The Coffey Blog
4 reasons to create hospital website content before you redesign
Katie Oblisk, Business Development Consultant
Which should come first in a healthcare website redesign project: The text or the graphics? It's an important question. After all, the piece you finish first will influence the work that's yet to come.
Often, healthcare marketing teams focus on the design part of the project and simply pull over old content to the new site. But while this approach can get you a fresh-looking website more quickly and at a lower initial price, it could cost you time, money and potential reach in the long run.
Support for a content-first approach to your hospital website redesign
If your website is in need of a redesign, here are four reasons you should start with content:
- Content is the reason people come to your site. Healthcare consumers will certainly appreciate a clean design and stellar photography, but they're coming to your website for information about your organization and the services you offer. If your content is outdated, poorly written or just plain missing, then great design alone won't be able to give people what they need.
- Writing gets your stakeholders involved. Website writing, especially in healthcare settings, tends to be collaborative. Service line leaders need to give input, as does marketing. Writing first gets those key players involved with the project at the outset.
- Writing first could help speed up production. Concerns or problems that come up during the writing process can, and sometimes do, prompt design changes. If sources want added pages, different types of interconnectivity, or other bells and whistles, the writing team must head back to the development and design teams to make it happen. Knowing about all of this up front can help you incorporate all your stakeholders' needs into a cohesive design.
- Content generation can help you measure ROI. The process of creating content for a healthcare website begins with tasks like benchmarking, keyword research and competitive analysis. As that work is done, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how your website is performing right now, and you might uncover some surprises that can help inform your design. The more you know at the outset of the project, the better you'll be able to track how the new content and design have made the website better.
How to put content first
Taking the following steps can help you ensure that your website content generation process moves forward quickly and efficiently:
- Identify key stakeholders. Knowing who should sign off on the content before you get started can help you avoid surprise review requests and unforeseen content changes. Keep this stakeholder list small if you can. The fewer people who need to sign off, the quicker the schedule will move.
- Save precious interview time. Prepare your sources to work with a writer well in advance of the interview process. And make sure your sources will make time for those interviews. For busy sources like physicians, a questionnaire can often be a better way to gather information than a telephone call or meeting.
- Hire a qualified team. Writing new content can seem daunting, especially when you're juggling all of your other healthcare marketing tasks. Using an outside team can help you spread out the workload. And that team might be able to write content faster than you ever could.
A plug for website design
A content-first approach doesn't mean design isn't important. Among other things, great design presents the content you create in a way that's engaging, easy to navigate and pleasant to read.
So don't think that updating content can happen in lieu of a redesign. In most cases, these tasks need to go hand-in-hand.
Looking for a website partner?
One of the biggest benefits of working with Coffey is that we have the expertise to complete every part of your hospital's website redesign project. Our writers, developers and designers collaborate to ensure that your project moves forward on schedule and on budget—and that the final product gives you the results you need.