Promoting health and wellness online is a greater challenge than many people may imagine, or most web designers may believe.
While there are tens of millions of Google Search results for this or that condition, or news items about a particular regimen of diet and exercise, this information will not—and does not—make a lasting impression on the men and women most in need of help and counseling.
It fails to resonate because when a site is as appetizing to an eater of meat and potatoes as a plate of raw spinach or kale—when (if you will please pardon the mixed metaphors) a site seems like a parental demand to eat your vegetables and take your vitamins—that site will not advance the message readers of WholeFoods Magazine would otherwise support, and likeminded fans of this site would endorse.
Thus, the point is very straightforward: When creating a site dedicated to educating the public about the personal rewards of improved health, as well as the financial dividends (lower health insurance costs and less frequent medical appointments) associated with wholesome living, the emphasis should be on consumers.
My research confirms this assertion because, through my own process of discovery and by finding this post from LCN.com about “customer-centric” design, I take the experts of digital marketing and web hosting at their word; which is to say, I recognize the obvious truth that generic templates, filled with corporate verbiage and marketing boilerplate, will not attract—and thus, it cannot sustain—the interests of those at risk of developing, say, obesity or type-2 diabetes.
My suggestion to wellness professionals is to invest in design, and partner with credible professionals who understand the language of the Web, so to speak.
We cannot afford to maintain the status quo because, as various reversible diseases are now (or soon will be) public health epidemics, the consequences of preserving a broken system will be too great—the emotional and economic fallout will be too substantial—for us to ignore the needs of consumers.
Give people the facts, but do so with a voice of clarity and a design of distinction. Make the story compelling, and the statistics memorable, by making the look and feel of a site unforgettable.
In so many words, never cease to educate people about good health; and never stop pursuing the fruits of an excellent presentation.
Michael Shaw is an MIT-trained biochemist and former protégée of the late Willard Libby, the 1960 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Based in the Greater Washington (DC) Area, Michael is a frequent writer and speaker about a variety of public health issues.
NOTE: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Dietary supplements do not treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer. WholeFoods Magazine does not endorse any specific company, brand or product.