Your website is often the first point of contact your potential patients have with your practice, so it’s crucial to get it right! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key features of an effective dental website, including visual content, copywriting, functionality, and important technical components.
You will also learn how to optimize your website for search engines, and pick up tips on how to promote your website through social media and other channels. After exploring this dental websites guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a dental practice website that gets found AND gets results.
See how your practice’s website fits into your overall dental marketing plan
Importance of a dental website
Are Dental Websites Still Essential?
“Do I need a website for my dental practice?” is a question that pops up here and there. The short answer is yes. The longer answer starts off with “it depends.” E.g., If you only use Google My Business and Instagram and are 100% confident that over the course of your career, both of these platforms will stay productive, then you might risk not having a site. If you recognize the hazard of this short-sighted approach, then you definitely want to build and maintain an effective dental practice website.
Your practice website is your digital front office and serves as the hub for your entire marketing wheel. When people hear about you on social media, radio, mailers, from a friend, seeing a sign, practically anywhere… they are going to your website. Make the most of those visits!
Benefits of the Best Dental Websites
- STAND OUT | A great dental website sts you apart from your competition. Often consumers will check the websites of the multiple options they are considering. Make it near impossible for them to say no by giving them a website experience that none of the other dentists websites do.
- REVENUE GENERATOR | The financial impact of your website on your practice can be MASSIVE. A private survey of about 250 practices revealed that, on average, a practice’s website is its second highest driver of new patients (just behind word of mouth). Your website can (and should!) generate tens of thousands, and in some instances hundreds of thousands, of dollars in revenue for your practice every year.
- GET FOUND | When consumers are looking for a healthcare provider they go online, check reviews, check websites, schedule their visit, and then move on with their day. And unless you just stepped out of a certain ‘82 DeLorean, you would do the same. Promote your business where people are looking and treat your website like the showpiece it should be.
- 24/7 | Your website is a faithful helper that never sleeps. That potential patient that wakes up from a toothache at 2AM will look online for a solution. When they do, your amazing website will be there to pleasantly greet them.
Key Features of an Effective Dental Website
Use clear and easy-to-read fonts, colors, and layouts. Include high-quality images and videos that showcase your practice and services. Ensure the site is mobile-responsive and has intuitive navigation that makes it easy for patients to find the information they need. Provide online scheduling and contact forms for easy appointment booking.
A mobile responsive site design is crucial as it ensures that current and potential patients can access your site with its information on any device, be it a desktop, smartphone, or tablet. Responsive design helps provide a seamless user experience and increase visitor engagement. It also demonstrates your commitment to staying up-to-date with current technology. Remember, people assume the quality of your marketing reflects the quality of your dentistry.
Optimized Copy / Content
“Content is King” is the refrain of SEO specialists. Google doesn’t inform the public of everything in their algorithm. But, they do tell us the main things they are looking for. Outside of the technical aspects of your practice’s website, you must give focused attention to the written copy on your site to succeed with search engines. Quality, custom-written, relevant, and keyword-rich copy will earn you the good graces of Google.
Patient Testimonials and Reviews
Patient testimonials and reviews are one of the most impactful psychological tools you can use in your marketing — including on your dental practice website. They provide what is called “social proof” of the quality of your practice and the services you offer. Patient testimonials and reviews give potential patients an idea of the experience they can expect if they visit you. They bolster your credibility and strengthen your online reputation. All this combines to increase your success rate in attracting and retaining patients.
Online appointment booking
Convenience. Consumers continue to place increasing value on convenience. If you’ve spent the energy, time, and resources to attract ideal patients to your site, how sad it would be if they left your site to visit another because you didn’t make it easy for them to schedule! Numerous online scheduling tools are available, even several practice management softwares offer a scheduling feature. Usually these tools are very easy to plug into your dental practice website and the reward of your effort will be worth it.
Social media integration
Though social media may play a major role in your dental marketing, be cautious when incorporating it into your site. Much of your social media marketing is (or should be) directing people to your practice website. Featuring social media icons or posts too prominently on your site may inadvertently be acting as candy-colored exit signs from your site. Importing engaging visual content onto your site in strategic places is a great thing. Do your best to make it a one way street into your site, not out.
How to Create an Effective Dental Website
Choosing a domain name
Several years ago it was in vogue to pick a geo-based URL, like “DallasDentist[dot]com.” At the time, SEOs believed a naming convention like this was a strong signal to search engines that this dental website was very relevant to someone in Dallas searching for a dentist. The current best practice is to pick a domain that is an exact match or as close as possible to your actual dental practice’s name. The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) has also released two new dental specific top-level domains to assist in this. Check out .dentist and .dental domain options if you are in the market.
Selecting the Best Website Builder or CMS
The Content Management System (CMS) fight is over and WordPress is still standing. WordPress is the best CMS for dental practice websites because it is highly customizable, user-friendly, and has a large array of plugins and themes tailored for dental / healthcare websites. It includes robust security options. It has an intuitive interface, making it easy to update copy / content. WordPress is very search engine friendly, which adds to your online visibility and ability to attract more patients. However, buying a prebuilt WordPress theme can burn you because of all of the extra files and “weight” of the site. A custom, lightweight design laid over the powerful WordPress engine offers the best of both worlds.
Designing the website
Everything about your practice’s website should aim at converting a potential patient into a scheduled patient. That is its purpose. The fonts, colors, and other aesthetic components should be an accurate extension of your physical practice. The visitor should get a sense of your brand’s personality. They should have a correct idea of what their visit will look and feel like if they choose to schedule. After all, your website is your digital front office. This will often be the last stop a potential patient makes before deciding to schedule with you, or moving on to one of your competitors.
Creating Quality Content
No matter how many times people are advised to not judge a book by its cover, they ignore the advice. You can mark it down that potential patients are absolutely judging your practice by your marketing materials (including your website). Make sure the written and visual content are the best you can make them AND that you actually deliver on your promises when the patient visits.
Integrating Key Features
See the “Key Features of an Effective Dental Website” listed above. Don’t neglect the features that consistently become a determining factor when potential patients are deciding on which practice to go.
Launching and Maintaining Your Website
The time has come. You’ve followed all the best practices covered in this Dental Website Guide.” You are thrilled with the final outcome and are anxious to launch your site. Don’t stumble now. Make sure any redirects are put in place, every care is taken to have little or no SEO impact, and that features don’t break at the moment of truth. Then it is critical to maintain optimal site health, security, and functionality. This is where a group like DentalCMO comes in. Our website maintenance is the best in the industry and our patients have peace of mind know we are keeping an eye on one of their most important marketing assets.
Common Mistakes to Avoid in Dental Website Design
Make it easy for visitors to find the information they’re looking for, quickly. How do you feel about a store where you don’t know where the item you need is, and no one seems willing to help you find it? Make your website Kindergarten-easy to navigate and to understand. Give your visitor as frictionless of an experience as possible. Keep your entire website navigation easy to access and in one spot (multiple navigation menus that change based on where someone is on your site is a bad practice).
Overwhelming / Underwhelming Design
Think about the effort that goes into creating the best physical environment possible for patients visiting your office — colors, furniture, technology, smells, scripted greetings, etc. To help you understand the importance of your website, you must view it for what it is. Your website is your practice’s digital front office. When a potential patient visits your website, they are, in essence, opening your digital front
doors and stepping into their first experience with your practice. Make it breathtaking! But don’t make it overwhelmingly cluttered.
On the other hand, if your website is overly simple and barren, patients might not be able to find what they are looking for because it’s not there!
Lack of Mobile Responsiveness
Over half of Internet browsing is done on a mobile device. Have you optimized your website to give these visitors an extraordinary and effective mobile experience? Google recognizes a few website coding methods as “mobile-friendly,” but they specifically recommend RESPONSIVE code as the best mobile-friendly format. (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/mobile/mobile-sites-mobile-first-indexing) Responsive websites dynamically resize to automatically and optimally display on any device that accesses it — desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Ultimately, the purpose of your website is to connect patients with your practice. If most of your potential patients are looking at your website on a mobile phone, be sure to accommodate them.
The speed, structure, organization, links, and volume of copy utilizing relevant keywords (as well as other signals) all indicate to Google how well they should rank you. If you want to be found organically online, you must pay attention to all of these essential details.
Poorly Written Content Quality
Search engines make assumptions about how good your website content is and then rank it accordingly. They then track consumer interactions with your website to see if they (consumers) agree with the search engine’s assumptions. Website rankings are then adjusted. Write substantial, unique (not copied from anywhere else), relevant, and interesting copy with a liberal use of visual content.
How to optimize your dental website for SEO
Start your keywords research by identifying relevant dental topics and search terms that your potential patients might use. Use keyword research tools (like Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, or Semrush) to identify high search volume and low-competition keywords. Consider the search intent behind each keyword and prioritize those with the greatest potential to drive traffic to your website. Constantly monitor and update your practice website’s keyword strategy to stay ahead of the pack.
Title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags and meta descriptions are critical elements for your dental practice website’s on-page SEO. To best optimize them, include your researched keywords (see “Keyword Research” step). Keep your title tags under 60 characters and your meta descriptions under 155 characters. Craft relevant and enticing tags and descriptions for each page to increase your odds of ranking well on search engines and getting clicks.
Optimizing Page Content
Don’t try to take shortcuts here! When writing content (copywriting) for your practice’s website, focus on keeping it polished, informative, and engaging to satisfy the potential patient’s search intent. Make sure to leverage your researched keywords throughout the page, but avoid keyword stuffing (using the keywords too much). Incorporate internal links (linking to other pages on your site) to provide context and establish authority. Use photos, videos, and other multimedia assets to enhance your visitor’s experience. Once you’ve written your page content, your job isn’t finished. You should update and refresh your content regularly to keep it relevant and signal to Google your continued value as a resource to searchers.
Build Quality Backlinks
Quality backlinks are essential for off-page SEO. To build quality backlinks, focus on crafting high-quality content that other site owners will want to link to. Strategically reach out to relevant websites to request a backlink. Avoid “black hat” tactics like buying backlinks or participating in link exchanges. Monitor and audit your backlink profile to make sure it remains high-quality and relevant.
Local SEO Optimization
In order to optimize for local searchers, ensure your website makes abundant use of local keywords (like the name of your town). Include accurate, up-to-date business information such as your practice’s name, address, and phone number. Do not neglect claiming and optimizing your Google My Business local listing. Along with topical backlinks for your dental website (see “Build Quality Backlinks”), seek out local citations and backlinks. Encourage patient reviews on your Google My Business Profile and engage with your community through social media and local events.
Tips for Promoting Dentistry Websites
Social media has proven itself a powerful tool in promoting dental sites. After writing your site’s content, use social media to promote it. Identify and build relationships with influencers in your industry to extend that promotion. Build and maintain active profiles on relevant social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Share informative and engaging content, such as patient testimonials and before-and-after photos. Run ads on your preferred platform to reach more potential patients. Finally, don’t forget to use the platforms for their intended purpose: engaging with your followers and responding to their inquiries.
First off, build your email list by collecting accurate patient contact information. Moving forward, send regular newsletters and promotional emails which highlight your services, share dental tips, and offer deals or special discounts. Don’t neglect personalizing your patient emails. You can even level up your email marketing by segmenting your list based on demographics and preference date. Monitor, then analyze your email campaign results in order to constantly improve their effectiveness.
Use Google PPC Ads to target your researched keywords and local market. Write compelling ad copy and then pair it with high-quality images / videos. Further optimize your PPC campaigns by monitoring and adjusting them to improve their effectiveness. The landing pages you send potential patients to with your ads should be relevant and prominently feature a clear CTA (call to action).
Billboards and Signage
That’s right. Good ‘ol fashioned signs are a proven way to draw passersby attention and eventually drive them to your dental website. For best results, create a sign that is large, attractive, engaging, and easy to read. You can gain a massive competitive advantage by investing in a large digital sign that can display dynamic content. Show practice videos coupled with your practice URL and contact info and you will literally be lighting up your market.
You now have everything you need to guide your development of an effective dental practice website. We’ve covered the features to include, mistakes to avoid, optimization tips for search and conversion, and how to promote it.
DentalCMO has built dental practice websites in five different countries and we know exactly how to make a dental site shine. Schedule a consult now to learn how we can help YOU.