The Starter Kit for Pharmacy Website Design
Starting a pharmacy or buying an existing one is a mountain of a decision all on its own. Once you have made the decision one of the pieces to the puzzle you will have to solve is your pharmacy website. Thinking about your pharmacy’s website design can be a task that is easier said than done. We give you our annual starter kit that hopefully makes this task a little easier.
Where do you get a website?
One of the first pieces you will think about is your domain name. This would be www.johndoespharmacy.com. Choosing this is fairly easy; something close to your business name will work. You can use godaddy.com to see if your domain name is available and they will give you some other options if it is not. Also, if using a service or another company, whoever you chose should be able to get the domain name setup for you.
Pharmacies have more options than one would think when it comes to choosing the right path for getting this job done. Here some options:
- Do it yourself. If you are savvy in WordPress or another web design platform and have the time to work on designing your website, then this option might be for you. There are also templates you can purchase from website building companies that may suit your needs as well. However, it could be resource intensive if you need to update or try to integrate it into patient portals or online refills.
- Your pharmacy system. Most pharmacy systems offer website templates to choose from. Usually, choosing a pharmacy system is one of the first decisions to make from the start – this option is usually discussed with you during the buying process. This a great option when short on time, resources, or you don’t require a great amount of control of every detail on the site. These templates usually come with built in online refills or patient portals. If you need a completely custom site or you can’t find a template that compliments your branding, you may have to look elsewhere.
- Web design firms. These are usually “art houses” and building web sites is a huge part of what they do. Pharmacy owners will sometimes go this route because this is the same company that took care of their branding, i.e. logo creation, stationary assets, etc. The design firm may have templates to choose from that make the process quicker and more cost effective. A full custom site will be created if requested. Integrating the website into your online refills or patient portal could require some extra resources, and might make this a more costly option.
- Franchise. If you are buying into a franchise, then your needs will be mostly covered.
However, the franchise might have certain restrictions concerning the integration of online refills or a patient portal depending on the branding. Our experience here is most of these site options are very generic, but some smaller, growing franchises may have modern designs.
Choosing Your Audience
Taking the time to think about your audience is important. This aspect drives the direction of the entire website. You may be a new startup retail pharmacy that wants to create traffic coming into the store via the web, or you may be an established retail/LTC combo that would rather choose to educate current customers on services and drive them to your patient portal. Knowing your audience helps determine your call-to-actions on your website. In simple terms, doing this work helps you determine who you want and what you want them to do.
Last year, Google stated that online searches occur more often on a mobile device than on a desktop. Having a responsive website is ideal. By responsive, we mean your pharmacy website looks good on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Without getting too technical, there are a few different categories of mobile designs. First is responsive, said to be Google’s search engine mode of choice. This configuration uses grids and CSS rules to deliver the same HTML and URL in a fluid environment that still delivers different user experiences as the screen grows or shrinks. Second is adaptive, also referred to as dynamic serving. Basically, the web server stores multiple HTML versions and delivers the appropriate version based on the device with the same URL. The last is building a separate mobile site. You see this when you are on your smartphone and the URL is m.domain.com. When recognizing that the device is a mobile device, the site pushes the user to the mobile site. Imagine a customer in line at a big box chain getting frustrated and they google the closest pharmacy nearby on their smartphone. Your pharmacy pops up and they click on your website. In this scenario you will want your website to look well done and be user friendly on a mobile device.
About Us Page
You will have multiple pages on your website and having an “About Us” page is important to patients. Patients and people in general want to know who is filling their medications or handling their care. Most of us now want to know what a company is about (history, vision, people, etc) before we are willing to give them our money or our trust. Having a great “About Us” page that gets the point of your business across and lets them know who is charged with providing that experience helps turn visitors into customers. Businesses and bloggers alike see success with building “About Us” pages incorporated with simple call to action buttons.
Ease of Use
Keep it simple. Your grandmother, aunt, uncle, brother, or sister should be able to navigate the website with ease. Also, remember your audience here. If you want to drive prescription transfers to your store, you should provide simple call to actions that show your visitor where to go or what to do in order to transfer their prescription. If you want current customers to use your patient portal or download your pharmacy app, ensure the actions are clear. Lastly, show it to others and get honest feedback. If your test subjects can’t figure out what it is you want them to do or where to go, chances are you need to go back to the drawing board.
We hope our starter kit points you in the right direction for getting your new pharmacy website up and running. Feel free to contact us below with any questions or follow us on our social links below.