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    Downsizing: making your website mobile-ready

    Melanie D. Palm M.D. M.B.A.A practice website is an absolute necessity for any thriving dermatology practice, and a well performing website filters significant internet traffic through your office doors.  In fact, web-based referral sources serve second only to word of mouth referrals in my own practice. 

    A dynamic, easy-to-navigate, and informative website used to be the key component of a successful formula to online presence.  However, with the rise of smart phones and handheld mobile devices, a mobile-ready website is as important as the content on the original website platform used for desktop applications.  “Mobile usage is increasing,” states Ginger Hill, a website designer and developer.  “Websites that are faster loading, easy to view and navigate from a mobile or tablet device, and easy for search engines to index will make a significant difference in a website’s performance.  A well-built responsive website will provide you with all of these things.”

    Effective client connection

    According to Nicole Logan, an expert in brand expertise and building, you cannot ignore the use of mobile devices for effective client connections.  “Mobile is on the forefront for marketing and client engagement.  Over 50% of all mobile users use their phone to research prior to purchase or engagement.  This is the first point of connection so it is important to make it a great one.”  Hill adds, “With 69% of tablet users making purchases online, a well-built site will guide them to make a purchase or make contact with you.”

    READ: Attract outstanding staff to your practice

    Therefore it is no longer an option to ignore the need for a mobile-responsive website design.   Not only are consumers using their cell phones or mobile devices to surf the web, contact businesses, and buy products, but Google is changing its analytics on web content to include website responsiveness.  In January, Google sent notifications to webmasters regarding erroneous coding of websites.  Given this posturing by Google, it is very likely if not imminent that site responsiveness will likely factor into ranking algorithms for online content.

    It is routine behavior for prospective patients to first engage with you on their phones or mobile devices.  “If you take a look at your current website and it is not mobile responsive, you are missing your biggest window of opportunity [for online presence],” states Logan.   If a prospective patient has a slow or frustrating experience interacting with your website on their mobile device, it is likely to turn them away from your practice toward your competition.

    READ: Front office signals first impressions

    So how do you determine the most important factors to a well-performing responsive web design and how do you test that it actually works?  Read on.

    NEXT: Google and Googlebots

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    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., M.B.A.
    Melanie D. Palm, M.D., is director of Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, Calif. Visit her at http://www.artofskinmd.com

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