Recognising excellence in practice websites

This year sees the launch of our inaugural Website Awards\. Read on to see how your practice can have its online efforts officially rewarded by entering the Dentistry\.co\.uk Website Awards 2007.

Producing and developing a quality practice website has never been more important in today’s dental industry.

A website can go a long way towards marketing a surgery and, if used effectively, can prove to be a highly successful tool in boosting your practice profile and attracting new patients.

Although the concept of practice websites is nothing new, patient expectations are higher than ever before. Gone are the days of just a fancy home page and a few ‘meet the team’ style biographies – the modern practice website needs to have a lot more to it in terms of style and function.

Content must be truly informative, in terms of both quality and quantity, while the design needs to be user-friendly and strike a chord with the appropriate target audience. Patient cases can help build the credibility of the site, and they should be represented with high-quality images, smile galleries and testimonials, while the surgery must be presented in a professional and approachable manner. Profile-raising needs to be exploited fully through search engine optimisation (SEO) – a slick, professional site that can be found on the first page of Google is what you should be aiming for.

Flash animation should also be considered to bring the site to life, especially as most households now have broadband. Essentially, patients need to be impressed enough by a practice website that they are spurred to make an appointment or recommend it to family, friends and colleagues.

And the marketing doesn’t stop there. The website can be highlighted on all practice stationery, signage and reminders, and used to show past cases or testamonials even before starting treatment.

The worldwide web has also provided the public with a shrewd tool to compare the respective merits of dentists without having to physically visit the practice or pick up the phone and talk to staff. Therefore, standing out amongst competitors online is important for any dentist, particularly in the private sector. In order to stand out, you need to stand for something, and what many dental websites are now doing is targeting a specific patient profile. Every practice has unique patient demographics depending on location, modernity and selection of treatments, and tailoring the website to those requirements is crucial. Dentistry.co.uk has seen how practices throughout the UK have made vast improvements in their online services/marketing, particularly over the last year.

With this in mind, we feel it’s time those efforts were rewarded. The Dentistry.co.uk Website Awards 2007, sponsored by Dental Focus Web Design, are a significant step forward in establishing the importance of an effective practice website and the time and expertise that goes into developing them.

Krishan Joshi, project manager at Dental Focus Web Design, echoed that sentiment, saying: ‘We’re really excited to be part of the Dentistry.co.uk Website Awards. This gives the profession the opportunity to be rewarded and officially recognised for their hard work and efforts in creating successful websites, which are worthwhile to both new and existing patients.’

Format
Practices can enter the awards by visiting http://www.dentistry.co.uk/webawards. The deadline for entries is 1 September and the finalists will be announced on 19 September. The winners will then be revealed on 10 October. There are three awards – Best Website, Most Improved Site and Best New Website – available in each of the four categories: NHS, Private, Mixed, and Specialist.

Criteria
When selecting the finalists and winners, the judging panel will be looking for qualities such as the following:
• Look and feel of the site
• Quality of informative content
• User-friendly features
• Whether it makes a good impression
• How it appeals to the right audience
• Real patient cases – relevant pictures and testimonials
• Surgery presentation
• Search engine optimisation
• Technical/video/animation expertise.

Your opportunity
Don’t miss your chance to win an award in this growing area of the dental profession. Online expertise is becoming an increasingly creative and effective force, and it’s high time that talent was acknowledged. The Dentistry.co.uk Website Awards 2007, sponsored by Dental Focus Web Design, give your practice its chance to shine. Visit http://www.dentistry.co.uk/webawards to enter.

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