By Dr. Greg Grillo
That’s how many websites float in cyberspace, and about
380 new sites are created every minute
. In California alone, there are over 20,000 dentists and specialists. Their websites fit into that number, too.
Even if there are only ten offices in your region, you don’t want to end up at the bottom of the pile. In the online world, that’s a burial. But even if we conquer the “dentist near me” search on a new patient’s phone, there’s no guarantee they’ll end up in our chair.
In a competitive world full of clicks and swipes, we’re lucky to command
8 seconds of a web visitor’s attention
before they’re gone. They might like our Google star rating, but a poor website experience can lead them to the next listing. Worse,
75% of a user’s perception about the credibility of a typical business
is based on website design. Even if our practices don’t take a complete hit, our online image sets a tone for our brand.
A delicate mix of design, content, and user experience elements impact what a potential patient decides to do once they land on our websites. All websites need intentional design, but consider these five critical tricks for our high-trust profession:
1. Keep Content Current
It might not seem like a big deal if last month’s expired new patient special still pops up on the home page, but patients may wonder what else we’ve let slip. Outdated information sends subtle cues that may undermine trust. Review each page of your dental website and send updates to your webmaster at least quarterly. Make sure to:
Keep an active blog with fresh articles or videos.
Update staff photos and bios.
Change expired announcements.
2. Don’t Ignore Your Bio Page
If you’re hiring a carpet cleaner, you probably don’t spend a lot of time reading the team bio. But patients trust us in their mouths with delicate procedures, and
60% of people report anxiety
about what we do. The
or “Meet the Doctor” page is generally the most visited page after the home page. Patients don’t wait to find out if they like, trust, and will make an appointment to see us.
Authentically explain why you chose dentistry.
Display a professional, friendly headshot, and ditch the clinical gown.
Share your interests, commitments, and values.
Clarify your qualifications, but don’t smother readers with academics and organizations.
3. Make Conversions Easy
It’s satisfying to attract 300 unique site visitors last month, but it doesn’t mean much if we only saw five new patients. A good practice website gives visitors a simple way to make an appointment. It also hooks interested visitors who may need a little nurturing before they commit to care. The best websites in every industry feature
Call To Action
prompts to move visitors to the next step.
Add online appointment scheduling to your website.
Use buttons with clear fonts that lead to a contact form or booking.
Include assessments or quizzes in articles or service pages.
4. Embed Your Brand Everywhere
As dentists, we may think branding belongs to tech companies and retailers. But patients should see our brand whenever they interact with our practice, and our dental website anchors that experience. Brand is your story, and it’s told in a hundred different ways. But on your website, consider:
carry an emotional punch. Give thought to your scheme and what your colors “say.”
Look at your words and messaging. Make sure you don’t sound like every other dental office. What makes your brand unique?
Use imagery that reflects target audiences. If you serve families, use a family photo in your bio.
Don’t use small fonts with poor contrast against background colors. Can Baby Boomers read your pages without straining?
5. Include Social Proof
Online reviews affect consumer decisions at Amazon, Tripadvisor, and Airbnb. But reviews–especially on Google and Facebook–dramatically influence patients’ choices. According to
70% of patients use reviews
as the first step towards choosing a new doctor, and they often trust them as much as family and friends. But we can extend social proof’s influence by using it on our websites:
Use testimonials directly on your website, but sprinkle them throughout your pages. Dedicated testimonial pages tend to generate minimal traffic.
Include before and after photos of your favorite cases.
Consider simple testimonial videos from several patients. Video also keeps visitors on your site longer, and longer time-on-site helps SEO.
Adding The Secret Sauce To Your Dental Websites
Behind the scenes, we constantly need integration, analysis, and adjustment. A good strategy includes monitoring what we see while relying on the pros to keep the nuts and bolts together. Some keys they understand include:
Load times affect conversions and user experience. Amazon once estimated that a
on their website could cost them $1.6 billion in sales. We’re not Amazon, but we’re serving the same consumers, and their expectations have intensified over the years.
83% of people who use the internet
do so from a mobile device. Our websites must be responsive to all devices. While Baby Boomers are more likely to access the internet from laptops, Millennials and Gen X gravitate towards smartphones.
Website hierarchy contributes to a visitor’s perception of our pages. The organization of menus, text boxes, images, and more can affect everything from SEO to the following action a visitor takes.
Almost anyone can build a website with today’s DIY options. But the complex psychology that connects us to our patients runs much deeper. With just a little awareness and the right help, our dental websites can tell our story, draw in new patients, and keep patients engaged between appointments.