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Dental Website Design

Anatomy of a Great Dental Website Design:
Patient Education = Patient Engagement

An effective Dental Home Page has multiple parts. Visitors need to be immediately engaged and your site should present a high-level of professionalism and the appropriate decorum for the type of dental practice. The visitor must also be able to quickly figure out the general navigation of the website.

The site has only about (3) seconds in which to accomplish these important tasks. Unless the visitor is accessing the site directly in order to schedule an appointment or gain access to the dentist's patient portal, visitors will otherwise find the site at Google, Yahoo! and Bing. There are likely other dentists to consider, so unless they are adequately impressed and they understand how to use the website, they will go to the following search result.

Engaging Patients Using Your Home Page

Use animation and motion for your practice's Home Page. Animated movement on the peripheral edge of the eye will cause your visitors to focus their attention to the motion. They will not only wait to see what has just happened, but they will also wait to determine what might happen next. Although three seconds is brief, visitors are able to rapidly process the other items that make for an effective Home Page.

Visuals – Decorum & Professionalism

Visitors have their own internal expectations of what they are expecting to find on your website, and your Home needs to meet or exceed these expectations. Dental practices need to define how they wish to present the practice: small or large, comfortable and friendly, or efficient and sterile. Then, select the website design theme.

Examples: Pediatric dentists would look to present the doctors in a friendly, caring manner – that the staff understands that children are likely to be anxious and that they will calm them and make them comfortable. It's appropriate to select primary colors such as blue, red, green and yellow with stock photos of children who are comfortable with their dentist.

A website for an endodontist is different. Patients have a more serious dental condition, so the Home Page should demonstrate that the dentists mean business when treating this condition. The website should also demonstrate empathy as well (no patient wants a root canal), so color combinations of light blues and muted grey are effective.

When choosing stock images, consider photos that represent typical patients as they are most effective. Pictures that demonstrate the dentist and staff attending to patients, or in consultation are among the best selections. Photos such as these convey concern and compassion with direct patient interaction.

The Dr. Leonardo website builder features dozens of high-resolution images to decorate the animated banner area of a Home Page. Or, upload your own high-res photos of your office – images of the waiting and examination rooms, your in-office dental lab (if you have one), staff members, dentists, etc. Dr. Leonardo has over 150 dental design themes – an average of 18-24 different themes per specialty. And, since the Home Page banner images are editable, this lets you customize your website for an appearance that is unique to your practice.

Quick, To the Point Navigation

The Home Page needs to present the visitor with a menu that is understandable and which features various shortcuts to certain pages of the website. The site needs to be deep with many different pages for doctors, staff members, bios and curriculum vitae information, patient education, patient portal access, forms for medical history and insurance, etc., so a visitor needs to be provided with an understanding of how to navigate the website. Effective dental websites provide a navigation trail that lead visitors into various sections of the website. Icons and graphics can be used to provide access to pages that are frequently accessed by patients.

All Dr. Leonardo websites include menus with intuitive shortcuts to online appointment scheduling, dental patient portal, links to social media and more. Menus are completely editable for a custom design that best reflects your practice.

Accompanying Pages

The next step is to guide patients from the Home Page to the other supporting pages of the website. Patient education has a large role here, as it allows patients to learn about their conditions and available treatments in addition to reviewing provider biographies. Most Internet sessions consist of twenty minute intervals, so first-time visitors 'vetting' the practice will spend considerable time on your website at the direct expense of competing providers.

Patient Education Content

Clinical content achieves two purposes:

  1. A primary source of information for search engines is clinical content.

    Clinical content, specifically patient education, is the most important ingredient in achieving effective organic search placement. The reason is obvious: the primary objective of any search engine is to provide answers to search queries. When a question is answered successfully, the visitor returns to use the search engine for additional searches. Google maintains its market share because of it is incredibly successful in delivering answers to search queries.

    Almost every website on the Internet is reviewed by search engines using 'bots' that automatically crawl through each of its pages. Detailed patient education content, including clinical terms, along with information on your dental practice, the dentists and your staff, allows your website to be ranked as an authoritative source on disease conditions and treatments regimens. This authority takes a little time, but it translates to organic visitors to your website.

  2. Patients are looking to your website to learn more about their personal health condition.

    Visitors to your website are often there to evaluate using you as their dentist. Existing patients also visit your website to reassure themselves that your or your office is the proper choice as a provider. These visitors will generally feel more comfortable with you as their provider when they are able to find information about their personal health condition on your website.

    Patients also use the content on your website to give them a greater understanding of their particular condition and the various options for treatment.

    Dr. Leonardo features clinical content on more than 1,000 dental conditions, treatments and procedures. Descriptions average 400 – 700 words with clinical illustrations and professional healthcare photography. Print-ready functionality with rich-text enables you to distribute point-of-care information to patients while they are at your office and from home on their desktop and mobile devices.

Appointment Scheduling - Online

By 2019, it is estimated that 64% of the population in the U.S. will use the Internet to schedule their healthcare appointments online. Almost one billion appointments will be booked this way every year [Accenture]. Therefore, you should anticipate that two-thirds of your patients will soon be booking their appointments online.

Most patients will use their phone to schedule their appointments. It’s best to keep the process simple and get the basics necessary to get the patients into your office. This is best limited to name, telephone, email information, and time of appointment, saving insurance questions and medical history information for later. Dr. Leonardo uses the confirmation page to ask for this information and provides a link to your Patient Portal (if you have one).

Dr. Leonardo's appointment system collects:

  • Provider, and office location of the appointment
  • Date and time
  • Patient first and last name
  • Telephone numbers to confirm
  • Email information
  • Preferred method of contact (phone, email)
  • New / existing patient
  • Reason for appointment

Dr. Leonardo notifies your office staff of the appointment request by email. Any Personal Health Information (PHI) is encrypted via SecureForms™ which are compliant with HIPAA regulations.

Patient Portals

If your dental practice management system features a Patient Portal, the best place for your patients to find it is on your website. Patient Portals can free up your front desk by extending functions to your website that patients often call about throughout the day.

Dr. Leonardo autolinks to 100+ EHR products to feature your Patient Portal and include a short-cut from each page of your website.

Office PDF & Other Document Forms

Patient forms can be placed on your website as PDF files for patients to complete before their appointments. Interactive PDF files can be completed online for direct import into your EHR system. If forms as part of registration, patients can be directed to the Patient portal to register prior to arrival at your office.

Dr. Leonardo supports multiple formats – Adobe PDF, Word files and other documents.

Accepted Insurance Plans

Insurance plans accepted by the practice should be listed prominently on your website. This list should be kept up-to-date. Patients will attempt to match dentists with their insurance plans when they are searching the web. This list will ultimately become associated with the practice and the provider names.

Mobile Websites – Responsive Optimization

Search queries are now conducted on mobile devices 60% of the time [Search Engine Land]. Search engines afford greater preference to mobile-optimized websites, and to responsive websites in particular. A responsive website offers a better user-experience when using a smartphone. Additionally, speed to load is a factor too.

Dr. Leonardo websites are mobile-optimized and responsive in design – they automatically adapt to the size of the desktop, tablet or smartphone.

On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Content Management Systems (CMS) provide the ability to edit and change content on your website yourself, including the ability to access and modify On-Page SEO. Even if a practice administrator prefers not to learn the power of this feature, outside Digital Marketing Agencies appreciate the ability to edit SEO on pages individually.

You can avoid having to redesign your website if you should switch from one digital agency to another for some reason. Dr. Leonardo provides access to third-party agencies for on-page SEO, allowing your to keep your existing website.

Notices Within the Website Footer

Your Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) is required to be posted on your dental practice’s website in compliance with HIPAA regulations. Accordingly, your website should include a webpage for this notice. Alternatively, you can also provide a link to a PDF file that visitors can download.

Dr. Leonardo provides a universal NPP that you may also to distribute to patients as your written policy. Dr. Leonardo websites also include a Terms of Use and a Website Privacy Policy page too.

For more information on Dr. Leonardo PRACTICE-Sites, build yours today.