Attract More Patients to Your Website with Photos
Is your medical practice website performing as well as you’d like? Are you looking for a way to drive more traffic to your website and get more patients? Do you know what to do? How to do it?
As a medical professional, you’re not in the business of website design, website copy, or website analytics. BUT . . . you do absolutely understand the importance of having a website that works just as hard as you do and sends potential patients your way. Right?
One of the easiest ways to capture the attention of visitors to your website is by using photographs. While this may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, it’s amazing how often a website either doesn’t have any photos, or not enough photos. Even websites with photos often don’t have the right photos or they handle them all wrong.
Why Do Website Photos Work So Well?
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So, it makes sense then that people who visit your website will be attracted by photographs. When you recall something, your mind doesn’t usually flash words. It’s images that pop into your brain. If I say what do you think of when I say the word mother, an image of your mother pops into your brain, not her name in Helvetica 12-point type.
So, when it comes to attracting internet traffic, photographs are the showgirls of your website.
How Can a Photo Help My Business?
A photograph draws in visitors and potentially keeps them from bouncing away from your site—something that might happen if the first thing they see is a wall of text.
Photos are a source of interest, and people like to look at them. They are a powerful means of communication and the brain can process images in as little as 13 milliseconds. That’s not a lot of time to impress, so it’ important to make that photograph count in the first few seconds.
10 Tips for Photographs on Your Website that Convert
Convert browsers into customers by following these tips:
- As much as possible, your photographs should be of people, not things. Photos of people generate trust. Websites with images displaying human facial characteristics are received more positively than images with no facial features or no human images at all. So, even a veterinary office will benefit from showing a happy pet owner with their pet, rather than just a picture of a pet alone.
- If at all possible, avoid using stock photos. But if you must use stock photos make sure they’re fresh and of high quality. It’s easy to go online and buy stock photos, but most people recognize a stock photo when they see it.
- That being said, as much as possible, use actual photos of your busy medical practice, not stock photos. People want to see what you, your associates, and your office look like. That positive impression—real people, real office--could be just the thing that compels them to pick up the phone and make an appointment.
- Spend the money on a professional photographer. Professional, high quality photos are essential. Be sure to have a list of who and what you want to have photographed when the photographer arrives or send the photographer a list beforehand if you can. That will make his/her job easier. It also alerts your staff to the plan so they too can be better prepared. The photographer can then focus more on getting the shots right rather than trying to plan as they go.
- Strive to use photos of people that will trigger emotion. For example, a picture of a friendly-looking nurse is good, but a picture of a friendly-looking nurse who is reassuring a child about to receive a shot in the arm is better.
- Use pictures to break up large blocks of text to keep your visitor reading and scrolling.
- Caption your photos. On average, people read photo captions 300% more than body copy alone. Don’t miss this golden opportunity to engage all those eyes searching for information about a picture.
- Make sure your photographs are relevant to the written text around it. Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, the inclination after that initial impression of the photo is for the site visitor to read something about it. Make sure the picture relates closely to the text. Don’t show a picture of a man running alone on the beach if the supporting text is related to family practice. If your practice is specific to women, make sure the photos feature women; if your practice is specific to children, make sure the photos feature children; seniors, feature seniors, and so on.
- Be sure to include the alt text—that is, the words behind the photo that explain what the photo is about. The search engine can recognize that it’s a picture of a person—maybe even a picture of a doctor, but it won’t go further than that. If you have a photo of a doctor on your website, and the alt text reads “doctor,” it doesn’t give the search engine as much to grab onto as say an alt text that reads, Dr-Smith-Dermatologist-Philadelphia-PA. Do you see how you’re going to grab a little more attention with that extended descriptor? Additionally, you are creating more content for search engines to index, which doubles the opportunity for your website to be discovered in a search.
- Lastly, don’t overdo using photographs on your website. Too many photos, or photos that are too big will take a long time to load and slow down your site, especially on a mobile device. Slow-loading websites can be a conversion killer and drive people away from your website before they’ve even arrived.
What Kinds of Photos Should I Use for My Website?
A professional photographer will be able to help you stage your photos and come up with ideas for good images to include on your website, but here are a few suggestions in the meantime to get your creative juices flowing:
- Individual headshots of all the doctors in the practice, (with their names and their credentials of course)
- Group shot of all the doctors in the practice.
- Individual headshots of all the office staff (especially in a small practice) with their names and titles.
- Group shot of all the office staff in the practice.
- Doctors in an exam room with a smiling patient—maybe a photo of a patient with a blood pressure cuff on or a patient with a doctor listening to a patient’s heart with a stethoscope (patient permission is always required for the use of their images).
- Doctors consulting with patients in their office, not an exam room.
- Remember, you want to trigger emotion so you might need a few props to help paint the picture. The stuffed animal for the anxious child, the walker for the elderly grandparent, flowers for the waiting room, your best stethoscope etc.
- Photos of your office building or the façade of your building if it’s attractive. Otherwise, a photograph of your practice’s sign out front—perhaps even with the doctors and nurses standing by the sign.
- Photo of your comfortable waiting room—preferably with patients sitting in it. Don’t forget the flowers.
- If your practice has important medical equipment to showcase, try to get a photo of the equipment in action with a patient and/or medical professional assisting the patient (e.g., a patient using the physical therapy equipment, preparing to enter the MRI machine, etc.)
Photographs on your website are very important, but just having tons of photos is not as important as the types of photos, the quality of the photos and the placement of the photos.
If Pictures Are So Great, Why Not Have a Website with Just Pictures?
One of the most important things to keep in mind about all this, however, is that while photographs will attract visitors to your site, it’s the content on your site that keeps them there and converts them into patients and/or customers.
The pictures trigger the emotions and act as the bright shiny object but it’s the written text which gives your visitors the information they came looking for.
The 215 Guys Can Help
If you’re looking for that perfect combination of images + text on your website to attract and convert visitors, you’ve come to the right place. We’re experts on website design for medical practices of all types. Contact us for a free consultation to find out how your website can work smarter for you.