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Website Design

Top 5 Must-have Dental Website Features to Not Scare Patients Away

The rules of the Internet and website design (dental website design, included) are constantly changing. And, in order to make a positive, unforgettable, absolutely perfect first-impression to potential new patients online, one today must have an incredible website.

Here are the top 5 must-have features every dental website should include for optimal success:

  1. Be mobile-friendly. 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.
  2. Be secure (HTTPS). Google recently made updates in Google Chrome so the browser now alerts visitors whenever a website is not It used to be that users would only be alerted if a website was not secure but was asking for sensitive information – like a credit card number. Now, if you have any type of form, but don’t have a secure website, the browser will alert visitors that the site isn’t secure. To take preventative measures from potentially scaring visitors away – make sure your website is HTTPS (instead of HTTP). Contact your website provider to find out how you can make the switch.
  3. Be compliant. You might have heard of recent lawsuits involving dental practices and the Americans with Disabilities Act (AwDA). To summarize what happened, although the AwDA doesn’t explicitly include websites, the argument can be made that the language and spirit of the law include webseite as a place of public accommodation. Due to this lack of clarity, courts have conflicting views. Unfortunately, this has resulted in recent lawsuits that claim individual dental practices are denying access to disabled patients and/or prospects because their websites are not AwDA accessible.

To ensure your website complies, implement an accessibility tab throughout every page of your website so when clicked, will take visitors to an accessible version of the webpage. Ask your website provider if they have this type of feature available to add to your website.

  1. Use video. 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!).
  2. Include strong calls-to-action on every page. 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.

For more ideas on must-have website features, download the whitepaper for additional best practices and the top “don’ts” of a good dental website.

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Practice Marketing

Google’s Latest Update and How It Impacts Dental Practices

As an online marketing provider for dentists, helping dental practices and their patients stay safe and secure online is one of our top priorities.

Each year Google makes countless updates to continually improve the searcher’s experience – for example, when people use search on a mobile device, the results show mobile-friendly sites over ones that are not – because Google knows a mobile-friendly website will provide a better search experience.

A similar line of thought is weaved into their latest update; that any non-HTTPS websites will show a warning to visitors immediately upon entering the website.

But before we get into the details, let’s go over the basics.

The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS Websites

HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) is the protocol over which data is exchanged between your browser and the website to which it’s connected. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP. When a website has HTTPS, all communications between browser and website are encrypted, making it much harder for third parties to interpret, alter, or delete information.

The New Google Update

It used to be that Google Chrome previously only marked HTTP pages as not secure if the pages had forms that asked for highly sensitive information like a password or credit card. Most recently, however, Chrome (version 62) now shows a not secure warning on all pages that have any type of data entry fields (even forms that simply ask for name and email), and all HTTP pages visited in Incognito (private) mode.

And, currently, when you’re in a Chrome browser, in the URL bar, you’ll either see the words “secure” in green or “not secure” in red to the left of the URL.

However, in the coming months, as HTTPS increasingly becomes the default for websites everywhere, Google will be removing the green “secure” text next to the URL and instead only call attention to websites when they are not secure.

Why the Update?

Google is in favor of better user experiences, which is why they are trying to make the Internet a more secure place. They have tried to enforce a more encrypted web for years – but this update is one of their most forceful moves yet.

Here’s a snippet from the Google Security Blog on the update:  

For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by gradually marking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.

What This Means for Dental Practices

No one likes to see a warning sign that a website isn’t secure. Even if the information that you are requesting on your site is benign (like name and email), a glaring security warning is enough to cause most visitors to close your page and move on to a secure site.

To ensure you don’t miss out on getting new patient inquiries or requests to your office, an SSL certificate (which makes your site HTTPS) is a recommended addition to your online security.

When you couple an HTTPS website with secure patient email and a HIPAA-compliant patient portal, you show patients that the safety of their data is a priority for your practice. Taking this extra step not only protects patients, it makes them feel good about your practice, which will help to create a foundation of loyal patients for years to come.

To learn more about keeping patient data safe and secure online in a HIPAA-compliant manner, call ProSites at (888) 932-3644 to talk with an Internet Marketing Advisor.

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Practice Marketing

What to Look For in a Dental Web Design Company

Like most big decisions, choosing a website company for your dental practice can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time.  Your website is the foundation of your online presence, so selecting the right dental website company is key. To help you get started with the selection process, we’ve outlined three critical components to address up front.

Expertise – This is foundational. Remember, there’s a reason beauty schools offer free haircuts (let’s just say these budding professionals are still mastering their craft).  While we’re not against giving people a chance, we are strongly suggesting not to roll the dice on an unknown entity when it comes to your dental website.

Your dental website company should have deep knowledge of both marketing and the dental industry itself. Dentistry isn’t e-commerce. You’re not selling widgets. You don’t treat clients; you treat patients – and this requires a different approach.

Design Capabilities – Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to website design than aesthetics. Effective websites employ a combination of art and science to deliver an ideal user experience. For optimum performance, define the types of designs you like while also identifying the goals of your website – is it to attract new patients? Focus on educating existing patients? Appear higher in search results? Note – this should be one of the first questions a potential provider asks, as it will guide the entire process.

Once your goals are defined, what’s next? Is it ok to use a website template? Should you invest in a custom site? The answer often depends on who you talk to, but for most dental practices, the sweet spot is somewhere in between. When designing a dental website, most dentists want a degree of custom personalization (i.e. ability to use their logo, photos of the team, etc.) but don’t necessarily need a website built from the ground up. Be wary of companies that try to make it sound like a 100% custom site is the only way to go, as they may just be trying to upsell you.

Content – It’s easy to get lost in the razzle dazzle of website design – from color palettes and font libraries to layout selections, button options, and more. The key is to not get so sidetracked in choosing images and color schemes that you neglect the actual dental website content.

A dental-specific website company gives you ultimate advantage in this area. Unless you have time to write web copy (which is an art of its own), it’s helpful to choose a company that provides both design and content. In addition to custom dental content, which is written specifically for your website, companies may also offer a library of pre-written core content that can be modified to reflect your practice’s personality and align with your offerings. The main benefit of core content is that it helps you save time and money – enabling you to build your online presence in days instead of weeks.

Is core content the same as duplicate content? Technically speaking, yes. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”[1] Essentially, this means that if your site has content that matches another site, it is considered duplicate.

Will my site be penalized if it has duplicate content? Google treats duplicate content differently based on intent.[2] Yes, it’s that smart!  If duplicate content is being used to be deceptive or manipulate search engine performance, it will negatively impact your ranking. Auto-generated content is an example of such manipulation; it is comprised of paragraphs of random text that include keywords, but don’t make sense. Another example of this type of manipulation is having multiple pages dedicated to the same topic with similar copy on one website. That said, if you’re not trying to game the system you can relax. Google notes that the presence of duplicate content alone is not grounds for action on their part[3]. The takeaway is that while custom content may be necessary in certain instances, the decision should be based on your specific practice goals and not the fear of being penalized.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Dental Website Company:

Hiring a new website company is a big decision; and one that can cost a lot of time and money. Make the right choice and ask the questions below to help suss out a legitimate dental website company:

  1. What services do you offer?
    1. Today, simply having a website is not enough. In addition to having a website, your practice will likely need a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and/or PPC and social media services. Depending on your needs, ask them what other services they provide so you can cut-down on third party companies.
  2. Can you provide examples and testimonials of your clients?
    1. Whether you’re getting a template website design or fully custom design, you’ll want to see examples of the company’s work. Testimonials and case studies are also helpful, as they allow you to see how their services have impacted other practices.
  3. Can I make updates to the website on my own?
    1. The ability to make minor edits and updates to your site is helpful, as it allows you to make changes on your own timeframe. Closed for an upcoming holiday? If you have access to an easy-to-use content management system, you can update your website in a few minutes. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a queue of other client requests. The importance of this feature really depends on your technological aptitude and how much control you want. Ask a potential provider to see their CMS and ensure it is easy-to-use.
  4. Is there a contract?
    1. Be wary of providers that require a lengthy website contract. Technology and online trends change at the speed of light, and if your provider can’t keep up, you don’t want to find yourself stuck in a contract.
  5. How can you ensure that I will stay up-to-date? Will I need to pay more for updates?
    1. Your website reflects your practice and ensuring it stays current comes down to more than convenience. A website that’s outdated in terms of appearance and/or functionality sends a message to visitors that your practice could be too.
    2. It’s also a good idea to discuss what keeping your website updated could potentially cost. Will future features be included or are they generally available for an additional fee?
  6. Will my website be mobile-friendly?
    1. Having a website that provides the same level of functionality across devices is essential because most patients will visit your site from their mobile phones. In the United States, over 70% of time spent online is done so from a mobile device[4]. If you’re website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s likely that your turning prospective patients away every day.
  7. What is included with my monthly hosting/software and support fees?
    1. Knowing what is and is not included in your monthly fees is important. Does it include access to tech support? If so, are you limited to the number of times you can reach out each month? How about domain management (i.e. ensuring your domain registration doesn’t lapse)? Digging into the details upfront will help avoid being caught off guard later.
  8. What design options are available?
    1. The right website company should be able to fit your needs, whether through a customizable template or a completely custom website. Steer clear of any provider that approaches web design with a one size fits all attitude.
  9. Is there a way I can track results from my website?
    1. There are many ways to measure your website ROI. From visits to time-on-page, to call tracking and conversion rates, make sure you understand the tools available to ultimately track your website’s success.

 Selecting a website company is an important decision that shouldn’t be rushed. Overall, you need to be confident in a provider’s abilities and comfortable working with them. Remember, you’re not just looking for a vendor – you’re searching for a partner that can bring your dental practice to the next level.

Questions? Reach out to a ProSites Internet Marketing Advisor at (888) 932-3644 to discuss the right website and online marketing options to help you meet your practice goals.

[1] https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en
[2] https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2721306
[3] https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en
[4] https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/
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Search Marketing

How Dental Practices Can Utilize Google Analytics

As a dentist, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t working when it comes to your dental practice marketing. Knowing this type of data helps you continually make improvements and learn more about your target audience.

Google Analytics (GA) is a FREE online tool that’s easy to install on your website (especially if you’re a ProSites member) and provides quality data needed to evaluate marketing activities. Use the guide below to see all the things you can do once you install Google Analytics on your dental website.

  1. Segment website traffic by acquisition channels to learn which type of traffic is most valuable to your practice. You can use GA to find out how people arrive on your website in one of five ways: direct, referral, social, organic and paid search.
  2. Direct: the number of visitors who entered your website URL directly into the browser
  3. Referral: visits initiated from another website outside of search engines or social media sites (e.g. if your website is listed on the local chamber of commerce website)
  4. Social: visitors who came to your website directly from social media sites (e.g. Facebook or Twitter)
  5. Organic: visitors who came to your website from search engine results like Google or Yahoo
  6. Paid: visitors who came to your website from PPC campaigns (e.g. Google AdWords)

Learning how people get to your website is key and provides insights into which types of campaigns are driving the most traffic to your website. For example, if you’re spending a lot on social media marketing but aren’t seeing any social traffic, it may be a sign that you need to update your strategy. Similarly, if paid traffic is up, but organic traffic is down, it may be wise to consider search engine optimization (SEO) for better rankings.

  1. Understand and document fluctuations in website traffic with annotations. Over time, you’ll likely notice changes in your website traffic patterns. This could be due to intentional changes, like getting a new website design or investing in SEO, or something less obvious, like Google changing an algorithm that greatly impacts your rankings and organic traffic.

As you make changes to your website, online marketing strategy, or learn about new Google updates, use annotations to note these updates. This way, when you go back to analyze your traffic, you can better pinpoint reasons for the fluctuations.

  1. Identify “normal” traffic patterns by comparing date ranges. As traffic fluctuates, you can identify what is “normal” by comparing traffic over periods of time.

For example, if your website averages 100 sessions per month in Q4 of any given year, but this year you saw 50 sessions a month in the same time period, this abnormality may be a clue that something caused a change. Alternatively, if your website saw 200 sessions per month after a year of consistent marketing activities, it’s an indication that those activities are working in your favor.

  1. Use goals to understand if visitors are taking a desired action on your website. The purpose of most websites is to gain business and initiate contact from visitors. Creating goals in GA helps you understand if visitors are taking desired actions on your website, such as filling out a form for more information. Once you set-up a goal (e.g. completing a form) and a visitor takes this action, GA will trigger a goal completion which can be interpreted as a lead.

This data is helpful in understanding how effective your website is at converting visitors to new patients. You’ll learn how many times a form is completed and the percentage of traffic that takes action on your site, all while segmenting these actions by acquisition channel. A low percentage of people acting on your website may signal the need for more calls-to-action, additional content, or different offers.

  1. Access data easily and regularly by creating reports to reference and monitor your overall performance.

For example, say you want to compare traffic at the end of each month to the previous month to understand how recent traffic is trending. To create the report, select the date range you wish to analyze (current month), and then select previous period. Once you get the view you wished to see, hit save (on the tool bar) and name the report.

You will then be able to find the saved report under customization in the left hand column.

Implementing GA into your marketing toolkit is a must, as these detailed analytics will help you understand your accountant marketing ROI. As you learn more about your website and its performance, you can make smarter, more informed decisions about your practice’s overall marketing strategy and priorities.

For more information on accountant marketing, download the free guide, How to Increase Retention and Lifetime Value of Patients, by filling out the form below.

Can’t view form? Click here.

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Website Design

Patient Experience: A New Competitive Battleground for Dentists

In today’s consumer-driven environment, it seems that everyone expects an “experience” and not just of the find-yourself variety (a.k.a. that gap year trip across Europe).  Perhaps it’s because busy schedules make time more valuable than ever, or that younger generations have simply become conditioned to expect more – the jury is still out on if realty TV or helicopter parents are to blame – either way the bar has been raised and patient experience is the new competitive battleground.

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Website Design

Reputation Management vs. Marketing

Any seasoned dentist probably hears the words reputation management and immediately thinks of that one 1-star Yelp review that seems to haunt them. A quick search through dental forums reveals the frustration that most dentists feel when speaking about reviews. Ironically, reputation management has developed a “bad rep” because small business owners don’t think about it until they’ve been hit with a scathing review.

However, most dentists overlook how to harness the power of their reviews through reputation marketing. While reputation management has become synonymous with PR crisis managementreputation marketing allows you to harness the power of online reviews to promote a positive image for your dental practice using three components:

  1. Monitoring: find what your patients are saying
  2. Acquisition: collecting reviews
  3. Amplification: using reviews in your marketing

Monitoring. This is a no-brainer; your dental practice needs to know what patients are saying about you. While there are several pricey automated solutions out there that can help you keep track, it is possible to find this information yourself for free by using Google alerts and claiming your online profiles on the top review sites for dentists. These include:

Pro-tip: use an email address that several people can access to claim the listing. This way, when you get an alert saying you have a new review, someone at your office can respond in a timely manner.

Acquisition. There are several things dentists can do to garner reviews responsibly. Most times, all you have to do is ask. Consider training your staff to ask patients how their appointment went before they leave your practice. This way, if they had a great experience, it’s an easy conversation to ask them to leave a review online. On the contrary, if they had a poor experience, your staff can address issues immediately rather than hearing about it online.

Amplification. This is where reputation management differs from reputation marketing. While reputation management focuses on suppressing negative reviews through monitoring and acquiring new reviews, reputation marketing focuses on amplifying positive reviews you already have. The easiest way to do this is by using ProSites’ free Reputation Marketing tool to help you collect and showcase positive reviews on your dental practice website. You can also include your best patient testimonials on practice marketing materials such emails, post cards, webpages, and social media.

Take charge of your online reputation and set yourself apart from competitors. To find out how ProSites can help you garner more positive patient reviews directly on your website, visit www.ProSites.com or call (888) 932-3644.

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Website Design

How to Create High-Converting Dental Practice Websites

Is your dental website helping you attract new patients from the Internet? If you answer is “no,” or “I’m not sure,” this article is for you.

Most companies create a website to simply share information about what they do, which is a step in the right direction, but your dental website cannot simply stop at informing people of the services you offer. It must be designed and written in such a way that helps visitors make the decision to reach out and initiate contact with your practice.

We’ve compiled the top dental website best-practices to help you learn which small changes to your website can have a big impact: 

Have a compelling design. Your online visitors will decide in less than three seconds if they want to stay or leave your website. Make sure people immediately see you as an up-to-date, valuable resource by having a professional design with images that resonate with your target audience. If you haven’t updated your website in the last few years, now may be the time to see if there’s a newer option that you should consider.

Write engaging content. Once visitors decide they want to stay on your website, you’ll want to provide them with educational content that serves several purposes:

    1. Educate visitors on the services you offer.
    2. Help visitors understand why you’re different and why they should choose you.
    3. Communicate your expertise and credentials.
    4. Utilize keywords to help your rankings online.

It’s important to come across as being very thoughtful and organized. Make sure your content is arranged in such a way where there’s one main topic per page.

Strong calls-to-action and forms. Every website page should end with a strong call-to-action to tell the visitor what you want them to do. Include an appointment request form or a contact us form to make it easy for potential patients to send you their information and initiate contact with your practice.

Keep forms short. If you have a form on your website, make sure to only ask the need-to-know questions to increase the likelihood of people completing the form. If you can, stick to the basics, such as name, phone number, and email.

Be mobile-friendly. More people are on smartphones today than ever before, and it’s critical for your website to appear correctly (and quickly) on a mobile device. Mobile-friendly websites have enlarged text, smaller images for quick load times, and thumb-friendly buttons to make it easy to navigate around the website.

For more information on website design best practices, download the FREE whitepaper, 10 Best Practices for Creating Great Dental Websites by filling out the form below. 

Or, talk to an Internet Marketing Advisor at (888) 932-3644. 

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