Does your practice website include everything patients are looking for?
It might be time for a refresh
Walking through the front door of your practice for
the first time is your patients’ second impression of your
practice. Their first impression was your practice website.
Yes, some patients may have gone from phone call to
your front door without a stop on your website, but I’d
bet many more may have visited your website and never
called your practice. I’ve visited hundreds of dental office
websites over the years looking for a specialist when I
have a patient out of town with an emergency, trying
to help a patient find a new dentist when they move
out of town, and reviewing résumés of job applicants.
When was the last time you visited
the first impression of your practice?
I’ve compiled a list of best practices
that I have experienced, and you can
use this as a checklist to audit your
- Your practice has a website.
We must start here because
many dentists and practices
show up in search results with
only a Healthgrades listing or a Facebook page. It’s great to have a practice
presence on Facebook, but it’s not a good
substitute for a website.
- Phone number is prominently displayed at the
top of the page.
- Photos of the team. There should be pictures
of the team that include first name, office role
and a short bio. At the very least, there should
be a bio for the doctors that includes where they
went to school, hometown and some fun facts.
When I see a practice website that has photos of
the doctors only and not team members, I think
high staff turnover. You’ll be surprised at how
often new patients mention something they read
in your bio.
- Request an appointment or contact the office.
There needs to be an option for your audience
to contact the practice after hours, when they’re
most likely looking at your site. This can be a
simple form that comes back to the practice as an
email or a live chat box. The future is scheduling
appointments directly from your site and many vendors can make this happen, but this feature
has not been widely adopted yet because many
variables are difficult to control when you give
direct access to blocks of your schedule.
- FAQ and/or blog posts. Let’s face it, there’s a
list of common questions that your experienced
front office team members could rattle off from
memory. These questions should be answered on
your website. Blog posts provide an additional
opportunity to provide patient education in a
short format that allows patients to see your
- Map of office location. This is something you
will find on just about any business website and it
is insurance that patients can find your office for
the first time without frustration. Also, they may
be looking at your site on a smartphone and need
directions at that moment.
- Screen-friendly site. Speaking of smartphones,
your website design should easily morph between
the computer form factors of today: desktop,
tablet and phone. In the old days, this required
two versions of your website, but today’s website
templates are designed to adjust on the fly.
- Photos of the inside and outside of your office.
Make it easy for patients to find you the first time
and give them a preview of your office aesthetic.
Don’t want to post photos of your practice?
Maybe it’s time for a refresh.
- Access to new-patient forms. This should
already be part of every website, because it’s a
big time-saver and in the time of COVID keeps
the waiting room from being filled with people
holding clipboards. Many practice management
software systems allow direct integration of the
completed forms. If that sounds too complicated,
post PDFs of your paper forms and let patients
print them from home. It’s also a good idea
to share PDFs of postoperative instructions,
employment applications and a records request
- Connect to your social media. If this is part of
your practice marketing, you can connect these
services to your webpage.
Getting your website redesigned or starting from
scratch can be accomplished by one of many dental-specific
companies or the services of a local designer if you have
a clear vision for your site. Updating my practice website
was one of my many “COVID projects” and I found a
local designer who could do the entire project remotely.
We had a couple of phone calls and exchanged email
throughout the project.
I hope you are inspired to make improvements to
your practice website or starting from scratch on the
most critical ingredient for a great first impression.
Connect with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or comment on this article below.