Many dentists are often surprised to find out that building a simple website that showcases their practice isn’t enough to stay ahead of the competition. After all, a website is nothing more than an interactive brochure, right? No, absolutely not – and if your website serves as nothing more than that, you are putting you and your practice at risk of being left behind.
Today, Google is filled to the brim with dental options for potential patients that search for your services. In fact, a quick Google search for a dentist in our suburb yielded around 28 pages of results. That’s a lot of options for the folks in a community, who likely won’t even look past page one to find a dentist or dental specialist. Not surprisingly, nearly all dentists want to be visible on the first few pages of a Google search – but what does it take to get there? A successful dental website must be a lot of things to a lot of different types of people (yourself included) but there are a few key elements that separate the well-performing websites from the not-so-well performing sites. Here are a few of those crucial elements:
Does it load fast enough? – Econsultancy.com found that 40% of people will abandon a website if it doesn’t load fast enough for them. How fast is fast enough? Within three seconds – anymore than that and your patients will get impatient and move on. What’s more is many dentists are surprised to find out that Google actually monitors how quickly your site loads when it decides which sites deserve to be on page one of a search for dental services in your area. Site speed is one of the most important elements of a successfully functioning dental website and if yours is too slow – your marketing efforts will most certainly falter along with it.
Is it easily viewed on all devices? – A recent study by Margin Media found that 48% of users say that if they arrive on a business site (dental included) that isn’t working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring. This stat is a very disheartening one for dentists, because of course you care! But, patients and customers are not always rational and they not only want your site to be viewable on all of their electronic devices – they expect it to. A responsively designed website is a great remedy to this problem as it allows you to create, manage and update one website that automatically adapts itself to whichever device it’s being accessed from. No matter which type of device accesses your site (desktop, tablet or smartphone), it will load correctly and look beautiful. We’ve written extensively about responsive design, to learn more, check out these articles.
Is it converting visitors to patients? – Here’s an interesting fact – a Go-Globe.com study found that of all Fortune 500 websites, 63% have content above the fold, 50% feature a scrolling content window of some kind and 63% use high quality images that connect with their users. These types of website elements are crucial to converting people just visiting your site to patients calling to schedule an appointment. So what do they mean? Let’s break the two important ones down a bit –
Content “above the fold” – This is a traditional newspaper editing rule that said newspapers would sell better if the top content, photo or “story” of the day was placed above the fold of the newspaper. It allowed the reader to get a quick glimpse of some of the best content that was inside and entice them to buy it. This same concept (also called “above the scroll”) is now used in website design to describe the content that appears first to a webpage viewer – the content at the top of the page before a viewer has to scroll down to read on. Content that sits above the fold or scroll should be short, sweet and sum up exactly what your potential patient is looking for. Ideally, a patient wouldn’t have to scroll much at all to find the information they are looking for. You really do have a short window of opportunity to convince a new patient to choose you over all other options, so it’s imperative your website makes every effort to give them what they want – when they want it. It’s also a great idea to put your phone number of contact information above the scroll on all webpages for quick appointment booking.
High Quality Images – High quality images are important for both your patients and for Google. Here’s why – quality images show your patients and potential patients that your practice is professional and modern and Google values and rewards websites that are all around high quality – that includes content and images. Think about it – would you patronize a business that has a website with only blurry or tiny photos? Probably not. Whether we want to believe it or not, people make snap judgments when they view your site and images can speak volumes. Our dental marketing team recommends you purchase high-quality stock images for your site or better yet – use a high resolution camera and use images of the dentist, staff and current patients to populate your site (with everyone’s written permission of course.)
Does it have separate service pages? – Google likes separate pages to rank each procedure with new content being added on a regular basis. Blogs can serve this purpose, but we’re finding that routinely adding fresh content to service pages can be very beneficial as well. Additionally, if you are a dental specialist or a general dentist that provides specialty services, your potential patients will be looking for separate service pages when researching those procedures – so make sure your site has them. Overall, try not to list all of your services on one page and call it a day – you’re not doing your site any favors by taking the easy road.
Does it represent you and your practice well? – A great practice website isn’t performing if it doesn’t represent you and your brand in the way you want it to. If you have a modern and sleek office, your website should be modern and sleek too. A pediatric dentist’s site should be fun and kid-friendly and a dental specialist (like an orthodontist or oral surgeon) should have a website that reflects their unique clinical abilities. Overall, dentists should feel comfortable with the way their practice is represented online.
Does your website need a re-design or maybe a complete overhaul? Contact our experienced web design team today, we can help!