5 Reasons Dental Websites Fail

Carly Scarberry

Digital Ad Strategist
August 1, 2021

5 Reasons Dental Websites Fail

5 flaws dental websites are making and how to correct them

Not all dental websites are created equally. Spotting their differences may be as simple as landing on the homepage; you know a good dental website when you see one, and likely, you’re more inclined to trust the practice and the doctor if you see a website you like versus one you don’t. While good design is important all on its own, oftentimes, however, the most crucial differences between a dental website that “fails” and a dental website that “succeeds” are hidden behind the scenes. Meaning, what has been set (or not set) in the foundation of the site, the story that supports the brand, and the strategy for additional marketing efforts. 

Here are some reasons your website might be failing, and strategies to help you correct it!


1. People can’t find it


Let’s start with a hard truth: it doesn’t matter how much your website costs, how beautiful the design is, or how well it functions. If patients can’t find it, it fails. 

So, how do you go about ensuring you’ll be found? First, invest in SEO. SEO, both organic and local, is a major pillar holding your website together. It takes time. Depending on how competitive your area is, and how aggressive you are with ongoing SEO efforts, it could take a lot of time. Having an SEO strategy to help drive traffic to your website is absolutely critical for any practice to ensure they’ll be found on Google and other search engines.

Second, invest in Digital Ads. I promise you, if you’re not showing up in the ad arena, your competitors are. In order to be found, and be found quickly (because, again, SEO takes some time), you should consider a more direct-response approach to getting traffic to your website. So patients can’t find your website? Pay to be at the top of Google, and they will. 

2. It doesn’t build trust


This is where design, function, and content come into play. Is your website easy to navigate? Does it communicate your values and the overall vibe of your practice? Can patients easily find a picture of the doctor(s) and the team? Does it speak to the demographic of your area and to your ideal patient? 

Patients take about 10 seconds or less to decide if they like and trust you. Your website, your homepage in particular, is the first impression they’ll have of your practice. If they land there and don’t immediately feel like it’s an accurate representation of what they were looking for, they’ll leave. If they can’t find the information they want (who you are, what your office looks like, what they can expect as far as services and experience), it becomes harder and harder for patients to feel like they can trust you. It opens the door to more questions, and more surprises if/when they do come into your office for the first time. More than anything, patients don’t want to be surprised. Don’t surprise your patients, “wow” them. 

Building trust can happen a few different ways. One great place to start is with a review strategy. Let other patients speak your praise for you. Word of mouth will always be one of your strongest sources of new patient growth. Another way to help build trust is by using custom content on your website. I’m talking about photography, video, and website copy (the written part of your website).

You wouldn’t start the process of buying a car without seeing pictures of the actual car, would you? So why settle for stock photography on your website? Patients want to see you. They want to see your practice, they want to know what to expect when they walk in the door and have those expectations met. 

A lot of dental websites fail because, simply put: using stock photography is easier. A lot of sites use templates where stock photography fits better. It takes less time, money, and effort. The result: a website that functions well, looks okay, and only offers patients a cold, inauthentic view of what your practice really is. 

Instead, you could win your patients’ trust from the first impression with a site that’s beautifully designed, intentionally written, and uses photography and video that tells your story. See the difference for yourself.

3. You said “set it and forget it”


Over the course of your practice’s lifespan, it expands, adapts, and changes. So should your website. It should be a tool in your marketing arsenal that helps you brand yourself as the expert dentist, the “go-to” dentist in your neighborhood, the fee-for-service boutique dentist, or the most accessible dentist… Whatever your brand stands for, your website should help establish your credibility. That takes time, consistency, and ongoing updated content. 

One strategy for ongoing updated content that is particularly important is the addition of landing pages. Do you place dental implants? Are you trying to get more patients in for Invisalign treatments? If so, there should probably be some information about that on your website, huh?

A landing page is a fully-designed, custom-written, developed page within your site that talks about one specific service. It accomplishes a couple of things: One, it helps to answer some of those preliminary questions your patients will have, and two, it helps to establish you as a credible source for education, not only to your patients, but to Google. 

Google’s core goal is to provide relevant information to searchers. It takes into consideration things like location of the source, how new the source is, how many other users have landed on that source, what other information about the source can be verified and deemed credible… and so on. You get the picture; Google needs to trust you. Trust takes time. You can speed up that time by giving Google more opportunities to trust you by consistently adding more information to your site in the form of landing pages, blog articles, or refreshed visual content


4. It’s your only online presence


This kind of goes back to the point about no one being able to find your website - if the website is the only online presence you have, it’s not going to perform as well as it could, or should. Let’s take that one step further. 

Think about who your ideal patient is and about how that person might interact with your practice online before ever calling to set up an appointment. Did they search for a dentist and you were the first or second option that appeared in the results? Did they see photos of your team while scrolling through their Facebook feed, and clicked because they were curious about you? Will they read your Google reviews to validate what they see on your website? Will they search for your activity on social media to figure out if you’re a good fit for them, culturally? 

Short answer: yes. If you’re doing it right. 

Gone are the days where just having a website (whether it was good or not) is enough. Now, a fully integrated online presence takes the form of a website (and a good one at that), maintained social media profiles, consistent local listing citations, a strong digital advertising strategy, and current blog articles. 

You don’t have to go crazy with it, but you do need to consider where your audience will be searching for (or where they might stumble upon) a dentist like you, and how you can show up there. Let your website serve as the base for all the additional marketing efforts to stack onto. 


5. It doesn’t tell your story


This leads us to the final flaw that most dental websites make: they don’t tell a story. More than that, they don’t tell your story. They don’t tell your story in a way that connects with your patients’ stories. 

For most, dental websites are simply a templated recipe of stock images, generic SEO titles, and chat bots. The emphasis isn’t on the story, it’s really not even on you, it’s merely a formulaic response to what the industry has always known and is comfortable with. The thing is, you’re not most people, and your practice wasn’t built to be like most practices.

For us, telling stories through dental websites comes in the form of strong copywriting, meaningful design, and powerful imagery that when combined, captures attention, makes a connection, leaves an impact, and ultimately wins patients. We don’t settle for most, we settle for best. 

We think your website, your brand, and your practice deserve the best, too.
Ready to tell your story? Chat with us, we’re ready to help share it.

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