The blink of an eye, the snap of a finger, that’s how long it takes a patient to form an opinion about your practice after viewing your website. Now, more than ever, having a patient-friendly, attractive website is crucial to your practice success. We no longer live in the days where buying a half-page ad in the Yellow Pages will bring in enough new patients to make ends meet.
Your practice website is now your front door, so you need that first impression to be impressive. Your business must be well represented, and a patient must be able to find what they need immediately, whether they are on a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet. A patient is likely to dismiss you entirely if your website does not reflect the kind of experience they want to have.
Does your current website accurately reflect the impression you want new patients to see?
Is this the culture you want to convey?
If someone is looking for information on Invisalign/Implants/Family Dentistry, etc, will they find what they’re looking for when viewing your website on a mobile phone or tablet?
It should be clear by now that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing a major opportunity to increase new patients and referrals to your practice. That being said you’re better off not having a website if it will negatively impact how patients view your practice.
Use the checklist below to ensure that you have the right website to draw in new patients, and keep their attention long enough for them to contact you about an appointment.
Is your website responsive?
Responsive means that the website will respond, or conform, to any device (mobile phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, iPad Mini, etc). Google prefers responsive websites, as evidenced by these articles. Google is focused on providing a positive user experience, so having every page easily found and accessible is the key to ranking highly in their search results.
Design is up-to-date, warm, friendly and family-oriented
- As far as first impressions go, the look and feel of your home page is 10 times more important than the content within. If the patient has a negative reaction to your home page, they won’t be digging further to read your content.
- If your website looks out of date, the patient will wonder if you, your practice and your techniques are also out of date.
You only have a short window to grab the user’s attention, so you need to provide a clear call to action right away. An example of a call-out button would be “Click here to request an appointment” or “Meet the Doctor” with a picture of him/her on the button. The ideal design would include 3-5 call-out buttons, no more, no less because you don’t want to overwhelm the user with options.
Photos spread across the entire screen and realistic
- Even on a widescreen monitor, you want pictures to spread all the way across so you don’t have blank space on either side.
- Are Photos of actual patients or realistic stock photos similar to the demographics of the practice?
Contact information is prominent and clearly visible
Practice name, address and phone number should be easily found on all pages of the website.
Absence of auto-play music or talking
Nobody wants to be searching for a dentist at work and have their boss walk by right as your auto-play music starts. Give them the option to play your video or music.
Unique Home Page Content
It’s important to include unique home page content that includes a summary of the services you provide and the areas you service. In addition, use internal linking to connect services to specific service pages to make it easier for search engines to crawl your website. Videos can also be integrated into home page content, but too often we see websites with only video and no content, which can hurt your Google ranking badly.
Meet the Doctor page
- Color photograph of the doctor in everyday clothes, no lab coat or tools
- Recent picture (as much as you loved how you looked in ‘98, it’s not you anymore)
- Start the bio off with warm, caring sentiments towards patient care and follow with education & credentials
- Photographs of inside the office
- Photographs of outside the office
- Office tour vide
- Google 360 video is a huge plus
Branding is consistent across all pages (including Social Media)
Be sure that your logo and branding is clear and consistent across all pages of your website, not just the home page. The same thing goes for Social Media, you need to represent the practice consistently across all marketing channels.
You’ve probably noticed that some websites you visit begin with “http://” and others begin with “https://”. That extra “s” means that your connection to that website is encrypted & protected, so hackers cannot intercept any data. The technology that powers the extra “s” is called SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. Why is this important to you? SSL is now a part of Google’s algorithm for search rankings, plus it allows your website visitors to feel confident and secure while visiting your practice website. Some browsers such as Google Chrome show a marker on the website that says “Not Secure”, which is becoming more of an issue as Internet users become more educated about the benefits of SSL.
I highly recommend that you take 20 minutes out of your day after reading this article and evaluate your own practice website. Print out this checklist and be honest with yourself about how your website stacks up against the criteria above. If you are unable to check most of the boxes, it means your website is not attracting new patients, which means you have some work to do this summer.
Have questions? Concerns? Reach out to the Sesame team at (866) 371-5649 or firstname.lastname@example.org
—Jaime Couden, Senior Sales Manager, Sesame Communications