12 Reasons Why Most Dental Websites Fail
Dentists often make the mistake of assuming that the success of a dental website hinges exclusively on it being visually “pretty”, “clean”, and “modern”. However, this can’t be further from the truth and is the #1 reason why most websites fail.
That’s not to say that a websites for dentists can’t be visually attractive. But the best dental websites focus first on turning visitors to new patient appointments. They focus on conversion before looks.
Remember, your practice's website’s #1 purpose is to drive new patient growth.
The Purpose Of Your Dental Website
Your dental website can help current patients answer questions, research procedures, and maybe even log into a patient portal. But a dental office website’s primary purpose is to motivate potential new patients to call (or click) and schedule an appointment.
Your dental website should be at the center of every marketing effort you make. Google AdWords, Facebook ads campaigns, online reputation and reviews, even the occasional billboard or print advertisement will all drive visitors to your dental website.
Once they get there it’s your website’s job to convert them to new patients as quickly and effortlessly as possible. If your website isn’t giving visitors what they’re looking for, they just click on the next dental practice in their search results and you lose a potential new patient.
The 12 Reasons Dental Websites Fail
The key to a successful dental website is to focus on what can set your dental practice apart from your competitors. Once you do that, patients can see the difference in your dental practice website compared to the dozens of others they see in their search results.
What are the biggest mistakes most dentists make on their practice's website?
1. Too Many Stock Photos
Stock photos are everywhere and are incredibly easy to use on a dental website. As a result, a lot of dental websites rely heavily on these types of photos and patients don’t see anything unique.
While the photo below might look “nice”, it doesn’t do anything to make a patient want to choose your dental practice instead of another practice with a similar stock photo down the street.
Stock photos don’t encourage patients to trust your dental practice or help them feel like they can get to know the staff.
We encourage our clients to use as few stock photos as possible. Instead, we use real photos of the dentists, staff, and patients (with their permission of course). These types of photos are especially powerful for potential new patients to see on the homepage of your dental website.
2. The Dental Practice's Phone Number Is Hard To Find
You’d be surprised how many dentists forget to make their phone number easily accessible on their dental website. They sacrifice an easy to find phone number on the homepage for a “sleek” and “modern” dental website design.
The phone number of your dental practice needs to be easy to find on your dental website homepage as well as on every other page of your site. It also must be clickable on a mobile phone.
3. Lack Of Differentiators
A differentiator means something about your practice that makes you different than your competitors. Differentiators are the key to a dental website that converts visitors to new patients.
Using phrases like “the best dental experience” or “we care for your smile” don’t set you apart. Any dentist out there can claim to have “the best new patient experience” or something similar.
What successful dentists have on their websites are features about their dental practice that other practices in the area don’t highlight or offer.
- Open 7 days a week
- 1-2 Day Dental Implants
- Emergency Same-Day Appointments
- Sedation Options For Anxious Patients
- In-House Financing For Patients Without Insurance
- Early Morning or Evening Appointments
- Bilingual Office
- New Patient Discounts
4. Failure To Give Patients A Reason To Put Their Trust In The Dental Practice
Patients visiting your dental website need to see proof that they can trust you. Potential new patients need to believe you can do what you claim to be able to do.
If your dental practice has won any local awards, those need to be highlighted on your dental website’s homepage. Rankings from the Better Business Bureau and other similar agencies help instill trust in new patients.
Affiliations also lend credibility to your dental practice (The ADA, Academy Of General Dentistry, American Academy Of Implant Dentistry, etc). Be sure to speak to your training and continuing education in your personal bio page on the website.
5. Hiding Patient Reviews On A Testimonial Page
Many dentist websites now include a testimonials page that lists reviews from patients. However, that isn’t enough.
Just seeing a webpage with typed reviews from people who a dentist claim to be patients isn’t going to make a new patient trust your dental practice.
Reviews featured on your dental website need to include:
- A star ranking
- A testimonial quote
- A photo of the person who left the review (if possible)
- A 3rd party logo where the review was originally published (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)
This type of review proves to your dental website visitors that It’s not something you made up, it’s a real patient review.
Reviews need to also be featured prominently on your dental website’s homepage, not just on a testimonial or reviews page.
6. Failure To Advertise Special Offers
Almost every dentist offers some type of discount or special offer, but many don’t bother posting them on their website. This is a huge missed opportunity to appeal to new patients! Special offers need to be on both the homepage and on a dedicated special offers page on a dentist’s website.
If you aren’t sure what type of special offer might be right for your practice, consider the following suggestions to get started:
- Discounted New Patient Visit
- Free Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation
- Free Teeth Whitening After Orthodontic Treatment Is Complete
- Complimentary Sedation For Pediatric Patients
- $500 Off Invisalign Treatment
- Free Second Opinion Consultation
7. Refusing To Share Photos Of The Dental Staff
Like we mentioned earlier in this post, it is important to include photos and bios of your staff on your dental website. This especially applies to the hygienists, front desk staff and dental assistants.
New patients will likely speak to your staff before they have an appointment with you, so having a face to connect with a name on your website makes them feel more comfortable and also helps them begin to trust your practice before they ever get into your chair.
Don’t just keep staff photos to the “Meet The Team” page either. They can be prominently displayed on the homepage, dental service pages and community involvement pages on your dental website too!
8. "Copying & Pasting" Generic Dental Website Content
Dentists everywhere use shortcuts to explain the services they offer on their dental websites. It’s really easy to just copy generic information about root canals or dental implants and paste it on a dental practice website.
However, it can be a turn-off for potential patients. Seeing the same, stale block of generic content on your dental website that they see everywhere else doesn’t make them view your dental practice as different or trustworthy.
Because so many dental websites are created this way, it means this is an area of “low hanging fruit” where you can quickly stand out from the competition. Share unique content about the services you offer that doesn’t sound like the same, tired text patients are seeing on every dental website.
9. Sacrificing Ease Of Use For A "Clean Design"
Don’t make your dental website difficult for potential new patients to use. Visitors to your dental website need to find the information they need right away.
Most potential new patients are looking for special offers, the dental insurances you accept, your office hours, the services you provide, and your phone number.
That’s why all of the dental websites Firegang designs include that information on the homepage. A patient should be able to click on your dental website and immediately find the information they need to schedule an appointment.
We’ve worked with dentists who have fallen into the trap of sacrificing ease of use for a “pretty” dental website design. It never pays off.
While your website might look sleek and modern, if patients can’t find something simple like the specials you offer, the insurances you accept or your office phone number, they’ll click off the site and go to your competitors.
10. Only Giving Patients One Way To Schedule An Appointment
Allowing patients to book directly onto your practice’s calendar through your dental website makes the whole process convenient. It also decreases the possibility of them clicking off your website and forgetting to call your practice to schedule. Giving patients more than one way to schedule an appointment increases the chance they'll schedule with your dental practice.
So many people don’t want to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment anymore. They work hours where it’s hard to take time to be on the phone or they just are more comfortable avoiding phone conversations.
By offering a way for them to schedule an appointment directly on your dental practice website, you can set your practice apart from your local competitors.
11. Using Dental Language That Is Difficult To Understand
Keep in mind that the people reading the content on your dental website are not dentists. The content created to reach potential new patients needs to be written in terms that they will understand.
Avoid using dental jargon or overly technical medical terms. Instead, think about the problems potential new patients are trying to solve when they search for your dental practice website. The language on your site needs to make the dental solutions they need accessible and easy to understand.
12. Lack Of Video Content
More and more dental practice websites are starting to feature video content. There are a variety of ways you can use short video clips to convert your dental website visitors to new patients.
- Testimonial Videos
- Before & After Videos
- Community Outreach Videos
- Videos Explaining Simple Procedures
- An Office Tour Video
Conversion Formula & Strategy
At Firegang, we use the term “conversion” to refer to the ability of a dental practice to convert calls and web leads into actual appointments. Once a potential new patient decides to call your practice, your staff needs to be able to turn that call into a booked appointment.
Why do we care so much about conversions?
Improving conversion rate is the best way to increase your bottom line. By using a combination of the 12 website conversion elements outlined above and proper phone training, our clients are often able to increase their ROI without increasing how much they spend on advertising.
When we partner with dentists, we want to increase their conversion rate on their website and on the office phones. Our baseline goal for our clients is to consistently see a 6% website conversion rate and an 80% conversion rate on the phones.
Below is a conversion model which shows how increasing conversion rates across the entire new patient journey can yield a dramatic ROI increase.
How To Increase Conversion Rates
When a potential new patient visits your website, they'll will be asking the following questions:
- Do you answer my questions?
- Why should I call you instead of the other dentist down the street?
- Do you take my dental insurance?
- When are you open?
- What experience do you have?
- Can I trust you to take care of my family?
- Do you have any special offers?
- Do you offer any kind of financing options?
- What are other people saying about you?
Answering these questions effectively is known as adding "conversion elements" to your dental website.
The 12 components of an effective dental website we went over in this blog post are all conversion elements, so if you focus on making sure you have them on your practice’s website, you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors. Your dental practice will start to see conversion rates improve and experience more new patients booking appointments.
Remember, potential new patients are constantly looking online to learn more about your practice, your services and your reputation.
It’s worth taking the time to make sure that once they visit, they turn into a new patient!
Are you ready to create a dental website designed to convert visitors into new patient appointments?
This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been updated to include the latest information on dental marketing and dental website design.