In this post, we go over the 10 biggest issues with web design for dentists, and what you can do to solve them.
When it comes to your dental practice, your website should be considered the online portal for your business. In many cases, it will be the first contact potential patients have with you and your practice, so you need to make sure that your virtual office provides the same great first impression that you and your employees strive to make in person.
Unfortunately, it's all too easy to fall prey to common mistakes inherent to dental website design, or in some cases, web design as a whole. But when you understand the potential issues you face, you have a much better chance of creating an online presence that adequately reflects your business and converts online visitors into real-world patients.
1. Overly busy layout and design
It can be tempting to cram a ton of stuff into a single page, but a clean, simple design that features a cohesive scheme of elements such as colors, fonts, and buttons, for example, will be far more appealing to the average viewer than a cacophony of graphic elements applied with little rhyme or reason.
This is not to say that a layout of block text is all you need. Visitors are bound to find this overly-minimalistic design choice intimidating. And some amount of visual interest is required to keep viewers from nodding off.
But you definitely want to avoid a cluttered layout and design that is only bound to confuse and discourage visitors to your website. A good way to avoid this problem is by finding websites you like and pinpointing the elements that make them beautiful, professional, and appealing.
2. Poor quality content
As a dentist, you have probably spent years mastering medical lingo. But you don't want to follow the pattern of websites for doctors that read like they were written by and for doctors. You're trying to appeal to a different audience and your content needs to reflect that.
Of course, poorly written content is even worse than text that is dry or technical. So if you decide to hire a writer or web designer to create content for your site, at least take the time to proofread before you post. And don't hesitate to ask family, friends, and even long-term patients for their opinions so that you can provide visitors with quality content.
3. Navigation that is not user-friendly
Although the online arena is still the virtual Wild West, and web design can be all over the map, savvy sites have developed some standards you might want to adhere to, especially when it comes to navigation.
For instance, you should probably place a toolbar directly below your business logo on your home page so that users can easily locate buttons for often-sought pages, such as:
- Photo Gallery
And you'll want to check in frequently to make sure that buttons and links are in good working order. A broken link can make it difficult for users to find necessary information, potentially resulting in lost business opportunities.
4. Hidden contact info
Even if you have an online presence, your business relies on real-world visits from patients. So you need to have your location and phone number prominently displayed on your home page, and ideally, in the same location (upper portion) of every page. In addition, you need to add buttons that make it easy to contact you with questions or to make appointments.
5. Non-professional design
Whether you're just starting out or you own and operate a thriving dental practice, you might not see the point in spending beaucoup bucks for a professional dental website when you have family members or friends that will do the job for free, or you can do it yourself.
But it's important to remember that you get what you pay for. A professional should have the training and experience necessary to lead you through the creation process, offer advice, and deliver an end product that will appropriately represent your business and appeal to customers. An amateur may not be able to offer the same services.
6. Lack of an on-site blog
An on-site blog is a must for your dental practice for two reasons. First, it is one of the best ways to incorporate SEO for dentists. If all you have is a static website with a few pages of content that rarely change, your opportunities for rankings your practices' website and getting good rankings online are severly limited.
But even beyond that, an on-site blog allows you to reach visitors on a personal level with content designed to offer advice, promote new products and services, discuss industry advances, and provide the added value that customers appreciate.
And you can use a blog to personalize your business when you and your employees write entries, establishing individual personalities and perspectives that are far more attractive to patients than a faceless corporate entity.
7. Failure to use SEO
Search engine optimization, and dental SEO in particular, is an integral part of your growth strategy in the online arena. Before your website can make an impression, people need to find it. And without SEO, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
8. Failure to link with social media
You can hardly discuss online marketing for dentists without bringing up social media. But it's important to keep in mind that you get out what you put in where social media platforms are concerned. So don't sign up for accounts with every outlet.
Instead, choose just a few that you feel will have the most impact for your business. When you link your website to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you have myriad opportunities for sharing, advertising, connecting with followers, and crafting an online community centered on your dental website.
9. Lack of membership prompt
Well-planned dentist websites should include calls to action, such as directives to read about new services or call for an appointment, just for example. But you should also include some kind of prompt for membership so that you can reach out to current and potential customers directly.
One of the best tactics in online marketing for doctors and dentists involves offering services, discounts, and promotions via newsletters and email blasts. So add a popup to your website that provides new visitors with the opportunity to sign up.
Well-planned dentist websites should include calls to action
Your website is associated with your business. So why on earth would you include advertisements for other businesses? If you're paying money to promote your site via search engine optimization and online marketing for healthcare professionals, you're not doing yourself any favors by placing ads on your website.
You may want to swap ads with affiliated businesses or promote other vendors you work with or admire, but your best bet here is to add some kind of blog roll. This way you can still plug other websites and trade services with business affiliates without the eyesore that ads often contribute to your site.