For quite a while now; well, years to be exact, we’ve been advising dentists and dental specialists that their patients and potential patients want to have the ability to access their website via their smart phone and tablets. You can read about that here, here and here. In fact, many of the world’s most successful tech companies now place higher priority on designing mobile versions of websites before the desktop or laptop version. That’s a smart move, because overall, 55% of all Internet usage comes through mobile devices. Here are a few more compelling mobile stats to consider:
- Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices. (Business 2 Community, 2014)
- In 2014, one in four mobile users will redeem a mobile coupon for a local business via their smart phone. (eMarketer.com, 2014)
- 70% of mobile searches lead to action on a website within an hour of when the search was conducted. (iAcquire.com, 2014)
That last statistic is a significant one for dentists. What it means for you, is most people who are looking at your website via their smart phones want to make an appointment almost immediately – otherwise, they wouldn’t be there. Furthermore, they want to easily (and by easily we mean flawlessly) click and call directly from their smart phone. If your practice’s website isn’t built with mobile in mind, you can expect your new patient flow to take the fall for it.
Now is probably a good time to explain the title of this article, isn’t it? Until now, we’ve shared just how imperative it is that your practice website be properly viewable on all devices – including tablets, smart phones, desktop computers and laptops. And it is, but many web designers (including our own), are advising that dentists not create a separate mobile site for their practice.
Let’s take a step back and explain what a mobile site actually is. You see, just a few short years ago, when a dental practice wanted to make sure their website was mobile-friendly, it looked like this:
- The mobile website had to be built and updated as a completely separate site from the practice’s primary website. That meant twice the work and twice the billable hours from your tech team.
- The mobile website’s URL was different than the primary URL – usually noted like this – m.websitename.com.
- Webpages form a mobile site may not index with search engines as well as with the primary site. That means your patients will have a harder time finding your site when they search for dental keywords in your area – for example, “pediatric dentist in Dallas.”
- Mobile-only sites were usually a watered-down version of its primary counterpart. Typically, some functionality was lost in a mobile-only site. That meant key elements of the site probably weren’t available on the mobile site.
As you can imagine, smart phone users were not happy about any of this. Multiple URLs and limited functionality just doesn’t cut it anymore for our smartphone savvy society. So what is the solution? Two words: Responsive Design.
A little less than a year ago, Google suggested that websites should serve all devices with the same URL, which means it should feed the same HTML to whatever device the website is accessed on, be it a laptop, tablet or smart phone. And when Google “suggests” anything, it means you do it and you do it as quickly as you can. Here are some of the distinctive qualities of websites built with responsive design:
- A responsive website is ONE website that only needs to be updated ONE time – and changes will be made across all devices intuitively. That means less work for your website team and a better hold on your branded online presence.
- A responsive website has ONE URL that feeds the same HTML to all devices. It’s Google-friendly AND patient-friendly – they won’t have to add that “m” prefix to your URL when they try to look you up via their phone.
- Since Google has explicitly said that they prefer responsive design, you can bet that you’re headed in the right direction when it comes to ensuring your webpages index correctly. Additionally, you’re making sure potential patients find your site when they are looking for dental services in your area.
- Responsive design ensures that your patients enjoy full functionality of your site no matter what device they access your site from. Something they’ll certainly be pleased about.
Our website design team at Bullseye has been building dental websites with responsive design for years. If you want to ensure your practice website is easily viewable and accessible on all devices, contact our experienced website design team today to learn how we can help.