A well polished website can do wonders for your practice. It is a public marketing tool that anyone can visit. When a website is built properly, it will give your practice credibility and allow potential patients to trust your office and you as a dentist.
If your website is unfinished, it tells your patients that you don’t finish the job. If your website is outdated, patients will think that you are outdated as a dentist. If your website is ugly, they will think you do ugly work, which especially can hurt your reputation if you are cosmetic dentist.
As a dentist or practice owner, you need to ensure your site sends a positive message to your patients and potential patients. Fortunately, dentists can take 6 easy steps to build a successful website.
Don’t Do It Yourself
Stay away from “do it yourself” website services. Creating your own website might sound like a fun project for you, and if it does, go ahead and do it. But building a website is a huge responsibility, and a smart dentist will delegate this work to educated professionals who can build and maintain a website the proper way.
You are a busy dentist who is running a successful practice. You’re staying up to date with your CE credits and the latest dental technology. You’re also busy helping your patients and managing all the moving parts of your practice. The last thing you need to focus on is building and maintaining a website.
Most dentists who start a “do it yourself” Web design project have difficulties finishing it and don’t have a clue about design or how search engines work. This is comparable to selling your patients a “do it yourself” tooth extraction kit and having them try and extract their own teeth without the proper knowledge and tools to be successful.
Find a Specialist
If you need to get surgery on your knee, you aren’t going to call a general family doctor. You would call an orthopedist who specializes in knee operations. The same goes for Web design. Choose a company that specializes in dentistry because it will understand your industry and know exactly what you will need to be successful.
There are two parts to a successful online strategy: the website’s design and maintenance and its online marketing, including search engine optimization, social media, and blogging. Both play critical roles in attracting new patients. You will need to find 2 companies, with each specializing in one of these parts. The smart dentist will choose a specialist over a generalist every time.
Expect Monthly Expenses
Websites and Web software will always need changes, maintenance, and updates. If you think you can build your website and forget it, you have been misled. All websites need to be updated so they don’t break or get hacked. There are also domain name costs, monthly hosting, monthly software licenses, and support.
Technology is always changing and updating. If you fall behind, your site will be outdated and worthless to your practice. A website is a piece of software that is never fully complete because your staff will change. You also may announce new promotions and constantly educate your customers about your services. A smart dentist knows that a website will have monthly expenses and is happy to hire someone to manage all the tasks of maintaining it successfully.
Owning The Code is Useless
I have heard many dentists say that they need to own their website’s code. This is essentially false. Do you own the code to your practice management software? I doubt it. Owning the code to your website opens up a door filled with headaches because you are the one who will be responsible for updating the site.
You will need to understand what languages your site is built with so you can hire the right person to update it. You also will need to understand Internet security and other technical information. Smart dentists don’t worry about owning the code because there are capable companies that can manage their websites for them, much like their practice management software.
Turn It Into a Collection Machine
Yes, your website is a great tool for marketing and selling your services. But a smart dentist understands that a website also can be a great tool for collecting invoices from patients. Integrating bill-pay software on your website can be one of the smartest decisions you can make.
Patients are used to paying for products and services online, so take advantage of this trend and allow your patients to pay you right from your website. This is a smart strategy because you will be able to accept money anytime during the day, night, weekends, and even while you are on vacation!
You Have to Work to Get Visitors
Just because you have built a beautiful website, it doesn’t mean you will get herds of visitors. It isn’t a field of dreams. Smart dentists will understand that once a website is built, they will have to do a significant amount of work to drive traffic to the site.
Driving traffic to your site will require search engine optimization, pay per click strategies, social media, email marketing, blogging, and media mentions. But before you can do any of that, you need a professional looking website.
Having a professional website should be an important goal for your practice. Your website is a public marketing tool. If it doesn’t look professional, your patients will think you aren’t professional. People judge books by their covers, so make sure your website represents your practice positively. What do you think of your website, and how can you improve it?
Jordon Comstock is the founder of BoomCloud Apps, a software company that allows dental offices to accept payments via their websites and create in-house membership programs. He also owns RocketFire, which provides dental offices with a small team of Web designers for an affordable subscription. He can be reached at 801-753-8586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.