We all know having a website is important for any business. But putting your name, logo and contact information on a webpage is just the beginning.
Search engines are designed to answer specific queries that can be tied directly to the growth of your practice. And if you want your name to rise to the top of the search results when patients enter “dentists near me,” it is important that your website is built for success.
Here are five ways you can take your practice website to the next level and draw in more patients.
Allow patients to make appointments online
According to a survey by National Research Corporation Health, 80% of consumers would switch healthcare providers based on convenience factors alone. What’s more, 43% of consumers prefer to make their appointments online. So, meet on-the-go patients where they are and consider adding the ability to schedule appointments from their computer or mobile device.
Freeing up your phone lines will offer significant benefits to both your potential patients and staff. According to a recent survey, half of patients who call to make appointments are unable to do so on the first try. In addition, 52.2% of practices in another survey state they spend more than 10 hours a week scheduling and confirming appointments via phone and email.
An appointment software can be a great way to alleviate both issues, all while streamlining the entire scheduling process. Here are a few of the most popular, along with the pros and cons of each.
Have clear calls to action
Think about what you want your potential patient to accomplish on your website. Is it to contact your practice? Make an appointment? Visit your social media pages? Those goals are your website’s calls-to-action, so you want to make sure they are easy to find and quick to accomplish.
For instance, if you are using a button that will link to an appointment scheduler, use copy with active verbs such as “Book Your Appointment” or “Schedule Your Visit” to encourage action. Make sure the button color stands out, too—use contrasting colors so they are hard to miss!
And when it comes to webpage copy, size does matter. Standard webpage copy should start at 16px (or about the size of what you are reading now) so it is easy to read on desktop or mobile. Your calls-to-action should be a larger font size than that, but don’t make it obscenely larger: most website users are put off by threateningly large copy sizes.
Make sure your design is mobile-friendly
In 2011, 35% of Americans had a smartphone. In just around 10 years, that number has skyrocketed to more than 81%. With so many people accessing the internet on-the-go, your website needs to look just as good on a smartphone screen as it does on desktop computer.
To gauge your website’s mobile friendliness, use this tool from Google to get started. If you don’t like what you see, check with your website provider that they offer a template for responsive design. This means that your website content will adjust to the size of the screen.
Otherwise, you can make your website more mobile-friendly by reducing the amount of copy, clearly displaying your calls-to-action and simplifying your menus.
Place your contact information front and center
When a potential patient wants to find a dentist near them, it is important to make sure your contact information is easy to find on your website. That is because search engines will seek out websites that fit the search criteria and you want to make sure they can grab your information easily off your homepage.
In addition to putting this information on the homepage, a common practice is to utilize a website footer that will keep your contact information on all pages of your website. This usually includes an address, phone number, email address and location hours.
Also, if your practice has a Facebook page or any other online presence, make sure your address, phone number and hours match up! The last thing you want to do is confuse a potential patient by saying you are open Saturdays on Facebook, but not on your Google search result.
Use real photography
It is easy to tell when photography isn’t genuine. Just think of the stiff, posed families you see inside a purchased picture frame or the unnatural settings found in most advertisements. A potential patient is looking for a dentist they can trust, so don’t hide behind stock photos: put yourself out there!
Use photographs of your staff, the real people that will be taking care of patients. Show what your waiting area looks like and even some of the equipment you use. Transparency like this helps build trust and shows you as real people rather than “just a dentist’s office.”
And if you don’t have the budget for a photographer, don’t sweat it: most smartphones take photos that are acceptable for most online website templates. There are also plenty of free online photo editors you can use to make any touchups to lighting and size.
Bonus tip: Use your existing customers as social media ambassadors
If you have a Facebook page or other social media channels, you can bet potential patients will find their way there, too. Ideally, you’ll want to them to find a page that showcases your office in a friendly, helpful manner and has positive reviews from your current patients. We have an entire article on how to engage current patients on social media, so check it out!
The bottom line: Meet your busy patients where they are and set up online appointment booking. Make sure you clearly guide your potential patient with calls-to-action and ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Place your contact information where it is easy to find and double-check this information on all your social media accounts. Don’t hide from the camera: show off your amazing staff and office!