In working with my clients on maximizing their marketing dollars and their online presence, I’m finding that while many dentists are aware of the importance of a well-designed dental practice website, not everyone has heard about some of the most recent advances in mobile website optimization.
A standard website does not always function well when accessed on a smartphone, so changes must obviously be made in order to keep the website accessible on all types of devices. Just a year ago, the best solution was to build what was essentially a second website just for mobile devices, or “mobile-optimized site”. However, the standard today is something entirely new: Responsive Website Design.
A responsive website is essentially a site that reconfigures itself automatically based on detecting the type of device that is being used to access it. A responsive website resizes itself instantaneously for any device, whether desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet or smartphone. And it has the distinct advantage of keeping all of the practice’s site traffic going to one online destination, giving it the potential to have more authority and popularity with the search engines rather than splitting traffic between a “regular site” and a “mobile site”. Google has made it clear that having one site is best for SEO purposes, and has even recently stated on its official blog that responsive web design is it’s recommended solution for mobile optimization.
Here are 4 tips for dentists to keep in mind when optimizing their websites for mobile devices and upgrading their website to one that utilizes Responsive Web Design:
- Convenience is Key – Mobile websites are all about convenience and ease of use. A dentist’s mobile website needs to be a streamlined version of the desktop website. Smartphone users are looking for specific information and need to be able to find it quickly. The practice phone number, online scheduling features, driving directions and patient testimonials all need to be part of the mobile or responsive designed website, making the information easy to find for the mobile user.
- Branding is a Must – Appearance-wise, the mobile website should mirror the desktop version. Any branding elements used in the desktop version—a distinct font, the practice logo or color scheme—should remain the same in order for patients to recognize the practice, whether they are on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Having a responsive web design ensures this kind of consistency.
- Mobile = Opportunity – In 2012, Pew Internet research found that 31% of Americans used their cell phones to look for health and medical information online. If your dental practice website cannot be accessed from a smartphone, the result is countless missed opportunities to connect with potential patients.
- Work with a Pro – There are many self-proclaimed “experts” when it comes to website design and mobile optimization. I always recommend working with trusted professionals, especially those vendors with a history of success in the dental profession. Sesame Communications has a proven track record of creating standard, mobile and responsive design websites for my clients.