5 Must-Haves for Every Veterinary Website

December 8, 2015
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In today’s digital world, a website is a must-have for business success. Claiming your space in the internet and having a digital footprint is vital to competing in the industry and being found by local clients. But it isn’t enough to just have a few web pages and photos haphazardly thrown up – there needs to be a reason why visitor come to your site, stay on your site, and ultimately make the decision to visit your clinic.

To have a successful website, there are a few things that every veterinary clinic must have present:

#1 – Basic Information is Easy to Find

If your basic information – location, phone, and hours – aren’t easy to find, you will lose potential patients quickly. In addition to having a Contact Us page with this information easily accessible, also include your location, phone number, and hours on the homepage above the fold. Above the fold simply means before the user scrolls down. Additionally, put this information in the footer of your website so it is visible across every page they visit.

Tip - Don't create a graphic with your information layered into it. Google ‘crawls’ websites regularly, and if your location, hours, and phone are a graphic instead of text on a graphic, Google will not recognize it and therefore you lose out on easy search engine optimization (SEO) benefits!

mobile vha image#2 – Be Mobile Friendly

In April 2015, Google announced that websites receive a boost in rankings if their websites are mobile-friendly. If you’re website looks good on the computer but is hard to navigate on your phone or tablet, chances are your site isn’t mobile-friendly.

To see if your website is mobile-friendly according to Google standards, visit their easy-to-use mobile-friendly test site: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Enter your web address and Google will provide suggestions on how to make it more mobile-friendly with step-by-step directions, technical guides, and more.

It’s important that your website be mobile-friendly and friendly with Google. Why? Because in 2015, 51% of all time spent on digital media is done through a mobile device, and 48% of purchases are started through a search engine (data via Smart Insights). This means if your website isn’t mobile-friendly and found through Google, chances are it won’t be found at all.

#3 – Content with Keywords

Great websites that are optimized for search all have a number of things in common, including quality content filled with relevant keywords. It’s not enough anymore to have a website with four or five pages that haven’t been updated since 2001. Ongoing new and fresh content is important to Google and your clients alike.

First, review your web pages thoroughly. Do you have enough content on each page with quality keywords that is readable? For example, a sample “About Us” could read:

Smith Veterinary Clinic is located in downtown St. Paul, MN and provides veterinary services for companion animals in the Minnesota metro area. We specialize in feline and canine veterinary services, and provide for all ages, from kittens and puppies to elderly care.

Smith Veterinary Clinic first opened in 1990 by Dr. Joe Smith and Dr. Jane Smith, who both received their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. They believed in providing quality, affordable veterinary care for dogs and cats.

26 years later, Smith Veterinary Clinic has expanded to become a six doctor practice, now home to Drs. Sally McSally, David McDavid, Jim McJim, and Tom McTom. We still believe in providing quality, affordable veterinary care for dogs and cats and strive to provide this to every client every day.

Visit us today to see why Smith Veterinary Clinic is a favorite of Twin City pet owners. We’re located at 111 S. Main Street, St. Paul, MN!

Our Goals

- To treat every patient as if they were our own.
- To provide quality care at affordable prices.
- To treat all who enter our doors with respect and care.
- To bring the latest and improved treatments to our patients.
- To keep you updated with new products.

Our Mission

Our mission at Smith Veterinary Clinic is to deliver superior quality care at affordable prices for pets and their owners through our highly trained staff and doctors every day.

Meet Our Staff

(Insert pictures and a paragraph or two for each staff person).

What Our Clients Say

“This is where you insert client testimonials, with first name, last name, and pet headshot." – Jane Doe

“This is where you insert client testimonials, with first name, last name, and pet headshot." – Mike Smith

“This is where you insert client testimonials, with first name, last name, and pet headshot." – Sally Johnson

Stop by our clinic at 111 S. Main Street, St. Paul, MN to meet our friendly doctors and staff! Call 555-555-5555 to set up a complimentary appointment today.

This would be a very robust “About Us” and provides great information that is roughly a page long, has keywords and keyword phrases throughout, is readable by users, and searchable by Google. One thing to avoid when creating content for sites is to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’, putting keywords in random places where they don’t naturally fit into the sentence.

Tip - One way to continually put out new content is through a regular blog. Some experts suggest writing as much as 3,000 words of content per month! However, when the regular blog post is around 750 – 1,000 per post, 3,000 per month is easily doable. One easy way to do this is to blog weekly or bi-weekly, and have different members of your team write each time! Not only will this help provide quality content that Google searches through, but it also keeps readers coming back to your website and builds your thought leadership expertise.

cat in cage no#4 – Friendly Photos

When potential new clients come to your website, the last thing they want to see are photos of uncomfortable looking pets in cages, scared pets, or pets in surgery. That doesn’t portray a comforting, calm atmosphere whatsoever. And stock imagery comes off as fake, unnatural, and impersonal.

When your choosing to put new photos on your website, it pays to have a professional photographer take quality headshots of your staff for your “About Us”, and photos of your staff providing caring services to pets in friendly settings. Avoid images that include cages, needles, or knives – anything that might make a pet owner squirm, feel uncomfortable, and bad about leaving their beloved pet there.

#5 – Inviting Calls to Action

Once your websites content and photography are updated, what is it that you want visitors to your site to do? Do you send out weekly or monthly emails? Ask them to sign up for your mailing list! Do you provide monthly coupons? Ask them to sign up for updates. Are you hosting an event for the holidays? Ask them to register. Do you want them to call and make an appointment? Then ask them to. Content and photos are great, but without directly asking website visitors to do something, you’re missing the perfect opportunity to connect. In fact, the sample “About Us” given in #3 had two calls to action, and keywords such as “Visit Us” and “Contact Us” would be hyperlinked to the “Contact Us” page of the website.

Implementing these 5 quick and easy things into your website will make your website more user friendly, Google friendly, and help boost your business.

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Stephanie Onken is the Communication Coordinator for Veterinary Hospitals Association (VHA). Established in 1984, VHA is a member-driven association organized to represent the interests of members and the veterinary community. VHA currently serves nearly 400 member veterinary practices. The goal of VHA is to enhance the profitability of each member practice by positively impacting its bottom line. Follow VHA on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


 

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