In our blog “5 Dental Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2020,” we discussed the importance of having an online presence for dental practices during the modern marketplace. Dental practices nowadays have plenty of choices when it comes to dental marketing—social media, Yelp/Google reviews, magazines, just to name a few. But without a great website, dentists are missing out on a considerable stream of revenue.
At pH Dental, our marketing team consists of highly trained web designers with years of experience in digital marketing. We have created a quick guideline below for dentists to follow. The guideline will cover 20 best practices when it comes to dental website design. Whether you just begin to build your website, or you have already kept your website running for years, read on to see if any of our tips will help.
This is a perfect time to focus your effort on website design
Dental offices probably have 10-20 times fewer patients each week. So why not spend the extra time to work on your website and digital marketing strategies. Make it in a way that when the situation with coronavirus ends and lives return to normal, you have a new and improved website ready for your prospective patients to visit, and become new patients!
Please read through the entire list first before implementing any of the strategies, as many points will relate to one another.
20 Best Practices for Dental Website Design
1. Branding! Branding! Branding!
Yes, we have to say it three times because it is super important. In fact, we believe that branding is the most critical aspect of every business.
What is branding? First of all, in simple terms, a brand is everything that belongs to your business that customers remember and can easily identify. These include your name, logo, color palette, services, and many more. Branding is a marketing strategy that promotes your brand, allowing you to differentiate your practice from your competitors. And in turn, it makes your brand more memorable for your patients, brings more new patients, and increases your income. If you have yet to have a clear branding strategy for your dental practice, let us know in the comment section below, and we will create another guideline for you.
So what does website design have to do with branding?
The topic of branding is vast, so we won’t cover it in detail in this blog. However, just remember that to support the branding strategy for your dental practice, create a consistent brand image throughout your dental website.
At the minimum, keep the following items consistent:
- Value proposition
- Tone of voice
For instance, Chew Chew Dental, one of our clients, has the same above items throughout its website, social media channels, and offline marketing prints. Notice how they use the same color palette, font family, and value proposition throughout all website pages.
Through the clever usage of images, design, and tone of voice, Chew Chew Dental shows patients that they offer a friendly and family environment at their office.
2. You mention colors. So which colors should I choose?
Ah yes, the age-old topic of color psychology, which deserves a separate article just by itself. Research about this aspect is far and wide, so it’s not difficult to do some research. For instance, many research might say that the color blue creates a sense of trust in the viewers. However, we are not going to say which color palette you should use to design your website, because each practice is different.
Just remember a few things below:
- Make the colors work with other items of your brand. For example, let’s say you have developed a professional and simple image for your dental office. We aren’t saying that you couldn’t, but try not to use all 7 colors of the rainbow on your website’s homepage.
- Use colors so that your website is easy to read. This step is easy. You can play around with different colors, then avoid using the ones that make your text hard to read. Make sure that there is enough contrast between your background and your text. A small tip: white and black text works almost with everything!
- Don’t hurt the viewer’s eyes! Yes, we know that this is an article for dentists. But don’t add eye problems when your patients already have tooth problems! Don’t use too much contrast in your color choice. For example, a neon green background and pink text will put a strain on the viewers’ eyes.
Look at this example. Which color combination do you think works best?
Pro tip: If you have important messages or call-to-actions, put them in colors that make them stand out from the rest of your website.
3. Use spaces
On the topic of making your website easy to see, remember to use empty spaces throughout your websites. Space gives your site room to “breathe” visually. Without using space, you can make your website hard to read and force your patients to click away.
Check out this homepage from Digital Smiles:
You can see that there are plenty of spaces between this dental office’s logo, navigation tab, special offer, and CTA.
4. Keep it simple
Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons why a website should have a simple design. Read this article.
A simple website will be way better in driving conversion compared to a complicated one. It’s a fact that people can only handle a limited amount of information at one time. If there is too much stuff on one page, website visitors will get overwhelmed and leave. Creating a great user experience on your website means getting rid of anything that isn’t necessary to the design.
“But what to do if I have too much information to show my website visitors?”
Look through your content to decide which is more important, and leave out the unimportant part in another page. Fun fact: It has been proven that humans now only have an attention span of 8 seconds. Yes, that’s worse than a goldfish. So putting too much information into a single page is not going to convert any new patients.
Here’s a screenshot of Apple‘s website, a prime example of simplicity that works.
Pro tip: Your homepage should be the page with absolute simplicity. If your homepage is simple, visitors will know what they should do next.
5. Make your website accessible on tablet and mobile
Nowadays, more than half of website traffic comes from mobile devices, and that figure will continue to rise in the future. To make sure that your designed website is accessible on all devices, use a responsive layout.
Without a mobile friendly layout, your website could look like a mess on mobile devices, thus driving away potential patients.
At pH Dental, we always make mobile view our priority. Here’s an example of how our website looks across different devices.
6. Show clearly what you have to offer
Did you know? 53% of customers say that they always do research before they buy or use a service to ensure they are making the best possible choice.
“Most of my dental patients are referrals” is a common statement we encounter from dentists. But referral is not enough anymore. Patients nowadays have developed a habit of using search engines to find more information about a dental office before going. Therefore, establishing your website to become the first point of contact with potential patients is critical.
In your website, clearly show:
- What you have to offer, whether it is your treatments list, consulting, or teledentistry
- Your location, hours, and contact information
- Doctor bios and credential
- Which insurance do you take
Let’s go back to the example of Digital Smiles.
Clearly showing the above-mentioned information can show your expertise, create trust, and convert more website visitors into new patients. Additionally, clearly show information such as your mission, vision, or positioning, as this could bring support to your branding and marketing strategies.
7. Have patient testimonials
Here are a few stats for you to consider. According to Qualtrics:
So yes, testimonials are crucial for dental practices. Most dentists already acknowledge that the number one source of revenue for them is referral. So you must have known that online reviews could yield a similar result. Client testimonials can set you apart compared to your competitors, and it’s easily the fastest way to earn the trust of new patients.
Pro tip: Add testimonials throughout your website in the home page and each service’s page, as they will convert better compared to when you have a separate testimonial page.
8. Have an FAQ section
Creating an FAQ is easy. So why not do it to provide more value to patients. You just need to create a list of common questions that patients ask you through the phone or during their appointment.
For dental patients, most of the time, they will have several questions that they want to ask before deciding on choosing a dental office. If you don’t have an FAQ, but your competitor does, there’s a high chance that a potential patient will not choose your office.
Chew Chew Dental did an excellent job in creating an FAQ section for their patients.
Pro tip: Remember to update your FAQ frequently. Tell your receptionist to note down frequently asked questions.
9. Have a Contact Us page
Personally, we believe that it is more beneficial to have a separate Contact Us page than have a Contact Us section in the footer of your website. The contact page should show patients how they can get in touch with you.
Moreover, you should provide a sort of form for your patient to leave their contact information. There should also be a space for patients to leave their initial questions and concerns. Let’s look at an example of Oak Cliff Dental Center. In their contact information, this dental office leaves multiple means of contact so that patients can reach them in multiple ways.
Decide on your keywords. We will create a comprehensive guide for dental SEO strategies for offices in the near future. So remember to follow us on social media to keep updated.
10. Use a lot of images
Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners? That means these people learn and remember stuff the best through pictures. Using images throughout your site can improve user experience, and as a result, convert more visitors into new patients.
The best way to use images in your great dental website design is to showcase the services that you offer. A good, clear image of the dentist treating a patient can show viewers a multitude of things about the dentist: high expertise, friendliness, caring, etc.
Additionally, you can give patients an office tour through images, showcasing the most modern digital dentistry equipment and other services that you have to offer.
Pro tip 1: Use at least 1 image for every 300 words written!
Pro tip 2: Try to only use high quality and relevant images. You can always find stock photography online. Additionally, at pH Dental, we also offer professional photography services for dentists.
11. On the topic of images, use human faces!
If you decide to add many images to your dental website design, be sure to have plenty of pictures that include human faces. Why? Human faces create a sense of familiarity and connection one may have with a brand, increasing conversion rate. Don’t just include pictures of teeth on your site.
Remember to put faces on your landing pages, articles, blogs, case studies, and testimonials. For example, check how Arcadia Medi-Dental Group incorporates images with human faces into their treatments list.
12. Use videos
If you already have plenty of images, take it into the next level and use videos! Videos are probably the most consumed type of information right now. Just look at the popularity of YouTube, and you will get our idea.
Videos make your dental website more compelling. Through videos, your expertise and services could be delivered to patients in a conversational form, creating trust.
At pH Dental, with years of experience in video producing, we are helping many of our dentists to create videos about their offices and services. We also create some interview videos for them to better showcase their credentials and expertise.
13. Run a blog
“Content is king.” Yes, you probably have heard of this before. A blog is not necessary at all for your designed website. Running a blog is also very time consuming and definitely isn’t cheap. But it is a great dental marketing strategy. If you have a blog, you could set yourself apart from the competition and win many more patients.
Blogs aren’t just good for your dental SEO efforts, but they bring lots of value to your patients. Through blogs, you have a chance to show visitors your expertise, and help them to have confidence and trust in your dental practices. A website visitor who frequently follows your blog will be much more likely to convert into a new patient.
So what should you write for your blog? Dental health tips and facts, procedures explanation, case studies, testimonials, dental industry news, just to name a few.
14. Make your website easy to navigate
A well-designed site structure can enhance user experience and increase session duration. A website visitor should be able to easily find the information and service that they are looking for. As a matter of fact, a bad website structure is one of the primary reasons that drive away prospective patients.
Now, imagine a day when you visit Walmart, and all products are put in the wrong aisles. Additionally, the aisles aren’t put together in an order that makes sense to you (the laptop section is put between men’s clothes and women’s clothes). Do you want to come back to Walmart ever in the future?
Site structure works in a very similar way. When a user first visits a website, he or she expects to see categories and pages organized in a way that is easy to navigate and make sense. Consider an example of our website. We divided our pages into different sections, including company information, services, and dental equipment, blogs, CE courses, and contact information.
A good strategy that we used when creating dental websites for our dentists is “card sorting” – where you ask for the help of users to evaluate your site structure.
Additionally, here’s a rule of thumb to remember: Keep all of your important content no more than 4 CLICKS away from your homepage.
A good site structure will also help you with your dental SEO. Search engines look through your content in a similar way as humans do. So if your website is easy to navigate for visitors, it will also be easy for Google too.
15. Work on your typography
Typography is one of the elements most often overlooked when it comes to dental website design. However, great typography may convert way more patients than you realize. Typography is a type of art. It brings together several elements, such as font, color palette, size, alignment, and combines them to create the type on your website.
There are two main families of fonts: Serif and Sans Serif.
Frankly, we prefer to use Sans Serif, and we believe you should too. Try to read these two paragraphs below. You could see that Sans Serif Font is easier to read because they don’t have the small flourishes at the ends of their letters. However, you can still use Serif. But try to use such fonts only for headings.
Pro tip (a super important one): Don’t use too many fonts to make your website easy to read! We always limit the number of fonts to 2-3 when designing our clients’ websites.
16. Use visual cues
Visual cues are used in several parts of our everyday life. For example, when talking to someone, we could smile to tell others that we are actively listening to them. In website design, visual cues are elements that direct the attention of your website visitors or deliver a message. In order to create a great dental website design, visual cues are crucial. Below is an example of a visual cue from Chew Chew Dental website.
Do you notice the arrow pointing downward? That’s a visual cue. It tells the users to scroll down because there is more content below. And it’s quite effective.
There are two main types of visual cues in website design.
The first one is explicit visual cues. Explicit visual cues often include the usage of images and symbols. For symbols, we have already looked at an example of a dental website using an arrow. Now let’s consider this example.
In this example about the website of Cisco, the person in the image is looking directly at the CTAs. When visiting this page, users will be more likely to follow this person line of sight and click on those buttons!
The second type of visual cues is implicit, which primarily includes the usage of colors and typography. We have already mentioned above that you should use colors to make your CTAs stand out. Additionally, if you want your CTA button to stand out, try different typography for the text.
Another way of using implicit visual cues is by using empty spaces. If you want to make a section of your website seem more important, put more empty spaces around it!
17. Add social share and follow buttons
Well, this is another no brainer. Add social media buttons provide opportunities for your visitors to connect with you on other channels, and attract more followers to your practice. This strategy is also an excellent support for your overall dental marketing strategies.
Pro tip: We highly suggest putting your social buttons at the footer, not the header. Why? Putting these buttons on the header might drive visitors away from your website to your social media instead.
18. Increase your site speed
Besides a shorter attention span, people nowadays are incredibly less patient. A slow website can easily force users away. Additionally, search engines favor websites with fast loading speed in their rankings. So a fast website is good for your dental SEO.
Did you know that a 1 second delay in page response could lead to a 7% decrease in conversion?
The procedures to improve your site’s loading speed are many. Read this article from Moz to learn more.
19. Design your website with a target audience in mind
This is why we want you to read through the whole list first before implementing the above-mention strategies. In fact, this point is probably one of the most important tips we could give you so far. When it comes to dental website design, always remember who your patients are. Even if you already have a great website design, but it is not designed to fit in with your patients’ needs and preferences, it’s not going to convert.
Do you know that different genders, age groups, and professions react differently to your content, layout, colors, typography, and more? Therefore, we highly suggest that dentists conduct some forms of patient research before building their websites. Try to understand the demographic, psychographic, and behavior of their targeted patients.
We are also working on a comprehensive guide when it comes to patient persona and cycle. So check back regularly to read more informative content from our pH Dental’s marketing team!
20. Always testing
If you truly want to have a great dental website design that converts, test often. The dental industry and patient behaviors are continually changing, and changes are expected to happen often with your site. Simple changes such as button colors, a CTA, or a switch in the layout may have a profound impact on your conversion rate. For example, a red “Contact Us” button may somehow yield a better conversion rate than an orange button.
There are plenty of tools for website testing online that you may consider using.
Well, that’s everything. We hope that through this article, you could learn something new and make a great dental website design ready when the whole situation with coronavirus ends.
On the other hand, if you believe our dental marketing team at pH Dental could help you with your website, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our web designers can even build you a brand new website from scratch! Also, remember to follow us on social media to keep up-to-date with everything-dental and learn more strategies to improve your practice. We will cover some topics relating to dental SEO strategies for your designed website in the future.
And don’t forget to share this article on social media! Do you see our social share buttons and how they have visual cues below?