1. Ignoring Responsive (Mobile-Friendly) Design
Your dental practice's website absolutely must look great on iPhones, Androids, and tablets-- not just desktop and laptop computers. If your website doesn't make use of modern responsive design principles, you'll lose out on many new patient opportunities.
What is responsive design? Your website responds to the size of the device accessing it and adjusts the layout and design accordingly. Great responsive sites will adjust the site's text to be large enough to read and place the most important content (including contact information) at the top of the page.
In my experience working with dentists throughout the country, as much as 75% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Mobile visitors are valuable! They’re often further along in their research process and are close to reaching out to a practice for an appointment. Don’t miss out on their business!
2. Pages That Load Slowly
Your website's pages must load fast. Even having to wait a single second can cause visitors to leave your site. Optimize images and take advantage of mobile site testing tools
to learn how to speed up your site.
3. No Calls-to-Action!
Why is someone visiting your practice's website? Most people don't just browse dental websites for fun. They want information or they need a dentist. So why do so many dental practice websites make it so hard to take action.
Remember, your dental practice’s website has 2 primary audiences:
Current patients - Usually looking for contact information, your practice’s hours, printable forms, etc.
Potential patients - Want to learn about your practice, your services, insurances accepted, and more.
Your website should actively encourage all visitors to take an action. These “calls to action” as they are known, might include:
Scheduling an appointment
Calling your office
Downloading or completing paperwork or forms
Subscribing to your newsletter
Every page should have at least 2 calls-to-action. Your home page can encourage potential patients to call your office (your primary call to action) or click a link to learn more about your services (your secondary call to action).
4. Confusing Contact Pages
When a website visitor is on your contact page, they want to contact you! Seems like a no-brainer, right? But so many dental practices get it wrong.
Your contact page should include all the information a visitor could want, including:
2. Driving directions
3. Hours you're open
4. Phone number
5. Email address and/or contact form
Speaking of contact forms, many practices integrate their contact forms with their practice management software. Your form should ONLY require essential information like:
The longer it takes to fill out a form the less likely a website visitor will use it!
5. Getting the Simplest SEO Basics Wrong
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is anything you do to improve your practice’s rankings on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. SEO is very complex and changing constantly.
Getting SEO right is hard, but it's very easy to get the basics right.
1. Include a meta title (70 characters or less) and a meta description (155 characters or less) on every page.
2. Give every page a relevant title. The first bit of text on the page is part of what search engines use when determining how relevant a page is for a given search (it's more complicated than that, of course).
3. Use simple, uncomplicated URLs. The URL is more commonly known as the web address. Use hyphens (not underscores to separate words) and always use descriptive words in your URLs-- no shorthand only you understand!
4. Never change your URLs. This can confuse search engines and lead to broken links on your website and on other sites linking back to your site.
6. Forgetting About Your Website’s Footer
What's a footer? In web design lingo, the footer refers to the section at the bottom of your webpages. In most cases, the footer will be exactly the same on every page throughout your site. Here’s what it might include:
Don't let this valuable real estate go to waste!
Links to your most important site pages
Contact information including business name, address, and phone number
Links to your social profiles (like Facebook and Twitter)
A newsletter sign up form
7. Creating Content But Not Creating Interesting Content
Content is blog posts, informational articles about dental health, videos of your office, testimonials from your patients. Your goal should be to regularly produce compelling, engaging, creative, and useful content. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Make a short video about new dental products you’re excited about.
Share testimonials from your most satisfied patients (with pictures!)
Use videos to show your office’s amenities, waiting room, and treatment areas
Encourage hygienists and front office staff to contribute to your blog with their experiences and expertise
What’s the point of all this content? Content keeps website visitors engaged and helps them connect with your practice. You'll get more new patient leads if your content is interesting!
Too many dentists simply produce content without thinking about how interesting and compelling it will be. Before you invest your time in producing content, ask yourself: why will this matter to my audience? If you don't have a good answer, it's probably not worth the time it will take to produce.
Great Examples of Dental Websites
Below are a few websites I've helped build for my clients. I try to practice what I preach, so check them out and let me know what you think!