By Whiteboard Marketing
In today’s marketing world there are many ways to get the word out about your dental practice, but your website is the most important tool in your marketing arsenal. Your website helps educate current and prospective patients about you and your team, the procedures and services you offer, and unique qualities that set you apart from the competitor down the street.
While it is important to focus on attracting potential patients to your website, an even more vital component is converting them to new patients once they visit the site. This concept is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO), which means optimizing your website to ensure visitors are filling out forms or picking up the phone to call your office.
More than 55% of your website visitors will leave your website within 15 seconds. This means you have 15 seconds or less to get your visitor to convert. Having clear calls to action (CTAs) will help guide a patient to call, schedule, chat, contact or complete forms. The most effective CTAs are brightly colored buttons that stand out from or compliment your brand colors and provide easy-to-understand directions. The key to a successful CTA is creating the right wording, style, size and even the location of them on your pages.
2. Add a sticky navigation.
The navigation of a website is the menu at the top that lists the pages a person can visit on your site, such as the About or Services sections. Having a clear, easy to understand navigation allows site visitors to find the information they are looking for quickly and easily. While it is great to structure the navigation with an efficient layout, it is also important to build a “sticky navigation.” This means that the navigation bar scrolls up and down the page with the user as they move throughout the site. Sticky navigations are an essential component to a website because it allows users to quickly switch among pages without having to scroll back to the top of the page. Having a sticky header also means there is a CTA visible all the way through the site, so that it allows a person to convert at any time.
3. Add live, streaming patient reviews.
Our own client analytics show that the practice reviews page is the third most viewed page on dental websites, behind the home and team pages. Online patient reviews are an effective tool to reassure potential patients they will have a good experience when they visit your practice. While it is important to receive a consistent stream of reviews on Google, Facebook and other sites, your website also is a perfect platform to display your reviews. Promoting your reviews on your website allows patients to quickly and easily learn more about you. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate why your practice is the best fit for their dental needs.
A live reviews feed from your Google, Facebook and Healthgrades channels also impacts your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, because it views incoming reviews on your website as new content.
One of the most controversial topics of website design is about the use of “white space” on a website. “White space” is a term for any space that does not include content or images, even if the background is another color besides white. At Whiteboard Marketing, we recommend including a few sections of white space within your website. This separation of content and color is important to ensure that you are not overwhelming the user. In order to convert visitors to new patients, your site should guide the user’s eye to the content you want them to see. This also highlights the importance of having a clear CTA that stands out. If a website visitor is unable to differentiate between your content and the CTA, it will be more difficult to direct them what to do or what actions to take. If there is information that you feel is important to add to your website, our designers recommend adding it to a relevant spot on the homepage and into the navigation as a link. This ensures that the information does not take away from the main CTA.
As mentioned above, your practice’s team page is typically the second-most visited page on your website. Adding professional images of your office and team will help prospective patients get a feel for your practice culture and commitment to dental health. Make the investment to use real images of your practice rather than stock photography.
6. Embed Google Maps on your website with the ability to “click” for directions to your practice.
Adding a Google map to your website lets Google know that your practice is located where your practice Google My Business (GMB) profile says it is. This will help with your SEO. Be sure the address on your website matches your GMB profile. When you add clickable directions from the map, patients can get directions in a simple click from their desktop, tablet or phone.
We live in a society of immediacy where website visitors want to communicate, schedule, pay bills and more online on their time. By adding these “modernization” opportunities to your website, you will convert more new patients and keep visitors on your website longer.
- For prospective patients, consider adding features like online scheduling and live 24/7 chat.
- For new and current patients, consider adding online forms and online billing links.
- For all patients, make sure you have clickable contact information, including a click-to-call and email and Google Maps directions to your office.
The more assets your site can offer to patients, the better experience they will have when visiting your site. These resources add additional opportunities for you to convert a patient or collect contact information.
Google considers content to be “rich” if it is filled with unique information about valuable topics, news and materials. Rich content provides a deeper understanding about your practice that you cannot find anywhere else on the internet. Some of the things that you can provide to help develop more rich content are team biographies, photos of your team and practice, and all the services that you offer. Not only will this help visitors develop a better understanding of your practice, but it also will provide better SEO potential.
One of the most important resources you can have with any website is SEO. SEO is a way of optimizing your website to make search engines, such as Google, understand exactly what your website is providing to anyone searching for that type of content. When a person searches “dentist near me,” Google will know that your website fits that description, and it will include your website in the top of the search results. Search engines also will grade your website on a range of factors based on how well the website is built. The better the grade, or score, that your website receives, the higher you can be placed in search results. This provides your practice with the opportunity to be seen before your competitors.
10. Make sure your website is mobile responsive.
In today’s age of technology, phones and tablets have become a primary platform to search for information and view websites. That’s why Google switched to a “mobile-first” index in 2019. This means that your practice’s mobile website is being crawled and indexed before the desktop version of your site. In 2020, the number of users who viewed websites on mobile was the same amount of people who viewed it on desktop. As the use of these devices continues to increase, it is important to keep in mind how your website looks on a variety of different screens. If you do not have a mobile responsive website, there is a good chance that you are losing half of the potential patients who visit your website. Check to see if your website is mobile responsive.
There are many things that you can do to improve your practice website, but these 10 best practices are essential to include in your website update or redesign. It’s important to work with someone who fully understands the web design and development standards so they can ensure your website will be set up for success.
Written by Whiteboard Marketing team members Alex Francis, lead web developer, with input from Sara Wehrle, local SEO specialist, and Kristi Simone, CMO. Whiteboard Marketing is a dental practice marketing firm that partners with 200+ dentists nationwide to develop and implement practice marketing strategies that increase new patient acquisition and build brand awareness.