We like to say that your practice website is your virtual front door and most people will walk through that door long before they will ever set foot inside your practice. While there are so many different ways to represent your practice via your website (which colors to choose, which pictures to feature, how to describe your unique style of dentistry), these are minor decisions when it comes to creating a website that will turn a visitor into a happy dental patient.
But, not all dental websites are created equal. Whether you are just beginning to build your dental practice’s website or re-designing an older one, there are critical questions you should absolutely know the answers to. Take a look at three of them:
Is it mobile friendly?
Today, this is the #1 most important question you need to know about your website. Here are two reasons why:
- Google just announced that as of April 21st, 2015, they will penalize any site that isn’t designed with mobile in mind. That means your website’s mobile “friendliness” (ie if your site can be viewed appropriately on mobile devices like an iPhone or Android device), will now be a definite ranking factor when their algorithms decide which websites to show in top spots in a search query. If it’s not mobile friendly, don’t count on it showing up easily in Google searches any time soon.
- More and more people are using their mobile devices to search for the things that they need online, including dental services. In fact, a 2014 Pew Research poll found that 34% of smart phone users go online mostly with their cell phone – bypassing laptops, desktops and tablets to search for what they need (including dental services.) If they can’t easily access what they need on your site (or worse, can’t even find your site), you’ll be bypassed for the next dentist who does have a mobile friendly site.
If you aren’t sure if your site is mobile-friendly, take out your iPhone or Android device (or borrow someone else’s) and type in your site address in the browser. What does the site look like? Would you like to use your site on a mobile phone? If you need to “zoom” and “pinch” the screen to even read the text, chances are, your site isn’t mobile friendly.
Does it have what potential patients are looking for?
Moz.com put it best when they said, “One of the most important elements to building an online marketing strategy around SEO is empathy for your audience. Once you grasp what your target market is looking for, you can more effectively reach and keep those users.” In your case, “users” means patients and yes, it’s absolutely imperative that they find exactly what they are looking for when they are searching for dental services online and find your site. Here is what they probably want to do:
- Read about which procedures you offer (to ensure you can perform the service they need)
- Read patient reviews
- Call your office
- Find your address
- Book an appointment.
Right now, your dental website more than likely does include all of these things, BUT, are they easy to find? And by easy, we mean crystal clear. You’d be surprised just how blatant you need to make your phone number (we recommend it to be on each webpage, in large font, and in a conspicuous place like the top right hand corner.) Once you understand what your potential patients want when they search your site and make it easy for them to find it, you’ll be surprised just how simple building a successful dental website really is.
Is it designed to convert?
A beautiful website is nothing more than a very expensive, interactive pamphlet if it’s not designed to convert potential patient visitors into actual patients with booked appointments. And no, websites don’t just automatically “convert,” they must be specifically designed to do so. Take a look at each webpage on your site and take note if it has these features:
- Does it prominently feature your phone number in bold, large font (ie- making it 100%, crystal clear how to book an appointment?)
- Is the copy compelling? You have 8 seconds to catch your potential patient with a well-written “headline” on each webpage and after that, they’ve likely lost interest.
- Do your procedures pages (ie- dental implants, orthodontics, Invisalign) take interested patients to a landing page designed specifically for that procedure?
- Is your website fast? These days, the faster, the better. A slow website will kill your conversion rates.
Creating a dental website that pleases both your potential patients and Google can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Consult with our experienced dental marketing team today to learn how we can help.