Of course, remote dentistry isn’t possible right now. You can’t have your teeth cleaned by a robot at home. But many aspects of the business side of dentistry now rely on digital technology.
The most connected dentists not only have a basic website, they schedule appointments online, use the cloud for patient file access, and maintain a social media presence.
People use the internet for almost all business transactions today. Your patients expect their dentistry web experience to be just as pleasant and pain-free as their time in the chair.
But if you’re thinking “damn it, Ben. I’m a dentist, not a web designer!” you’re right. Your time is best spent helping people maintain healthy smiles.
But clean dental websites aren’t hard to maintain either. And there are a few simple things you can do to your website right now that won’t tempt you to hit the laughing gas canisters.
1. Simplicity Is Your Friend
Teeth are complicated, as you know. So many things can go wrong with teeth. And the diagnosis and treatment aren’t always straight forward.
You might try to make things simple for your patients, but your end of the deal is pretty complicated.
Web design can get pretty complicated too. Sure, not nearly as complicated as the human mouth. But it’s easy to over complicate things for users, especially if you’re used to working in the back-end of website design.
But in web design, the user comes first. Everything should be designed with the user in mind.
And users want simple and intuitive experiences.
For example, an intuitive web design puts the menus at the top of the website. This is where all of us have been trained to look when we visit a website.
And when a user clicks on a menu item, they should arrive at the promised destination. They shouldn’t have to wrangle multiple drop-down menus or move through several other pages to get there.
The concept I’m trying to get across here is called “minimum usable design.” It’s an aesthetic in web design that says you should be able to use your website when it’s 50% done.
It’s simple enough you could leave it half done and still be usable. Of course, you won’t publish at this point. But it’s a good marker to find out if you’re actually keeping it simple.
2. Outline Offline
When you went through dental school, did you practice surgery on live people first? Of course not! Who would sit through that kind of torture anyway?
While your dental websites don’t feel pain, it’s easier on you if you only have to throw away a piece of paper or erase a white board. You don’t end up tossing hours worth of work.
For some reason, our brains visualize better on paper than they do in the digital space. This might change with coming generations, but right now it’s true.
You will have a more cohesive web design if you write out your ideas and sketch out how you want your website to look. Use flow charts to mock up your menus and links. Sketch out your home page to see how it looks.
You’ll have an easier time getting this phase done than if you stared at a blank screen or a template.
3. Sparkling White Spaces Will Bring You Joy
As a beautiful clean smile makes your heart jump, so should white space on your website.
While, yes, content is king. And you should have as much actual quality content on your site as possible. You don’t need to stuff it all on one screen.
The beauty of the web is that we aren’t limited to physical space. We don’t have to take advantage of limited physical resources like paper.
Facebook has proven this. There is a bottom to your Facebook feed, but it will take a long time to reach it. If it were printed on actual pages, you would be shelving massive volumes. But the digital world is forgiving in that way.
You can make content both long form and good looking. On your main page, you don’t want long form content. Just beautiful links with small paragraphs and wonderful white space in-between.
When you do write long form content, make sure you break it up into one to three sentence paragraphs. And each sentence should be no longer than 20 words.
This makes the content easy to read and scannable. You want your patients to quickly find the information they seek. And white space helps you do this.
4. Make Your Dental Websites Mobile Friendly
While you might do the majority of your computer work on a desktop, most people don’t access the internet this way anymore. Mobile internet access represents 60% of the time people spend on the web. And that number is slowly going up all the time.
It’s utterly frustrating to mobile users when they encounter a site that is not mobile friendly. Pinching and squeezing just to get to a menu or a link is maddening. Human fingers just weren’t designed for it.
Thus, make sure you create a mobile version of your site along with a desktop version. Most web software will already do this for you. But if you neglect responsive design such as mobile friendly features, potential patients will get frustrated and leave.
5. Let Experts Fix Your Dental Websites
You probably see DIY dentistry disasters all the time. And you probably wish people would actually come in to see you or at least call before attempting such feats.
Just as there are dentistry experts people should see, there are dental marketing consultants dentists should see. Your web design and digital marketing campaigns could be sparkling and effective. But you might be trying too hard to do it all yourself.
While you can do a lot yourself, the best results come when you hire an expert to at least take a look.
Conclusion: You Can Do It
Now that you have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve it’s time to wow your patients.
Creating dental websites is easy. But there are times when things go horribly wrong. Do you have any dental website horror stories? Let me know in the comments below.