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website design

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What Does Your Dental Website Say About You?

by Naomi Cooper January 5, 2017

Did you know? 97% of patients prefer to visit a dentist’s website than to call the office for information.dental practice website design

This means your practice website is often a prospective patient’s first impression, so you need to make sure it’s a great one. However, if it has been awhile (read: 18 months or more) since you last updated your website, that first interaction could be saying you are slow, frustrating and out of touch…not exactly the impression you want to be giving.

To ensure your website is providing an accurate reflection of your practice, make it sure it incorporates these critical components:

  • Keep the site updated with mobile-friendly design so that anyone can easily navigate the site regardless of the device they may be using (desktop, mobile or tablet)
  • Make it easy for patients to get in touch with the office by having the contact information prominently displayed on all pages
  • Feature links to social media and online review sites to showcase everything your practice has to offer
  • Utilize blogs and video to make the site more engaging and informative

The most important thing is to remember that your website should be designed with the user in mind. For more ideas on what you can do to optimize your website – and 5 tricks to absolutely avoid – check out my article in Dental Economics.

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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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Dental Practice Marketing Audit for 2015

by Naomi Cooper December 23, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing Audit Dental practice marketing – it’s a term that encompasses a wide array of activities designed to bring new patients into the practice in hopes of achieving long-term steady practice growth.

It can be overwhelming for dentists with a resolution to implement a marketing plan in 2015, or even for those who have been marketing but are looking to tune up their existing strategy. Here are 5 areas to focus on when building an overall dental marketing plan:

  1. Branding: A dentist’s branding strategy is essentially communicating the reputation of the practice to the community. Make sure your message is on point and sending the message you want it to.
  2. Website: How long ago was the practice website updated? Does it accommodate mobile devices via responsive design? If it was designed even 2-3 years ago, it could be time for a refresh.
  3. Social Media: Do you have active profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter? If so, be sure they contain current practice information and are updated with relevant content on a consistent basis. If you have been hesitating on joining the social media community, consider putting it at the top of your list of 2015 dental practice marketing goals.
  4. Patient Reviews: Sites like Yelp, Google and Healthgrades are all extremely popular with Internet users, particularly those looking for a dentist online. Make sure profiles are updated with current contact and practice information, and be sure there is a sufficient number positive patient reviews for prospective patients to see.
  5. Patient Communication: All external marketing activities rely on internal processes and communication. E-communication tactics utilize email and text messaging for routine patient communication. The entire dental team should also be well versed in asking for patient referrals and online reviews. This may not come naturally to everyone, so verbal skills training is a must.

There are countless other tactics that fall under the dental marketing umbrella, but for those looking to get started, these are five of the most important areas for consideration. And for those dentists who are looking to step up their existing marketing game, making sure these five components of the marketing plan are solid will help take their marketing to the next level in 2015.

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6 Questions to Analyze Your Dental Practice Website

by Naomi Cooper August 6, 2014

6 Questions to Analyze Your Dental Practice WebsiteAccording to Google, 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online. It’s important for dental practice owners to make sure their website is easily found when local patients are researching the practice online.

The dental practice website can be a powerful marketing tool; however it cannot be a static one. That is, the practice website needs to be constantly evolving along with the world of online marketing. Keeping up with the latest online marketing trends will ensure that the website keeps your practice at the top of the search engine listings.

I recently came across a very helpful article from the marketing experts at MarketingProfs, titled “Is Your Website Dead or Just Sleeping?”. In the article they outline 6 important elements to energize your website. Here is a quick summary:

1. Is it usable? – A website needs to be easy for users, and search engines, to navigate.

2. Is it responsive? – Traditional website design does not always function properly when viewed on smartphones and tablets. Make sure your website incorporates responsive design so that all patients see the best version of your website, regardless of the device they are using.

3. Is it focused? – Your website should be more about giving your patients the information they are looking for, and less about flashy design. Streamlining your website will actually make it more usable and can decrease load times.

4. Is it sociable? – A great dental practice website is engaging to patients. Pictures and video of the dentists and staff help welcome new patients into the practice. And linking the website to social media profiles and online review sites make it easy for patients to share your content and get a full, rounded picture of the practice.

5. Is it direct? – You should have a clear call to action all across your website, along with having your phone number and email address easy to find. Make it easy for patients to get in touch with you.

6. Is it fast? – People are impatient these days. In fact, 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Work with your website design team to streamline your website.

If it has been a few years since your website was designed, it may be well worth it to contact your web designer to see if any improvements could be made.  How important do you feel your website is to the success of your dental practice?

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5 Steps to a Modern Dental Marketing Plan

by Naomi Cooper April 16, 2014

5 Steps to a Modern Dental Marketing PlanRecent data suggests that Americans are becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet when making purchasing decisions, and that includes finding a dentist.

There are countless ways of updating your dental marketing plan with modern tactics, and it can understandably be overwhelming when trying to figure out where to start. Don’t worry – you don’t have to do everything all at once. Incremental steps can make it easier to implement while keeping your budget in check.

Here are 5 ways to an increasingly modern dental marketing plan:

  1. Updating your practice website – Your website = the foundation of your online strategy.
  2. Playing the SEO gameIncrease your online visibility by making sure your website appears at or near the top of search engine results.
  3. Building social media profiles – Connect with your patients online by engaging on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or YouTube.
  4. Gathering patient testimonials – Ensure that potential patients get a positive first impression when they are researching your practice online.
  5. Blogging – Share the latest practice news and address frequently asked questions in order to stay in touch with patients year-round.

Taking the initiative now to update your marketing will keep you ahead of your competition as well as saving you from playing catch up later on.

Don’t forget – you don’t have to do this all on your own. Dental industry experts like Sesame Communcations and My Social Practice can help guide you in the right direction. And especially when it comes to website design and SEO, outsourcing is often your best bet. Updates to the search engine algorithms are frequent and can be confusing. Leave it to the professionals and get back to focusing on your main responsibility – your patients!

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Website Domain Names: What All Dentists Should Know

by Naomi Cooper November 14, 2012

Website Domain Names: What All Dentists Should KnowUpdating your practice website is a great way to modernize your practice, reach new and existing customers and to improve SEO. It is a smart decision to outsource the work to a website designer. They will do what they do best, and you can focus on what you do best – providing your patients with the best dental care.  However, before you sign any contracts, you must be aware of one crucial step to protect yourself and your practice – You absolutely MUST be sure you are the owner of your domain name.

If you are not already aware, the domain name is the page address for a website. For example, minoamarketing.com is the domain name for Minoa Marketing; ada.org is the domain name for the American Dental Association. The domain name is how your current and prospective patients find your website. Domain names are available for purchase, and it’s important to know that your domain name will expire after a given amount of time.

Why is it important that you own it? Consider this scenario: You are going through a major update of your practice website and are working with a web designer. In the midst of building the site, the web designer is registering your site and tells you that it’s easier if he registers the domain name in his name. You agree, and sign the contracts, and everything is fine.

Fast forward to the end of the contract term of your domain name…Of course you want to renew because over time you have built your practice site up and have a strong online following. All of a sudden, you can’t renew the domain because it was put in your web designer’s name. Most web designers are trustworthy and upstanding and will fix the situation so that you become the owner of the site. However, what if you cannot get in contact with your web designer? Or worse, what if the designer sells the domain to a competitor?

This is why it is imperative for you to register your domain name in your own name from the very beginning. You do not want to give control of such a crucial part of your dental practice to another person.

Dentists can go on Whois.com and check who the Domain Registrant is for your site. It should be YOU. A designer, vendor or agency can be listed as an administrative contact or technical contact, but you should always be the Domain Registrant.

Are you in the midst of redesigning your website, or have you just completed a redesign? Do you have any advice for fellow dentists either thinking or beginning a website redesign? Please share your stories below.