Your dental website is beautiful. It’s probably modern, sleek and easy to navigate. You’re proud of how it represents both you and your practice. So, if it looks great on a desktop computer it should come up on a mobile browser just fine, right? Not necessarily. As we’ve said in the past, it’s a risky decision to build a website that is made ONLY for a desktop computer and “hope” that it comes up correctly on an iPad, Google Nexxus, iPhone or Android. If it doesn’t and people can’t easily read the information or book an appointment, they’ll take no time in moving on to the next dentist.
Just a few years ago, the only solution for proper mobile website browsing was to build a dedicated mobile website, separate from your main website. Today, this is absolutely not the case. There is no need to build two (or three) separate websites that look good and work correctly on a desktop computer, tablet and smart phone. To make sure you have a dynamic dental website, all you have to do is use responsive web design. According to Google, here is how they work:
“Responsive websites use a flexible grid framework that “responds” to screen resolution so that the grid (or blocks of content) is positioned respective to the user’s device. Responsive sites automatically change and realign themselves so that they are optimized for legibility, navigation and fast display on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops.”
Need visualization? Here is a sample of exactly how a responsive website alters itself to fit any device:
Looks pretty good, right? Your potential patients will think so, too. Responsive websites are very versatile and can be used on all devices, including smart TVs. But responsive websites are much more than just a “pretty face.” Responsive design can be good for your online marketing efforts as well. If you’re looking to book more patients searching for a dentist online, you are usually at the mercy of Google, who owns 67% of the search engine market. While they’re usually fairly coy with their intentions for online marketing, Google has come right out and said two things about the use of responsive web design:
- “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
- “If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports having your content being served using different HTML…”
While these two recommendations may seem contradictory, it only further supports what Google has been saying all along; websites who serve great content in a way that is best and easiest for the user will be rewarded. For a dental website to appeal to Google, you have to decide if responsive design is the best option for your users. So, what are your potential patients or “users” looking to do when they visit your website? Our own research shows they want to:
- Read about you (the dentist)
- Get a feel for your office and staff
- Learn about the services you offer
- Call to make an appointment
A responsive website will allow your users to do all of these things easily on any device and therefore, won’t negatively impact your online marketing efforts.
Need four more reasons why responsive design works best for dental websites? Jerod Morris of Copyblogger.com outlined the Four C’s of responsive website design and we adapted them specifically for dentists:
A dental practice is a business and usually has a finite marketing budget. Building more than one website could easily eat up a large chunk of your budget, which could be useful for more fruitful marketing initiatives like SEO or PPC. By adopting a responsive web design for your site, you only have to build one website. That’s one design fee, one batch of images to purchase and one on-page content installation…all of which looks and works on all devices.
Dentists don’t open a dental practice to spend their time on marketing, so why would you choose to build multiple websites that need to be updated individually? Dental practices evolve; new services are added, pictures are updated and sometimes, even your location changes. With a responsive website; you add new photos once and change the content once and it seamlessly updates for all devices.
As we illustrated in a previous article, consistency is key to good branding. So, if your primary website looks one way, but your mobile site looks another, it can be difficult for anyone to remember your practice. While responsive design does adapt the way a site “looks” on each device, the general theme and flow of your website remains the same.
Have you ever opened a website on your smart phone and had to pinch, swipe and zoom in and out to find the phone number? It can be a very frustrating process and usually, leads to one thing: Choosing another option. When your potential patients are searching for a dentist online, it’s usually to call to make an appointment or get more information, so don’t make it hard for them! A responsive design will adapt your website to make sure that a click-to-call phone number is prominently displayed on any smart phone.
The beauty of choosing this type of design is you only have to market, update and manage one website. It’s a simple solution that ensures any audience looking at your website on any device will like what they see. At Bullseye Media, we always recommend that our clients’ adopt a responsive website design strategy. If you want your practice to reap the benefits of responsive website design, contact us today to find out how we can help!
photo credit: loop_oh