Like hairstyles, fashion, cars and computers, websites follow certain trends in style and function. This is why websites typically are replaced or upgraded every 3-5 years. Here are 6 trends to watch for in websites in 2014.

1. Mobility

Patients and potential patients are searching more and more on their mobile devices for information. Websites were once built with the desktop in mind first and mobile devices second. Now, major websites like Twitter and Facebook along with NBC News have gone through website revamps with the focus on mobile first, desktop second. If you haven’t looked at your site on your phone lately, then do so. You want your site easy to use on a mobile device. Many doctors aren’t even aware that their site can’t even be viewed on a mobile device. Most sites today are being built as mobile friendly. But the best format is the new mobile responsive sites that are built as best fit for ALL devices – not just the desktop. If you are interested in learning more about the mobile options available, check out our previous post on mobile sites.

2. Scrolling Versus Pages

More sites are touting scrolling pages as opposed to multiple pages. What is the best choice? The thought a few years ago was that scrolling was bad. But now, people are used to scrolling – they do it on their mobile devices, after all. In fact, they prefer scrolling on their phones because clicking a screen can prove to be cumbersome. So you will begin to see more sites having lots of content on one page just for this reason.

3. Content Is King

This has always been true, but with more and more emphasis from search engines and social media it is even truer now. The more content on your site, the better you will rank in search engines. But it can’t be just any content. It has to be valuable content. Search engines are smarter. They know when gibberish with keywords is being added. So you have to add UNIQUE content that isn’t present anywhere else. And lots of it. Include pictures, videos and testimonials from patients. Another helpful tool for creating content is incorporating a blog site into your website.

4. Interaction

Your site should provide plenty of opportunities for interaction. This means including actions for everything from scheduling an appointment, leaving a review and paying a bill to watching videos, liking Facebook or reading information. The more interaction, the better your web statistics. The better the web stats, the better your ranking in SEO. Not to mention, a viewer who interacts with your site is much more likely to be better educated when they visit you, resulting in greater case acceptance. When building your site this year, think engagement first, informative second.

5. Flat

Presently speaking, Apple sets the tone for the appearance of online graphics. For a while, buttons were curved in appearance with a 3-dimensional look. They flattened the look of their icons, removing the shadows at the top and the “gel” appearance. Big companies like Google and Yahoo! followed suit by enhancing their logos. Websites, too, are looking more flat. They incorporate larger images and try to strike a very orderly look that focuses on keeping the viewer engaged.

6. A Tool for Social Networking

Effective websites today should be a tool for social networking. Many of the social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have algorithms they use for the feed that give priority to posts that link to external sites. That means the more your posts and tweets have hyperlinks to your website, the better the chances of it appearing in someone’s feed. Having multiple pages on your site with lots of unique content (see #3 and #2) makes it easier to link to that page. The result will be more traffic to your website and greater visibility for your posts. We even see with our clients that the best traffic source to a website comes from social media (“best” meaning the traffic that stayed on the site the longest and looked at multiple pages).

Keeping up with the trends in websites can make the difference when it comes to higher new patient numbers, patient retention and even case acceptance.

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