How to create an award-winning dental website

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How to create an award-winning dental website

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How to create an award-winning dental website


How to create an award-winning dental website

I feel extremely privileged to be asked to write an article for following the success of website at the 2010 awards in December – Best Website and Best Specialist Referral Website awards.

It's not possible for me to write about ‘What makes an outstanding website' without touching on some fundamentals of individual marketing and design. This will become apparent later but, for now, let's consider why having a good website is essential.

Why have a website?
Consider how many times a month someone recommends a product, service or offer to you about anything from the latest gadgets to fashion, furniture, business or a holiday. Now recall the ‘digging' you do without fear of hard sell from staff or feeling like you have to book that haircut because ‘you're here now'.

That's right, in our own time, at our leisure, anonymously; we all ‘surf'. On computers, laptops even phones and now via the TV. Customers can compare competitors, prices and service standards without even giving you, your team or the expensive new refurbishment the chance to wow them! Consumer e-integration is growing fast. Your competitors have websites, Tweet patients, have apps supporting and educating viewers, why? Simple. To remain at the forefront of people's minds when choices are made about where to invest.

But not just any website!
The worldwide web is a technological phenomenon. That means competition. A search for ‘dentist' in any town of any developed country will produce numerous results for consumers to sift prior to any commitment. I visit lots of practices and see numerous websites. I have concluded that there are generally three bands (excluding not having a website!) that dental websites fit into:
• Extraordinary/innovative
• Common
• Unbecoming.

Unbecoming websites
You do not want one of these. They are more damaging than no site at all. We would all drive past a car showroom if its forecourt presented dented, damaged stock, without even bothering to find out what they may have inside. Add a large dollop of ‘this is my personal healthcare we're talking about' and you see my point.

Common websites
These websites tend to be ‘nice'. Pleasant to look at, generally [generically] informative and structured noticeably similarly. I have wondered whether some sites are identical with the exception of the logo.

Developers need to be competitive and profitable and templates enable reduced build-time, therefore increased profits. This is not a criticism, merely an observation, but it won't create an upper echelon site.

Extraordinary, innovative websites
If a website captures imagination, a desire to view more, has clear navigation, provides everything the viewer expects, and more, then you will have a successful website. This is achieved differently depending on the business. For example, Amazon's website (give or take a fantastic business model) isn't highly defined with design – it doesn't need to be. It does what I identify above by offering loads of products on a personalised basis at low prices. Compare this to the latest Audi UK website, full of design and looking very innovative.

So, how does Fruit do it?
When we start a website project, we always use a set process, because it works. We will always create a new design and a uniqueness to a site to prevent slipping into the ‘common website' category.
I have always developed a site the same way and I keep it simple. We work with clients along two strands:
• Objective elements: These are not specific to the creation of your website, but without consideration your website will certainly fail. Each element impacts upon the other and ultimately creates, at the core of your business, your brand.
As a synopsis, in order for your practice to be a success, you must clearly establish what products/services you provide. In turn, you must determine who you wish to target your products/services at and you must ascertain the most appropriate message to send to your audience. This is a good time to also point out that the very best website alone won't ensure your business will succeed. Brand strength will. This will form the subject of a later article in its own right. However, we are happy to support you with all branding issues.
• Creative elements: These are specific to the creation of your website. Each element impacts on the other and these are all ultimately controlled at their core by a budget.

Our secret...
Once a budget is established, our process begins with content. We entirely disregard design or structure at this stage. Depending on the amount of content, and how it is to be presented we then review the budget; and then consider a structure and navigational path for the site, pages, etc. Only towards the end of this stage do we then start to consider design artwork concepts. The three elements then come together to form the completed site.

While we work, we overlay the two strands of elements. Your message forms how content is delivered; your products/services determine the structure of the site, and the design aims to attract the appropriate audience.

Take, for example, an orthodontic practice, similar services but the message would be entirely different if we were creating for a children's NHS practice, as opposed to a private practice aimed at career adults, while design would differ again – although maybe not the message – if the orthodontist had chosen to target young adult actresses and dancers.

Our secret is that we don't rush the process. If you expect a site in a week, there are people out there who can and will do that and create one of the first two categories I mention, but we did create the best website and best specialist referral website in the UK!

There is a raft of data used to measure the success of websites. How many new visitors it achieves, how long they spend on each page, and so on. In a nutshell, the more time someone spends on your website, the more likelihood of them investing in your business or returning in future to invest.

Imagine your website is the window to your business. If there isn't one – or people don't like what they see – they won't come through the door!

Fruit Business Management

Martin began supporting dental practices following a career as a police officer. He now focuses on private sector business management, working with small and medium enterprises where employee numbers may be restrictive and roles shared – often at the expense of business basics or business progression. The restrictive nature of dentistry soon became clear, where the need for complete customer dedication in treatment rooms to ensure income generation, left little time for practice owners to really focus on the performance of their business or implement essential changes where necessary. Today, Fruit Business Management Ltd provides clients with long-term ongoing business support with their practices, implementing the many requirements for any modern business. For more information, email

 Posted on : Thu 24th - Feb - 2011


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