1. Keep it simple and classy.  We’re not selling t-shirts or candy bars.  We’re selling a professional service.  Limit the number of call-outs and don’t put “Call Now” or overuse the 800 number.  Particularly for specialists, what would your referring physicians think about you if they looked at the site?  Minimize flash…especially if the user is forced to watch it before moving on.  And, don’t include music.  People often surf the web while at work and don’t like to get busted.  It can also be a distraction.
  2. Use the FAQ section to alleviate calls.  Let your staff create the frequently asked questions from their common questions that they get from patients and families.  People are used to going to websites for answers these days, and if can even cut out two phone calls a day, it’s been worth the staff’s time.
  3. Include directions.  And, not just the ones from Mapquest.  Tell patients where the office is in detail, particularly if in an MOB.  For example: Our office is located in Professional Building II on the 2nd floor to the left of the elevators.  Also, tell them where to park.  For example: The closest parking to our office is in the West Parking Garage attached to the hospital.  Include a campus map.
  4. Provide forms.  Let patients fill their forms out in the comfort of their own home, rather than arriving 20 minutes early to do it.  They are likely to fill them out in more detail this way and perceive it as a convenience.  It shows that the practice values their time.
  5. Tell a story.  This is your chance to tell patients everything you wished you had time to tell them, but never do.  Talk about the doctors and the staff.  Why are they unique?  What are the philosophies in the practice?  After visiting the site, potential patients should have  a feel for the culture of the practice.