In my capacity as a freelance dental writer I get to see a ton of dental websites. some are great and some…well… some get it spectacularly wrong.
Here’s a true story
I came across one particular dental site a few weeks ago and instead of patient-friendly content and a few welcoming pictures that you might expect to find on the home page, what greeted me was a multitude of before, during, and after pictures of (in some cases) pretty graphic dental procedures.
Now I’m not particularly squeamish by any means, but I’ve gotta admit I did start to feel a little queasy after taking a look.
Now imagine how a nervous patient, or indeed a first time patient, looking for a particular treatment might be feeling? They’d be clicking off the site quicker than you can say ‘osseointegration‘.
If that wasn’t disturbing enough, What became even more worrying was that one of the tabs on the main menu alongside the ‘Home‘ ‘About Us‘ and ‘Procedures’ pages was ‘complaints‘. Yikes!
Needless to say, I did reach out suggesting that I might be able to help them better appeal to their target audience, but unsurprisingly they haven’t yet responded.
Oh well, each to their own I guess!
Anyway, this kind of got me thinking….
As patients, it’s understandable that we don’t particularly look forward to visiting the dentist. Instead we tend to see it as a necessity rather than a pleasure.
The question is, ‘How do you build trust enough for new patients to contact you if they have a dental problem?
By having a great looking, friendly website packed full of relevant, patient-centred, informative content.
It would seem the obvious step to write a post based on what patients really want from a dental website, and maybe I will at some point. However I thought it would be more beneficial to write a post detailing some of the factors that potential patients hate when visiting a dental website. This way they can be avoided at all costs.
Before I start, let me just say that I haven’t conducted any type of survey based around this, but most of it is common sense (or so you’d think).
Anyway Let’s crack on….
Mistake number 1 – It’s all about you
This is one mistake that many dental practice websites make. While it’s true you have to sell your practice, your services, and to a certain extent, you, it’s important that your entire website doesn’t come across as a sales pitch exercise for you and your team.
After all, how does that help the patient?
They’re probably searching for a local dentist because they have a particular dental problem they need to sort out. Therefore if your website talks solely about how you and your team are the best thing since sliced bread, it really doesn’t give the patient much to go on. Instead you’ve gotta to make it about the patient.
So how do you do this?
Try to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how the services and treatments you offer can help them. What are the questions patients may be asking? What is it that they really need to know? If you write with this in mind, you really won’t go far wrong.
Once you’ve given them everything they need to know, you need to tell them what to do next, and that means a ‘call to action‘
This may be suggesting that they ‘Contact you to book a no-obligation consultation’, or to ‘Click here‘ for further information.
Either way, by guiding them in the right direction and telling them what they need to do next, you’re far more likely to build trust and get results.
Mistake number 2 – Your website is way too busy
As a dentist you’ve got an awful lot of information to convey to visitors.
The problem is that if it isn’t done in a detailed and organised way, your dental website (AKA – your shop window) can easily become a nightmare for any new visitor to navigate and make sense of.
Trust me, potential patients (or any searcher for that matter) hates having to delve through reams and reams of pages to try and find the one nugget of information they’re after. It’s a surefire way to get them to click straight off and head right for your competition.
With over 60% of new dental patients now searching for a dentist online, this is a vital element of your dental business to get right.
The key instead is to try and structure your dental website so it’s labelled both clearly and concisely for ease of navigation. Remember the easier it is to navigate, the more chance visitors will have of quickly finding the information they need. Do it right, and that’s half the battle won right there.
Just to give you some help -Here’s a great article I came across on how to structure your dental website architecture for best effect.
Mistake number 3 – No contact details
This may come as a surprise but your ‘Contact Us‘ page shouldn’t be the only place you put your contact details. Most dental practices want new patients and in the 21st century the internet is where they’re likely to be.
The problem is that when people search online to find a dentist, they want quick and easy access to relevant information. If you make the visitor have to work for this most basic and essential information by unintentionally hiding it, then all the hard work you’ve done by getting people to your site in the first place, is likely to be worthless.
Because they’re simply going to go someplace else, namely your immediate competition!
For this reason your contact information, needs to be displayed on every page. Whether this is a connection to an online booking form, or simply your practice telephone number and email address, it needs to be positioned in a prominent place. Usually that means high up on every page.
Again it pays to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes and look at it from their perspective and you won’t go far wrong.
Mistake number 4 – Unreadable content
A major pet hate of many first time visitors to your dental website is unreadable content. When I say unreadable, I don’t mean garbled sentences and bad grammar.
Instead I’m talking about paragraph after paragraph of highly technical content entwined in an insurmountable wall of text.
This issue is that unlike when we read a book, we tend to scan information when we visit the internet. This is compounded by the fact that the average visitor to a new website takes just 7 seconds to make up their mind whether they want to read more or click straight off.
Therefore, in order for content to grab the attention of a reader quickly, it needs to be…
- Broken up into bite-sized chunks. This is especially true of those browsing your site using a smartphone
- Interspersed with headings and sub-headings to give the reader a quick oversight of what the content contains; and be …
- Easily scannable. This is best achieved by using visual cues such as pictures and/or bullet points…. just like this.
After all, who wants to visit a dental website that reads like a literary doorstop?
So there you have it! If you can avoid these 4 major factors that visitors hate when visiting your dental website for the first time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Alternatively, if you need advice or help on how you can improve your written content layout, or would like us to carry out a free, no-obligation, website content analysis of your site, then drop me a line at email@example.com or 0044 (0) 844 3079127.