March 18, 2021
Inside: These common website faux pas could be hurting your business.
These days, having a pharmacy website isn’t optional. Potential patients will visit your website and make a judgment about whether to visit your pharmacy, so your online presence has to impress.
But web design is complicated, and if you aren’t tech-savvy, you may overlook nuances that are turning patients away or making your site difficult to find.
Put your best foot forward with your website, and look out for these 10 common website mistakes that could be holding back your business.
Currently, around half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. That means if your website isn’t compatible with mobile, you could be discouraging the large portion of people who browse using their phones from taking a further look at your site.
A website with responsive design will respond to the size of the screen it’s being viewed on to optimize the view and usability. Your website will be clear and readable whether it’s viewed on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
According to GoGulf, 97 percent of people have used search engines to connect with local businesses. However, if your pharmacy website isn’t optimized for search engines, you might miss out on patients who are actively looking to connect with you.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is when you organize your website content so that search engines understand what you’re offering and increase the visibility of your website. When your site is optimized, you should be able to connect via search with local patients who are looking for pharmacy services. The better your SEO, the higher you’ll be ranked in searches, giving you more chance to connect with potential patients.
When patients or potential patients visit your pharmacy website, your goal shouldn’t be to simply inform them about your products and services. You should also aim to convince them to take action somehow.
That’s why if your website doesn’t have a compelling call to action, you won’t get the most out of your website. Calls to action are usually short phrases that inspire an action, like, “Visit us today!” or “Refill your prescriptions now!” They should link to resources that will help users accomplish that action — to a page with directions to your pharmacy or your prescription refill platform, for example.
There are a lot of fantastic things about your pharmacy, and you probably want to shout them from the rooftops. But be careful not to overload your website with too much text. Large blocks of text can be intimidating for users, and their eyes might glaze over paragraphs instead of absorbing the information.
Keep your web copy short and sweet in order to capture people’s attention, then point them to where they can find more information if they’re interested. If you have a lot of content that you just don’t know how to pare down, you can channel that into a pharmacy blog while keeping the main website content brief.
If your website takes too long to load, patients will give up. In web terms, 10 seconds of load time can feel like a century. Google recommends that you aim to keep your website’s load time under three seconds to keep visitors from leaving the page.
There are a few different culprits for what could be cousin a slow-loading page, but the main reason is your images. Images don’t need to be in original, high-resolution formats to look good online, so use smaller formats like JPEGs and check to make sure your images are below 1 MB before you put them on the site.
If you created your pharmacy website in 2005 and haven’t made a substantial update since then, you could be sending a message to your patients that you don’t offer modernized services — or worse, that you aren’t even in business anymore.
Make sure your website looks modern and the content is fresh. Updating frequently can also help your SEO, as search engines notice when you have new content and will boost you in search results.
Another way you could be putting potential patients off is with poorly designed, confusing website navigation. People expect to find certain information at the top of your website: your company name, a menu, and a search bar. Don’t mess with the standard format by hiding these elements in sidebars or at the bottom of the page.
Putting pages in dropdown menus makes them more difficult for patients to find, and having too many pages in your menu means that people may have to try several links before they land on what they were looking for. Keep your web page simple in order for patients to get the most use out of it.
E-commerce may be new to your pharmacy, but don’t let your inexperience with online shopping scare off patients. If you have any sort of e-commerce platform — whether it’s for patients to refill prescriptions or order over-the-counter items for pickup — a bad platform will cause people to abandon their transactions before they complete them.
Inadequate e-commerce platforms might be unclear about the pricing, have a difficult payment process, or a poor search experience, making it hard for patients to find what they need. If you’re diving into e-commerce, it’s critical that you find a vendor that won’t overwhelm people with an old-fashioned user experience.
You’ve stunned potential patients with a compelling call to action, and they’re ready to take the jump. Only they can’t figure out how to contact your pharmacy.
Don’t bury your contact information on one page of your site. Include it at the bottom of every page. Err on side of including more information rather than less. Include your physical address and phone number, but also give patients the option to text, email, or message you on social media.
You should be learning as much about your patients from your website as they are learning about you, but you could be missing out on this treasure trove if you don’t use website analytics.
Analytics tell you how many people are visiting your website, how they found the site, which pages they are visiting, how much time they’re spending on the website, and more. By taking advantage of web analytics, you can learn which parts of your website are compelling to patients and which aren’t, then use that information to make your website even more appealing.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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