10 Principles For a Dental Web Design
1. Skip the Cheap Template
The first price quote you get from a professional web designer can come as a shock. You probably had a number in mind, but when the quote is several times that amount you may start to look into cheaper alternatives. There are numerous template website services out there that promise to create a site for you quickly and cheaply.
A template website communicates mediocrity. It shows a lack of effort, a lack of professionalism and a lack of story.
Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where you get what you pay for. It’s very obvious to customers when a site has been designed off a template and this can erode their trust and credibility in you. Always remember that your website represents your practice. If you use a cheap template, your customers will wonder why you don’t feel your business is worth the extra expense of a personalized service.
2. Don’t Forget About Interactivity
Your dental website should be more than just a cluster of pages with static facts about your practice. Customers expect a responsive design that makes it easy to not only find what they’re looking for but also advise them on things they haven’t thought of yet. Encouraging customer engagement is crucial to keeping your website from feeling dull and lackluster.
Your website is not a boring lecture. Your website can drive engagement with visuals, videos, and fun.
There are several ways you can implement interactivity on your site. Your web designer can help you with features that are customized to your individual needs, but some popular choices are Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs, web forms that calculate prices, and sign-up lists for email or phone notifications.
3. Trust That Your Designer Knows What He’s Doing
Website design is a highly skilled craft that takes years of training and practice to master to a professional level. While you certainly should speak up if you see something that you don’t like or want to change, remember that your designers have put it there for a reason. They have the experience to know which elements work best and in what ways. That’s why you hired them, after all. Ask lots of questions, keep an open mind, and try not to push too hard to get everything exactly the way you visualized.
Your web designer is your local guide to the world of website development. Let them guide you.
4. Simplicity is Key
Too many elements on a site make it appear cluttered and unprofessional. You don’t want to overwhelm your customers with an excess of pictures, awards, and testimonials, or news and unrelated information. The best websites are obvious: your visitors should immediately know what to click on to find what they are looking for.
Patients are interested in one thing, that is whether you are the best for the job.
Talk to your designer about how to highlight the best qualities of your business. He’ll be able to advise you on simple but effective layouts and navigation systems that offer professional style while still keeping the user’s experience at the forefront.
5. Remember that a Blank Space is Just as Important as a Filled One
Newspapers and magazines know how to use white spaces to highlight their key data without being overwhelming. While a website has much more flexibility in design elements than a static page, remember that prolonged staring into a digital screen can be tiring to the eyes. Strategic and frequent use of white space helps to break up a large block of information and makes it easier to read and understand.
Cluster information on your website overloads the brain and impair its ability to learn new information.
Similarly, avoid using too many pictures on each page. This is tedious for people using mobile devices or slow internet connections and the individual importance of each image will be lost if it has to compete with too many other pictures.
6. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Effective Language
Proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling are essential for any business. Even simple spelling errors look glaringly sloppy when viewed in the context of a professional dental website. It pays to have a professional writer and editor prepare and review your content to avoid any embarrassing mistakes.
Clumsy grammars or too many adverbs significantly damage your credibility.
Also remember to keep your patient’s needs in mind. Unusual fonts can be hard to read and may display in unexpected ways on different devices. Additionally, many patients may not have a detailed understanding of technical jargon. Try to keep the language simple and provide descriptions of what uncommon medical terms mean.
7. Don’t Forget About the Mobile Website
A significant portion of your visitors will be using a mobile device when viewing your website. When hiring a website designer, make sure he’s familiar with both traditional and mobile web designs. It’s important that he understands that the second isn’t merely a simplified version of the first.
It only take 2 seconds for them to go to your competitor if your mobile website is not optimized for mobile devices.
An essential part of a mobile site is the ability to accommodate the wide range of operating systems and screen sizes of portable devices that are on the market today. One of the most alienating things that your website can do is to be hard to use. There are few situations that frustrate a customer more than when they try to view on their 3.5” phone screen a site optimized for a full-sized monitor. That experience will likely make them leave and never come back.
8. Keep Optimizing Your Website to Better Serve Your Patients
You’ve just had a professional designer create a beautiful and responsive website that’s been thoroughly tested for both usability and to be free of bugs or mistakes. While this is a great step forward for your practice, remember that a website is an ongoing process even after launch. Web standards periodically change and you may need to alter certain elements to remain compliant.
Perfection is an on-going process. Test new techniques, monitor results, repeat the process.
Additionally, it’s possible that you’ll need to alter something to enhance your visitors’ user experience. Perhaps there’s a form with a confusing element or a questionnaire that’s too long. Ask your visitors about how they liked your site or if there’s anything that you can change to better assist them.
9. Navigation Should be Seamless and Consistent
Discuss with your designer what style of navigation will work best for your website. Horizontal navigation bars are the most common. However, if your site has a significant number of sub-pages, you may find that vertical or collapsing navigation will serve you better.
It should take less than 5 seconds for your website visitor to go the the page they want. Each additional second risk them leaving your website.
Navigation should be consistent throughout each page of your site. Always have an obvious link back to your main page; often this is in the form of your logo. Also, use simple and straight-forward titles for your links. It should be immediately clear where each link will take your visitors.
10. Avoid Small Fonts and Break Up Long Sections of Text
Too-small fonts are hard to read and may make your website difficult for older patients to use. Tell your designer to use a standard font in whatever size the user’s browser has set to default.
Nobody likes small text, except for lawyers.
Long blocks of text are problematic to read and the visitor’s attention may wander. Remember to break up long passages with white space and judicious pictures. You can also incorporate elements like bullet points, graphs, and diagrams to add variety to your text.