The visual design of your dental practice’s website isn’t just about looking good. It can also impact user experience, conversion rates, and bounce rates. A first-time visitor will usually scan the header, menu, and page content in a matter of seconds. Great in-depth content and a convincing marketing message are wasted if the design doesn’t capture someone’s attention at first glance. Consider these facts:
- Internet users typically spend about 15 seconds on a webpage.
- The average adult only reads 300 words per minute.
- The human brain can process an image in just 13 to 100 milliseconds.
Here are some tips for the most important visual elements of a webpage.
The design options here are virtually endless. If you are using inforgaphics on your website, match the type of infographic to its location on the page and to your marketing goal.
The upper part of a landing page is the first thing visitors see. Elements in this space should capture their attention, such as a very simple graphic highlighting two or three benefits of a procedure.
Larger, complex infographics with a lot of information might be overwhelming to someone skimming the page. However, the person who scrolls through a long article or clicks through for more information is looking for details. More comprehensive infographics can be very helpful in these areas.
A picture can tell a compelling story, or it can simply occupy valuable space on your webpage, so choose carefully.
If you add photos along with articles, make them relevant. Preferably, choose a picture that helps the reader understand the topic, such as a photo showing signs of a condition that you are discussing or before and after photos for a cosmetic procedure page.
When you need pictures of clinicians, procedure results, in-progress treatments, or similar subjects, it can be tempting to reach for stock photos. However, doing so is a wasted opportunity. Real photographs personalize your site, showcase your skills, and increase credibility.
Plus, people tend to read picture captions when they are just skimming a page. Adding staff photos with captions is a good opportunity to mention your team’s specific skills or credentials.
As one of the most popular types of content on the Internet, videos should be a major part of your visual marketing efforts.
First, use whiteboard or other explainer videos to help potential patients understand complex procedures or processes. Next, add a “virtual tour” video of your office. Also, ask patients to submit testimonials in video format. And whatever videos you add to your website, be sure to share them on social media as well.
You might not think of navigation as a graphic element, but we are well past the era of plain text links in list format. The design and placement of menus and buttons is among the most important factors in user experience.
Creativity is good, within limits. You want users to instantly recognize your primary navigation. People are accustomed to menus in the header, footer, and sidebars. “Hamburger menus,” arrows or plus signs to symbolize expanding menus, buttons, and similar symbols are familiar. Don’t deviate from the familiar so far that navigation ceases to be intuitive. Use distinctive colors, shapes, or rollover effects to help people easily identify buttons and menus as well.
All too often, text content is left out of the conversation when we discuss visual marketing. In reality, text is one of the most important visual elements.
Current search algorithms favor longform content, often with 1,000 or more words. Of course, hurried and distracted web users are looking for quick answers. A novel-length block of plain text looks boring, and the thought of reading it is overwhelming. The formatting and placement of text can improve or ruin the visual appeal of your page.
So, use headings and subheadings liberally. They break up long text, making it more readable. Someone skimming the page can read the headings and get an idea of what the article is about.
Include bulleted lists where appropriate as well. These lists also break up the text and add visual appeal. Equally important, they present the main points in an easy to read format. Many people will skip straight to lists for fast facts.
Illustrate your point with images, too. Photos, diagrams, infographics, and videos appropriately placed throughout an article make it easier to understand, because the reader can literally see what you are saying. Additionally, the picture can pique someone’s interest enough to begin reading.
Putting It All Together
When evaluating a potential design, remember that it needs to work well for all stages of someone’s visit.
First, you need to make a good impression in a split second. At a glance, it should look appealing, informative, and useful.
Next, viewers will probably skim the page quickly. The eyes naturally follow the same pattern as reading a book, left to right and top to bottom. These areas should include important links and information such as your practice’s name and phone number. However, they shouldn’t be cluttered enough to confuse the viewer.
Once you have someone’s attention, you need to keep it. Interactive tools, videos, and interesting links encourage engagement, so make them easily visible. Intuitive navigation is essential for the user who wants to look around. Appealing layouts, good titles, and informative captions help encourage someone to stay on the page.
Finally, the ultimate goal is converting the viewer to a patient. Make contact information available on every page and easy to find. Include a call to action in a highly visible place. Use banners or standout graphic elements to draw attention to any special offers or promotions. Lastly, don’t forget social media links and newsletter signup forms.
Never underestimate the importance of your dental website. It is the digital “face” of your dental practice and an invaluable tool for attracting new patients, improving patient retention and building your professional reputation.
Mr. Arulrajah, president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, has been a leader in medical marketing for over a decade. Ekwa provides comprehensive marketing solutions for busy dentists, with a team of more than 180 full-time professionals, providing web design, hosting, content creation, social media, reputation management, SEO, and more. If you’re looking for ways to boost your marketing results, call (855) 598-3320 for a free strategy session.