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responsive design

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Responsive Design vs Mobile First – What’s the Difference?

by Naomi Cooper September 5, 2017

dental practice website design strategies

After working as a dental consultant for over a decade, I know first-hand how busy dentists are. I know that when your day is consumed with patient care and office management, there is little time left to think about things like online marketing and SEO.

However, to keep the practice doors open and the office operating, some thought needs to be given to these issues. For 99% of dentists, outsourcing website design and SEO is not only a smart decision, but the only option. And while the average dentist doesn’t need to fully understand what responsive design is or what a mobile-first strategy looks like, it is important to be aware of the basics so that you can communicate easily with your website designer.

First of all, both terms refer to how a website is designed, but they differ in the process that goes into building the site.

Responsive design – the concept of building a website to adapt to specific devices and screen sizes, typically done by designing for a desktop computer first, and then paring it down to fit tablets and mobile

The problem with this is that, today, more Google searches are done on a smartphone than on a desktop, and the growing reliance on our phones to access the internet has sparked the rise of the mobile first strategy.

Mobile first – designing a website for mobile first, think of it as starting small and then adding additional functions for larger devices

And Here’s Why It Matters…

Google has revealed that it plans, at some point in time – potentially at the end of this year, roll out their mobile-first index, which will become their primary index.

Currently, Google indexes a website based on the desktop version, but when this new roll out occurs, they will begin to do the opposite. Google will start to index the mobile version of a website to then determine where in the SERP (search engine results page) the desktop site will rank.

Long story short, any dentist who has not updated his/her website within the past 18 months or so likely owes their web designer a phone call. And for those with a new(ish) site designed within the past year and a half or so, and who knows it was built using responsive design standards, don’t panic. A responsive designed website is likely not going to hurt you or your online traffic too dramatically; just keep the mobile first strategy in mind for the next update.

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Mobile-Geddon: Did Your Practice Survive?

by Naomi Cooper April 28, 2015

Mobile-Geddon: Did Your Practice Survive?The online world braced for impact last week as Google changed its algorithm in a major way. With a big nod towards the rising influence of mobile, as of last Tuesday, websites that are mobile-friendly will now begin appearing higher in search rankings.

With growing numbers of users accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablets, the need for a mobile-friendly website is more important than ever. 62% of smartphone owners have used their device to look up health information within the past year, so if you haven’t updated your dental practice website recently, you might begin to notice a drop in your website traffic.

What is a mobile website? It is a site that loads properly and is user-friendly across all devices: computers, smartphones and tablets. This is best accomplished through responsive web design, which also happens to be Google’s preferred method.  If you’ve ever tried to access a website from your phone only to have the text appear too small to read or experience the frustration of the website taking forever to load, chances are good that you were trying to view a website that had not yet made the switch to mobile.

If you are not sure if your website is mobile-friendly, check out this handy tool from Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Simply type in the URL of your website and in seconds Google will tell you whether your site meets their mobile criteria.

What can you do if your website is not mobile-friendly? Contact your trusted web designer to find out what needs to be done in order to update the website according to Google’s rules.

Mobile-geddon doesn’t have to mean the end of the world for your dental practice website. Make sure your site is up to date with the current design technology in order to keep your practice information at your patients’ fingertips!

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8 Essential Elements of a Dental Practice Website

by Naomi Cooper February 18, 2015

8 Essential Elements of a Dental Practice WebsiteWhat does your website say about you? After all, a dentist’s website can often be the first impression a prospective patient gets of the practice. When thought of in this way, the dental practice website is a very critical component of the dental marketing plan, so it’s worth the investment to have it done right.

Best practices indicate that a website typically has a shelf life of about 36 months, so if it has been that long, or longer, since your practice website was designed, it is probably time for an update. Here are 8 elements you need to consider:

  1. Responsive Design: ensuring the website loads properly across all electronic devices (computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets)
  2. SEO: helping to boost the website’s visibility in search engine rankings
  3. Branding: keeping the logo and identity consistent online and offline
  4. Social Media Links: making it easy for patients to navigate between your website and social media profiles
  5. On-Site Blog: contributing to the SEO plan and providing dentists with another method of patient communication
  6. Photos and Video: allowing new patients to get a feel for the doctor, team and practice through bio pictures and videos from around the practice
  7. Patient Testimonials: including a few positive reviews on the website gives prospective patients a glimpse into the overall patient experience
  8. Call to Action: encouraging patients to contact the office in a manner most convenient for them – telephone, email or online appointing

If you are thinking of updating your dental practice website, or if it has been a few years since you last did so, these are a few of the must-have elements to be aware of in order to make your new online presence as effective as it can possibly be.

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5 Ways Technology Simplifies Dental Patient Engagement

by Naomi Cooper November 12, 2014

5 Ways Technology Simplifies Dental Patient EngagementThere are countless opportunities for dentists to not only reach out to existing and prospective patients, but to connect with them on an ongoing basis. In fact, patient engagement is the name of the dental marketing game today. Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever for dentists to communicate with not only their existing patient bases, but also with new patients on a year-round basis.

Many tools exist to help dentists engage with patients, but it can often be overwhelming to decide where to begin. Here are five of the top technological tools designed specifically to help improve dental patient engagement.

  1. Patient Communication Systems: E-communication (short for electronic communication) involves the use of email and text messages for routine patient communication. With e-communication systems, patient outreach, including appointment reminders, holiday greetings, birthday cards, and e-newsletters, can all be automated, saving the staff time and the dentist money.
  2. Post-Appointment Surveys: Most e-communication packages will also automatically send post-appointment surveys to patients. The dentist doesn’t have to rely on a staff member to remember to send the survey, and since it’s sent via email, it makes it much easier on the patient to complete – and more likely the patient will do so.
  3. Online Patient Reviews: Taking the surveys a step further, patient responses provide a wealth of information, and any positive feedback can be used for patient testimonials. Some e-communication systems available today automatically publish positive patient testimonials. This means testimonials will be seen by actual patients in the community who are researching local dentists.
  4. Modern Website Design: One update that has quickly become a “must-have” in a dental practice website is the incorporation of Responsive Design functionality. Instead of having a separate mobile website, Responsive Design ensures that a website will look, load, and function appropriately on any device. Remember – patients and prospective patients are not always sitting in front of a desktop computer, so it is more important than ever to have a website that reconfigures itself automatically for all types of devices.
  5. Social Media: It’s not just a passing trend. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are invaluable in terms of ongoing patient engagement. Tweeting a photo, or posting a video to the dental practice Facebook page helps dentists stay in contact with patients year-round, while giving a meaningful first impression to any potential patients looking for a new dentist online.

For more insight into the best technological tools for dentists, check out my recent article in Inside Dentistry.

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Best of Minoa Marketing: Dental Practice Website Design

by Naomi Cooper December 4, 2013

Best of Minoa Marketing: Dental Practice Website DesignPatients today are looking to connect with the practice before they ever walk through the front door. A strategically designed website will properly introduce new patients to the practice, and when implemented correctly, the site can be a powerful driver of new patient flow. However, if your practice’s current website was designed even 2-3 years ago, it may be time for an update.

When you consider all that goes into website design, it can be easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Here is a round-up of Minoa Marketing blogs specifically geared to your dental practice website:

5 Tips to Optimize Your Website – A summary of the most important components that should exist on every successful dental practice website

Responsive Design – The latest and greatest in website design will ensure your website is accessible to every new and potential patient regardless if they are on a computer, smartphone or tablet device

Outsourcing: 3 Tips for Hiring the Right Vendors – Website design is best left up to the professionals, but it can be tricky finding the right vendor.

Your website is often a new patient’s first

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interaction with your practice so it needs to make the best first impression possible. Hopefully these tips here will get you started on the right – and successful – path to enhancing your online presence and stimulating practice growth.

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Responsive Design – The Latest Website Must-Have For Dental Practices

by Naomi Cooper August 5, 2013

Responsive Design – The Latest Website Must-Have For Dental PracticesIn 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.