when searching for a vet, most people now use the internet; and if they can’t find your site, you don’t exist!

Aspects of a great veterinary practice website

As a veterinary online marketing consultant, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at and developing veterinary practice websites. I’d like to think I have a good idea of what works best. Here are my best tips on the things you should consider when you develop your site:

Contact Details - Make sure your contact details are clearly visible and easily found on your site. People should not have to search hard to find your contact info - the less clicks away the better. Whether it's the practice phone number, email address or address, make sure this information is easy to find from every page.

Services - This is where you can talk about all the things that give your practice the edge and make you stand out from the competition. All vets offer the standard services, such as vaccinations and neutering, so what makes you different? Do you offer anything special or unique? What's your USP?

Blog - If you're keen on having a fantastic online presence, a blog is an essential feature. Blog posts allow you to tell exciting stories, keep your clients up to date with the practice, and showcase your skills! Topics should be compelling, informative and pet-related. Blogging can also improve your visibility in the search engines. Blogs don't always have to be written either - think about adding short video clips and always spice it up with a photo or two.

Social Media - In this new digital world, you should have a presence across all the various social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. As a veterinary marketing tool, they effectively give a "face" for your practice. It's also important to make sure your website is social media friendly - make sure any important pages or blog posts have 'Share' buttons to help your clients quickly spread the word about your content. These buttons encourage people to read and share your content on their own social networking channels, thereby increasing the reach of your website exponentially!

Meet the Team - From my experience of working on veterinary websites, I've noticed that the "About Us" or "Meet the Team" pages are regularly two of the most popular. This is unsurprising - people are social creatures and love to see names and faces. Use this page to introduce your staff with photos and talk about what kind of pets they have or any special interests in veterinary medicine. Personalise your veterinary practice website by letting people see who they're communicating with. Make sure you keep this page up to date with new members of staff and it's always a good idea to use language that is unlikely to become outdated - for example, consider saying "I've been a vet since 1997" rather than "I've been a vet for 15 years".

Client-focussed content - Of course your website should have important information about your clinic, but make sure it's the information your clients want, not just what you think they want! Gone are the days when a website was purely an advertisement for your practice - now it's less about promoting yourself but more about meeting your client needs. As an example, when writing about a pet health condition, do think about the language you use and remember that your clients may not be scientifically trained but still need the most informative information.

Searchable - It's always a good idea to have a search box so clients can type in what they're looking for and immediately be presented with the most appropriate results. This is particularly important as your blog grows. Categories are also a great idea to keep your blog organised.

Navigation - Make sure your website is easy to navigate. This means think about exactly what should be on the homepage and how your menu should best be structured. No one wants to spend a long time searching a website – the information a client is looking for should be a minimal number of clicks away.

Consider your website as your virtual shop front

You may have a practice on the high street, but many people won't always find you simply by your physical presence. Most people now research products and services online, so make sure your website leaves a fantastic first impression - and make sure your site properly reflects your veterinary brand and philosophy. There are a lot of competing practices out there, but on your website you can explain what sets you apart. Give us a call or drop us an email if you need a bit of a hand. This is what we do and we love it!

As a final note, consider this: a good website is likely to last you a very long time - imagine the value of a site that lasts you years and is accessible every minute of the day. Your potential online presence requires as much attention in terms of time and money as your physical clinic!




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