7 Steps to Planning your Functional Medicine Practice Website

After more than 20 years in the web design and development business, I have been involved in 1000's of small, medium and large website launches, in recent years the focus has been on Functional Medicine Practice Websites.  During this time, I have witnessed first-hand how and why websites are launched on time and on budget and how time and budgets can blow out!
7 Steps to Planning your Functional Medicine Practice Website

After more than 20 years in the web design and development business, there are some simple steps in every successful website launch. I have been involved in 100’s of small, medium and large website launches.

In recent years the focus has been on Functional Medicine Practice Websites.

During this time, I have witnessed first-hand why websites are launched on time and on budget and how time and budgets can so easily blow out! So here is my simple definitive list for planning and starting your new or refreshed medical practice website!

1. Domain Name + Business Name

It is of no use creating a great business name unless you can also have an accompanying domain name. Your business name and domain name do not have to match. But if you have standard type business name (example: www.drsmith.com) and haven’t secured the domain name, you may be disappointed. You can go to GoDaddy and do a simple search to see what is available.

Country-specific domains are fine as in .com, .com.au, .com.us etc. For companies wishing to get as many people in the door – use the shop exit rule – if someone is leaving and as they walk out the door and ask for your domain name, you should be able to say it and they understand it. This should mean, no explaining! Yakadanda.com is not a good example, but I am not after high volume – just quality customers.

Once you have your Domain Name, you need to work out and register all the major social networks (if you haven’t already). You should create an email account to manage all the social media accounts and signups. This is so that if you need to give access to anyone (internal or external) at any time to update, control, etc, you can do this easily.

If you haven’t already you need to get your Google Business Listing taken care of as well, this is one of the most important features of your SEO strategy.

2. Branding

I am always amazed at how long some people take to decide on branding. Colors are important, but with colors relating to Functional Medicine are still natural style colors- it is pretty much like paint by numbers. Here is an excellent resource for website colors. Usually, you have a primary and secondary color on your site, and perhaps a third for buttons and call outs.

My advice for your logo, get a simple, clean logo design, try to use Google Fonts, simplifying the process going forward.  Make sure your logo has two different orientations if the standard is wide, logos must look great in a square format for all social media platforms.

Also, make sure your logo designer creates a style guide for handing off to printers for business cards, logos, etc.

3. Planning, Website Structure, Content, Integrations

The planning of your website should come down to three simple plans. Structure, Content and Integrations.

The structure is the sitemap of all of your pages and posts and can also include a user flow chart.

The content is the information (text, images, videos, files) you will need for each of the major pages of your website.  As an example, you may have ten different major services you provide. So that would mean 10x pages of content, one for each service.

You also will want to have a short paragraph or two of marketing text (snippets) for each of those services; this will be displayed on your main services page and then link to each full services page. Your full services page will have information about that service, testimonials from customers who have enjoyed that service, articles related to that service and a way for potential customers to engage in that service through a web form.

Finally, the Integrations will be what your website will integrate with, perhaps PayPal, Stripe, Square for online payments. MailChimp, ConvertKit for Newsletters? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for Social Media? Google Analytics, Bing, Yandex, Webmaster Tools, Google My Business, etc. for Analytics and Search.

For the Structure, here is what a sample sitemap tree might look like. 

Sample Sitemap Tree

  • Home
  • About
    • History
    • About Company
    • About You
    • Our Team
      • Dr. Michael Michaelson
    • Sample etc
  • Services (list of services)
    • Health Coaching
    • Nutrition Planning
    • Sample
    • etc
  • New Patients
    • New Patient Downloads
    • Testimonials
    • FAQ
  • Current Patients (link to Patient Systems)
    • New Patient Downloads
    • Testimonials
    • FAQ
  • Store
    • Product Category
      • Product Sub Category
        • Individual Product
    • Product Category
    • etc
  • Blog
    • Category
      • Sub Category
    • Blog Category
    • etc
  • Location
  • Contact

4. Social Media

You will want to make sure you are registered on all Social media Platforms that matter. This will mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest and maybe even Snapchat. Even if you’re not completely active, reserve the names if you can. Despite what you might think – posting content to Social Media is not all that time consulting. All of your social media accounts should have the same style of branding, conveying the same message and be engaging both with the content you produce and to anyone who interacts with it. If your website is set up correctly, posting content to social media should take only a few minutes.

5. Marketing

With any new website, the natural urge is to tell everyone about it immediately. I feel a more measured approach is always better. Get all the fundamentals right first, test any purchasing systems, start engaging with social media, get user feedback.

Take your time to collate some data first before making any changes. Iron out any bugs; then you can start with some marketing on maybe Facebook, Instagram or Google Search. Make sure you can measure everything, so you can stop keyword/keyphrase ads that are not working and increase keyword/keyphrase ads that are.

A simple marketing strategy is to start with a newsletter – give something away that has value in exchange for their email address. Some of our customers have email lists of over 200,000. Even with lists built up to 5,000 you can create a lucrative online business with recurring revenues.

6. Content Strategy

To me, your content strategy is far more important than your marketing strategy. A website with a solid content strategy will be a lot more profitable in the long term than any marketing strategy, because if the content is not taken care of, then you just need to continually put more and more money into marketing.

Write regular targetted content that matches the visitor you want to reach, the services you want to provide them and the manner in which that service is provided.

Your Visitor

Who is he or she? What are their medical conditions? What is their age range? Are they professionals, tradesmen or women? Where do they live? All of this data is what will make up your content and SEO Strategy.

Your Services

Write articles that closely align with the services you want to provide. Each article, when relevant should link to the related service you are providing. Each services page should have information about that service, testimonials from customers who have enjoyed that service, articles related to that service and a way for potential customers to engage in that service.

Service Output

How do people utilize your services? In person or with online tools such as Zoom, Skype or Hangouts? Or maybe you will be selling Online Courses? Your content should closely align with the services you provide and how you plan on delivering them.

Finally, your content should be regular. The biggest mistake people make is having a strategy around when “I have the time” this guarantees a 100% failure rate. Make the time, set time aside each week to write new fresh content, targeted at the very people you want in your business as a customer.

7. SEO Strategy

Your SEO Strategy is pretty much what I have written above for your content strategy. The only exception is that every single post and page should have its marketing description or in SEO terms a snippet. This is usually between 150 and 170 characters and is what appears in Google Search Results. The SEO Snippet must be relevant to the article and also readable. Your web developer should take care of everything else, AMP, SSL, Sitemaps, Verification to Search and Analytics.

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