As a medical website owner, it is important to understand that technology is ever-changing and evolving. Keeping up with these changes, both advances and trends, is vital to remaining relevant in the medical world.
One such change is they way internet users access information online. While it wasn’t that long ago that the majority of users were accessing information online through a desktop or laptop computer, that has changed in recent years. More and more users, including healthcare consumers, are accessing the internet through their smartphone or tablet. Because of this, it is important that your physician practice website is mobile-friendly.
Why Mobile Friendly?
Research based on data concerning cell phone owners in the years 2010 to 2013, Statista has estimated that approximately 196 million Americans will own smartphones by the end of the year 2016.
According to Pew Research Center, roughly 75% of Americans currently own smartphones. Additionally, 10% of smartphone owners rely solely on their smartphone to access the internet. In fact, 29% of smartphone owners agreed that their phone was “something they can’t imagine living without.” says another study by Pew Research Center. This segment of smartphone users are dependent on their phones and they are using them to access a myriad of information and services online including looking up information on a health condition.
Let’s be clear, as the popularity of smartphones rockets, tablets are not being left behind. In the year 2014, 42% of Americans owned a tablet, according to Pew Research Center. Tablet ownership is expected to exceed 1 billion by the end of 2015, explains Emarketer
In addition, the growing number of smartphone and tablet users, there is another important reason for having a mobile friendly website for your medical practice. Google has recently updated the algorithms for their search engines, they now prioritize websites who are mobile friendly when mobile searches are conducted.
The Mobile Friendly Test
Checking the mobile usability of your website is as simple as performing the mobile friendly test provided by Google. Website owners will need to copy the main URL of their site and paste into the mobile friendly test to find out how their site stacks up.
If you pass, great! If not, Google will provide you with a list of things about your website which need to be change in order to become more mobile friendly.
Some of the big offenders keeping your site from being considered mobile friendly include:
- small text
- content that doesn’t auto-format to the size of the mobile screen
- hyperlinks that are too close together.
In addition to pointing out a website’s flaws, Google also provides tips and tutorials for remedying these problems and creating a more mobile friendly website.
The point of saying all of this is simple: If you medical practice website is not mobile friendly, you are missing out on a large and quickly growing segment of the market. In order to stay relevant to all internet users, website owners have to take the necessary to steps to guarantee their website are formatted for mobile (and tablet) access.