Updated September 18, 2021 by Chris Scott
Are you proud of your dental practice website? Is your website working? You can benefit from adding experts to your practice team who design great websites for dentists.
I understand that pesky people are emailing you each day and sending you FB & Linkedin requests with promises of how they can “grow your dental practice” with new website design, SEO and Facebook Ads. You probably spend like 2-3 hours each year just deleting these solicitations and that figure may be a gross understatement.
You’ve most likely hired a handful of web designers and SEO people over the years. You’ve probably had a half dozen websites. It would be comforting and a big relief to finally find the best dental marketing crew and add them to your practice team.
You see ads all over the web that seem to know you’re a dentist. These ads often promise they can make your patients “pop” or make baseless claims about being the #1 dental SEO expert. This can be frustrating. The amount of sales pitches you receive and ads pushed in front of you can be overwhelming. Especially when you know you could use some help. Which company is best for you? Who do you choose to develop and manage your very important practice website?
It is true that a slick website with top-shelf search engine optimization and dialed-in Facebook ads will grow your practice. The fastest growing dental practices right now are fully utilizing these marketing channels. However, only a few dental marketing teams have all of these skills under one roof.
Webmaster teams with all of these skills make your life easier and save you money.
You can micromanage all of these different marketing efforts yourself and delegate tasks to multiple companies or you can find the right team that takes care of all digital marketing for your practice.
Digital marketing is ramping up in 2021 and dentists are a popular target for thousands of up and coming digital marketing companies and website designers. Most don’t have a clue. Few are true experts in dental marketing with years of experience and proven results.
“The difference between a good practice website and an underperforming one can mean millions of dollars.”
The website design team you choose is crucial to your success. The difference between a good practice website and an underperforming one can mean millions of dollars. Over the next few years do you want to expand, give raises to your staff and grow or do you want to remain stagnant or worse lay people off and struggle? It all starts with your website.
Your website is the front porch to your practice. It is you.
I can help you.
At this time we are looking to add 1 or 2 new clients to our Dentists on the Cutting Edge service.
I wrote this article as both a way to reach out to you and to share some of my experience building successful websites for dentists. Whether you work with me or not, you should find value in this information that you can use to improve your website.
Save time and instantly grade your dental practice website here: Free Instant Site Audit Tool
During a dental website design and development, I consider these essentials for top performing dental practice websites:
- Your website should generate a steady and growing flow of new patients & cases.
- Your web pages should be fast and load completely in under 3-4 seconds.
- Your website should prominently display your qualifications.
- You should be seen as an authority in your specialty.
- Your online presence should grow with your website.
- Your website should display calls to action, reviews and testimonials prominently.
- Your preferred procedure pages must have before & after images and be convincing.
- Be transparent about costs and pricing.
1. Your website should generate a steady and growing flow of new patients & cases.
The primary goal for your website must be converting site visitors to new butts in the seat. Make reaching out to your team the entire focus of the website as opposed to using an out of the box website with contact information that is hard to find.
If your website is not helping to make your phone ring and catching new dental patients then the website design may be flawed. The website architecture may be bad or the content to thin. The actual wording itself may not be convincing. There are thousands of reasons your website may be underperforming. Identify the reasons and correct them if your site is not bringing new patients to your dental practice regularly.
Our Cutting Edge Practice Roadmap service can quickly identify these barriers for you.
2. Your web pages should be fast and load completely in under 3-4 seconds.
You can have the best looking modern website design but if it is slow to load you’re out of luck. Load time and page speed are very important as people click around the web and in and out of pages in fractions of a second. If your website is slow to load and scores low on website speed tests you need to repair or replace it. Google prefers fast loading websites. Especially when a user is on a mobile device using a data plan. Optimally, your web page should be interactive within 3-4 seconds even on a slow 3G connection. Web page speed can impact your dental SEO a great deal. If Google has two results that are competing for a targeted search keyword and are similar in just about every way except for speed, it is widely accepted that Google will give priority to the faster loading result by awarding the faster site a ranking boost.
Google is really throwing the hammer down for mobile speed tests in 2019 and will give your website page a failing grade if it takes more than just a few seconds to load.
For this reason, Cutting Edge is busy implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for clients as an add-on to their website in 2021. AMP is an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.
The AMP Project is an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all. The Google-supported project enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms.
An AMP page is basically a stripped down version of a webpage that removes all bloat. Validated AMP pages are then cached by Google on their own server which allows a mobile user to interact with the content super fast often loading and interactive on-screen within a fraction of a second.
Speed equals revenue on the web, especially mobile. In fact, studies have shown even 100ms delays in page load time correlate with lower conversion rates. To better understand the impact AMP can provide for mobile sites on speed and revenue, Google commissioned Forrester Consulting, a leading global research and advisory firm, to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study across publishers and e-commerce websites using AMP.
In the study commissioned by Google, AMP publishers are seeing a 20% increase in sales conversion rate, a 10% year-over-year increase in AMP site traffic, and a 60% increase in pages per visit. Certainly, numbers any advertiser would love to achieve.
3. Your website should prominently display your qualifications.
Display your academic credentials, certifications, and accomplishments in great detail.
Don’t leave your credentials buried in a paragraph of text only on an About Us page. Put them on your procedure pages and every page your site visitors frequent.
Target new patients are exploring your website and should be shown your credentials without having to search. Seeing these on your site in the right places at the right time in the decision process will give a user a nice nudge to become your patient.
For example, here are a few Cutting Edge accomplishments:
Leading companies trust Cutting Edge:
4. You should be seen as an authority in your specialty.
Do you have prolonged or intense experience through practice and education for a particular procedure? Have you published papers about dentistry? Why should a target new patient on your website choose you over the competition for their life-changing dental implants or Invisalign treatment? Write unique content in your words about your specialties for your website. Record videos about your specialties for your site. Convince your new patient that they can stop looking for a new dentist right here.
Patients will drive a great distance and right past 50 other dentists to see a specialist or a dentist they have deemed to be “the best”.
5. Your online presence should grow with your website.
Building your online presence doesn’t happen overnight. It takes know-how, considerable effort, and patience. It’s critical because your online presence is what allows people to find, interact, learn, like and trust your dental practice.
You need to constantly feed your online presence. The more you feed it, the more your brand awareness will spread and gain momentum, followers, leads, and ultimately new patients that last a lifetime. Your online presence is your digital footprint online. The bigger the footprint, the better. Update your website often, share updates to social and blog regularly.
The scary words here are “constantly” and “more” which equals time that you don’t have. Your web designers/marketing team should be proficient in maximizing your practice online presence and take care of this for you.
6. Your website should display calls to action and testimonials prominently.
Prominent calls to action must be in all the right places. Visitors should never have to click two or three times to see a phone number or your practice contact information. Nor should they have to scroll way down to find a Request Consultation button or contact form.
72% of patients say their first step in finding a new doctor is checking online reviews. Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) make up 15.44% of Google’s ranking factors for local map results. Online reviews are more important than ever for boosting your practice.
Dentists on the Cutting Edge use our Practice Review Platform to automate the feedback and review process. We make patient experience the backbone of your practice. Cutting Edge Practice Review Platform is a patient experience and online review engine that enables insights, empowers marketing and converts patients. Gather patient feedback and reviews into one place to boost your practice.
7. Your preferred procedure pages must have before & after images and be convincing.
For instance, if you perform dental implant procedures your site should prominently display the benefits of choosing to get implants. Examples: “I can prevent jaw bone loss and keep my face from sinking in with implants for my dentures” and “I can eat corn on the cob and steak if my dentures have implants” etc. Be descriptive and convincing in text and video if possible.
Before & after photos are essential. It’s surprising how many dentist websites do not have before & after photos of their work! I would guess it’s awkward to ask your patient if you can take a picture of their teeth in bad shape. One way to avoid this is to simply make signing the photo consent form part of your patient intake process. We add these custom consent forms to our online registration portal for clients so they’re already on file in your practice software for each new patient.
A good practice to get into is to take a simple before & after photo of each patient undergoing cosmetic or restorative dental procedures. Get into the practice of doing this as often as possible. Right after you snap the after photo, fire them off to your webmaster for placement on your website. We do that for our clients.
Full face photos are far superior to just mouth shots if your patient is OK with it. Lots of before & after photos are convincing. Keep adding them to your website over time and as often as you can. If you can, get creative and use video to capture before and after examples of your work, patient experiences and testimonials for your website. This can give you an advantage over the competition.
8. Be transparent about costs and pricing.
Very hot search queries for dental practices are costs and pricing related. I understand a dentist’s reluctance to put pricing on your website as every single patient is absolutely unique. However, you can whoop the competition by placing some general pricing on your site with a *note nearby explaining that these are only general pricing outlines. Patients love to see this and be able to plan for it in advance. You will not scare away new cases by putting pricing on your website. You will satisfy the searcher intent by placing general costs on your website and Google will reward you big time as cost related queries dominate dental practice related searches daily.
Most other competing dental practices near you probably don’t have actual pricing information listed on their site so this is a big opportunity to exploit.
I have had great success with costs related content for my clients. Some of my client’s new cases even tell them that the reason they chose them was that they had pricing information on their website.
How much does a dental website design cost?
Dental website costs vary widely but as a dentist or surgeon, you should expect to pay between $7,000 – $12,500+ for a premium website designed by a reputable dental marketing company. You can try a low-cost solution for your practice website but that will most likely cost you in the long run much like going to a 3rd world country for dental implants.
Premium website design is included for Dentists on the Cutting Edge. Clients in an All-In-One package with us for a minimum of 6 months do not have to pay upfront design fees. So don’t let thoughts of hefty design fees keep you from moving away from your current provider and over to Cutting Edge. We’ve found that dentists often feel stuck with a big underperforming website provider and the cost to move and sever the relationship was a concern. This is our solution.
We provide high-quality websites that are results-driven and pleasing to the eye. We don’t just build websites, we build SEO optimized websites that represent your brand and convey your message in the strongest way possible. The websites we build are customized to fit your practice and your target audience with maximum results. Rest assured that all of the tools needed to convert your online audience into revenue are incorporated into our dental web design process.
How long does a dental website take to create?
A website is never “done”… only “ready”.
Your practice website should never be considered “finished”. Maintaining and creating your practice website requires ongoing effort & refinement that constantly improves your ability to capture new patients. With this approach, your site is an investment that evolves over time as part of your ongoing marketing budget.
Successful dental practice websites that compete and grow are not set it and forget it one-off projects. That is exactly what is wrong with most practice websites out there today. They lack people who work on them daily.
Generally speaking, we can have a new practice website created and running flawlessly for you in 2-4 weeks. Our goal is to completely revitalize your practice website and have it ready for you within 30 days. This way you can give your current provider a months notice that you’re moving on to bigger and better things (if required).
How do I know which dental website design company is best for my dental practice?
In my opinion, you should steer clear of bigger companies with thousands of clients. There is no way a bigger company with 70,000 clients is going to provide you with anything special. Their sites are usually boxed up and cheap and the same for all their clients. This will not help you to stand out. Nor will a company that size provide good customer service. By reputation, they’re also not very passionate about each client’s success. Instead, they have all their weight on the sales team to get your money and less weight on true web design talent.
DWY “done with you” and large proprietary platform websites aren’t ideal.
“Assisting” a dentist with their WordPress website usually means a “done with you” type of approach to a dental practice website. These don’t often work out and are most often left dull and underperforming just sitting there on page 4 of Google for years. Way to much is left up to the dentist to do themselves under the guise of “but you own the website”.
The platform itself “the engine” – will only sit there unless there is someone in the driver’s seat pushing the gas and steering. A DWY approach often leaves the dentist themselves as a driver responsible for anything more than canned educational type content. Leaving them to spend time trying to learn the nuances of SEO, Google criteria and how to navigate their way around WordPress’ backend using block editors etc. This of course is not an ideal allocation of a dentist’s professional or personal time.
For practices in a competitive area looking for growth the best approach is to accept that this will be a horse race. You should probably have a jockey if you want to win and reach your goals. Most practices aren’t even on the track competing at all. Their horse (website better described as a donkey) is just “over there in the barren field” chewing on grass and dying a slow boring death alone.
Bulk dental practice website providers like Sesame, Prosites, Officite and more serve hundreds or thousands of clients and because of that they do not use WordPress. I am sure there is a small amount of “lock them in on our platform forever – make it difficult to leave” motivation there but the main reason they do this is because it’s not feasible or a smooth process to manage thousands of WP sites.
WordPress, I believe, is by far the best platform but it requires you have a jockey or even a racing team running it or it can suck. Ongoing maintenance is required at the very least. It matters little that you can “move it around” on a USB bouncing between marketing companies. Most marketing companies that do great job will just make a newer more modern website anyway.
Each marketing company has their own choice of horse. Large platforms like Sesame and Officite usually don’t come with a jockey. Neither do most smaller cheap WP offerings.
When you want a website that works and helps your practice grow or you’re considering “changing things up” what you really should be looking for is the webmaster or team behind it – regardless of the platform. This usually means working with a smaller team that actually can work on your project each day and make moves that provide momentum and ever increasing visibility. These companies today usually offer premium WordPress or Webflow website architecture.
Some things to look for in a dental website design company:
- PROVEN PERFORMANCE
Make sure the dental website designers you work with can provide client references from dentists who are happy with their work. Cutting Edge is one of the top performing digital marketing teams. We’re Certified Google Ads Experts and partners with industry-leading technology providers to bring the latest and greatest to our clients. We invite potential clients to contact our references.
- DATA DRIVEN REPORTING
Transparency is important. Make sure your web designers and digital marketing team provide you with reporting. Shooting you a ranking report email once a month for a handful of terms is not enough. Keeping tabs on your website success is vital. Find a team that makes this easy and clear as day for you. With Cutting Edge, there is no need to wade through complicated spreadsheets or log in to 6 different websites when evaluating your online presence and digital marketing campaigns. All clients have access to our Marketing Dashboard, our comprehensive data, analytics, and marketing reporting platform all in one easy to access spot.
- UNPARALLELED TRACK RECORD
Seek out web designers with good reviews and testimonials from dentists. For instance, at Cutting Edge, we have a 100% dentist client retention rate and a +100 Net Promoter Score that’s much higher than the nationwide average. Our client testimonials, dental marketing methodology, and decades of web design experience are the perfect recipe for a successful digital campaign.
- LEADING DIGITAL EXPERTS
If you look closely you can easily whittle your choices for web design companies down to a few experts. 2021 web designers need to be strong in SEO and digital marketing. Your selection should follow well established best practices. Consider experts who are Certified Google Experts.
At Cutting Edge, we’ve been designing and marketing websites since 1999. We keep tabs on the latest and greatest design trends but measure the success of any site launch by how well the new design is able to impact practice goals. We’ve built successful websites across all niches.
- LOCAL AREA EXCLUSIVITY
We offer local area exclusivity to our marketing clients. Our goal is for your practice to dominate your market area. We do not accept clients who conflict with our existing clients. Stay away from web designers and digital marketing agencies that do not immediately offer you local area exclusivity.
SEO and your practice website
All of the top-ranked websites in highly competitive industries such as dentistry have one thing in common: they have a team of talented digital marketers behind them who have worked hard to position them into that lucrative spot using SEO best practices. Great website design and architecture is part of a successful formula but just the first step.
If your website isn’t “above the fold” in the results for your target search terms or if your website is old or stale then you should consider signing up to be a Dentist on the Cutting Edge. New websites are included in our All-In-One marketing package with no hefty upfront design fees.
Check out our 8 Top SEO Tips for Dentists article. Find many things you can do on your own to improve your practice online presence right now.
About Cutting Edge
Cutting Edge is an Internet marketing and consulting firm specializing in state of the art web design, search engine optimization and customer acquisition and retention solutions to help clients effectively manage customer relationships and achieve business objectives online.
Cutting Edge employs top professionals who share a dedication for their work and actively seek opportunities for collaboration with like-minded partners. The group unites a deep and broad knowledge of the industry with a passion for their work that translates into innovation and streamlined processes for the benefit of our clients and the marketing community.
The Cutting Edge team is comprised of professionals from all corners of the Web including web engineering and programming, sales and marketing, business development, new media and online creative.
Most Important Strengths and Core Competencies:
Employees are Internet professionals with at least 20+ years of industry experience. Experience runs the full life-cycle of Internet development.
Cutting Edge has a broad understanding of how technology, knowledge management, and marketing communications can be utilized to not only deliver high-value services at the point of need but reduce costs through automation and improve efficiencies.