Is Your Medical Practice Website Mobile Friendly?

At RealSelf we’re witnessing a dramatic increase in usage of mobile devices consumers use to research plastic surgery, dermatology, cosmetic dentistry, and other medical-beauty topics. In the last quarter of 2010, 1 in 5 visits to RealSelf.com were via a mobile device such as an iphone or tablet computer. The chart here shows the meteoric rise in mobile visitors from January 2010.

mobile users visits is now greater than 20 percent on RealSelf.com

The Dramatic Rise in Mobile Visitors to RealSelf.com

MarketingVox recently reported that this trend speaks to a health consumers desire for privacy; the growth is not solely due to the greater usage of mobile devices.

People seeking out sensitive health care related information are more likely to do it from their mobile devices—perhaps because they more sensitive about tracking and privacy issues. This trend was identified by Healthline mobile search, a consumer health search engine.

Doctor Takeaways:

1. Your web vendor should already be granting you access to your Google Analytics

Don’t have this? It’s free and there’s no excuse for not being able to see your website performance. Shop for a new vendor if they push back.

2. Lookup your mobile traffic

On Google Analytics there is a category for “Audience”.  Open this category to get to a link to Mobile Overview or Devices.  Google describes these reports as:

The Overview report provides a breakdown of visitors by whether or not they visit using mobile devices. The Mobile Devices report lets you see visitor statistics by mobile device, brand, service provider, input selector (e.g., touchscreen, joystick, stylus), operating system, and other dimensions like screen resolution (all on theExplorer tab), and by the locations from which visits originate (the Map Overlay tab).

 3. If mobile is greater than 20%, you need to start planning for a mobile-friendly version 

Most websites were never designed  to accommodate both mobile and computer traffic. Not only are sites difficult to navigate when not designed for mobile, they can lack key functionality. For instance, can a mobile prospective patient successfully submit a contact form via your website?  Have a fancy flash slide show on your homepage? Few devices can render flash and your website suddenly looks unprofessional.

4. Invest in mobile version of your website, not an App

It’s tempting to think that the best response to accomodate the mobile consumer is to build an App, such as an App for the iphone or Android. This won’t do anything for the consumer who finds you via browsing the web from their device. It’s hard to see how a doctor can get a positive ROI from building and maintaining an app, but that’s a subject for a future post. The mobile traffic reports you see in Google Analytics are for people already reaching your website via a device.

Keith Humes, CEO of Rosemont Media, a ad agency that builds and manages practice websites, explains “When thinking about entering the mobile arena, an optimized mobile version of your website is the only way to go. There are pitfalls and hang ups associated with other options such as mobile apps or m. versions, including limited use of your full site and the potential for duplicate content. With an optimized mobile version, visitors have seamless, streamlined access to your entire site.”

About TomS

Tom Seery is the founder and CEO of RealSelf. Tom is a frequent speaker at medical conferences about practice marketing, reputation management, and competing on the web. You can follow him at www.twitter.com/seery

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