Last updated on June 23rd, 2022 at 02:26 pm
Approximately 70% of dentists now have a web presence, and the struggle to stand out online has become increasingly difficult. In this competitive market, the tiniest advantage in your services can be a huge differentiator between you and your competitors.
Research shows the average reader will decide whether to stay on a website or leave within the first 3 seconds. That’s it. So let us walk you through what gives great dental websites that edge above the rest.
Browse a specific category by clicking on any of the quick links below:
I. Basics of Top Dental Websites
II. Technical Foundations of a Solid Dental Website
III. Design Elements of Winning Dental Website
IV. The Virtual Waiting Room of a Great Dental Website
V. Marketing & Maintaining a Profitable Dental Website
I. The Basics of a Top Dental Website
1.1 Best Practices of a Great Dental Website
Here are 3 simple ways to catch your patients’ & potential patients’ attention and make a good impression with your site.
1) Show Them Who You Are
Meet the Team: Patients enjoy getting to know who they are entrusting their health care to prior to the initial consultation. After the homepage, the “Meet the Team” page will probably be the most visited page on your website. Show your patients who you are in pictures, words & even video.
Friendly photos: The right photos can immediately convey to the viewer that “the practice treats people just like me.” Make sure your photos reflect your patients’ age, ethnicity, location, and treatment needs.
- Photos of you at a community event–minus the white lab coat–and family photos with your spouse and children are good choices.
- A group photo of your team, as well as individual pictures of each team member, accompanied by a brief bio or personalized message to patients, is also helpful.
- Include just a few quality images throughout your website, combined with key information about your practice.
Tell them why you started your practice: Credentials are important, of course, but don’t just list qualifications. A personal, thoughtfully written bio tells a story about your background and professional experience, but also reveals why you got into the profession and how much you care about helping people. Your bio is your best opportunity to show yourself as a human being.
Let your patients speak about you too: Highlight patient testimonials in prominent locations throughout your website. Patient reviews are powerful, so make it easy for visitors to see them.
2) Show Them What You Are
Demonstrate your expertise.
Videos: Videos and pictures of procedures offer the chance to demonstrate your skills and services. Don’t just auto-play your videos as it could scare off potential patients. Give visitors the option to press “Play” when they enter your website instead of automatically playing a video with sound.
Awards: Awards and recognition elevate patients’ confidence in your abilities, so don’t be afraid to include them on your website.
Before and After Pictures: Show potential patients real examples of your work with professional before-and-after photos.
A good website makes all the difference when it comes to attracting new patients, but make sure it shows the human side of your practice. When you give patients an opportunity to relate to you as a person, it instills trust, confidence in your abilities, and creates a personal connection.
3) Show Them Where You Are
Patients are more likely to choose your practice if they can see it first. Photos with captions or videos both work. The areas most patients want to see are:
- Contact information
- Practice expertise
- Patient reception area, including front-desk and waiting room
- Procedure rooms
- State of the art equipment
See 14 examples of our best dental websites to inspire you in the creation of your own.
1.2 Dental Website Cost
The cost for a dental website can be anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000/year. There are two main factors in determining the cost of a website: size and complexity. You don’t always need to have a complex site to provide a robust resource for your target audience. Be sure to make a prioritized list of what is most important for you to provide your patients on your dental website. By having a list, you know what adjustments you need to stay within your target budget.
We always recommend looking for a partner who also specializes in your needs. Whether its understanding accessibility requirements for dental practices or inexpensive options for plug-in tools designed to fit your practice, you will save hundred and have a top dental website for your patient experience.
II. Technical Foundations of a Solid Dental Website
2.1 Dental Domain Name
Selecting a domain name is the first step to your online experience. You want to ensure that it is something easy for your patients to remember as well as something that reflects your dental office. As a best practice, we recommend using something akin or a shortened version of your business name. You have to pay for and renew your domain name every year (or every few years depending on the package you purchase). Choosing the right partner can eliminate the headache of trying to remember this step.
2.2 Dental Website Hosting
Once you have a domain name, you need to pay to have your website “hosted”. This means buying space for your dental website to live on the internet. Typically, you can purchase your domain name and hosting at the same time. Although hosting is typically paid for as a monthly fee/rate.
There are many different options when it comes to partnering with a provider to build your website. You can go with a simple out-of-the-box website, a semi-custom style website, or even a fully customized website with personalized widgets just for you.
If you prefer a little DIY, a templated website might be the right way to go for your practice. It can save you money, but also keep in mind what the hidden costs might be for all of the technical details of having a website: hosting, domain registration and annual upkeep, mobile optimization, and site speed are just a few things that might have a bit of a learning curve.
Also make sure you consider more than just the website itself when choosing a dental partner. Make sure your team offers good support & can help you get the most out of your website. A website is only helpful if it gets seen, converts prospective patients into customers and builds ongoing relationships with your current customers.
2.3 Mobile Friendliness
With over half of all website traffic coming from a smartphone or mobile device, having a mobile-friendly or responsive website is key. This ensures your visitors have a great viewing experience across any device. Plus, mobile-friendly websites rank higher on mobile search results – giving you even more of a reason to have a responsive design.All the websites should have a responsive design, meaning they will resize automatically to fit any screen size to ensure a flawless viewing experience.
Why a mobile website is a must:
- 47% of smartphone owners rely on their phones to find information about products and services.
- 61% of people have a better opinion of a company when they offer an enjoyable mobile experience.
- 61% of mobile users who find your practice through mobile search end up calling the practice.
- If a mobile user is not happy with your mobile website, 40% of the time they will visit a competitor’s website instead.
- 9 out of 10 mobile searches result in a visit to the practice.
2.4 Dental Site Speed
People will not wait more than 3-5 seconds for a page to load. Test your dental website to ensure its highly optimized and responsive. Their loading times will ensure a great user experience on the website. 74% of consumers will wait 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site.
2.5 Dentist Site Security (HTTPS)
Having a secure website is a must in today’s world. Search engines are now prioritizing secure dental websites in their search results, which means having your site on https is necessary to get top rankings for your dental website. A secure website is the standard when adding online payment options as well, which is quickly becoming the “norm” also. Don’t overlook this important step when making website decisions.
2.6 Accessibility (ADA) & HIPAA Compliance
Make sure that your dental practice’s website is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA) as well as HIPAA. To mitigate risk and to ensure current and prospective dental patients have the best dentist website experience possible, offer accessibility options.
Sadly, there are many people waiting to jump on dental practices who aren’t in compliance, even if it’s out of ignorance. This is another one of those best practices that a strong website partner can help navigate.
III. Design Elements of a Winning Dental Website
3.1 Dental Branding
When launching or re-launching your website, the key to remember is that a brand is not just a logo or a color scheme. A brand should represent your personality and encourage clients to call. If success in today’s online marketing world is the goal, make sure to have a uniquely branded web presence that allows clients to get to know you while showing them a clear path to your physical door. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you create your pages:
- Keep the most important information at the top of the page
- Use headers to break out different sections
- Implement the same structure between pages for consistency
- Break up large chunks of text with images and headers for readability
1) Make Design a Priority
Take some time to think about the image you want the site to project. Chances are that competence and professionalism are high on the list of things you want to convey. Extravagant animations, an excessive amount of pictures, and cluttered looking webpages are unlikely to help you with that. Keep it simple and avoid anything that might distract visitors from the intent of your page.
Mind your palette! Poor color choices can send the wrong message or make a site look unprofessional, while over-reliance on flashy features can convey lack of substance.
2) Tailor Your Style
A great way to get a working concept for a practice website is to imagine what your office lobby space might look like if you were to extend it into the virtual world. Note the layout and colors that suit your brand.
Keeping things simple does not mean making your website drab or dull. It means reflecting your business positively and accurately without distractions. The emphasis should be on important aspects of your services. The design should engage your visitors while representing your brand.
3) Function Over Form
You can have the most elegant office front on the street, but if nobody can find the door you aren’t going to get any patients. It’s the same with your website. It doesn’t matter how pretty it is if people can’t find their way around.
Clear, focused webpages and calls to action are vital to turning your web browsers into patients.
3.2 Custom Dental Websites vs Templates
You can either save time and money by choosing from a pre-designed dental website (we have over 200 to look at). Your website should include core features such as pages of services, blog posts, educational videos, contact forms, and more. Plus, you should be able to make edits (like adding photos or changing text) in seconds with an easy-to-use website editor. This option is great to get up and running quickly and start building your online presence.
Are you looking to create a unique, recognizable brand? No problem. You can partner to create a custom wireframe and fully custom dental website design that gives your visitors and potential patients an unforgettably unique first impression. This process definitely takes a little longer as you define the looks and styles you like to make your dream website come to life.
Whether you have a specific vision in mind, or want to leave it to your partner’s imaginations (while showing you updates along the way, of course), you can achieve a more in-depth website experience. This option might be good if you support a larger dental office with multiple doctors/locations or dental specialties with extensive patient experiences.
3.3 Dentistry Website Templates
Selecting the right template for your dental practice website can be challenging. There are so many template options. Today, the online patient experience is an extension of your dental office so you need to find something that a great reflection. Patients expect technology to include online appointment requests, virtual consult capabilities, educational videos and form submissions. They’re looking for an entire waiting room experience without the wait.
Not only do you need a great website, but you need one that comes with dental marketing tools, not simply basic web pages. Many basic templates will allow widgets to be installed on their pages, but that also takes more of your time investing in basic coding to know how to make your website work with the widget. Look for templates that offer integrated features so you save time getting your website up and running.
3.4 CTAs (Calls-to-Action) & Conversion Optimization
Make sure visitors know what you want them to do throughout the website. Make sure every page has relevant calls-to-action that ultimately help patients contact your practice or keep learning more.
Call-to-action examples include having a form at the top and bottom of each page that enables patients to request an appointment with your practice, complete a questionnaire or survey, or watch a video.
IV. The Virtual Waiting Room of a Great Dental Website
4.1 Online Dental Forms
It’s more important than ever to offer patients the ability to fill out forms prior to their appointments. By eliminating paper forms, patients no longer need to arrive early and fill out forms in the waiting room, and your staff can automate processing of the forms, making them more efficient and able to spend time on revenue generating tasks.
Online forms should store directly into your practice management system for you to review in advance, speeding up patient triage. You can’t use just any form submission tool either! Make sure your online form provider is HIPAA-Compliant so you minimize any risk factors.
Also, consider including a contact form, which has been shown to increase new patient opportunities by 6% each month. This can be a simple form that can be automated through a patient communication tool and connect back with the patient in their preferred method of communication – email, text, phone call.
4.2 Patient Reviews
As you set up your dental website marketing, you want to include as much social proof as you can, as this provides your dental practice with credibility. By highlighting how much others love your services, you help establish trust with new patients before they even make an appointment. Reach out to your longtime clients and ask if they’d be willing to write a testimonial to help support your dental website marketing.
How online reviews help:
- 90% of consumers say their choices in contracted services are influenced by online reviews.
- 85% of people say they are more likely to hire services when they can find online reviews about them.
- 85% of people research services online before they decide to make a purchase or hire someone.
- 76% of people consider online reviews when deciding which local business to use.
- 70% of people who read online reviews share them with friends, family, and colleagues.
Pro Tip: You can add these individually as design elements on important pages, and create a dedicated Testimonials Page to house a full list of all your reviews!
4.3 Dental Website Videos
Video is one of the best ways to engage with visitors on your website. Whether you’re showcasing a video testimonial from a happy patient or one that explains a complex procedure in easy-to-understand terms, use video to keep visitors on your website longer (which can also improve your search rankings!).
Video should include you, your office staff, your location and your waiting room to attract new patients and show off the highlights of your office. As you add these to your website, don’t forget to add the alt text to each image to help with your SEO or search rankings. This alt text should clearly show what the video is, along with your practice name and location.
4.4 Dental Recalls & Reminders
Sending email or text appointment reminders is a simple way to show that you respect your patients’ time, and it’s a proven way to increase patient satisfaction! In a Hanover Research study, 80% of surveyed dental patients say they prefer a text message appointment reminder to a phone call.
Text messages also have an average response time of 90 seconds, making them a quick way to confirm appointments without wasting your staff’s time. Today, everyone is inundated with tasks, meetings, and never-ending chores. Appointment reminders simplify the process of juggling a busy schedule, and dental offices need to ensure they’re taking this easy step to minimize stress for their patients.
You can generate a 29% reduction in no-show appointments and cancellations while you create efficiencies in your front office staff by automating appointment confirmations. Automation can save 20-40 hours per month on confirming appointments via phone. As it’s been harder to staff front offices, these types of patient communication tools can be effective in helping to solve those issues.
Another great use for automating your patient communications is mass, yet personal communication. You can segment groups of patients and send messages out while still giving them that personal touch using their name. It is 7X more expensive to acquire new patients than keep existing ones so having regular communication is necessary.
Be sure to reach out to your patients using small touches: an automated Thank You email or text after their appointment, a Happy Birthday note, or post-appointment information.
4.5 Virtual Dental Consultation
Recent events have created a rise in telemedicine and video conferencing with patients. Though the regulations vary by state, dentists may want to explore whether virtual consultations are a viable option for their dental practice.
Being able to immediately engage with patients about any pain or complications they’re experiencing and determine if an in-person appointment is warranted can be a great patient relationship builder.
There are a few hoops to jump through to ensure compliance with both state and federal regulations, but this is a possibility to reduce face-to-face interactions while still helping patients in need.
40% of patients say that virtual care access is now a highly important factor when selecting a provider. Having a virtual consult can be a deciding factor in acquiring new patients and delighting current ones.
4.6 Online Dental Payments
There are so many payment options available that you want to make it fast and convenient for your patients to pay their bills. Secure online patient payments make it simple to pay right at your office on the way out the front door. It even makes it simple the moment they open their mail so as not to forget and have to be given a reminder call, wasting precious front office time.
As with all things, make sure that you offer your patients a HIPAA compliant and secure payment solution. The right solution will even integrate with your practice management system so the patient’s records are always up-to-date.
4.7 Online Dental Appointment Scheduling
43% of patients prefer to book appointments online. A virtual waiting room allows you to be “open” when your patients are ready to book whether that’s early in the morning, in the middle of the day, or late at night. Your practice may have a system that allows your patients to schedule, cancel and reschedule appointments for future dates online. This is a great service that can make filling the appointment calendar easier for both you and your patients.
Just remember to create settings that prohibit cancellations and rescheduling within 72 hours of the initial appointment. Cancellations within that 72-hour window will have to occur over the phone. This habit will prevent an ever-fluctuating calendar and keep your office flowing smoothly.
Last minute cancellations should always be handled with a conversation over the phone. It is a great opportunity to enhance your practice’s personal engagement and service with a smile attitude.
V. Marketing & Maintaining a Profitable Dental Website
While there are 100 different ways to market your dental website on the internet, it all starts with the content that you have on your site. Creating content that resonates with your prospective patients and keeping it up to date are two of the most important activities you can do to both drive visitors and keep them engaged with your practice and brand.
5.1 Dental Website Copy
Throughout your site you have pages that describe what you do. Stick to these best practices to lay a solid groundwork for your dental copy.
Write about everything you offer, your philosophy as well as why customers love coming to you. Including these three points throughout your site will help your ideal patients make the decision to choose your practice over other ones.
Keep your prospective patient in mind. Writing with a clear picture in your head of who will be reading the page will help you better answer the questions & meet the needs of your prospective or even current patient.
Make sure your fonts are all at least size 11. Avoid “fancy” fonts like cursive or script that can decrease readability.
See 10 Rules for Writing Effective Dental Website Copy that Gets New Patients for other important content copy tips.
Pro Tip: If you’re working with a marketing industry expert like ProSites, we will monitor your click through rates and website traffic to ensure that your patients are engaging with your content.
5.2 Dental Blogging
Blog posts are an effective way to display your expertise and connect with existing and potential patients, so write about topics that they’ll be interested in. Answering common dental questions is also a powerful way to drive search traffic and attract your ideal patient.
Utilize bullet points and headings to help patients skim and scan your page, so they can easily find the information they want. The ideal webpage is broken up into smaller paragraphs and maximizes the use of visual space with bulleted or numbered lists.
When it comes to your dental blog content, it’s quality, not necessarily quantity – that makes a blog post effective in attracting new visitors.
Adding video to popular posts or to posts that require more of a visual explanation can be a great way to stand out from the crowd. Embedding these videos from YouTube will also give you added reach & drive potential traffic from the US’s 2nd largest search engine.
As you create your content, do not forget to add meta descriptions. A meta description is a snippet of HTML that displays on search results, and it should contain the main point of your page as well as something to get the searcher to click through to your site.
Creating an effective meta description is more of an art than a science. Basically, they are limited to 155 characters and should contain a hook or headline that encourages your patients to click on your page. To determine whether a meta description is working effectively, be sure to look at your click through rates (CTR). If no one is clicking on your links, you may want to test another version.
See our dental blogging 101 guide to get expert recommendations on improving your blog SEO, to get dental blog ideas & to learn how to manage your time to make it all work.
5.3 Keeping your dental site up to date
Life fact: things constantly change. And that definitely applies to technology. The fast-paced changes can keep you reeling. Trying to keep up to date with changes to your services, the latest design and code changes, or Google’s ranking algorithm is the most challenging part.
Simple updates to your website can increase the amount of new patient referrals your online presence generates. Keep things like your website’s security, the relevance & accuracy of the information & the functionality of site’s tools on the top of your priority list to check regularly that they’re still working for you.
You don’t want to fall behind or you may lose your place in the search engine rankings, struggle to find new patients, or even lose current patients by not having the online tools they want in their dental experience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) needs to be an essential part of your business. It helps you rank on the first page of Google for essential phrases your prospective patients are looking for. Being on the first page for terms like “dentist in [your area]” brings in consistent visitors and helps you steadily book new appointments, but there are a number of hurdles to jump through before your site can make the first page.
See: Dental SEO Guide
Continually updating your website is one of the most important requirements from an SEO standpoint. Your average website visitor will want to see that your practice is regularly adding new blog posts and other content. Google also looks at how often you make changes to your website when deciding where to rank you. If others are updating their content and your becomes outdated, they’re likely to give them better rankings than you.
A good rule of thumb is to add at least one new blog or product page a month while ensuring that each new page has over 500 words of content. Service pages may contain less content than informational blog posts. Look at the top websites ranking in Google for what you’re writing about to determine the optimal length. Generally speaking, you’ll want to write more than the average of the top 3 pages, but seek first to do a better job answering the intent of the searcher.
Dental website marketing services like those from ProSites can create & update this content for you if you don’t have the resources or time internally, so evaluate whether you want to outsource your marketing efforts!