Is Your Website a Yabba Dabba Doozie?

The Flintstones, as its title song goes, were a “modern Stone Age family” on a show that juxtaposed the modern (at least for the 1960’s) with the Stone Age. As a child of the 1970’s, spending Saturday morning watching The Flintstones engage with dinosaur lawnmowers, foot-powered cars, or wooly mammoth showers was great fun.

I wonder how the creators of The Flintstones would adapt the internet to the show’s Stone Age setting?

After reviewing hundreds of dentist’s websites, I can offer several suggestions! Too often, I come across dental websites that are completely stuck in the past, trapped in the internet Stone Age.

It is extremely important that your website be updated and modernized every few years. Why? Well, there are multiple reasons you don’t want a “dinosaur” of a website:

1. Speed

A fast page load time is critical for converting prospective patients. A recent Google study showed that over half of all users abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Old, outdated websites use old, outdated technology that doesn’t work as efficiently to load your page content. Themes developed three or more years ago are not optimized for newer servers and backend technology, so it takes longer for the sites to load. Think of how slow your mobile phone gets after a few years of ownership – websites are affected the same way.

2. Functionality

The internet and technology are constantly evolving. As such, new functionality comes into play almost daily. Much of the improvements happen on the back end, server side, that visitors will never actually see, but will notice immediately when the website is broken. For example, how frequently do you access websites on your mobile device today versus the past? In 2007, 6% of US consumers had subscriptions to mobile broadband services. That number has since skyrocketed and is well beyond 100% currently. That’s not a typo, over 100% of the population have subscriptions to mobile broadband service. If your website was built even a few years ago, it might not be optimized for handling traffic coming from mobile devices, whether phone or tablet, while simultaneously maintaining full functionality on desktop computers with a hodgepodge of screen dimensions and resolutions.

3. Look and Feel

I’ll never forget how excited my mom got when Sears delivered a brand new harvest gold Kenmore refrigerator when I was a kid. It was gloriously yellow with faux wood handles to match the rest of the kitchen. Back in the early 1970’s, that was peak style. Today, I doubt you’ll find many kitchens stocked with harvest gold appliances because the aesthetic has changed. Just like home decor, website design continues to evolve, much faster than kitchen appliances. Websites that looked great just a few years ago look old and dated when viewed today. For better or worse, your website’s design is viewed as a direct reflection of your office and practice. An outdated design gives the impression of an archaic and out of touch dental practice.

4. Security

Unfortunately, the world is filled with nefarious people. Some want to cause mischief, while others are out to do as much harm as possible. Out-of-date websites with out-of-date security standards are prime targets for people with bad intentions. New websites use the latest technology and are easier to keep updated from a security standpoint. Patches and updates roll out alarmingly frequently and websites built on older platforms might be ineligible for the latest patches. Hackers exploit those vulnerabilities, which can lead to spreading viruses on unsuspecting site visitors or even completely removing the site from the internet. One day your site is there, the next, it’s sharing some fringe political message. Even worse, your site might totally disappear! Keeping your site’s platform updated is a critical first step toward preventing bad things from happening to your dental practice website.

A website is not a “set it and forget it” type of endeavor. At some point the denizens of Bedrock had to evolve to stay current with the times, as evidenced by The Jetsons being canon to The Flintstones’ timeline. Take a good, hard look at your website, and when you’re ready to transition from Fred and Wilma to George and Jane, give us a call. We’d love the opportunity to take your site to the Space Age!

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