Have you looked at your website recently? Have you really looked? Technology and design trends have been moving forward pretty quickly, over the last few years, so the website you set up 2 years ago may already be out of date. The internet can play an important role in marketing your business, however you must make it work for you.
Here are our top tips for keeping your dental website up to date to ensure you attract new patients ahead of your competition, up-sell treatments, build a relationship and retain your patients.
- Be Responsive
This year, for the first time ever, statistics show that more people are viewing websites on a mobile device than on a laptop or desktop PC. Smart phones and tablets like the iPad have changed our web browsing habits. Gone are the days of sitting at a desk or only looking on the internet at work, these days we are sat in our pj's on the sofa (or is that just me?) looking at website after website and judging each one before making contact.
In the past, you may have noticed that companies had a ‘mobile version’ of their website, however Responsive technology now means that the way that you are viewing the website will automatically be detected and the website will change to match the screen proportions. It’s clever stuff that means your website is as easy to use on a mobile phone as it is on a PC screen.
To reflect this change Google (a.k.a. God) have recently altered the way they deliver search results on mobile devices. If your website is Responsive you will be higher in the search results too. Therefore patients searching for a new dentist are more likely to come across your site. If Google say it must be this way then we all shalt follow…
- Use Social Media / blog feeds
I guess if you are reading this blog then you are already proficient in social media. Are you maximising the benefits to your business? Including your social media content, from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram on your website helps to keep your home page up to date with fresh content, which is preferable to search engines and shows that your brand is active.
Do try to make sure that the content is meaningful. Think about building relationships – we want to know about team charity efforts, but not when you are making a cup of tea… we want to know about special offers, but avoid making every update a sales message. There is a balance to be had.
If your website was built a while ago, while you might have standard follow/like buttons and maybe even a Twitter or Facebook feed, the likelihood is your site could be using social media in even more ways now and could benefit greatly from doing so.
- Keep up with Design trends
Just like fashions, website design has evolved a fair bit over the last couple of years. So if you’re still wearing bootleg you need to look to getting a pair of skinny jeans…
After a period of drop shadows and shading a while back, our in-house designer Pete reliably informs me that the trend of choice over the last couple of years is called ‘Flat design’. As it suggests, the focus is on solid colours and clear typography to create a simple interface that looks modern and fresh.
Like all good things, Pete predicts that the trend will soon come to an end. Well, more accurately the style will evolve, but we’re already on to this… We like to keep an eye out for the latest design cues and revisit our websites to re-fresh them regularly.
An older site can easily look dated compared to a site that has adopted these trends, which can reflect negatively on your business as a whole.
- Increase Interactivity
Sometimes sites just look really slick and whizzy... what is that?! New technologies have made new websites more interactive and have introduced techniques like ‘Parallax’ to create rich and engaging user experiences.
What is ‘Parallax’ I hear you shout? Well… “Parallax scrolling is a technique in computer graphics and web design, where background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D scene and adding to the immersion.” Trust me it looks good…
Whether it is the simple introduction of subtle animations to enhance the user experience, or an entire online application, websites are expected to do more these days and there is increasing new technology available to make that happen.
Older sites tend to have less of these technologies because at the time they were built web browsers were not advanced enough to display them. As a result, older sites can easily seem a little “clunky” and less user friendly when compared to a modern site, which could put you at a disadvantage to your competitors.
- Use Content management
It used to be so fiddly that we didn’t recommend content management, to save you from spending hours re-sizing pictures and trying to just get that damned picture to move to the left hand side… argh. My stress levels rise just thinking about it. Let's face it, you're too busy being dentists.
But, I’m pleased to say that the new platform we, at weknow dental, are using with all our websites is now so easy and simple that it is a joy and pleasure to update. Most importantly it is quick and portable whilst still retaining the style and design of the website. So there is no danger of making it look rubbish. Phew!
Customers appreciate seeing new and useful information. Need new patients? Got a staff vacancy? Special offer to promote? Tailor your website to your latest promotion, from your ipad, whilst in bed (or just ask us to update it and we'll do it for you). The world is your oyster…
- Use Analytics
It’s so exciting to see what people are looking at on your website and how they are looking at it. This is vital information to help you make your website work harder for you.
All the websites we create have Google Analytics, which has advanced significantly, making it possible to see more data on the demographics of your visitors. This can help to make key business decisions.
An older website might not be making use of some of these tools and may not be set up to give the same level of feed back. Could you be missing out on potential opportunities to increase conversion rates and sales?