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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

Measurement: The Other ’M’ Word – Part 2

With your goals and patient lifetime value (LTV) in-hand, you’re ready to add some meat to your strategy in the form of marketing tactics. (Not sure about your goals and wondering what LTV is? Review part 1.)

This is where the rubber meets the road as they say, and there are more possibilities than options at Starbucks. There’s search engine optimization (SEO), social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to name a few), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and of course, everything that goes into ensuring your website is designed for conversion (turning online visitors into your new patients). It can be overwhelming but don’t lose sight of the outcome you’re aiming to achieve. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get there.

Your goal will determine what you measure and which metrics make sense. For example, if your goal is to bring in X number of new patients per month, you need to first understand the activities and touchpoints that lead to a new patient and measure their effectiveness. Keep in mind that there is more than one metric for every marketing goal, so it’s important to look at the complete picture.

Your practice website is the cornerstone of your online presence, which makes it a metrics hub and a great place to start. While it is interesting to track the number of visitors your website gets, there are more telling measurements that better indicate its performance.

Additional website analytics that can help to fill in the blanks include:

• Average session duration or time on site – This is the average length of time a user spends on your site, or on a specific page. This stat can reveal a lot about how visitors are engaging with your website. For example, if the average visitor spends fifteen minutes on your website, and twelve of those minutes are on a page dedicated to hygiene tips, that’s a good indicator that your audience is interested in that topic. Use this information to your advantage by writing a blog and/or social media posts that provide additional tips and facts.

• Traffic sources – This information details where visitors are coming from and is vital to understanding how your overall marketing efforts are faring. Are visitors coming directly from your Facebook page? How about specific pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements versus direct traffic (i.e. when a visitor types your web address directly into the search bar)? Are visitors coming from review sites, such as Yelp? Knowing which sources generate the most site visitors is critical to gauging which online marketing efforts are working, and which need to be revisited.

• Bounce rate – This refers to a single-page session on your website (i.e. the number of visitors who arrive and then immediately leave a page).  Bounce rate can be one of the most revealing website statistics and is a great user experience indicator. For example, 1,500 visitors at first glance might appear to be great, but if a deeper look uncovers a 99% bounce rate chances are you have a usability issue on your hands. In today’s fast-paced culture, people don’t give poor websites a second look. So, if your bounce rate shows a high percentage of visitors are leaving after spending little or no time on a page, ensure that it’s designed to provide the best user experience possible.

Online marketing is like a game of Jenga – each piece impacts another, and it’s virtually impossible to alter one component in isolation. If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, this is also where an online dental marketing provider can be invaluable.

Reach out to a ProSites Internet Marketing Advisor today at (888) 932-3644 to see how we can help you meet your goals.

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Website Design

What Are The Top 3 Dental Website Design Best Practices? Find Out.

More than ever before, information about healthcare is going digital. According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year.

Many dentists want to improve their web presence, but the process of going about it can be overwhelming. Not to worry. We’ve identified the Top 3 Best Practices for making your dental website your best marketing tool.

Interested in downloading the complete guide to dental website best practices now? Download the free guide, 10 Best Practices for Creating Great Dental Websites here.

No. 1: Select Photos that Speak to Your Audience

Photos speak louder than words. More than any other messaging, the right photos can immediately convey to the viewer that “the practice treats people just like me.” If you’re using a generic stock photo, you may be missing an opportunity to connect with potential and existing patients.

For example, a practice located in New York City may opt for a photo that incorporates city landmarks or a scene in a crowded coffee shop. An office in Colorado would do better to incorporate mountains in the background. Patients have come to expect personalized, authentic marketing, and they interpret carefully curated images as an indication that the practice will treat them as an individual as well.

Before choosing any old stock photo, consider your target market. Are you speaking to parents of urban teenagers who need braces? Does your practice specialize in aesthetic dentistry for the patient who has everything? It can take hours of searching to find the right stock photo, but the payoff is well worth it.

Takeaway: Make sure your photos reflect your patients’ age, ethnicity, location, and treatment needs.

No. 2: Create a Site that Converts

You’ll often hear designers talk about conversion – the art and science of prompting a website visitor to take action. At its most literal, conversion means making a sale or turning a dental website visitor into a patient.

Before starting the web design process, you should first take a good hard look at what you want to accomplish by presenting yourself online. What’s the action you want your prospective or existing patients to take when they visit your dental website?

“Usually, we want the patient to go to the contact page and contact the doctor, whether by phone, email or a custom form. That’s the call to action,” says ProSites Design Director Joseph Smith.

Some dentists prefer a contact form that routes to the office staff to follow up. Other practices prefer real-time phone calls so they can answer patient questions and schedule appointments on the spot. Once you define your call to action, you can then build your website to meet those goals.

Takeaway: By establishing your goals upfront and designing specific to your needs, you can create a site that converts.

No. 3: Access Is Everything: Go Mobile

These days, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers. In order to retain the traffic you’ve attracted, your site needs to look good on any browser and any device. Designers call this responsive design.

“Consumers, particularly on mobile devices, now have higher expectations than ever before – they want everything right, and they want everything right away,” says Google’s official blog. “This requires that marketers answer their needs in the moment, whenever and wherever they are.”

Responsive design is a must have. It’s so valuable because it can “interpret” the device in use and automatically scale to the user’s smartphone (iPhones, Androids), laptop, desktop, or tablet.

Mobile-friendly design is also important if you want to rank well in Google searches.

Takeaway: Your website should function just as well on a smartphone as a computer. Incorporate responsive design for the best user experience and Google ranking.

Want to know more?  We’ve put together a free e-book that details the Top 10 Best Design Practices. The tips above just scratch the surface of how to create a site that wins patients. Download the full report today by filling out the form below!

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Practice Marketing

Patient Education – New Dental Content!

It’s no secret that your website is a powerful marketing tool for your practice. In addition to an outstanding design, content is one of the most important aspects of an effective website. By providing valuable, high-quality content, you can showcase your expertise, improve your website’s performance, and ultimately encourage more prospective patients to schedule an appointment with your practice.

One of the greatest advantages of being a ProSites member is that you gain access to our ever-growing library of customizable, patient-focused content. Over the past few months, we’ve added more than one hundred, professionally written pages of dental content covering a wide range of topics, such as:

• Cleanings & Prevention • Periodontics
• Cosmetic Dentistry • Endodontics
• Periodontal Disease • Dental Anxiety and Fear
• Restorations • Sedation Dentistry
• Orthodontics • Laser Dentistry
• Prosthodontics • Dental Emergencies
• Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery • Pediatric Dentistry
• Surgical Instructions • and more…

Periodically updating and adding fresh content to your website can deliver numerous benefits. Your viewers will appreciate the relevant, up-to-date information that your website provides, and it can also boost your website’s optimization for increased rankings on the search engines.

Have ideas or requests for new patient-education content? We’d love to hear your suggestions! Please email your suggestions to feedback@prosites.com.

To explore the new pages of dental content, log-in to your ProSites website and click the “Edit” icon for your Procedures (services) page.  The full list of content options are shown towards the bottom of the edit page.

*Please note: ProSites content is protected under U.S. and International copyright laws and is available exclusively to ProSites members.

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