This article was written by our friends at Great Dental Websites.
It’s no secret that your business needs a website. The fact is, if potential patients cannot find you online, you’re losing potential patients. Even if it’s a friend of a patient that recommended you, if they have difficulty finding you online, the chances of them going in a different direction are high.
Simply having a website isn’t enough anymore; you’ll need a really good website. So let’s look at what will set your website apart from the rest.
Intuitive Navigation & Flowing Layout
Two elements of a really good website are intuitive navigation and a flowing layout. When designing your website, the first thing to consider is navigation. The idea is that users should be able to find what they’re looking for on your site with minimal effort.
Start with a simple and concise navigation bar. Your nav bar is the backbone of your site’s navigation, so it needs to lead to the main internal pages. Generally speaking, less is more here. You don’t want to have 15 links in your nav bar. That’s way too busy, and it definitely won’t improve the ease of navigation on your site.
The best way to keep the navigation bar (nav bar) clean is to use dropdowns. Some people argue against using dropdowns, but some sites need to have links to more than just a handful of pages. Dropdowns are still the most effective way to accomplish this. Keep in mind that any links that drop down from a link in the nav bar need to be within the same category. Keep it organized. And avoid tertiary dropdowns, they aren’t mobile-friendly and it’s generally just not great for the user interaction with your site.
The second thing to consider when designing your website is the flow of your homepage. You’ll want to highlight specific content on your homepage, and it needs to flow from one section to the next. This is also where the mobile design of your websites starts to come into play. We’ll get into “mobile-friendliness” a bit later, but your homepage design needs to consider mobile users. The reality is that we’re in an increasingly mobile world and that’s not going to change. Google continually updates its algorithm with mobile users in mind, and algorithms favor websites that excel on mobile.
Calls to Action
Your website should utilize some real estate on “calls to action” or CTAs. CTAs encourage users to complete an action, such as making an appointment. We measure these clicks as conversions or goal completions, and it’s how we can measure the effectiveness of CTAs.
The main goal is to have a high-click through rate (CTR), and many aspects of your CTA buttons can influence the CTR – design, placement, and verbiage, to name a few. There are a handful of best practices that will increase the effectiveness of your CTAs.
1. Use wording that encourages action.
The purpose of a CTA is to get a user to complete a particular action. So, the text on your CTA buttons needs to be actionable. Try to avoid words like “submit” or “enter” because they’re plain and boring.
2. Consider your color use.
The color of a CTA button can influence the number of clicks it gets. Generally, an eye-drawing color like bright green does a great job of getting users attention. You’ll want to keep your brand colors in mind because you still want it to go with the design of your site.
3. Keep it above the fold.
Lastly, you want your CTAs to be front and center. You want it to be “above the fold.” When we talk about something being above the fold on a website that means everything that you can see on a webpage before having to scroll down at all. This is where you want vital information like the nav bar and CTAs because users often don’t go too far below the fold.
That being said, it’s still important to have CTAs below the fold. While many users won’t go below the fold, there will still be users that do, so it’s important to have more CTAs as you scroll down the homepage.
One of the most important considerations when designing a new website is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO remains one of the most essential components of digital marketing. If your site isn’t easy to find on Google or any other search engines, you’re missing out on a ton of traffic and potential patients.
SEO needs to be ongoing, but before getting into monthly maintenance, your website needs to be constructed with SEO best practices in mind so you’re setting yourself up for success. Here are a few things to consider when building your site to try to maximize SEO.
1. Domain Name
An excellent place to start when planning your SEO strategy for your new website is with the domain name. A strong domain name can help get the ball rolling when it comes to ranking in Google’s SERPs (search engine results page). It needs to be memorable, easy to type, and match the branding as closely as possible rather than keyword stuffing.
2. Page Layout and Formatting
As we talked about in the first section, the layout and formatting of your site are not only necessary for the user experience, but it’s also crucial for SEO. Think about headers because it helps to segment the content and highlight relevant sections.
Google looks for a hierarchy of headers when it’s crawling a page. Not only will this make your web pages easier to read, but it will also help Google understand what the page is about and which search results it should be ranking for based on the content.
When writing content for your website, keep appropriate keywords in mind. Keywords are how Google figures out what search terms your site will rank for and it’s also how users will find your site. So, the keywords on your website need to reflect the search results you want your site to rank for. Research the keywords you want to rank for. Then research other sites already rank for those terms, and what kind of content they have.
Using keywords effectively is a balancing act; there’s a sweet spot. You want to include the keywords you’re looking to rank for without coming off as spammy. Not only does overloading copy with keywords turn away users, but it’s also something Google’s algorithm is too smart to fall for. Cramming as many keywords in a paragraph as possible isn’t a good idea.
Use keywords where appropriate but make sure your writing is still natural.
4. Content Is Still King
If you’ve done much research into digital marketing or even just SEO, you’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king.” Google favors quality content that is relevant and informative. So, once you’ve created your list of keywords you’d like to rank for, start to think about what types of content fits into those keywords.
A dental website is a great place to establish your brand as an authority. If a user has their questions answered by content on your site, the likelihood of them becoming a patient increases.
Your content should be relevant, to the point (don’t add content for the sake of adding content), and end with an action, so the user is ushered into another section of the site or to perform an action like setting up an appointment.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO. There are tons of strategies and tactics being developed all the time. Google’s algorithm is constantly being updated, so it is an area of digital marketing that needs to be continuously maintained.
Mobile-Friendly & Fast Load Time
We’ve touched on mobile a few times already, but it’s worth talking about even more because it’s becoming more crucial than it ever has been. As of February of 2019, mobile traffic accounts for 48% of web page views worldwide and that stat is closer to 70+% if we’re talking about the younger generations. Global mobile data traffic is expected to increase sevenfold between 2017 and 2022. It’s safe to assume that we’re going to see more and more mobile users online in the coming years. This will mean that simply having a mobile site is no longer adequate to ensure your website ranks well in SERPs and converts users into patients.
Your website needs to work well on mobile devices, and it needs to be fast. The attention span of the average internet user is getting shorter and shorter. Sites that take a few seconds longer to load may lose users because no one wants to wait for a page to load if they have other options.
Google has a wealth of knowledge on what makes a quality mobile website. When in doubt, follow Google’s lead!
Personal – Trust
When it comes to a successful dental website, you must consider the often intimate relationship between doctors/dental staff and patients. After all, you have your hands in their mouths.
You will want your website to illustrate who the doctor and staff are and try and create a personal connection. This is often easier said than done, but small additions to your site can go a long way, starting with custom photography. Many sites utilize stock photos, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s something users notice. When you’re trying to create a personal connection without actually meeting a user, stock photos won’t cut it.
Your site should have custom photos of the staff and staff bios that break the mold. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and really show the personality of your staff.
Something else that can add your personality to your website is video content. Good video content is rarely cheap, but it’s almost always worth the investment when done well. Video content can also go beyond introducing the doctors and staff. It can also establish the quality of your services and demonstrate the satisfaction of current patients. Patient testimonial videos can be incredibly powerful and do a great job of converting online users into new patients.
Bringing It All Together
Building and maintaining a website and overall online presence are time-consuming. With the workload that already comes with running a dental practice, it’s hard to devote the time needed to find success. That’s where a great web design and marketing team can help. It’s essential that they understand everything covered in this blog and more. That way, you can rest easy knowing they’re taking care of the work that leads to a high-performance website and a strong web presence.
Written by Alex Nuttall
Sr. Account Manager, Great Dental Websites
Alex is a native of Colorado. He was born in Denver and grew up in Fort Collins. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in business marketing. In his free time, he can be found playing guitar and producing music, cooking a delicious meal, or heading outside to enjoy all that Colorado has to offer. He is the Senior Account Manager at Great Dental Websites.
From fully custom to pre-designed options, our unique dental website platform keeps your practice’s website and marketing relevant and user-friendly in today’s demanding online environment.”