How do I promote my PCN website?

Tips on encouraging people to visit your site

Do you want to increase the number of people visiting your PCN website each month?

The first question to ask yourself is – do patients know that this website exists? Many patients do not yet understand what a PCN is, so this will obviously impact on the number of them seeking information about it. Second, have a clear idea about how you want to use the site. Is it primarily a brochure site or are you going to be putting important information on the site that is time sensitive?

The following tips will help you to improve patients’ understanding of the PCN and make the most of the opportunities the PCN website provides to keep patients engaged, help them to access PCN services and reduce the workload on practices:

  1. Give people a reason to visit – think about information that is relevant to your whole PCN e.g., COVID-19 vaccinations, and make your PCN website the main place for this information. Practices can advertise on their website that you need to visit the PCN website (and post a link) for all the vaccination information. This means there is a reason for people to visit the site, plus admin time is saved as individual practices do not need to post the same information multiple times.

  2. Make it easy for patients to find the site. Include information and links about the website on your GP Practice sites, on your CCG & ICS sites and send patients links to key information included on your site via text message or emails. For those patients visiting surgeries, include notices on your notice board informing them of your new site and the useful tools such as Health TV available to them on the site.

  3. Use your site to manage referrals to services e.g., Social Prescribing. Have a self-referral form included on the site or even expand the self-referral form to allow other organisations to be able to refer patients in.

  4. Keep your content relevant and up to date. Think about the wonderful things that are going on in your practices and your PCN on a daily/weekly basis which is newsworthy. Add a short news article to your site to keep people informed and energised by the wonderful things that are going on.

  5. Use social media to promote articles and information on your site, linking to the website page. This could include news articles, vaccine information, job adverts or information relevant such as Health TV Mental Health channel on Mental Health week. You can also have your Twitter feed on your PCN website homepage helping to keep your PCN website fresh.

  6. Ask other key organisations to share details of your website on their social media if its relevant. This can be a great way to reach a larger audience and helps to give your website a trusted status.

  7. Strive to be the number 1 search result on Google. Many things will impact your placing on Google search engines, but the following can really help to boost your position:
    • Adding regular content
    • Having links to your website on other reputable websites such as GP Practice sites/CCG sites etc.
    • Increasing the number of people searching for the site by raising their awareness that it exists.

  8. Make sure your site is inclusive and accessible and representative of your population. The Help2Change CIC PCN website includes an accessibility reader and language translation engine to assist with this, but it is also important to consider your different populations when adding content e.g., if adding images or copies of posters/leaflets, ensure that the text is repeated in the articles so that the translation engine can pick it up. It is also helpful to add meaningful titles to images and links so that the accessibility reader can pick this up and assist those with vision problems.

Increasing the number of users on your site is something that Help2Change CIC will be happy to help with. We want your PCN website to be a valuable resource that can reduce workload for GP Practices and help drive improvements in population health. This is our primary aim, as a Community Interest Company.

We are already supporting PCNs with websites across Durham, Tyne & Wear, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, West & South Yorkshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, Leicestershire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Greater London, Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Somerset.

If you would like more information about our PCN website offer please contact me at Help2Change CIC on or you can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gemma-griffiths-345910166/. Alternatively visit our website: https://www.help2change.org.uk/ or book a demonstration with me via our book demo site: https://bookdemo.gpweb.org.uk/

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About the Author

Gemma Griffiths

Gemma Griffiths

Gemma is a financial accountant with wide experience of working in the public and voluntary sectors. She is passionate about promoting healthy public policy and restoring prevention services in response to funding pressures in the NHS and local government.

Help2Change is a Community Interest Company (Registered No. 12161617; VAT No. 332 5048 29)