As a dentist, we are sure that your life exists beyond the four walls of your treatment room, and the confines of your dental practice. As such no doubt you enjoy spending time with friends and family. When doing so, have you ever walked into a restaurant, cafe, or bar, took one look around, and walked right back out again?
This might have been for many reasons such as lack of cleanliness, horrible decor, or that the person who greeted you was less than friendly. Alternatively, you might have stayed for a short period of time but left soon thereafter, for some of those same reasons.
The scenario we have just discussed is one that is experienced in the offline world, but it plays out exactly the same online, and specifically with regards to websites. All the issues we listed within those offline establishments can occur when someone visits a website and the biggest concern is that if it happens to your dental practice’s website, it can cause your search engine ranking to diminish.
It can diminish because search engines can measure how long each person visiting your website remains there, and whether or not they arrived, and then left immediately. They see this as a signal that your website is not one that visitors like or enjoy, and that serves as a huge red flag to them.
They want a positive experience for those who search and click through to websites from their search engine, and thus they reward websites where visitors seem to remain for some time and penalise those which appear to do the opposite. This then begs the question as to what you can do to ensure those who visit your dental practice website stay for longer.
One of the first things to check is the load time of your website. If your website loads slowly, many people will simply click away before they even see it. Look at large files that have to load, such as videos, and see if there is a way to reduce their size. Several tools exist which you can use to check your website’s load speed and these also make recommendations as to how to improve it.
Navigation is another hugely important element in determining how long someone will remain on your website. If it is unclear how they can move around a website, visitors will move on and find a website that does. That website could well be one of your competitors.
To improve navigation, one of the simplest ways is to have a menu, and for the buttons within that menu to be clear as to exactly where someone will be taken if they click on them. Also, keep the menu showing on all pages, so that visitors always know how they can return to the home page.
When it comes to the design and layout of your website this is also critical in terms of whether someone remains on your website when they arrive. If the first thing they experience is a kaleidoscope of colours and no apparent rhyme or reason to the layout, they’ll be gone before you can say, ‘Open Wide’.
Given that they are landing on a website for a dental practice, the first impression they should get is one that exudes clarity and professionalism, and that can be achieved by having a website design with those characteristics. By all means, use colour and images, but use them to welcome visitors, not scare them away.