Creating a unique brand is an important aspect of healthcare marketing. While you never want to copy what someone else is doing, you do want to learn what works. Perusing industry websites and blogs helps to identify what you do and don’t like, and inspires ideas you can implement on your own site – in your own way.
Keeping that in mind, take a look at the most popular health websites in December of 2013 and begin brainstorming ways your site could be optimized.
1) WebMD. Do a search for virtually any medical term and a WebMD result will show up in the Top 5 results, if not the Top 3. Why? Because they have an established reputation for being accurate and reliable.
2) NIH. This site is run by the National Institute of Health. Sure, it’s a government site, which lends it a credible edge. It is also an example of how a professional tone can win readers over, especially when pertaining to the health and well-being of the ones they love.
3) Yahoo!Health. This page has an obvious edge since it is hosted by Yahoo!, one of the leading multinational web portals. However, they also offer just the right balance of leading health-related new stories, combined with factual information and advice.
4) Mayo Clinic. There are certain names – read: brands – we instantly think of as “medical experts”. Mayo Clinic is one of them. On their site, you can find the definitions to complex medical terminology, make a general self-diagnosis, or read up on the latest medical research and trials.
5) Medicine.net. Similar to WebMD, this site is aimed at the everyday search engine user, looking for information regarding health, diet, and medial conditions. Medicine.net’s first goal is to provide easy-to-read information. It should be noted that sites like this one are going to aiming for an 8th-grade reading level so they don’t scare off those who have an innate aversion to scientific and medical terminology.
6) Drugs.com. Here we see our first example of a site primarily dedicated to educating us about pharmaceuticals and their risks/benefits. An added bonus: you can begin chatting online with a bona fide doctor for more specific information.
7) Healthgrades.com. In the halfway position, we see our first review/referral-oriented website. Make sure you have a profile listed here and let it be a part of your brand development as satisfied patients and clients post reviews.
8) Mercola. Founded by Dr. Mercola, this site is dedicated to making healthcare simple and cost-effective. This may be the only site on the list where the homepage showcases “How a virus invades your body!” alongside, “…urban farming provides new opportunities…”
9, & 10) Everyday Health and Health.com. These are both Magazine-style sites that have well-rounded information about lifestyle choices and healthy living. They are both very user-friendly and have less of the clinical feel you get from some of the other sites.
11) Health Central. This is one of the most interesting of all 15 sites. It is very “you” oriented and rather than have information come at you, Health Central is interested in sharing stories from real subscribers and members, with the ideas that a community can learn from and support one another. They’re motto: Everybody has a Story to Tell. What’s Yours?
12) Medical News Today. This is like the CNN of health news. Click on their homepage and you can instantly see the leading headlines for articles pertaining to current health issues. It is healthcare marketing with information at the forefront.
13) MedHelp. This site was started in 1994 and was one of the pioneers of community-oriented healthcare marketing. They strive to create forums and communities for those with similar experiences, in addition to connecting them with medical professionals.
14) RxList. While the primary goal is to educate the public about specific pharmaceuticals, you’ll note the homepage is rife with interesting (often unsettling) pictures and health-related articles to grab your attention.
15) Healthline.com. As the name indicates, this site is set up as the search version of a telephone hotline. They want to be your #1 source for healthcare help and advice. The boldest text on the homepage asks, “How can we help you today?”, including a large search box and subheadings with specific searches pertaining to symptoms, treatment, drugs, and even pill identifiers!
In addition to reviewing the content and CTAs, take a good look at the balance of white space and text, color combinations, and how the pictures and graphics work to create a certain feel or emotion for each site. Looks matter in healthcare marketing, so the easier your site is on the eyes – and the simpler it is to navigate – the more inclined patients, clients, and the general public will be to use it.