How to Create an Effective Website
Dental websites should be a natural continuation of the dental practice they represent. Your dental practice was likely not cut from a cookie cutter, so your website should not be either. As you entered the dental field and had the opportunity to build an office space, you made choices that affected the appearance of your office and offered your patients a solid first impression. You also made choices that affected the quality of the services and treatments you offer.
Patients who enter your practice make snap judgments based on what they see when they walk through the door. A smiling, friendly face that greets people with genuine warmth often makes a difference in patient retention. Who wants to leave a practice where they are made to feel like members of an extended family? For those who value top-quality technological prowess, the fact that you have invested in up-to-date equipment like digital x-ray technology demonstrates your commitment to excellence. Website design for dentists must cast a wide net to reach as many prospective patients as possible to improve conversion rates.
Custom Dental Website Design Trumps Templates
Templates are a cheap, quick fix. They will allow you to establish a basic web presence in a hurry, but that is about it. A template is available to countless other dental providers, along with a slew of different businesses. With the amount of time people spend on the internet, it will not take people long to notice how similar your template-based site is to others. It calls into question whether or not you have cut corners in different ways. Custom websites are built around the vision you have for your practice and visitors will notice the little things that make your website stand-out from your competitors.
Like the first impression that occurs when patients walk through your door, you have one chance to make a first impression online. Templates only allow customization to a point, and that point is usually restricted to color and font changes. You will have very limited ability to adjust for a variety of content types. Templates are not automatically optimized so can negatively impact your SEO. Unless you, or your marketing manager, have additional training in website code development, it is best to opt for a customized dental website design built from the ground up.
Connect with More Patients on Social Media
A few years ago, social media was a tool the younger generations used to interact with friends. As technology “invaded” many aspects of life, the snapshot of people who take advantage of technological advances has changed. Parents and grandparents now have active social media accounts to stay in touch with their kids, grandkids, family, and friends. What used to be word of mouth advertising has taken on a new twist. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp allow patients to connect with a wider range of people.
By establishing a presence on social media, you will have a chance to communicate with current and prospective patients like was never possible in the past. Review sites like Yelp give patients access to reviews and testimonials without a filter. This is why an active presence is so important. Even negative ratings can result in positive attitudes if people see you working together to come up with a solution to the problem. Optimized360 offers a reputation management option to help build positive relations with patients online.
The Positive Effects of High-Quality Content
Search engines scour websites for high-quality content. If you limit your website to written content, your ratings may suffer. Many people today want a way to gather information quickly and easily. For this reason, it is crucial that your website provides patients with different types of content. Blogs are a tool that allows the sharing of information in an informal, non-threatening manner. Visitors can get a feel for what you offer without feeling like they are reading a medical journal. On the other hand, educational articles or links to white papers may be what some people prefer.
Videos are effective tools that can introduce anything from a new procedure to a new staff member. There are times when people feel rushed and would prefer to click play to listen to current patients discuss how your care helped solve their dental problem, as opposed to reading a bunch of written testimonials. When prospective patients are trying to get a feel for you and your practice, written bios accompanied by high-quality professional photography or videos can separate you from the competition.
HIPAA Compliance Builds Trust
People hear about internet security breaches on the news far too often. What can you do to assure your patients that their information is secure? Encryption is the primary key. Any information sent to and from your website must be encrypted to keep hackers from accessing private, identifiable information. Quality website design for dentists includes providing patients with forms that can either be printed or submitted online. This often includes prescription renewals for things like fluoride drops. People will look for indicators that your website is HIPAA compliant before they trust it enough to send highly personal information.
Another important aspect of HIPAA compliance requires that a back-up of sensitive information be accessible at all times, and conversely, when a patient record must be destroyed, it must be possible to do so with complete certainty. HIPAA was in place long before the internet was a seemingly living, breathing entity. As dentists bring their websites in line to meet the needs of today’s patients, it is important to hire website developers and designers who fully understand the ramifications of a breach in HIPAA compliance.
Many people will click on your advertisements and click away within the first 5 seconds of landing on your website. Making the website visually appealing is one way to make them pause. An equally effective strategy is to make sure your website uploads quickly because no one wants to wait for antiquated flashy thumbnails to load. Research has shown that the longer you can keep people exploring the content on your site, the more likely you are to convert them into patients. Thankfully, helping patients with their dental needs is why top-notch dentists show up to work each day.