Patients today are 10 times more likely to find you online than in the Yellow Pages, and the cornerstone of every dentist’s digital strategy should be the practice website. When executed well, it can be a powerful marketing tool for driving new patients into the practice and a valuable means of maintaining relationships with your existing patient base.
The practice website should be viewed as a fluid piece of your marketing plan. As newer technology is developed and consumer behavior adapts, so should your practice website. If it has been two years or more since you last updated your practice website, now could be the right time to refresh. Here are five fundamental components to be considered when updating the dental practice website:
- Responsive Design: Smartphones and tablets have transformed consumer behavior. Increasing numbers of patients use mobile devices to access the Internet. Responsive design ensures that a website loads properly and functions well regardless of whether the patient is using a desktop computer, smartphone or tablet.
- On-Site Blog: Having a blog serves two purposes. First, blogging is an efficient tool for patient communication. Prospective patients get a deeper glimpse into the practice while dentists are able to maintain ongoing communication with current patients between visits. Secondly, content is king when it comes to SEO, so having an on-site blog is one of the best ways to keep producing new content for search engines to index on a regular basis.
- Video: Users respond to visual content, and incorporating video into the website can dramatically increase patient engagement. Shooting videos around the office, including a welcome message from the dentist, or answering patients’ frequently asked questions are all useful ways to utilize video and enhance online engagement.
- SEO-Friendly Features & Functionality: What good is having a website if patients can’t find it? SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of increasing a website’s visibility so that it appears higher in search engine rankings. There are certain features and functionality that can be built in to a website to facilitate your SEO efforts, including (but not limited to) the items listed above.
- Trusted Partner: Website design and search engine optimization are both highly technical processes, so dentists should not expect to tackle these on their own. Hiring a trusted industry vendor like Sesame Communications to help create and manage the practice website and the practice’s overall online strategy is the best course for optimizing your dental practice’s online presence.
One important note: This list is only the beginning. Any online marketing expert would agree that the complete list of website best practices is long and always evolving. Links to social media profiles and online review sites, consistent branding and a strong call to action, to name a few, are some of the other elements necessary to make the website as strong as it can be. But by designing a website that is easily accessible, appeals to patients and incorporates the features that search engines prefer, you can be assured your website will provide a solid foundation for your practice’s digital footprint.