Best and worst web marketing practices summarised
A new year arrives and with it a good opportunity to review your dental practice website and the tools and techniques you can use to help boost its Google ranking positions.
Even with the advent and huge proliferation of social media, your website is still the key hub for attracting and converting new patient enquiries – so it pays to get this fundamental foundation absolutely right. With that thought in mind, let’s take a quick look at 4 key factors which you simply must have in place to give your site the best chance of delivering new patient success. Additionally we’ll summarise the top 4 bad practices to avoid which could get you in trouble.
Do these things well….
- ensure your website is mobile optimised and provides a smooth user experience on desk-top, tablet and mobile ‘phones. Well over 50% of web traffic is now from mobile devices and yet we still see dentists persisting with old-fashioned, desk-top websites from 5 or 6 years ago. The bottom line with this is that over half of your visitors simply can’t work their way through your site without frustration, and the vast majority will simply go elsewhere. You can’t afford not to upgrade.
- use compelling, comprehensive content on your site which grabs the attention and immediately gives the potential new patient confidence that you can solve their problem. The website should be at least 70% about the user and solving *their* issues and then the rest allocated to your, your team and facilities. Remember that it’s primarily about your potential new patients, not you.
- invest in a truly bespoke design which will make you stand out from the competition. Generic WordPress templates for $40 off-the shelf with a few dental images and copied text simply won’t cut it and even if you save money early on, you’ll likely regret it later.
- Understand that an excellent website is just the first step on the ladder to successful web marketing. A great website is essential to give a firm foundation and start on the way to good search engine rankings, but alone it’s probably not going to get you into the top places on page one of Google without additional work and investment. Depending on the competition in your local area, the chances are that you will need to consider and budget for search engine optimisation, social media activity and potentially pay-per-click marketing to stimulate traffic.
Don’t do these things….
- don’t skimp on the website design process. Understand that many web designers are purchasing ready-made website templates for around $40 and adjusting them minimally to complete their client’s websites. This approach is fraught with complications which might not be obvious on initial inspection. Contrary to the bargain you think you got, what you probably ended up with is a generic site which looks very similar to lots of others and without any of the “personalising” features we discussed earlier. The site will also potentially be built on a cheap WordPress template which may soon reach the point where it can’t be updated and becomes at risk of hacking. At this point your original providers will likely have walked away or want to charge you thousands for a new site. We see this regularly from dentists who have been caught out by their provider and then approach us to help.
- don’t get tied into onerous monthly contracts which purport to offer SEO included. Unless you’re paying a lot of money each month, the SEO element is nearly non-existent and not enough to give you the Google rankings you need. The supplier will then try to up-sell you to an even more expensive package to give you what you thought you were getting in the first place. The key is to remember that design agencies will offer all sorts of things simply to get you “on contract” – so please read and understand the small print. Better still, don’t sign up to anything – instead opt for a “pay as required” service which will give you what you need and save you many hundreds if not thousands of pounds per year. Please give our team a call to discuss.
- don’t play “fire and forget” with your website. Data tells us that the second highest number of new patient enquiries (after word-of-mouth) come via practice websites, so it’s essential to give them the attention they deserve. This doesn’t necessitate tying in to expensive contracts but it does mean revisiting your website periodically to refresh and update content, add any new treatments, review on-page search optimisation etc.
- don’t subscribe to poor SEO services. Whilst this usually means “cheap” SEO it also includes lots of services which charge a lot of money but still deliver low quality, risky services. Please see this blog post for further insights. SEO which works, is sustainable and operates within Google’s guidelines, is time-consuming and takes experience and skill – so please expect to pay reasonable fees for it. Above all, research the provider and assure yourself that they can actually deliver on their promises.
2018 is upon us and presents a great opportunity to start a fresh year with a fresh look at your dental website and to make an assessment as to whether it’s actually delivering. Follow the guidelines above and you will be on track to owning a great site that delivers the new patient enquiries you need to thrive. If you’d like to discuss the above or any other aspects of web marketing for dentists, please get in touch with our team on 01332 672548.Google+