Does Your Dental Website Wear Platform Shoes?

butterfly collarWebsites age faster than cats. In fact, a three-year-old website can make potential patients believe that you’re still wearing a butterfly collar and platform shoes, and you believe lasers are science fiction. Every two years or so, dentists should budget for a website makeover. This means, every other year, you need to make sure that your marketing budget can accommodate website overhaul.

Trends in design, technological advances, and SEO changes can completely change in just 24 months, and to compete online, dentists must plan accordingly. The following list identifies 12 key reasons a dental website needs a makeover:

  • Your Site Looks Old – From color selection to layout, certain design elements can make a site look extremely dated. In turn, the image you’re sending to potential patients is that your office is dated – perhaps even your dentistry!
  • Your Site Contains Flash Files (instead of jQuery or HTML5) – Elements of motion look great on a website, and I suggest you use them. However, if your website has Flash files for motion, it needs to be rebuilt. Flash is bad for SEO and won’t render on any Apple device.
  • Text is Image-based, Not Live – When text is in images, Google and Bing can’t read it, therefore your website won’t get the SEO credit it should. The result is lower-than-desired rankings and traffic.
  • Text Can Be Found Elsewhere on the Internet – Duplicate content, that is text used in more than one location online, is very bad for SEO. In fact, Google tells us that ANY duplicate content, even patient education articles, will negatively impact a site’s SEO credit and ranking.
  • Navigation is Not Live Text – On some sites, the words on the navigation (page buttons) is an image, rather than live text. This is bad for SEO and should be avoided.
  • Elements are Broken on Certain Browsers or Devices – Part of the ever-changing World Wide Web comes in the way of browser updates. Browsers, like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, often roll out new versions. Websites that don’t feature all the new bells and whistles can lose functionality on new browsers. When we build a website at MDPM, we check the site across all modern browsers to ensure optimal function.
  • Your SEO Rankings and Traffic Tanked – If your side used to get good traffic and rank on page one, but over the past few months it has slowly lost ground, the problem could stem from site elements that aren’t ideal for the latest search indexing. The only way to fix these problems is to delve into the code. A rebuild is often easier and more cost effective.
  • The Homepage is Too Busy – Through two or more years of adding buttons, specials, callouts, videos, and images to your website, your homepage can become unattractive and crowded. When you redesign, your graphic artist can take into account all of the elements you want on your homepage, and make certain that everything has its place.
  • The Website Copy Needs Freshening – If your office has evolved, staff changed, you acquired new certifications and technology, but your website is two years behind, it’s time to refresh the copy. In most cases, a site that needs copy updates also needs design and technical updates.
  • Your Site Doesn’t Have Social Integration – Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ Local, and other social profiles should be featured on your website. If you don’t have any of these, you are doing your practice a disservice. At minimum, every dental office needs a Facebook and Google+ Local page. In addition, review sites, like Yelp, City Search, and HealthGrades are important to gaining positive patient reviews that will boost your SEO rankings.
  • Your Site Doesn’t have Blog Integration – Google’s Matt Cutts tells us that there’s no excuse for any business to not have a blog. Your website needs a blog, whether on the site or a separate domain, and the most recent blog posts should be featured as a feed on your homepage. Your blog must have new posts, with original content, published each week to remain beneficial.
  • Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly – Since December, I’ve seen mobile visits to dental websites surge. In fact, most of my clients see 20-30% of their site visits from a smartphone or tablet. Most websites can be seen on mobile devices, but today, we build websites responsively so that they actually have elements that are mobile-friendly. The site’s buttons and images remain large enough to view comfortably, and ease-of-use is considered. For instance, a mobile site may feature a menu button that, when pressed, displays navigation in a dropdown. This type of functionality provides a better user experience. In addition, sites with mobile elements are identified as mobile sites by Google, and they rank better in mobile SEO.

Next Steps

If your dental website has one or more of the issues described above, call MDPM Consulting today to discuss ways to update your site. In some cases, rebuilding is the most economical option. Other times, rewriting the text and adding a few new images does the job. Call Jill at 972-781-8861 today for a complimentary website analysis and consultation.