tab32 thanks Tyson Downs of Titan Web Agency for the insights in this post
Welcome to Part 3 of our 9 Part series entitled An Introduction to Marketing Your Dental Practice Online.
In Part 1, we gave an overview of the series and discussed the components of effectively marketing your dental practice.
Part 2 discussed the importance of Google Business Profile and how to optimize it.
In Part 3, we are going to discuss the most important elements a dentist needs on their website.
If your dental practice website is doing its job, then it should be helping you convert visitors to your website into paying patients. If it’s not, then it may be time to redesign your website to ensure that it is an asset to your practice and not simply dead weight, or worse, a liability.
Before you take on the task of redesigning your website, you should understand the essential elements that make a website engaging for visitors and encourage them to book an appointment. It needs to be informative and educates visitors about your practice and services.
With that in mind, here are 9 essential elements of an effective dental website.
#1: Positive User Experience
Perhaps the most important element of a website is the user experience. At Titan Web Agency our philosophy is ‘don’t make them think’ (from the book by Steve Krug). In other words, a visitor should be able to come to your website and find what they need and what they are looking for with minimal effort. Typically, that will mean a clean and professional appearance that’s appealing without being busy or distracting. Design and user experience go hand in hand. This is especially true when we are talking about the menu and navigation. We want to ensure that if somebody comes to your website for the first time, they can easily, within a few seconds find the information they want. This stands true for both the desktop and mobile version of your site.
You should focus on creating an experience that empowers visitors to identify key areas of your website, get to them quickly, and take any actions they need, whether they’re looking to review your services, learn what insurance you accept, or book an appointment.
You can see how Finn Hill Dental in Poulso, WA does a great job of this. Their most requested services are right there on their homepage just a quick scroll down. They also use a ‘sticky’ menu bar at the top with important quick links, and the menu stays there as you scroll down the page, very user friendly.
#2: Compelling Photos
Your website should have a selection of compelling and authentic photos to let patients know what to expect from your practice. Avoid stock photos if you can. They come across as inauthentic, and lazy.
We suggest including photos of your reception area, treatment rooms, and photos of your dentists, hygienists, and support staff. We highly recommend for you to include before-and-after photos because these help visitors visualize what they can expect from your treatments. You can see that Kennewick Dental has a basic, but effective and straight forward ‘Smile Gallery’
#3: A Clear Call to Action
Every page on your website should feature a call to action that tells visitors what you want them to do. Examples include calling your practice, booking an appointment, or opting into your email list. Any opt-in forms and CTAs should be optimized for mobile and web users.
Many practices choose to include a new patient offer to encourage visitors to book an appointment. Examples might include a free cleaning or a free teeth whitening treatment.
Often people want to be told what to do (even if they aren’t thinking that). Having a strong call to action:
Call Now to See if We Accept Your Insurance!
This can subconsciously give them the ‘push’ they need to give you a call or fill out an appointment request form.
#4: Key Pages
What are the key pages of a website? Let’s dive right into them.
- Services. Include a complete list of services you offer. We recommend having a ‘Service Overview’ page and then create individual service pages to provide additional information on each of your services.
- About Us. Include the history of your practice, biographies of dentists and hygienists, and information about your philosophy and mission.
- Location Pages. Location pages are a must for multi-location practices. Be sure to include complete addresses and contact information, as well as services, for each location.
- New Patient Page. The new patient page should give new patients all the info they need when considering your office. This can include new patient intake forms, HIPAA paperwork, etc. Often you will have a patient fill this out in their patient portal of your PMS, but regardless, you want to give a new patient everything they need to know for their first appointment.
- Insurance and Payments. Often you’ll have some of this information on the New Patient Page, but you’ll want a separate page to go into more detail about insurance and payments. The great thing about this page is if you do it right, you can properly optimize the page so you show up well for searches such as: ‘dentist in cityname that takes Aetna’
- Why Us/Reviews. On this page, you will want to let patients know what makes you different. Share reviews, share your approach in treating patients, share what makes your office unique and why a potential patient would want to visit your office.
- Contact Us. Your contact page should include your phone number, payment methods, hours, social media links, a contact form, among other items..
You may choose to add additional pages but these 7 are essential.
#5: Fast Loading Time
How fast your website displays on the screen when somebody visits it, is often called ‘loading time’. The loading time of your website can make or break the user experience. Today’s patients are likely to get impatient if your website doesn’t load quickly; 53% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Desktop users are slightly less likely to leave but will still hit the back button if your site takes more than 10 seconds to load.
Be sure to occasionally test your site’s loading time. Sometimes, software on your website can have conflicts with other software and it can impact the load time of your site. You can test your site speed using Google’s free tool.
Including videos on your home page and your service pages is useful because many patients prefer to learn about providers and treatments by watching a video instead of reading a description. The good news for you is that video production doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need fancy equipment. All you need is a steady camera with a good microphone and a quiet area with good lighting to film.
Need ideas for the types of videos?
- Office walkthroughs are always helpful.
- Introductions to your office team are great.
- Directions for recovery of more complicated procedures.
#7: Online Appointments
Many patients prefer to book appointments online rather than calling a dental practice, so having a dedicated appointment booking page plus a link on your home page will help your website convert visitors to patients. Many dental practice management software options, including tab32, have tools for online booking, virtual appointments, and patient paperwork, plus automatic text appointment reminders to minimize no-shows and cancelations.
#8: Mobile-Friendly Design
Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly design and more online searches occur on mobile devices than on computers. This means making your website usable for mobile devices is not an option, it’s a necessity.
Some things to keep in mind include optimizing forms and CTA buttons for mobile users and ensuring that mobile users don’t need to scroll horizontally to read your content. We recommend extensive UX testing to ensure that the mobile experience is positive.
Test, test, and retest.
#9: Social Proof
Every dental website should include some form of social proof. One way to entice visitors to your site to make appointments with you is to use a widget (special software) to display reviews for your practice. Make sure that you have a review management system (we will talk about reviews in a future post) in place, so anybody who clicks through to read a review will see that you are responsive to those leaving reviews.
Testimonials are also useful because they allow you to go in-depth with patients about their experiences. You may want to ask patients to record video testimonials that you can feature on your home page. Video testimonals are absolutely huge, and can be one of the best investments you’ll make!
You can see how Kirkland Family Dentistry uses a large image of a review that is clickable, and opens up into a video. Very creative!
Improve Your Conversions with Dental Website Redesign
Your website should be helping you to attract new patients and grow your practice. Think of it as a 24/7 full time sales person. If it isn’t doing that, then it’s time to consider a website redesign, making sure to incorporate the 9 essential elements we’ve included here.
Click here to read part 4!
Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenue goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and enjoys spending time with his family. Particularly on the baseball field.
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