This guideline is a 4200 word count tutorial aimed to show and teach you how to build and create a mobile responsive medical website for independent working doctors, nurses, health professionals and even hospitals.
This is a condensed and practical tutorial that discusses how to make such site, how to make it successful and strategies to make it popular, using SEO, social media and marketing tactics.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To create a medical website for hospitals, independent doctors, or a consultant surgeon, you need the following task (technical tips first):
- Choose the right design
- Features expected in a medical website
- Getting Domain Name
- Website Hosting
- Installation and Configuration of WordPress Software
- Mandatory WordPress Plugins Installation / Activation
- Practical Set up and Configurations of the site
- Being on Google search console for indexing purposes
Success Tips / Promotion
Steps to turn it a successful entity:
- Joining medical related Forums
- Investing in Guest posting
- Going Social media networks
- Network, network, network
Choose the right design
The first task I would love to discuss about is the issue of having a professionally looking, mobile responsive design that will give you positive conversions.
This tutorial is aimed to empower you do everything by yourself without spending thousands of dollars to an unreliable website developer who at the end of the day will frustrate you and hold you hostage.
To design a website now, the most recommended method is the use of WordPress software. With WordPress, even a medical doctor can design and come up with his/her site. WordPress is an open source software and it presently powers about 30% of websites globally ( March 2018 data).
You do not need to understand any line of code or programming language; the most effective and recommended way is to buy and purchase premium, highly professionally designed WordPress themes from reputable companies.
The following are specialized themes if you are considering a hospital or clinic website design:
If you are considering a medical consultancy website, or just a health related site, check out the following templates:
You can get these themes for as low as USD45-USD120 from the following reputable and recommended companies:
When you check the above companies, just check out the various templates, view the demos and decide on which one will fit perfectly into your project.
The overall suggestion is that you buy these templates and you download what is called the ZIP files to your computer. The downloaded ZIP file contains the WordPress file which we are going to upload to bring your site to life.
How you will do this and handle everything is discussed elaborately as you continue reading this lengthy tutorial.
Features expected in a medical website
Whether it is a hospital website design or an independent design for an independent doctor, consultant surgeon, or any health practitioner; there are important features that the site design should have.
Out of ten people browsing and surfing the net, 8 out of 10 are doing so right from their mobile phones; and the amazing aspect of it is that this trend is bound to continue as the population of people using their mobile phones to surf the internet is increasing on a daily basis.
In other words, it is imperative and highly important that your website should be able to be viewed when a visitor is using any android phone or any type of mobile device. This feature and development is what is called mobile responsiveness.
Being mobile responsive means that your site will adapt and be viewed perfectly on any mobile device, displaying full details/information without the visitor having to strain their eyes or scroll up and down.
A medical or health website should have this important features; and the recommended templates (WordPress themes) mentioned above or from the recommended companies are all mobile responsive.
Retina Ready with SEO Advantages
A WordPress themes is retina ready when you are able to upload videos, upload high quality pictures and the appearance looks glossy, sharp and professionally looking. A medical focused design should have this design because first impression matters a lot.
SEO means search engine optimization; a well-built website should have a standard SEO settings and features present on it. Without SEO, your website will not rank very well on the search engine pages.
Real Time Chat Features
I think we should not debate about this; customers loves comfort and having access to ease of getting their demands has been proving to be one of the winning formula of popular brands and companies.
Whether you are a consultant, health practitioner or a hospital; having the real time chat features gives added advantage. This means that visitors and customers can be able to reach you by chatting with you real time, you get their messages instantly on your PC/Laptop/mobile phones and you are able to reply to them instantly. This feature is a must to have.
Schedule/Book Your Appointments
One of the known features or common language of any hospital, clinic is the word ‘appointments.
When people visits your site, they should be able to place appointments directly on the site and be guaranteed of securing the appointments.
This feature is a must to have on the website and how to get it done is discussed as we progress.
All the features expected on a website as listed above is possible with the use of what is called WordPress plugins. How to get it done, install the plugins, activate it and actually put it to work is discussed further below.
Getting Domain Name
We are gradually getting into the game. The domain name is the name of the site and registering for it shows you are actually serious about this project.
It is important to note that this name is what people types on the browser and if it is registered and hosted, then your site comes live.
When thinking about the name of your site and the domain name, you should know that the name should be unique, short and memorable, free from numbers etc. it is recommended to use the name of your already established hospital or profession.
In addition, the name will also be used to open free accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, Instagram etc. So, your primary task is to sit down and actually write down suggested names you think will be ideal for you.
Once done with this, you will need to check if the name penciled down can be used as your domain name or whether it is not being currently used by someone else.
To check for the domain name, I suggest and recommend you make use of bluehost domain name checker form below.
If the name is available, please do not waste time, gran and register it immediately.
To host your website means you are putting your domain name and the contents you are about to upload on a web server; however, this web server is not free, you will need to buy a space to accommodate the contents you want to put inside the domain name.
This concept is called website hosting; hosting of a site is the most significant step to actually have a site that is running because without it, the journey has not started at all.
You are not going to stress yourself with the hosting technicalities because during the domain registration on Bluehost, the Bluehost system guides and gives you option on hosting the name. If you are ready, then go ahead, but if not, just pay for the domain registration.
However, it is recommended to purchase the hosting on Bluehost because doing so gives you the privilege of getting the domain name free (you save USD18)
Few things to remember and keep in mind;
- During the hosting registration, I recommend you chose 2-3 years hosting package.
- If the registration and the purchase of the hosting package is successful, you will be asked to create a password; this password is for the Bluehost login (not the WordPress login). Remember that your Bluehost username is your domain name.
- Keep this info secure, either inside your diary or the notepad on your laptop or PC.
The next step that follows is the set up and installation of WordPress software that will power the site.
Installation and Configuration of WordPress Software
WordPress is the software needed to run and build the expected site, though, there are many programs and software’s out there but the choice of WordPress far supersedes others.
- First, WordPress (WP) is an open source software powered by more than 100 professional programmers who are dedicated to the advancement on an everyday basis
- It is the easiest software than anybody can use to build a professionally looking site, without knowing anything about programming.
After the successful purchase of the hosting packages, you will be guided on the installation of the software, follow the guidelines below:
- You will be asked to select a particular themes (various templates will be displayed), simply skip this because we are going to be making use of the professional themes you earlier purchased.
- Chose the WordPress software (W Logo), and click on start building
- At this stage, the installation of the software will be done in the background and you do not have to worry yourself at all.
- You will be brought to your dashboard which is like the engine room of the site for maintenance and configuration
- Click on Business kind of WordPress ( since you are into business); then launch it
- However, after the launch, this is now time for us to get serious about the whole designing and adjustment. Let’s get started.
Mandatory WordPress Plugins Installation / Activation
Now that we have installed WordPress and your site is almost 70% ready, we need to start installing and activating important features and elements.
The most important step to take now is the installation and activation of what is called WordPress plugin. WordPress plugins are the main essential elements that actually powers a WordPress software; with a plugin, you can turn your site into things unimaginable, you can convert and give functions to the site beyond your wildest dreams.
Instead of writing codes for anything you want, plugins are used for such purposes, reducing stress and headache on you. The following are essential plugins that you need to install now.
- Yoast SEO plugin: For SEO purposes.
- W3 Total Cache: It automates a faster loading speed of the site.
- Akismet: essential for security
- Jetpack plugin: Very much important; it serves a multifunctional task.
- Sumo plugin: Excellent option for social media icons and sharing options.
- Real time (online) chat plugin: The name explains it all; highly recommended if you sincerely wants your medical website to be successful.
- Mobile responsive contact form plugin: Contact form 7 is recommended; but I prefer the JetPack plugin feature (just activate the jetPack plugin by linking with wordpress.com, publish normal contact page and it will be shown , see the image below).
- Booking an appointment: This plugin is handy for this task ( to search for the plugin); however the best option for this feature is to simply create a page for it, give it the title ‘ Book an appointment’, and make sure you place it in the primary menu ( explained further below).
Watch and study the video below on how to install and activate a plugin
If you need you a function that I did not mention, simply search for the plugin for this task by going to https://www.wordpress.org/ , go to the plugins repository and search for it.
Practical set up and Configurations of the site
For easy understanding and the sake of the purpose we have in mind, I will be making use of the WordPress themes below as an example.
Under this stage, eight (8) critical factors will be discussed and practically demonstrated:
- Activating the purchased WordPress themes (templates)
- Demo upload and activation (optional)
- Header and footer settings (logo inclusive)
- Menu settings
- Permalinks Adjustment
- FrontPage Editing and designing
- Page creation and settings
- Widget settings
Activating the purchased WordPress themes (templates)
In the beginning of this tutorial, I mentioned and recommended the purchased of premium WordPress themes built specifically for business, hospitals, doctors, health practitioners etc. If you have bought them, it is time to make use of it, but if not, I advise you scroll up where you see the listed ones or you check the companies below:
We are going to upload it and this is a major step in designing everything;
- Go to your WordPress dashboard (I am sure you are already logged in there)
- Go to appearance (left hand side), locate themes, and click on ‘Add new themes’
- On the page that follows, ignore the various themes presented to you
- Click on the upload box, locate where you downloaded the ZIP file you purchased
- Upload the ZIP files; within 2-8 minutes, it will uploaded, click on activate
- Click on save, then exit that page
Go to your homepage, click on refresh, after a minutes, you will see the new design in display; however, it will still be in virgin mode, now we need to start adding a,b,c,d etc.
Step 7 (2)
Demo upload and activation (optional)
There is a reason why you bought the WordPress themes for the design; it may look appealing to you and probably you also want your own website to look exactly like the themes itself.
It is possible, but how?
You are simply going to upload and install the demo from the template (WordPress themes) in an act called importation.
Yes, we are going to import the demo contents from the themes to your own site; follow the steps below to actualize that.
- Of course, you should have uploaded and install the theme itself
- Go to the left hand side of your dashboard, scroll down till you see ‘Import’ (sometimes, it is under ‘settings’)
- Click on import and you will be brought to the import page; scroll down and click on the import plugin (it is mostly the last option on the page)
- Click on it, install and activate the plugin (a warning may appear that the plugin has not been updated, simply ignore and proceed because after using it, you are going to uninstall the plugin).
- Immediately the plugin is successful installed and activated, it will automatically ask you what you want to import (and sometimes, just click on it to use it)
- But before this, go to where you downloaded the purchased ZIP file of the WordPress themes, you are simply going to unzip the file.
- Unzip the file and locate any file with the .xml extension (sometimes it may be demo.xml or simply ‘demo’)
- Now, when the plugin asks you what to import, direct the plugin to the .xml file and import it
- Follow the on-screen instruction and all the contents from the purchased themes will be imported
- Click save and exit the page
- Go to your homepage, refresh it and behold, the new outlook will show the exact outlook from the purchased template
However, some of the pictures from the themes may not be imported; in such a case, you will handle that aspect manually. To do that, simply right click on the image, download and save it, then go to your dashboard, and upload the saved/downloaded image.
Watch this video for assistance
If you need help/assistance, kindly reach out to me.
Step 7 (3)
Header and footer settings (logo inclusive)
The image below is an example of the meaning of a header and footer; these two elements are important features.
The header contains the logo, byline (below the logo, though it is optional), advert and sometimes the search box. However, one of the major elements of the header is the menu which will be discussed later below.
To change the logo or probably upload yours, you will go to the widget settings, and from there, you will see the link (guideline on how to do this); the right dimension (in pixels) will be displayed to you and in some cases, just save the default image to have an idea of the size so that you can adjust yours to it.
How to use the widget to effect changes on the header is explained further below. However, on some themes, they will specifically have a detailed guidelines on anything you want to do on the header (you will see everything in the widget settings).
Step 7 (4)
The menu, if probably done is one great avenue to increase the chances of success on a website. The menu is divided into the primary and secondary menu.
See the image below of a menu;
The menu contains navigation link to all the pages and important places on the website, and it is advisable to put important pages of your site on the menu.
Expected pages expected on the menu of a health related website are:
- About Doctor ( your name or name of the consultants, or simply you write summary of Doctors on the hospital or lists of the consultant specialists)
- Our Expertise
- Book an appointment
To create a menu, I recommend you watch the video below:
Step 7 (5)
Adjusting the permalinks of the site is a necessity for technical reasons and advantages (especially from the SEO point of view). To change the permalinks setting and structure, follow the steps below:
- From your dashboard, scroll down and locate appearance or settings.
- From there, locate ‘permalinks’; click on it and go to the settings page
- On the permalinks page, click on the ‘name based permalink URL settings
- Click save and exit the page.
Step 7 (6)
FrontPage Editing and designing
The FrontPage is the entrance to the integrity of your site, and so, you must take proper care and set it up to attract and retain your visitors.
To edit the FrontPage, you can do it right from the FrontPage itself or from the widget settings; when uploading pictures to use on the FrontPage or even video; the instructions to do it will be stated to you right from the widgets.
In a nutshell or summary, if you can be patient, observe and patiently study your site (especially the Widget), you will be able to edit and do anything possible with your homepage (FrontPage).
Step 7 (7)
Page creation and settings
Pages would have been created automatically if you uploaded the demo contents from the purchased templates.
So, to avoid duplicate contents issue, it is advisable to check the pages settings to see the pages you have already.
To do that, on your dashboard, click on pages and you will be brought to the pages repository as seen below.
For example, if ‘About page’ has been published, simply edit the contents to your own medical terms/posts and republish it.
However, if there is none, follow the steps below to create your pages (I already listed some important pages you should have, check it above).
Locate page on your dashboard, click on ‘Add pages, give it a title and publish your page. (Very simple to do!!).
Step 7 (8)
I repeated it more than two times in this article on the importance of the widgets; the widgets is the brain of the WordPress dashboard.
With the widgets, you can edit the FrontPage, you can adjust the sidebars, you can fix the pictures/videos and carry out all needed editing task.
Please find below a pictorial overview of the widgets:
In addition, with the widgets, you can edit and configure the header and footer, the homepage, social media networks and the entire website as a whole.
Take your time to study the widgets and learn how to move the elements!!
Being on Google search console for indexing purposes
Once you are done with all the above mentioned tasks, then I can say your hospital website is truly ready for the World Wide Web and you should be expecting visitors to the site.
However, this is where the real and main challenge is; and the first step to overcoming this challenge is to get indexed on Google and other search engines.
- Open a free account on Google search console with a dedicated Gmail email (or you can use your Gmail account); Google search console is www.google.com/console
- Follow the on-screen instructions to verify your site
- Submit your sitemap to Google search console
However, I have attached the video below for you to watch and use it to understand and know how to use Google search console.
All the points mentioned above are the technical details in setting up your medical website, this stage discusses the practical steps you need to take to make the site become successful, especially if are an independent doctor or health practitioner.
Joining medical related Forums
The second step to tale after Google search console to get people to know about you is to start joining relevant medical groups on the internet.
Just search Google search for medical related forums and you will see different types, join them and get active with your contributions, suggestions, comments etc.
Investing in Guest Posting
Guest posting works in two ways:
You get exposure for your website and get targeted visitors back to your site
It offers search engine optimization advantages because you gain dofollow backlinks back to your website.
The idea is that you write and contribute powerful blog posts on related medical blogs/site with a link back to your site.
To get the best out of Guest posting, I honestly recommend you outsource the task to professional freelance writers so that you will focus on other things that matters to the website and your business.
Going on social media networks
This is not a new thing; it is a must you have an active presence on the following social media networks:
- LinkedIn: My first point of call, highly important
- Facebook: Open a Facebook page and get active; you can start by inviting your friends, family members, and colleagues etc. to like your fan page. As it grows, you can invest little money for advertisement to get targeted likes/followers/fans.
- Twitter; Highly important, especially for SEO advantages
- Instagram; to publish and share pictures and images of your expertise etc.
Use your domain name to open free accounts on all these social networks; upload photographs of your profession as both profile and background pictures. Let your profile description be unique, captivating and well detailed.
Blogging is a powerful tool to increase your website exposure on the internet and if effectively used, it is a powerful tool to help you succeed.
The art and concept of blogging is publishing informative and well detailed posts about your profession and publishing it on your site.
I recommend you read the following resource material on blogging;
- What is blogging; Read the resource material here
Network, network, network
Joining related and important forum is a form of networking. Networking is highly important for maintain business relationship because no man is an island.
This same concept applies to the world of online business. Take time to search for important forums and blogs.
I have listed the steps you need to take:
- Join related groups/boards on LinkedIn
- Join related communities on Google+
- Join related groups on Facebook
- Go to this social media networks and search for boards, communities and groups respectively.
I believe this guideline is more than enough to guide you on how to create and build a medical website for a hospital of medical related practitioner.
This guide is both handy if you are a website designer or if you want to do it all by yourself. WordPress has really made life easy and it is a good thing you give it a try.
If you need help or assistance, do reach out to me, I will be glad to be of help.