This is the fourth of a series of six articles written for Private Practice Hub by Phil Hulme of WebHealer the specialist provider of websites to professional therapists. The series started in July with an overview of AIDAN, WebHealer’s approach to helping their customers grow their therapy practice and this article goes deeper into step three – Dwell Time.
Getting past 30 seconds
Imagine you run a high street shop and are contemplating a visitor who, at first, glanced in the window then peered through the door and is now inside your shop, looking around and sizing things up. Each step forward increased your chances of a sale and you know that the longer they stay (or dwell) the more chance you have of a “purchase decision”.
So it is with websites, a study by Microsoft Research analysed thousands of web page visits and found that most people leave a website within 10-20 seconds. In fact most of those left within the first few seconds and our last article talked about reasons why that might happen. However if they stay for more than 30 seconds they may stay a good while – in other words the visitor is engaged and interested. So how can we persuade our visitor to stay?
Design is of course key but don’t confuse design with graphics and visual novelty. Design should facilitate communication rather than draw attention to itself. A British study of online health websites looked at the factors which influenced trust amongst test participants. They analysed those factors which led to initial rejection as well as the factors which were conducive to more in depth reading. 94% were design related and they included complex or busy layout, pop-up adverts, small print and poor navigation. Our full ebook available from www.WebHealer.net explains these in more detail.
Once these initial barriers are overcome, important factors do become more about content and WebHealer have devised what we call the Zenn Diagram to summarise the key principles.
- Quality Content is well written content which reassures and provides the information your visitor seeks. It must be informative, in plain English and easy to read and should convey trust
- Design to Communicate by using layout and navigation which facilitates reading and communication. Text size should be comfortable for the device in use and images and text should support each other without bells or whistles that might get in the way
- Distinctive Voice is the use of language and personal wording that expresses your individuality and values
To help establish your distinctive voice WebHealer would advocate writing in the first and second person rather than the third person. This will help you express your individuality. On a more subtle level, watch for the tone of voice you use. Be careful not to patronise or come across too aloof, but equally you need to be true to your personality, whether that is more formal or casual, flowing or structured, warm or clinical. The same information can be expressed in a variety of ways and create a very different tone or feeling for your visitor. As American author Maya Angelou once said
WebHealer is a specialist provider of websites to private practice therapists and is preferred supplier to members of leading therapy associations.