Practice Management

Creating a Website: Maintaining Growth and Viability of Existing Practices


Ron Weintraub


April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019

Employing ethical and professional strategies to maintain and grow our patient base has accelerated as the rapid evolution of present day dental practices continue. The single largest difference in growing and maintaining an active patient base is the change in attitude and tendencies of potential patients towards their healthcare.  This inclination significantly influences what we should call patient/customer service.  With the public now shopping for their healthcare providers electronically, it is necessary to create an effective website that builds a brand representing who we are, what we do, and how we attempt to excel.  

Steps to Creating A Website

The first step is to establish a relationship with a competent website designer and marketer as we have done (and we have been rewarded by the significant success that they have had with our clients).  With the understanding that most people search the internet not only to buy their daily needs, but also to find healthcare providers, designers maintain that an online presence plays a critical role in determining the quality and quantity of patients our practices attract. A successful marketing program will not just bring in patients, it will also target your ideal patient.

The next step is to provide information about your services to help the designer create a website that sets you apart from other dental offices. Effective advertising strategies drive people to your website.  A highly functional and attractive web design shows patients who we are, the services we provide, and how satisfied our former patients have been with our competencies. A website should look clean and professional, contain most of the information patients are looking for, and guide them to contact the office.

Then, make a good impression.  Follow the axiom "You only have one chance to make a first impression".  A website is often the first point of contact with potential patients. The impression the website leaves them with forms the basis of their opinion of the practice. The website should be examined with different perspectives or purposes in mind including design, search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, and content.  

A website is a company's handshake. When potential patients navigate a website, they are making judgments not only on how visually appealing it is, but also on the qualifications of the professionals.  Therefore, our website must reflect a unique brand  or what sets us apart from all the options potential patients have when considering a new dentist. As a result, an effective website gains attention, increases interest, creates desire, and leads potential patients to action—contacting the office.

With limited numbers of people in our area who have made a serious decision to visit a dentist, and with the myriad of options potential patients have when they click "search", another challenge arises.  The ease of navigating browsers and sites such as Google and Amazon creates a new challenge.  The number of dental offices taking advantage of online exposure has escalated exponentially, but if a website is on the 4th page of Google, it is unlikely to be discovered by prospective patients. A vast majority of people will never visit the 2nd or 3rd page of Google search results, preferring instead to simply alter their criteria for a new search if they cannot find what they are looking for on the first page.

Evaluating a Website Design

To evaluate an effective website, follow "KLTTB" guidelines.

  1. Know – If our website is not on the first click, people looking for dental services will go elsewhere.
  2. Like - People associate with entities they like. The website's job is to convince patients our practice is special, and they are going to enjoy being a patient with us.
  3. Trust - People affiliate with those they trust. The website has to build trust with prospective patients by showing the practice and staff as being well-qualified which will give potential patients security in knowing that they will receive a high level of care.
  4. Try - Most people are thoughtful in making decisions regarding their healthcare.  The website should reflect a warm, friendly, inclusive environment to promote trust that encourages confidence in the practice and inspires them to request a pro bono orientation, download an information pamphlet, attend a free seminar, and/or call to ask questions about a particular procedure.
  5. Buy - If the website fulfills the expectations of prospective patients, ultimately many of them will be converted to new patients for our practice.

Reviewing the Decision

In selecting a website designer, consider the draft of the website's inclusion of three major elements that must be clearly outlined in the body:  the practice BRAND, an appealing, functional physical location, and an outline of competent clinical and administrative staff.  An exceptionally well-crafted website invites potential patients to take the next step and contact the office.