With 2013 just beginning, it's a great time to think about your practice's website and to see what can be done to improve your ROi and your new-patient building goals. In the list below I detail 5 key things that you should examine and implement if needed for your website. And don't worry, I don't expect you to make the changes yourself; simply take a look at the list below and hand it off to your web developer and say, "Make sure we have this in place".
1. Domain Name and Email: Make sure that you own your domain name and that you have a personalized email. firstname.lastname@example.org doesn't cut it anymore. You need to be dr_your_name@your_website.com or something similar. But make sure it's @your_website.com.
2. Website Structure: Make sure that you have your phone number clearly displayed on every page of your website, and ideally the number should be present at the top of the page. Along those lines make sure the phone # is clickable on an iPhone so that when patients are running late and wish to call you, they can "click-to-call".
3. Mobile: Mobile is not the be-all and end-all that people make it out to be, but make sure that when your website is accessed by a mobile device, that something is there for the user to see. And make sure that your phone number is presented clearly, as many people accessing your site via a smartphone are doing so in order to call you.
4. Blog: The simple truth of the matter is that the more content you have on your website, the greater your chances of having success with a wide array of Google searches. If you only added ONE article per month (a commitment of around 20 minutes), you'd have 12 more pages on your website by this time next year -- and that' 12 more pages for potential new patient to find you. If you still aren't convinced about the benefits and need for a blog, read this post about blogs for dental and medical websites
5. Contact Form: Make SURE your website has a contact form so people who wouldn't have otherwise called the office can contact you. I could go on for days about the benefits of a contact form (I do in the Web Design Workbook for Dentists) but having a contact form is an absolute necessity.
6. (Yes, I know I said 5 but this one is important): Reviews. The new paradigm is shifting to review-based rankings (at least as far as Google is concerned). So all other things being equal, the number and quality (e.g. good reviews) of the reviews you have are now being considered at some level in your Google ranking for particular keywords. And if you do elect to work with a company that does reputation management or helps you with reviews, make sure they are a reputable company and know what they heck they are doing. Google (as always) is a bit whimsical about reviews for health care providers, and there have been many reports about reviews disappearing or not being accepted. So do yourself a favor and make sure any review management company comes well recommended and has a good track record.
Now take this list and forward it to your web developer and tell them to "make it happen". Happy New Year to everyone, and best wishes for health and success for all in the new year!