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Dental Websites - The Real Story

BY: MIKE HAMILTON // INCEPTION DENTAL WEBSITES, OWNER

Understanding dental websites can be quite a task.  I wrote this article to give dentists and dental marketing professionals a chance to finally understand what they need to be looking at when they are deciding what company to work with.

This article will also help you to understand whether your dental website has been put together properly.  The more education you have the better your choices will be.  I hope this helps.

Dental Website Design

When it comes to dental website design you have to ask yourself this question:  Is the website for me or is it for my patients?  My opinion is that it's for your patients and the decisions you make about design need to be focused on that.

Are new patients coming to your website to learn about dentistry or are they coming there to learn about who you are?  Most new patients are coming to your site to see who you are...what your office looks like...and how good your reviews are.  If you focus on the patient you are ahead of the game.

Education Focus or New Patient Focus?

The majority of dental websites are totally focused on education.  People don't care what you want to tell them.  They care about what they want and they want to know if they are going to feel comfortable with you.  The website needs to be focused on what they need not education.

Is Your Website Professional or In Your Face?

It can be easy to cross the line of being too pushy on a website.  At Inception we try to find a balance of generating as many new patients as possible without crossing that line.  We focus our designs on new patient generation, but we also layer in a great deal of education in the background.

Does Your Website Need to Have Video?

Video marketing can be a very effective way to show patients what it will be like to be a patient in your office and it can also be a great way to showcase your success stories.

Don't buy into the idea that you need a video of you talking on your homepage.  This simply is not true and there is really becoming outdated with the video background sites that are coming out now.

Mobile Dental Websites

For years dental mobile marketing was a huge buzzword.  Today that craze has died down, but mobile design is more important than ever. 

Responsive website design has replaced the old mobile layout and allows your website to adjust to the size of any screen it is displayed on.  It's important to make sure your responsive website layout is patient friendly.  Many dentists forget to look at this when purchasing a new website. 

What to Display on Your Homepage?

The majority of dental websites are overloaded with information.  When a new patient comes into a website like that they often leave in frustration.  Think about what you want to see on a website when you are looking for a new service provider.  Do you want to be overloaded with information or do you want something simple?

What we know is that dental patients will typically spend about five seconds on the top of your homepage before going to your about us page for five seconds.  They also want to see that you have a number of good Google or Yelp reviews.  Show them what they want quickly and they will choose your office.

What Website Design Platform is the Best?

Here at Inception we are big fans of WordPress.  We build our own custom designs on top of the WordPress platform.  WordPress is the most widely used which means it also has the most bells and whistles in the form of widgets and plugins.

There are many platforms that can be used to design a website.  Each of them can be good.  It really comes down to the talent of the individuals building the website.

The Cost of a Dental Website?

How much should you really be paying for a dental website?  It really depends on what you are having done, but in my opinion you can get a very high quality website and services for between $200 and $400 per month. 

What you'll find is that most dental website companies are charging really low fees for very poor sites or they are charging very high fees for services that should be around the price range I listed above.  Don't get fooled into spending thousands for services that are not worth that amount.

What about the Content of Your Website?

Content is a complex topic.  The more unique content you have the better off you are, but you an certainly have some duplicate content if it's prepared properly.  Many dentists are scared into spending far more than they need to for unique designs and custom content.  We find we can beat those offices at a fraction of the price.

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Social Media Marketing Integration

Stand up if you think that posting dental information to your Facebook page will generate more new patients for you?  Almost every dentist we encounter feels that this is true, but I've yet to meet a dentist that is having success doing this.  Facebook and the other social media platforms can be useful, but in very targeted ways.  The following boxes will give you some insight into each of the social media mainstays.

Facebook Marketing

It's important to have a Facebook business page for SEO purposes, but don't think that this will generate you new patients.  That's highly unlikely. 

If you are going to generate new patients on Facebook you need to be doing paid Facebook advertising.  You also probably need to be targeting specific topics and directing the traffic to well designed landing pages.

Done correctly Facebook Paid Advertising can be a home run.

Google+ Marketing

Your Google business page is one of the most critical parts of your overall online presence.  Then number of dental offices that have problems in this area is to high count.  If you're going to show up in the Google Maps area this listing must be perfect.  Our team can help you clean this up.

LinkedIn Marketing

I wouldn't look at LinkedIn as a place to generate new patients, but it's a good listing to have for your dental practice.  Google likes to see that businesses are listed in as many areas as possible.  The more places Google can find you the more they trust you.

Twitter Marketing

Twitter is one of my least favorite marketing options for dentists.  There really isn't a way to generate new patients from it, and I never hear of anyone having success there.  You need an account there, but I personally wouldn't invest a lot of time into tweeting.  I'd leave that to the celebrities.

YouTube Marketing

YouTube can be effective especially in the area of patient testimonials.  Video testimonials on specific conditions or topics can be a very effective way to promote your business.  Shoot the videos and our team will help you with the technical optimization aspects.

Pinterest Marketing

I would probably put Pinterest in the same category as Twitter.  It's a good idea to have an account with your business information there, but you're probably not going to generate any new patients from it.  Create an account with some pictures from your practice and then move onto better items.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO

Simply defined SEO is the process of trying to get your dental website at the top of the search results for your important keywords.  This is a topic that is highly misunderstood, and for good reason.  Google does a great job of keeping us all in the dark.  Most of what Google says is partially true, and they never share everything.  They don't want SEO experts like myself to know exactly what it takes to achieve that top rank.

The items below will give you a start a understanding what and SEO expert looks at, and how we influence the search results.  It's quite a process, but it's easier than most people think it is.

CLICK HERE to learn more about SEO.

On Page SEO

On Page SEO is everything on your website.  There many items to consider here and I would say that this is one of the most important areas of SEO.  Get this area wrong and almost every other part of the process will fail.

The Meta Data

When you do a Google search for dental offices in your city you'll get a list that comes up.  The listings you are seeing are part of what is called the Meta Data on the site.  The title is the Meta Title and the description underneath it is the Meta Description. 

If you're website is going to rank well your meta tags must be in line with what your main keywords are.  It's also important that the content on the page it points to has content matching the topic of your meta tags.

Header Tags

Header tags are on the website itself.  It's also important to have your main keywords showing up in the H1 and possibly the H3 positions on your page.  You will usually see header tags showing up as bold phrases in your articles.

Keywords

If you are a dentist in Green Bay, WI then one of your keywords will be "Dentist Green Bay WI".  This keyword needs to be in your Meta Tags, in your Header Tags, and also in your content on the page.  Failure to have your main keywords there means you could be missing out on a great deal of new dental patients.

Structured Data

Structured data is something that helps the Google bots as well as the other search engines find information more quickly.  It helps to categorize things like your business name, address, and phone number into easy to find blocks of coding on your website.  This is something that we feel gives a company a real advantage in the search results.

External SEO

External SEO means that you are doing things outside of your website to help promote your website.  This can consist of guest posting, blog commenting, article posting, and the list goes on.  Basically you are talking about your business in some way on other websites.  Without getting into hours of discussion on this topic you are doing everything you can to make your clinic look popular to Google.  The more information Google sees about your business the better chance you have of being rewarded with a top rank.

Building Links

There was a time when building links to your website was the key to ranking well.  The problem here is that SEO people took advantage of Google and Google fought back.  Around 2013 Google started penalizing websites that they felt were cheating the system. 

Today building links is a fairly small part of SEO for our dental clients.  It only makes sense if we are building links from very reputable websites.  Building links from junk websites to yours no longer holds any value and can get you dropped right out of the search results.

SEO Companies

When I first started helping clients with websites there were SEO companies around every corner.  Today most of them are gone.  When Google eliminated the cheating the cheaters lost their businesses.  Today the majority of SEO companies are not doing anything dangerous, but many of them are not doing much of anything.  They are doing little to nothing and charging feels that are far too high for the work that is being done.  Be careful when you're choosing your provider.

chiro 101 SEO

Google Adwords Paid Advertising

Google Adwords can be a powerful way to attract new patients.  Instead of doing all the hard work to get a top maps and organic rank you can just pay for a top spot.  Adwords ads are normally visible whenever you do a Google search for a product or service.  Businesses are able to pay Google for a top position.

For many years Google Adwords was not a very effective avenue in most cities.  Today that has changed a bit.  Google started to make some adjustments to the format of the ads and more people seem to be clicking on them because of it.

If you have the budget for it Google Adwords may be something worth trying.  Our team is happy to help you know if this is right for your practice.


Dental Reputation Marketing

Year by year reputation marketing becomes more important for every dental office.  You don't want to be the one dentist that is lagging behind in good reviews.  If you haven't put time into growing your Google reviews it's time to get started.  This is one of the main factors your new patients use to decide if you are the right dentist for them.


Tracking the Health of Your Website

Google Webmaster tools and Google Analytics are both excellent ways to keep an eye on your website health.  You're able to see how many visits you are getting and what pages they are visiting.  This information can be very helpful in planning the design changes you need to make to your website and it is the reason that our dental websites at Inception are so powerful.

Well I've been typing for hours and I think I reached then end.  I hope this article helps you to better understand what it takes to have a great dental website.

You might also want to learn more about Dental Marketing HERE.

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