Chris Baker gives you eight points to follow to make your website stand out from the crowd.

If we go back five years, all a website had to be was an online brochure. That is no longer enough. Today’s consumers expect a lot more.

Today you need your website to deliver:

  • New patients
  • Information, education to existing and new patients
  • Contact details eg email, telephone number etc.
  • Engaged followers – if they don’t contact you immediately then you need them to keep returning so that they will get in touch when they are ready
  • Visitors who stay on the site for as long as possible.

How to do it

A tall order? It can be done cost-effectively if you follow a methodical and systematic approach:

1. Content management. One of the best ways to ensure your website is interactive and regularly updated is by having it built in one of the many content management systems that are available (eg WordPress). This means that you (or your team) can add and delete pages, make amends to text, add pictures and so on

2. Addition of a news system. Following on from above, this can be content managed so that you and the team can update. This allows you to be up-to-the minute, link to dental stories in the news and so on. It also has search engine optimisation benefits

3. Gallery. A gallery will speak to your potential patients in ways that text never could. If you can present cases of treatments previously carried out on ‘normal people’, the conversion rate will be noticeably higher. Although many of the dental supply companies will provide excellent ‘before and after’ shots, these will never work like pictures of your own patients along with a short synopsis and ideally a quote from them

4. Search engine optimisation (SEO). If no-one can find your wonderful website, then you have wasted your time. Employ a web marketing company that can deliver in this key area. Google Adwords (pay-per-click) is also worth considering

5. Video. With the advent of Youtube and Vimeo, the addition of video will make your site much more visually appealing and engaging. Videos also tend to educate and tell the story much more effectively then text

6. Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and the like are simply another channel and way of speaking to potential patients. These can reach an audience who may not respond to more traditional media. All of these media should be integrated into your website and should all cross refer

7. Data collection. Marketing in any era has been about collecting the data of potential purchasers and bringing them into your ‘buying cycle’. Your website is no different. Potential patients should be able to email you, sign up for updates, follow you on social media and so on. Give them the option to leave feedback – I know that some dentists are concerned about this but the potential positives far outweigh the potential negatives

8. Google analytics. The final piece of the jigsaw – the piece that will tell you if all the rest of it is working! With the addition of a piece of free coding to your website, you can find out how long people were on your site, what is most viewed, where they left – all vital information to help you improve your online marketing.