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The Dentists' Business, Finance & Law Blog
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3 Guidelines When Creating A Dental Website

3 Guidelines When Creating A Dental Website

9/15/2015 6:10:39 PM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 305
Whether you're just opening your practice or looking to refresh and revamp your existing website, there are three guidelines you'll want to follow in your design: (1) convert above the fold, (2) convey authenticity, and (3) solve customer problems. In this article we'll discuss each of these design themes, provide an example of how they can be used well, and explain why that website design element is important.

Convert Above the Fold

What it Means
In web design lingo, "above the fold" is the portion of a website that a visitor sees before they have to scroll down. The specific amount of space that an individual sees depends on their screen size, but in general, it refers to the top 3-4 inches of the top of the homepage.  "Converting above the fold" simply means to make your call to action, or whatever you are hoping that your visitor will do, available and prominent for the visitor in those top 3-4 inches.

Why It's Important
The reason why placing your "call to action" above the fold, is that the most visitors will see that portion of your website, and as a result, your call to action and thus your website's effectiveness will be improved if it is placed there. 

Real Life Example
In the dental context, what a dentist wants to do most with his or her website is drive new appointments. What causes an individual prospective patient to actually request an appointment is complex and individualized, but at a basic level, what you're asking a prospective patient to do is to call you or complete a web form requesting an appointment. So in this industry, what that means is that your phone number or web form should be visible and prominent in the first 3-4 inches of the homepage. 

An example of this is, Kingwood Orthodontics. If you visit the homepage, you'll note that the "Request a Complimentary Exam" form is at the top of the page, and is highlighted not just with color, but also with the physical orientation of the building and the doctor who help draw the eye to the appointment request form. 


Convey Authenticity

What it Means
In the context of web design, authenticity is about softening the corporate nature of a site, and letting the patient learn about the dentist as an individual. That means not using stock images, having numerous quotes from the actual dentist, and ideally a video narrated or featuring the dentist in which he or she introduces the practice and welcomes patients.

Why It's Important
As social media has become ever more integrated with our daily lives, the public, and dental patients, have come to associate authenticity and personality with quality and trustworthiness. That is to say, rather than be attracted to a corporate or professional appearance, increasingly patients are attracted to a personalized dental experience that conveys the personality and perspective of the dentist.

Real Life Example
An example of conveying the dentists personality in an authentic way can be seen on the homepage of Thousand Oaks Dental. There you'll note a testimonial style quote from the dentist herself, explaining in a very open way about why she wanted to open her own practice, as well as a prominent video in which the dentist welcomes patients to the practice in a very person way.


Solve Customer Problems

What it Means
In the world of website design, solving customer problems means creating a website that is extremely easy to navigate and understand, that conveys in clear messaging that the practitioner understands the needs of the patient and is competent and happy to satisfy them.  

Why It's Important
At the end of the day, it's important to remember that humans are primarily self-interested creatures. And so, while our tendency is to create a practice website about and for ourselves, it's ultimate purpose is to convey that you are able to fulfill the needs and desires of your patients. That is, after all what they are seeking, and they will continue to shop for a dentist until they find one that conveys that ability.

Real Life Example
One of the best examples of a professional services business conveying 'customer problem solving ability' comes not from the dental industry, but rather from the accounting world. At the AC Partners website, you'll note that it's a single page website, which means that clients don't have to click around to other pages to find the answers they need, and in no uncertain terms they convey their ability to solve client problems through their prominent slogan "Business + Accounting = Solved". 

Conclusion
Whether designing a new dental website, or refreshing your existing practice's site, it is important to keep your ultimate goal in mind, which is to instill confidence in visitors so that they choose your practice, or feel reinforced in their earlier selection of you as their dentist. Accomplishing that, in large part, can be accomplished by incorporating the principles of converting above the fold, conveying authenticity, and solving customer problems, 


About The Author:
Rich McIver blogs about topics related to dental business, legal, and finance at DentalTown. He is a partner at Soar Payments, a merchant services provider, and regularly consults on behalf of professionals seeking startup business, legal and finance advice. If you have a dental business, legal or finance topic you'd like to see discussed, Rich can be reached via Twitter.

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