Your hospital website needs a mobile-first strategy—here's how to get started
In 2017 and beyond, the best hospital websites will be those that are designed and written with a mobile-first approach.
Mobile—it's a lively topic for healthcare marketers. But the reality for many hospitals and healthcare organizations is that most website traffic still comes from desktop.
That's not going to be true for much longer.
In 2016, the hospitals and healthcare organizations Coffey works with saw significant increases in mobile traffic. For some of these organizations, mobile equaled or exceeded desktop. For many others, 2017 will be the year that most of their website traffic comes from mobile.
With more and more people using mobile devices to look for health information, it's time for healthcare marketers to make the shift from having a desktop website that is optimized for mobile to a mobile-first strategy. In 2017 and beyond, the best hospital websites will be those that are designed and written specifically with mobile devices in mind.
5 ways to start developing a mobile-first strategy for your hospital's website
Taking a mobile-first approach to your website doesn't necessarily mean starting from scratch. If your hospital's website already uses responsive design, you're well on your way to providing a great mobile experience. Following these tips can help you keep moving toward a mobile-first strategy:
1. Make mobile your default mode. Here's a simple thing you can do to get started: Make mobile the primary way you interact with your hospital's website.
Starting today, resolve to use your mobile device every time you look at your website. Move to desktop if necessary, but start with your phone. This will help you understand how healthcare consumers experience your website when they visit on a mobile device.
2. Map the mobile journey. Take a deep dive into your analytics. Which areas of your website are getting the most views from mobile? Look at the whole mobile journey, from landing page to exit page. This will give you an idea of the tasks people are trying to accomplish using mobile devices and help you find ways to improve their experiences.
3. Write for the small screen. Mobile's influence on how people use the internet—and consume healthcare content—is likely to carry over to their desktop experiences. So don't think of writing for mobile as being different from writing for desktop. Instead, think of it as writing for a modern digital audience. Some essential points for your mobile-first content strategy:
- Make content scannable. Use short paragraphs and bold subheads that can serve as entry points.
- Emphasize action, and make sure next steps are clear.
- Write to be understood. Research suggests that complex writing takes longer to read on mobile than on desktop.
- Believe in brevity.
- Use visuals to help tell the story when possible.
4. Use mobile for quality control. When you create new web pages, use the mobile preview feature of your content management system (CMS) to see how the content will look on the small screen. If your CMS doesn't have a mobile preview, check pages on mobile right after you publish—and start shopping for a new CMS.
5. Make mobile design prototypes. Whether you're creating a landing page for a campaign or embarking on a full website redesign, make sure you're reviewing mobile design prototypes as well as desktop ones.
Pro tip: When you're shopping for a healthcare website design company, make sure they're going to deliver mobile prototypes. This is a must in 2017.
Is the desktop dead?
No way! Desktop is going to remain an important source of traffic for healthcare websites for the foreseeable future. Having a mobile-first strategy doesn't mean ignoring your website's desktop experience. It just means putting more of your focus on the smaller screen.