The anatomy of a good dental practice website

According to recent research* it has been identified that internet users make up their minds about the quality of a website in the blink of an eye. To be precise, researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a webpage.

It’s not as straight-forward as having an attractive looking website; obviously the aesthetics are important, but how the website is designed and how easy it is to navigate and use determine whether or not your audience think your website is good.

Where the eye falls first

It is acknowledged that when we (consumers who read from left to right) visit a website the first place our eye goes is to the upper left hand corner, this is where we will pay the most attention. We are then drawn to the centre left hand side, followed by the bottom right hand corner.

A common design ‘rule’ is to have the company/practice logo to the upper left hand side, updates or offers in the centre section, below the upper left hand side and your call to action section/button in the top or bottom right hand corner as consumers read left to right.

General best practice for all websites

As we all become more reliant on the internet there are standard expectations for a professional website including:

  • Catering for all screen sizes and devices
  • Quick loading
  • Ease of navigation
  • Clean ‘professional’ design
  • Search box – for ease of finding content
  • Useful links at the footer
  • Clear focused homepage – not too many messages
  • Easy to find ‘calls to action’ (email, phone, enquiry forms)
  • Links to social networks
  • Ensure that the website is maintained and regularly updated

Websites are not brochures, they should be considered as a vehicle to help your audience and enable them to engage and interact with you and as such should be regularly updated and maintained.

The personal touch

Having bespoke, personalised imagery of the team, practice and patients on your website instantly helps your audience engage with you and feel more ‘safe’. This is of particular importance for dental practices vying for patient’s attention on-line. Showing existing and prospective patients real images of a welcoming, calm environment, with friendly-looking staff will help them move along that all important purchase-decision-process far better than stock images of models with a cheesy smile pretending to eat an apple!

Share don’t scare!

Be careful of how technical you get! Educating patients is of course vitally important, but make sure you describe dental terms in a way that patients can relate to. Please don’t frighten patients off with far too much technical detail and gory images!
Using patient case studies and testimonials is a great way to help your audience with their decision-making process. A patient reading what another patient has to say is a far greater marketing tool than anything you can say or write yourself.

Added value

First and foremost your website should be designed for your patients – not for you. What would a prospective patient want to know? What information would they find useful and important? How can you make their journey as easy as possible? What are the benefits of joining your practice and why should they choose you above your immediate competition.

The bonus of designing and maintaining a website that is genuinely useful and engaging for your patients is that Google will also be impressed. Google aims to provide the most relevant search results when patients look for services on the web and ensuring you tick all the boxes outline above in this article will give your website the best initial chance of ranking highly and getting more traffic (and thus more calls and enquiries) than your competitors.

If your website needs updating or you need some professional photographs taken of the team and practice, all Ident members receive 10% off all marketing services with Blue Horizons Marketing. Head over to their website for more information or call 01242 236600.

*Sources: BBC News, Nielsen, Business News, Conversion XL