Dental Websites

Like everything else related to a business, a website has a function. For dentists, that function is to help grow the dental practice. Regarding the parts of a website, each page, component, plugin, image, or piece of information must also help grow the business. A dentist’s website’s construction, of course, varies, depending on the type of business.
When it comes to dental practices, the following 18 components are required if a website is going to successfully function as intended.

1. Landing page

Generally, the landing page is the home page. More specifically, it is a primary page that people land on upon first visiting the site. Typically, this will be the home page. Other times, for dentists, it might be a content page that discusses dental health or a type of procedure. Whichever page a person lands on, the landing page is critical for helping to convert a visitor into a customer, client, or, in this case, a patient. Every page, therefore, even content pages, should be designed as a landing page with some sort of welcome, the information pertinent to that particular page, and a call to action, usually a prompt to phone for an appointment.

2. About our team 

Every potential patient is interested in the dentist and his or her team. Typically, the “Home” page is the first item on a menu. Because of its importance, the “About our Team” page should be the last. The only other option for the last menu item is a call to action, such as “Contact Us Today!” If a website owner wants the last menu item to be a call to action, leading to the contact form, for instance, the “About our Team” section should be next to last. It should never be buried in the middle of the menu items.

Regarding the actual “About our Team” page, the following four types of information should be included.

– Certification and credentials
– Specialties or areas of expertise
– Awards
– Information on continuing education

The tone of the “About our Team” page should be business-casual, friendly but not impersonal or forward. This page is the moment for the business to shine, professionally but in a personable manner that can also emphasize patient comfort.

3. Appointment calendar 

Cancelled appointments are costly. A cancelled appointment represents the amount of money lost for a dentist being unable to provide that service. Additionally, it represents lost revenue in that depending on the time of the cancellation, filling that time slot might be impossible. The ease of a being able to use a smartphone to login to a calendar page and cancel an upcoming appointment without having to talk to someone can reduce wasted revenue potential.

4. Professional layout and design 

When it comes to dental websites, the simple advice is this: do not design the website in-house. Do not let a secretary do it. Do not let an employee do it. Do not attempt this—ever.

The reason is twofold.

First, it will not look as professional as one’s competition. In an industry that is in part dedicated to aesthetics, a poor-looking DIY website is an ironic and sure-fire method to drive away 20 percent of customers. Considering a professional website template can be purchased for $69 dollars and then modified as needed is another reason to never design a website in-house.

Second, a DIY website will not be secure. More often than not, any hack-bot will be able to access PHP plugins and code to be able to breach the site.

5. Appropriate color scheme 

The color scheme should be muted and professional. Ideally, the color scheme should match the dentist’s office because the patient will then feel, subconsciously, as if he or she has already been there—in a certain fashion. Literally, the dentist’s office, for new patients, especially, will not be a completely foreign experience.

6. Contact information 

Of course, the contact information is obviously necessary. What might not be obvious is that it should be available in three places. The first place is in the header or footer of the home page. The second place should be on the “Contact Us” page. The third place is below or beside the afore-mentioned appointment calendar.

7. Payment types 

The website must specify accepted payment types. This includes credit cards and the types of insurance. Additionally, the payment types should include savings plans, and they should offer information on whether payment plans or financing are available. This information can be posted on the “Contact Us” page.

8. Before-and-after photo gallery 

A gallery of previous work should be available, especially for composite fillings, veneers, front-top or front-bottom tooth repair, crowns, or any procedure, like braces, resulting in tooth re-alignment. A before-and-after photo gallery allows visual verification of the quality of work and the amazing difference that can be expected. For a gallery, the dentist should obtain a model release or marketing release.

9. Available technology 

Such technology as digital x-rays, high-quality photos, digital impression technology, and dental microscopes should be highlighted. This information can be included in the “About Us” page.

10. Balanced boilerplate 

Balance represents a component of tone. For instance, a dentist’s site must strike a balance between emphasizing expertise and technical abilities, which can sometimes seem cold, with the need to reassure a patient of total comfort. This is done through tone. In the medical industry, it might be analogous to bedside manner. On a website, tone, however, is also achieved through such things as color pallet. The primary component for achieving tone is balanced boilerplate copy.

For instance, the verbiage must emphasize customer comfort without jeopardized perceived dental expertise because it is possible for a dentist to over-emphasize office atmosphere or rapport. Saying such things as “what patients will notice is that in our office, we like to laugh!” can come across as unprofessional or cavalier. Additionally, it might be perceived by staff as discomforting.

Inappropriate tone can be avoided by simply relying on balanced boilerplate: patients will experience a professional, caring staff intent on achieving two things. First, we provide the best dental service available. Second, we do so while ensuring a caring, friendly, and comfortable environment.

The genius of this type of balanced boilerplate is that it helps provide objective yet caring information conveyed in a caring yet objective, professional manner.

11. Request for reviews 

Gone are the days of printed yellow pages and the need to call information for the number of the nearest dentist. In today’s technologically adept climate, people find dentists on the internet, and one thing is guaranteed: the best dentists will highlight their reviews. Another truism is that one dentist is another dentist’s (friendly) competition.

Regarding reviews, a dentist does not have to engage in a competition for reviews. However, a dentist should be providing excellent service that would normally result in excellent reviews. Because only 10 percent of people write reviews, a dentist must put into place a review-request form that specifically asks for a review.

Additionally, good reviews have an effect on staff. Of course, fake reviews are a violation of FCC guidelines and can lead to lawsuits. They will also annoy staff. Good, real reviews, however, reassure prospective patients, and they make staff feel good about the service they are providing and the dentist(s) for whom they work.
The review request form should be on a non-published, login-protected page within the website. During an email or text follow-up, the dentist should ask for a review and provide the link to that page.

Other types of review request can offer a link to such sites as Health Grades or to a Facebook page. Wherever the link leads, the point is simple: reviews are an absolute must. Request them.

12. Testimonials 

Once reviews are received, any exceptional written testimonials should be displayed. The best, most comprehensive testimonials should be displayed approximately midway on the home page.

13. Google map 

Google map provides people an easy way to find the office. It also provides potential patients easy ways to find information about the dentist’s office. However, It also adds a sense of professionalism to the website.

It might seem like a trick accomplished through smoke and mirrors, but the simple act of adding a Google map to a web page adds, in some small fashion, legitimacy by being associated indirectly with Google.

This might seem odd, but two web pages, one with a Google map and one without a map will, as expected, perform differently. The one with a Google map will outperform the one without a map. However, the one with the Google map will feel different. For dentists, this type of connotation, this type of web-page feeling must not be ignored.

14. Minimum five SEO content pages 

SEO means search-engine optimized. An SEO page is a page optimized to attract the attention of a search engine.

Although most patients will not read much of the content on a dentist’s website, some will; however, that is not the point. SEO pages will help alert Google and other search engines to the fact that the dentist’s site exists. When someone in need of dental services conducts a Google search, the keywords on the SEO pages will be detected, and the chance the dentist’s site shows up in the first few results on the first result page increases. The more SEO pages that exist on the site, the better the chances it will be included in the first-page search results.

Business people should keep in mind this dreadfully humorous SEO cliché: “if you have information you want no one to ever see, put it on the second page of Google search results.”

15. Odd hours or emergency service schedule 

Some patients will seek service only during times of an emergency. If a dentist provides extended hours or weekend hours, this should be displayed on the contact page.

16. Check-in paperwork 

Like the review-request form, check-in forms can be provided via a HIPAA compliant, login-protected page that the patient can complete before arriving at the office. Such paperwork helps speed up the check-in process and can increase the ability for the dentist to see more patients.

17. What to expect 

A patient should be able to read a brief overview of what to expect. Most of this information should deal with time. For instance, the amount of time for check-in should be stated, and the average duration for a typical visit should also be available.

18. Responsiveness 

Finally, a dentist’s website should be responsive to the technology on which is viewed. This simply means the website should have built-in functionality to look good across devices because patients will potentially view the site on different devices. Some might use a phone. Others might use a tablet. Others might use a computer with a large monitor. A responsive website will adapt to the customer’s device and look good at all times.