There are some professionals who can get by without a professional practice website, but for most, the practice website will save them time and make marketing and referrals much easier.
The question really isn’t, “Do you need a website?” The better question is, “What do you want people to know about you?” When you have a professional practice website, you have a space all your own to tell the story of why your practice is the one people should choose, in your words. This is your opportunity to tell the clients or patients you hope to attract why they should choose you over another provider in your community. In addition, your practice website becomes an extension of your office, enabling you to provide information that will save time for you and your staff in the office. It is even possible now to have patients or clients complete forms online.
Most people today shop for a service provider in their community—whether they are seeking a new dentist, a financial planner, insurance agent, architect or any other professional—by going to the Internet. Without a professional practice website you risk not being found and not able to tell people who you are and what you can do for them.
It is rare for a professional practice today not to receive immense benefit from a practice website. Exceptions could include a physician who gets all new business through practitioner referrals and offers care covered completely by insurance, or a lawyer who simply has no more time to commit to new clients. Keep in mind though, that as people move or die, attracting new clients will be an ongoing need; practice websites can be the easiest and most economical way to communicate both with them and with your existing clientele.
Considering how easy it is for clients to leave reviews online about your practice, you will want to have a presence that builds trust over time. By keeping your website filled with valuable and timely information, your clients will begin to view your service as an invaluable resource. Consider this, if you are a family practice physician who sees your healthy patients once each year, you may not be considered irreplaceable to them. However, if you have a professional practice website containing information, such as “Top 10 Healthy Habits” or downloadable lists of “Healthy Foods for Growing Children,” patients will see you and your practice as more than just a place they visit once a year. It becomes an ongoing resource that develops a relationship based on trust and expertise. These patients are then much more likely to refer others to you and to your website, leading you to become the preferred provider in your local community. You will begin to develop a loyal client base and you may be able to increase service rates, as well as decreasing the need to constantly drive in new business. This will allow you to spend your time focused on caring for clients rather than marketing and developing content.
Having a website may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is, you have options. You can keep your site small and basic, with just the information clients or patients are seeking. You can create a website that acts as a resource, offering visitors all of the information they could ask for, saving you time in the office and reinforcing your image as an industry expert. You may even hire someone to build and maintain your website; there are professionals to design, create, write and manage your site if you don’t want to deal with it on an ongoing basis. The fact is that a professional practice website has become more important than the traditional phone book in enabling people to find you and build trust in your expertise once they do.