Tricks of website design are simple

A professional website presence is a must in today’s online world. But with website average quality scores at a low 34.85% across the UK’s private medical practitioner sector, Joel Calliste suggests three areas to focus on as a priority for your patients and business.

An illustration featuring a laptop computer with SEO concept and a magnifying glass in front of the laptop

1 Website content: it’s more important than design

The ‘copy’ on your website is fundamentally important, not just to patients to know that what you provide is relevant to them, but also for search engines to know to prioritise you in relevant searches.

But it’s not just what you’re saying; it’s how it’s said. Often, private doctor websites seem to be aimed at colleagues within the medical industry, not patients.

Information on treatments and specialties need to talk directly to the general consumer of any age and from any background.

Simple and clear language should be used: What can they expect? What is the benefit of your service? Why have you chosen to specialise in a particular area? Bring personality into your website as much as possible.

2 SEO 101: it’s all about content

We are regularly asked about search engine optimisation (SEO) by businesses who want to make sure they’re meeting all the right criteria to be on the front page of search engine rankings.

Often, the assumption is that it’s all about meta tags and behind-the-scenes trickery, but actually the most important step in achieving great SEO is to think of a search engine – such as Google – as a person, not a machine.

Search engines have invested a lot in creating a number of algorithms which try to cleverly mimic a person’s search journey. To match what the algorithms are looking for, you need to focus on making sure that your prospective patients know they’ve come to the right place when they have found you.

Prioritise your content. Ask yourself ‘how can I make my website look relevant to the people searching for things I can provide answers to?’ This is what a search engine will look at first and foremost.

When a patient arrives at your website, are they easily able to understand what it is you do and therefore know that you’re relevant to them?

3 Trust – the key to success

Traffic to a website is the number one goal for most website owners, but what happens when someone arrives on your site?

The world wide web is saturated with websites and therefore when we visit a site, we’re actually programmed to look for reasons not to trust it. People have become fatigued and even sceptical. Presenting your business online in a professional manner is therefore just as important as meeting someone face to face.

Smart Medical Web homepage example2

An example of a clean, neat home page with all the information a browser needs

Being professional isn’t actually just about using a nice design template. Please don’t go mad with font sizes and colours. Keep it simple. Two or three maximum should do it. Too many and it can become confusing and look cheap.

Part of professionalism is also reassurance that you’re here to stay; something as simple as a land­line phone number and non-personal email address can do this. Busy private practices could also consider having a ‘Contact Us’ form on the website, with a time-frame for response provided.

Images can also make or break a site. Ensure all images are high-resolution and tell the story of your business as quickly and as clearly as possible.

Include pictures of any team members, consultation and/or treatment rooms, and the wider environment that your patients will experience when they come to you.

Credibility is huge for trust. Patient testimonials and badges of affiliations and/or reviews can speak 100 words. Third-party endorsement is possibly the biggest advocate for trust. And if you’ve been lucky enough to gain media coverage, include links in your ‘About Us’ page.

Ultimately, it’s always worth taking a step back and thinking ‘what do I do when looking for an expert or business?’ and then to apply the same filters when viewing your site.

How they polled

Smart Medical Web commissioned OnePoll to capture the routes of influence for private medical patients when choosing an independent practitioner. Findings are based on responses from 1,500 consumers who had either had or were considering having private medical surgery or consultation across the UK.
Analysis was carried out by Smart Medical Web, in parallel with desk research undertaken to review the quality of 100 existing private medical practitioner websites to determine an average quality score for the sector.
The average quality score of 34.8% was the conclusion of desk research and analysis of 100 existing private medical practitioner websites across the UK during June 2015.
Joel Calliste, Smart Medical WebWebsites were benchmarked against five key criteria, recognised throughout the web development world as key indicators of an effective web presence.
One-hundred practitioner names from a well-known directory were Googled to identify which of them relied just on a hospital or clinic profile page, which had their own website, and which had none at all. Exactly half fell into each category of having a website or not.


Joel Calliste (right) is a co-founder of Smart Medical Web