Your Functional Medicine Practitioner website needs a certain set of tools and systems in place to get optimal results. These are not revolutionary ideas; they are all just common sense tools and methods.
From SEO to content and photography and beyond. Master these simple tools and methods, and you will be successful. It may take an investment in time, but you will be so much better off for it. So let’s dive in!
1. Content and Photography for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
The first on my list is content and photography. Let’s start with content; there are two things you have to think about here. One, what you want your user to see when they first visit your website and two, what your experience tells you about what your audience will want when they come to your website.
You have to juggle both carefully. Stay away from distracting your audience with flashy animations, definitely – do not autoplay videos and music and keep it simple and clean. Users like a little space, so don’t think you have to cram everything into the home page.
The way I like to think about the initial page visit – is how you would lay out a physical store? How would you like to be greeted? So, have a nice short welcome message, perhaps even a welcome video, some feature items to attract the eye and a list of services that link off to more information.
Always make sure you have content that updates regularly (automatically such as new blog items etc) for Google’s little bots.
For photography, resist the urge to use any tacky stock images, in fact, stock images are not very good for SEO, Google knows algorithmically every image on the public web that is a duplicate so that stock image is probably not original – try to create unique imagery.
Try to not purchase images, use images from free stock image sites like www.pexels.com to give it a bit of natural flair. If possible, organize a photo shoot through a service like Thumbtack (4 hours of work for about $500) and get photos taken in and around your office, your staff, outside the office, down the park, at a local farmers market, gorgeous cafes, art districts, etc. Get all photos in landscape mode, in fact, make sure you tell your photographer this, landscape images can easily be cropped into portrait styles, but not the other way around.
Try to get all photos in landscape mode, in fact, make sure you tell your photographer this, landscape images can easily be cropped into portrait styles, but not the other way around.
If you setup your contract correctly with a service from a thumbtack photographer, you will own all photos and have a catalog of 3-400 ready to roll on your website. Here is an article I wrote on Photography for the 21st Century and another for Functional Medicine Practitioner Photography.
2. SEO for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
SEO is not rocket science. SEO companies probably know most of their target audience (i.e., you) do not understand SEO, so you are an easy target for the bulldust (nonsense) that always spews from the mouths of so called experts. If you are spending money on SEO and not creating content on a regular basis, then you are just throwing money away, period!
If you are spending money on SEO and not creating content on a regular basis, then you are just throwing money away, period! It is about unique targetted regular content. If anyone tries to tell you anything different, run away!
Here is the SEO secret that works every time – if you have the right tools (all are free) enabled on your website and you create unique, targetted, consistent content – you will succeed.
Try to create one correctly formatted article for your audience, once per week for a year, if you do this – you will increase your sites visitors rates astronomically over this time.
If you monitor each article to see what your audience likes through Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools you will notice something amazing; your audience will grow and become more engaged.
3. Blogging/Vlogging for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
Every single day you will get a question from someone about what you do, a friend, a patient, a team member. Think about that, if another person asks that same question, just think about how many other millions of people in the world have that same question.
Think about that, if just one other person asks that same question, think about how many other millions of people in the world have that same question.
You always should have a notepad (or note taking software) to write/note these down; these will form many of your blogs, vlogs over the years and they are good for search engines and your practice.
People, Places, Organizations, Conditions, Treatments should make up the content of nearly every blog post.
What to write about? Write about what you do (treatments), who you do it for (conditions, places), where they are from (locations) and so on. You will be surprised how many people do natural searches for pretty much any condition before they interact with a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Here is a little starter example:
“I recently sat down with a ‘Sally’ a mother of four from Miami Beach, FL; she came to me to discuss her treatment options for her Type 2 Diabetes …”
Vlogs: Over the next few months I will be doing a series of Vlogs (Video Blogs) for Functional Medicine Practitioners. In these, I will discuss how to make sure you have the correct setup, how to edit, publish, share, how to create a transcript and how and when to publish.
For now, there are a few simple secrets to Vlogging correctly. If your shoot location (office) has natural light, then even a good mobile phone (Android Pixel, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S7/8) paired with a Rode Video Mic Me (gets rid of background noise) will do.
If your location does not have good natural light, then you will need to spend more on a camera that shoots good videos in those conditions and possibly pair it with some led lights.
Here are the steps to making a great video.
- Make sure you have an area with good natural light
- Make sure the area is a quiet space (no background noise, cars, air conditioners, etc.)
- Shoot the Video (try to keep each one as short as possible)
- Edit the Video (the better you get, the less editing is needed)
- Create a Transcript of the video (services for this are relatively cheap)
Creating a transcript allows you to create a WordPress News Post for your Functional Med cine Practice that will give you great SEO, it will also be used to provide captions for your YouTube Videos and for posting to multiple Social media sites.
4. SSL Security / HIPAA Compliance for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
Yes, you need complete SSL security on your website. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. Google Search now punishes you if you don’t have it. Today, if your website is not secure, Google through its Chrome browser lets the user know it is insecure. From 2018 this will go from a grayed out warning to a red warning, and that will scare away visitors.
For HIPAA Compliance you need to have a section in your terms and conditions detailing how you are HIPAA compliant, but you also need SSL, particularly for forms, shops, etc on your website.
I also have an SSL HIPAA article that explains all you need to know about how to get your website SSL and HIPAA compliant.
5. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
AMP is another initiative from Google and also now supported by some of the webs biggest players such as Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest and more.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Simply put, Google will store all of your articles in its AMP format (if you set it up correctly) and serve them up on any modern mobile device for viewing. You still get all the traffic and SEO benefits.
The greatest advantage of AMP (from an SEO perspective) is that it gives you Google News visibility on their news carousel and Google are always building out more ways this will benefit you.
AMP pages load with incredible speed, just try it out in Google search on your mobile for news and see how quickly pages load and images render.
I have written an AMP article to get your Functional Medicine WordPress Website running with AMP.
6. Gravatars for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
It might be only a little thing, but having an image next to any comment you make, or news article you have posted just looks so much more professional.
Gravatar.com handles all of this for you. You just sign up to Gravatar with an email address and authenticate (via email) that address and add images to associate with that address. Could not be easier.
If you look below this article on my site, you will see a picture of me with a short blurb. This is fed directly from gravatar.com, I can also change the image anytime, and it will be updated everywhere.
Just make sure when you upload an image you make it ‘G’ rated, then assign it to any email address you have authenticated with gravatar.com, and you are good to go. It is all done in one place.
You can add multiple email addresses (and long as you have access to authenticate each one. And once authenticated you can assign any image you like to any address you like. So, multiple emails, multiple images all assigned, as you see fit.
7. Google Business for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
One of the most overlooked features of your business is your business profile on Google Search. This is now called Google My Business.
This is one of the most important marketing tools for your business, especially on mobile and if you offer a service or product – sought after in your local area.
Try searching your business name and location on Google Search, if the information about your business to the right of the search results appears – you are already on Google My Business. Then you can log in and control this from your Google Account. There are new features added every few months, so you should always keep it up to date.
If you are not listed, you can easily create a listing for your business, even, if you work from home, as it doesn’t matter where you work from, why?
Because you can set your business to serve customers at their location, meaning your listing will appear on Google Maps, but not at your actual address and your actual address will not be displayed.
You can create a listing or manage a listing with any Google Account email (Gmail). You can add logos, images, staff, team products and also promotions.
I created an article for this also.
8. Google Analytics for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
Google Analytics lets you measure your visitor numbers, advertising ROI as well as track your video and social networking sites all from the one web system.
Understanding your traffic, creating goals, tracking information such as demographics, audience, behavior and more through this one system helps you understand your audience better.
9. Google Search Console for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
Your website’s content is the most important thing you have for SEO. However understanding natural keywords use – is the gravy that allows you to tailor your content to the audience you wish to attract.
Keyword research is where Google Search Console reigns supreme. Having an understanding of what are the most common terms used for your industry is of the utmost importance when constructing your content – not only for blogs but also pages.
The greatest tool available through Google Search Console gives you the ability to find that data. What words or phrases that people searched for? How your page will show up in the search results? And also how many people clicked on those results to visit your website.
Registering your sites onto Google Search Console is also the only way to guarantee that the Google Search Bot visits your website.
You can also check a variety of errors both for all your regular pages and also AMP pages. So, in short, get registered and watch some videos on YouTube.
10. Newsletters PopUps and Opt Ins for the Functional Medicine Practitioner
If you are generating content on a regular basis, and your audience is growing, it is time to get a newsletter. You can use programs such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or even Infusionsoft to create newsletters.
Most of my Functional Medicine Practitioner websites use a program called Pop Up Ally Pro – A Premium WordPress plugin that lets you connect directly from your Email Newsletter program like MailChimp into its WordPress plugin and create any number of Pop Ups or Opt Ins.
There is also a free version on WordPress.org, but if you are serious, I would get the pro version.
This will allow you to create nonintrusive timed pops ups and opt-ins styled beautifully for your website and mobile devices. It takes a little work, but it is well worth the investment in time.
Users sign up through one of these (pop ups, opt ins) on your site and automatically get added to a list of your choosing from your newsletter software.
A good way to build your list is to create something of value to give away for free to anyone who subscribes – but change this up frequently.
Your newsletter should be regular (daily or once per week, fortnight, month) so your audience knows it is coming, and it also should carry any of your latest news and events, your services, specials – pretty much anything you think to be of value.