Avoid Launching A Part Finished Dental Website
It will create the wrong impression for users and Google!
The announcement for dental practices to re-open following the Covid-19 issues took quite a few people by surprise, including dentists who were either part way through new website projects or still waiting to get going. Understandably this resulted in a rush of ‘phone calls and emails asking us to expedite project work ready for re-opening dates. Much of this we were able to achieve, but in a couple of cases we were asked to launch new websites with significant tranches of information missing.
Whilst you can understand the desire to a launch a new website quickly, where it isn’t finished, it’s not recommended – here are the main reasons why.
Credibility with users
Whilst it may feel like launching something is a good step forward, particularly if you have no website or a particularly poor one; unless it’s the finished article, it can cause more harm than good. This is because users expect to see a professional website with all information presented correctly, not “coming soon” messages or simply large sections excluded. This has the immediate effect of reducing credibility, particularly when you consider that a potential new patient may also have looked at your competitor’s website too. Much better to get those last bits of information collated and off to your preferred designer to get them added in properly before go-live.
Don’t spoil the launch!
It’s quite something to build and launch a great new website and an event which should be celebrated and done correctly. Letting your patients know and also broadcasting the event on social media would be the minimum we’d recommend. However, if you launch “half cocked” then the fanfare and positive effect will be hugely diluted; indeed if you must have a soft-launch, I’d hold off announcing anything until the new website if sufficiently robust.
Incomplete information for Google to index
As we’ve covered in depth elsewhere in this blog, indexing is the process whereby Google’s web “crawlers” gather information from websites in order to rank them in the search index. To achieve the best effect and the optimum initial search ranking, it really does pay to have comprehensive information throughout the website. If information is missing, e.g. key treatment pages, then Google simply doesn’t have the information it needs to rank your pages. Again it pays to take that little bit of extra time to get the key information across to your designer. If you are struggling for time, be sure to prioritise. So pick the key treatments to complete and do these before the lower profile ones.
There are a number of regulations which must be complied with when it comes to dentists’ website, more specifically the ICO and GDC. Both of these requirements are covered elsewhere in this blog and in detail. However, one area where principals and practice managers sometimes seem to struggle, is obtaining the full information required for their website team pages; bios, GDC numbers and the like. This might seem quite simple on face value but in reality, information like this can come across in dribs and drabs. Launching a website which is missing this key content is a risk and not recommended. In this world of intense dental regulation, “big brother” is watching you, so don’t give them any excuses.
Rationalise if it’s essential
If it really is critical to get a new website live but not yet fully developed, the best approach is to rationalise it and then expand later as new information is made available. At least this way your new site will be a complete entity and not strewn with “coming soon” messages and missing staff bios. This may entail an adjustment of the website navigation structure and possibly some re-organisation fees, but this is much better than a “half cocked” launch.
There is a lot of pressure right now to get dentists back to work effectively and this includes making sure their web assets are up-to-date and effective. Where this involves a new website, our strong recommendation is to hold off on launching something which is not finished as this will create the wrong impression for users, as well as diluting Google’s information gathering process. Better is to wait until the work is complete or as a last resort, rationalise the website to temporarily eliminate any pages which are unfinished.
If you need help generating content for your website, for example creating compelling, accurate treatment text, our dedicated dental copywriters can help. Please call us on 01332 672548 to discuss your requirements and we’ll be pleased to help.Google+