Your website is not just a digital version of your practice brochure. Sure, it should feature photos of your office, explain which dental services you offer and of course, include your address and phone number just like a brochure; but the best dental websites do so much more. They are not brochures, but rather, patient attraction tools. The best dental websites are built with one thing in mind; converting visitors to patients.
It’s not “accidental” when a person converts from a mere website visitor to a patient in your chair. Believe it or not, where your practice phone number is located and how fast each webpage loads can be just as important as your dental credentials for a patient who is searching for a dentist online.
Building a website that converts is necessary, but doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are 11 dental web design tips to help you:
1. Show them the Way
After all of these years of Internet use, you’d think we’d intuitively just “know” what to do on a website, but it turns out, we don’t. Research shows that website visitors need to be told what you want them to do and in your case, how and where they book an appointment. So, make sure you have a clear call to action that is ridiculously easy to find. It may seem obvious, but it’s important. On your home page, place your phone number in the upper right hand corner of your website in big, bold font. TIP: Don’t forget about calls-to-action on each individual service page too. We recommend you incorporate it within your webpage text.
2. More Design Isn’t Always Good Design
Why is Amazon.com the #1 website for converting visitors to customers? Simple. It’s incredibly intuitive and easy to search, browse and find what you want. The same goes for dental websites. While you may be tempted to use an overly complicated design for your website because it appeals to you, it may be too much for a first time visitor. If you want to convert more visitors, make it easy and simple for them to find what they are looking for. In this case, simpler is better.
3. The Faster, the Better
A 2012 Google study has shown that in some instances, 400 milliseconds is too long for most people to wait for a webpage to load. While it may seem impossible to build a website that loads that quickly, it confirms that if your website takes too long to load, a potential patient will move on to the next dental website. Make sure your website consistently loads fast.
4. The Power is in the Headline
Once a visitor has landed on your website, you have approximately 8 seconds to grab their attention with a headline. Also, eye-tracking studies show that people tend to view web pages in the shape of a “F”, scanning down the left hand side and then across. Keep this in mind when writing the copy for your website and make sure your most compelling content is in the headline and in the “F” area of your webpage.
5. Be Unique
You’d be surprised (or maybe not surprised) to find out that many dentists have identical copy on their websites. While, yes, there are only so many ways to write about the benefits of teeth whitening, it’s important that your website have original copy that is unique to you. This is important for two reasons; Google doesn’t give credit to websites with duplicate copy (ie-won’t rank them well) and your potential patients can see through generic and copy-cat website copy. Being just like your competition won’t help you convert people just perusing your website to actual patients.
6. Smile and Say “Cheese!”
As a dentist, you’d think most of your website visitors would be concerned about which dental services you provide or where you are located. Well, you’d think wrong; after the home page, the most visited page on a dentist’s website is the page about you, the dentist. The second most visited page is the “About the Team” webpage. It turns out, website visitors want to see your face and get to know you a little before choosing to call and make an appointment. To convert visitors to patients, you MUST have a dedicated page for you, the dentist – and that includes a great photo.
7. Tell them why you’re great! (Then tell them again.)
In order to stand out in a sea of choices, businesses need to clearly express their unique value proposition. In other words, for website visitors to pick you over the guy or gal down the street, you need to tell them very explicitly why they should. It’s no secret that these days, people have nearly an endless amount of choices and in this case, humility is not rewarded. Don’t hold back when telling your website visitors why your practice is the best choice for them and their family’s dental needs.
8. Build a Responsive Website
Your potential patients will be accessing your website via desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. And while your website design may look great on a desktop or laptop, it may not on mobile devices. If you build a responsive website, your patients can still book an appointment and easily read through your services because it uses a flexible grid framework that automatically re-aligns the content to the device that accesses it. Don’t miss out on patients accessing your website from their phone because they can’t find out how to make an appointment.
9. Pay Attention to What Works
The best dental websites keep track of what visitors are actually doing on their website. The easy way to do this is by installing Google Analytics. This feature gives you priceless insight into how your potential patients are arriving at your website and which pages they are viewing the most. As you can imagine, this information becomes invaluable if you ever need to troubleshoot any new patient flow problems.
10. Use Call Tracking
Evaluation is an integral part of online marketing and website design is no different. You can track the efficiency of your website design by installing a call tracking phone number to learn how many patients are actually converting from visitors to patients. IMPORTANT: While call tracking is very useful for ROI, it can often confuse Google by associating multiple phone numbers with your practice. This can interfere with your local listing and SEO efforts. If you choose to use call tracking phone numbers, it’s important to engage a trained online marketing expert to help you install them on your website correctly.
11. People like People
A study done by 37signals.com shows that conversion rates went up by 102.5% if a webpage featured a person instead of an object. Quality images on your website are important, so feature images of people when you can, especially on your home page. TIP: Want to increase your website visitor engagement even further? Use photos of your actual patients (with their signed permission) instead of stock photos.
Your website is nothing more than a virtual brochure unless it’s built to convert visitors to patients. If your website isn’t giving you the results you want, don’t worry, we know what to do! Contact our skilled and experienced online marketing team today to find out how we build dental websites that convert!
photo credit: CarbonNYC