How to get more ROI from your healthcare website design

website return on investment
Quantifying the return on investment for a healthcare redesign project can be difficult. Not everything is measurable back to dollars. These sites have complex functionality needs, including multiple calls to action, and require HIPAA compliance considerations.

Determining what you need requires a delicate balance between time, tasks, and budget. Keep reading to learn which factors you need to consider to ensure your healthcare website redesign project maximizes your return on investment.

1. Calculate for a three-year lifespan

Healthcare website redesign projects tend to run on a three-year cycle. If you invest in ongoing maintenance and updates, you may be able to extend that timeframe by an additional year or two.

As you consider the costs, be sure you’re amortizing the project over at least three years of your marketing budget.

2. Consider your branding and functionality needs

If your budget is limited, you may need to consider ways to save costs, such as using a template design or pre-developed plugins. If you have a competitive market or tough conversion goals, you will need to plan the appropriate budget to invest in custom design and development.

When making these decisions, there may be some middle ground. Overall, remember that what you save in budget upfront might be lost in brand vitality, functionality, or conversions/results later.

Consider a template design to save costs only if ...

  • You don’t have a lot of competition in your space, so there’s less need to stand out visually.
  • You won’t need any specialized tools or functionality.
  • Your information is simple or straight forward.
  • You have one primary call to action.

Allocate more budget for a custom design and functionality if ...

  • You need your organization or practice to be strongly branded to stand out among a field of options.
  • Your specialty requires you to include custom functionality like a portal, user tools, or third-party integrations.
  • You deal with a variety of specialties or conditions and/or complex information.
  • You need patients to self-select into different actions—such as hospital versus clinic, in-patient vs. out-patient, making appointments at different locations, or choosing among providers.

3. Invest in healthcare website research

Many healthcare organizations believe they know their patients inside and out but haven’t ever invested in website research, specifically online planning and strategy.

Persona research connects you to your real patients and almost always yields interesting and surprising findings that—in the long run—help you focus your requirements and priorities for better website marketing results and overall savings.

Making a new healthcare website truly user-focused requires up-front research that is often difficult to add in after the fact (or requires costly rework to implement), so include initial persona research in your budget calculations.

4. Factor in the true costs of content

It may seem that writing your own website content in-house would provide reasonable cost savings. However, for many organizations, the short-term gains are offset by significant losses in time and SEO results.

Be sure you’re balancing real costs when you calculate the ROI on professional content writing services.

The cost of staff time. If you designate staff to write content, consider their hourly rate, and how long it will take to write the website (plan for about twice the time it would take a professional writer) as well as the lost revenue from the employee not performing his or her usual tasks.

The cost of lost traffic. Professional website content writers create copy that not only describes your practice but also brings the right visitors to your site. A well-written, fully optimized site impacts ROI by helping potential patients find you—resulting in more appointments.

The cost of production.  If you put copy together yourself—and even more so if you plan to split the work among authors—build in resources for production work. Professional writing includes formatting and design-driven structuring, whereas DIY copy and using multiple authors take longer to format and fit into web page elements.

5. Think through features and tools

Another typical factor in healthcare website design ROI is the complexity of requirements. Most healthcare websites require a certain number of core features. Spend some time defining what you really need from tools and functionality.

In some cases, simplifying a tool can save time and money, or you can plan to enhance features over time through ongoing improvements if you start with a custom design that supports those add-ons.

A phased approach can help you budget for secondary features and tool enhancements and can also serve to extend your site’s overall lifespan.

6. Consider the future and include maintenance

How you manage your website matters to your ROI over time. Each software solution—whether an open-source CMS or paid customized option—has pros and cons. Think about the big picture to ensure that you make the best decision:

Does your website need to integrate with other software? If your business process requires integration with existing software, be sure the CMS you choose can handle that.

What level of security do you need to provide for your CMS and website hosting? Open-source solutions may save costs upfront but may also present vulnerabilities. To meet your security protocols, your organization may need advanced monitoring or safeguards.

How will you handle maintenance? How long will your staff need to learn a new system? What software does your IT team already know? How will the new site fit into existing update schedules?
Pro tip: Healthcare website design projects come with unique variables and considerations. The best way to balance time, costs, and ROI for your new site is to ask a trusted partner where you may be missing opportunities for savings and where you can safely cut back without incurring long-term consequences to your overall strategy.
Not sure where to start? Over the years, our team has built up a significant knowledge base in healthcare website design. We create unique solutions that deliver better ROI by reaching the right people with the right message.
How we can help you get more from your marketing? Let’s talk
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Catherine

About the author | Catherine Gillespie

Catherine is a content strategist and marketing copywriter with experience across a wide variety of industries and platforms. In addition to creative SEO website content, Catherine creates strategic content audits, corporate communications, and print and digital marketing materials of all kinds.

View more posts by Catherine

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