The rehabilitation market is a huge one in America. In fact, it is currently worth $35 billion!
But it's also extremely competitive. At the moment there are more than 14,000 rehabilitation facilities across the country. So how do you ensure that people choose yours?
Well, having user-friendly, effective website design really helps. This makes you more attractive to new clients and makes it easier for your existing clients to navigate it. It's a win-win for everyone!
And what's the secret to effective web design? Read on to find out!
Why Does Effective Website Design Matter?
We do everything online these days. So for anyone looking for a rehabilitation center your website will probably be the first thing they see. It's important that the design doesn't put them off.
Your website works in three ways:
It creates a first impression on prospective clients.
It promotes your brand.
It lets clients access your services.
And any successful web design should promote these three things. This is a surefire way to ensure you can reel in and keep clients.
Let's talk about that first impression. People might find your rehab center on google, visit it to get contact details or visit it through a social media page. Before they learn anything about the services you offer they will see your site.
The average web user spends between ten and twenty seconds on a webpage. That's not a lot of time to make a first impression. And if you make a bad first impression they'll click off and never come back.
Those who do stay for longer will hopefully be interested in your brand. But to understand this your branding needs to be clear.
Without a direct line to your services and clear brand, people will click away. We turn to the web for answers and your website should give these in a clear and concise way.
Finally, it needs to be accessible. The more people can interact with your website, the more hits you'll get. This will boost your footfall and your client list.
This should all sound very appealing to anyone running a rehab center. So, what website design tips can we give you to make sure your users feel confident come back time and time again?
Effective Design Feels Cohesive
Creating cohesion on your website is all about promoting your brand. If you communicate this well then your users will find it easier to connect with what you do.
There are some great visual ways to do this.
Make sure you opt for the same font and typography throughout your website. This means as people click through they won't feel distracted by changing font sizes or titles. It's something most of us take for granted when flicking through a website so don't miss out this fundamental.
Similarly, stick with a color theme throughout your website. This will make it feel like the site works as a whole.
If you have a particularly complicated website, you might want to use different colors for different areas. For example, counseling services might be blue, while live-in programs could be yellow.
And don't forget to have your company logo on every page. This ensures people know whose site they're on. Subliminally it will help people to remember the name of your rehab center in the future.
A great way to create cohesion across your marketing is by using a one-page marketing plan. This will help you gather your thoughts and execute them effectively.
Simplicity is Key
Simplicity will also make creating a cohesive website easier. And simplicity stops your website from being too overwhelming for your clients.
An important place for simplicity is on the home page. Rather than bombarding visitors with a wealth of information pick out the headlines. These should present your company ethos and available services.
You don't have to simply state them. Having a link to a relevant blog post available on your home page can also show what you're all about.
Just because your website looks simple, doesn't mean it is simple. A lot of successful websites employ tactics to make their wealth of information appear manageable.
For example, if you want to present information on your home page you might want to use a click-through gallery. This lets you present a few key pieces of information or ideas but displays one at a time.
The user can click through to the left or right to the next one. Or you can have them rotate automatically. That way you maximize on space without overcrowding your homepage.
Finding Your Way Around
Anyone who gives you website design advice will tell you that easy navigation is key to success. After all, if someone can't use your website they probably won't use your services either.
Make sure you have clearly marked menus on your website. You should organize these into understandable categories.
For example, an 'About Us' section could include sub-categories like 'Who We Are' and 'What We Do'. Or 'Family Counseling' should be on a different page to 'One-on-One Counseling'. This means people will know exactly where to go when looking for specific information.
Put navigation buttons in obvious places, like at the top or bottom of a page. This will make it easy to track forwards and backward through your website.
Finally, think about adding in a permanent bottom menu which features links to popular pages. A lot of websites use these so anyone familiar with them will know where to look.
Popular pages to include on these are 'About Us' and 'Contact'. Some people prefer these shortcuts so it's good to have them available. It also means if someone scrolls to the bottom of a page, they can immediately click to contact you for more information.
Make It Interactive
The more interactive your website is, the more personal it will feel. And this is especially important for anyone who is looking into joining a rehab program.
Increasing your website's content make it more interactive. But you should make sure that this is always high quality and relevant to your services. Ideas for interactive content for your site could include:
Relevant blog posts
Quizzes or games
Information sheets and resources (for example statistic information)
Making the content shareable so they can promote it on their social media or share it via email links
Obviously, it's also important to keep your content on brand. So if you opt for a seriously professional site you might not want to include a crossword. This could be a bit confusing for your clients!
But these aren't the only way for your clients to interact with you.
Providing links to any of your social media pages increases your presence in their life. This is a vital way of promoting your services in a subtle yet effective way. Including social media links on your website can also boost your website's organic traffic, but more on this later.
Perhaps the best way to interact with potential clients is by giving them a way to communicate directly with you. Virtual chatbots or email question boxes are a great way to offer an opportunity to ask questions quickly and confidentially. And opening a dialogue starts a relationship with users, which could last for a long time.
Keep It Lively
People flick through hundreds of websites each week. Keep yours interesting so that it stands out in their mind.
The more interactive your website, the livelier it will feel. This is because it will make people feel they aren't just exploring information on a screen. It will allow them to engage with and invest in your brand.
But this isn't the only way to keep your website looking lively.
Using images, video or even audio can be a great way of communicating information other than writing it down. If you're creating a statistic resource, consider using an infographic rather than a list.
Provided you have permission, you can also embed relevant videos on your site. These are much easier to take in than a wall of text.
But if you do want to communicate via the written word, think carefully about your formatting. Big blocks of text are unappealing to potential readers, so think about breaking them up with dynamic images.
Or if you really want to push the boat out create a flip-through magazine for your website's articles. This is sure to entice any users.
Boost Your Footfall
Some people will find your website through a Google search, others might hear about it from a friend. But these website design tips can help boost the number of people who discover your website.
A key marketing strategy for a successful website is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. This focuses on making your website more discoverable on the internet. There are several ways to boost your SEO.
Using relevant keywords throughout your website is a good way of doing this. For example, let's say someone Googles 'group counseling rehabilitation'. If you use these words in this order on your site they're more likely to find you.
But a lot of websites use this trick so just using keywords won't work on its own.
Increasing blog content on your site increases the number of ways people can discover your site. For example, if you have a blog entitled 'Tips for People Coming Out of Rehab', then anyone who googles this will find your blog. And through your blog, they'll also find your site.
Using links within your blog also creates a chain of webpages. This means people can navigate their way to you without Google.
In addition to this, the more shareable content you have on your site, the more likely people are to find you. If someone shares a video from your website, then anyone who clicks on that video to watch it will come to your site.
And we shouldn't need to explain the obvious benefits of increasing footfall to your site! The more people who visit your site, the more likely you are to increase your client list.
This should be a given for anyone designing a website.
Basic errors in content and copy will show up immediately to users. They can make your site look careless and unprofessional. No one's going to put their important rehabilitation in the hands of someone who can't spell 'necessary' correctly!
So check your work and check it again. Use spelling and grammar apps as a second pair of eyes but don't rely on them. Or get a fresh set of eyes in if you've been staring at your screen for a long time.
You should also read your website copy aloud to ensure it makes sense. This isn't just about grammar, the flow of the writing is also important. Anything that feels clunky or overly complicated will put readers off immediately.
And when it comes to website design, the copy isn't the only thing that needs checking. You should also test all of your website's links to ensure they lead where they should. Dead-end or dud links will leave your users feeling frustrated and confused.
If you have any content embedded in your website, check it regularly to ensure that it is still working. An out-of-date website looks unprofessional and disorganized so make keeping an eye on it a priority in your diary.
The Bottom Line
Effective website design can make a world of difference when it comes to bringing in clients for your rehab center. They're a place to communicate, educate and build relationships.
So invest time in getting your website up to scratch. And for more information on the most important things to include in your site, check out our blog.