It is no secret that having a mobile friendly fight is of high priority to any physical therapy clinic. Statistics show that approximately one third of all patients are using mobile devices on a daily basis for healthcare research and to book appointments. In addition to this, with the roll out of Google's new mobile search algorithms it has never been more important to ensure that your clinic is catering to online browsers and not just those using a desktop.
When it comes to creating a mobile friendly website the two most common options that you can choose from are a responsive design or a separate mobile site, but what is the difference?
A mobile website is a completely separate version of your usual desktop website. It is designed for mobile devices and will usually only have a minimum amount of pages including important information such as a company bio, price list, directions to your clinic, a summary of services offered and a click to call button.
A responsive website is a single website that is designed to adapt to whatever device the browser is using. Essentially, a responsive site is going to display and function properly on a desktop, a tablet or a mobile phone. All of the content including the fonts, the images and the layout are automatically resized and/or rearranged in order to display appropriately no matter what device the website is being viewed on.
One of the major advantages of choosing a responsive design to address the need for a mobile friendly site is that it is going to allow your clinic to have one website which will automatically respond to fit whatever size of screen that it is being viewed on. This makes it easy to administrate and market since everything is just one site. However, there are also some pretty big cons to consider. A responsive design may be easier for you to manage, but it is not always the easiest option for your customers.
Since the experience of browsing on a mobile device is much different from using a desktop, when you choose to use a responsive design it can end up having a negative impact on the user experience for one or both type of visitor. It is necessary to come up with a site which will satisfy both groups of users – something that is extremely difficult to achieve. Responsive websites are still relatively new technology so there is also a strong possibility that some of your patients who have an older device or an outdated browser could have difficulty in loading your site properly.
Separate mobile sites are specifically designed with the limitations of a mobile phone screen in mind. These sites allow content to be easy to access and fast loading and they can make use of some unique opportunities such as a click to call button. Around 70% of mobile searches result in action within one hour, so being able to include a click to call button that allows the user to instantly call for an appointment while viewing your site is a fantastic tool to have at your disposal. There are 3 main advantages that can be associated with choosing a mobile site over a responsive site and these are a better user experience, reduced costs and local search benefits.
In terms of the user experience, because the site has been designed with mobile users in mind it is fully optimized for this type of user and will offer an interface that is easy to use. You can focus only on mobile users allowing you to make a site that meets all of the platforms needs and works with the opportunities and limitations that mobile browsing brings with it. Cost is also a huge factor for most physical therapy clinics. The cost of creating and maintaining a mobile site is very reasonable and since most physical therapists are small business owners or sole traders this can be a very important factor.
Of course, mobile sites are not without their disadvantages. Since it resides on a separate site, your mobile site is going to have a slightly different url and visitors will need to wait a few seconds to be re-directed when browsing using a mobile device. This also means that there are two websites to maintain and two websites requiring SEO work. However, these are not particular deal breakers.
Here at PatientSites, we run all of our site on a separate mobile site natively because the user experience is really simple and because it is very cost effective. Most clinics choose this route but the decision comes down to what works best for your business and we are able to offer responsive sites to clinics that need them. As small business owners, physiotherapists can benefit from the lower costs involved with producing a separate mobile friendly site to work alongside an existing desktop site. A mobile site also offers a great user experience for mobile browsers and will allow your clinic to benefit from local search results.
PatientSites offers automatic mobile formatting as one of our standard features. Why not get in touch today and discuss your options?
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