By JULIA THOMAS
As primary point of contact for practices here at GPG, one of my main objectives is to help guide practices through the design and creation of their new site. While ensuring an optimal end product, equipped for the highest level of user experience and overall aesthetic, the Account Management team spends countless hours understanding the goals of the practice, their values, and their targets for conversion.
With the average user having a mere 15-second attention span on a site, it’s pivotal to attract the user’s attention from the moment they visit your practice’s site, and create a compelling, interactive, and personal experience in order to keep them there. With such a small window for conversion opportunity, it’s imperative that practices avoid, or remedy, the Top 3 Most Common Errors on Practice Sites.
1. Lack of Call to Action
A Call to Action, or CTA, is a crucial component of any effective website. A CTA encourages users to engage with the site, often positioning the user to convert into a revenue opportunity for a practice. A CTA can be anything from an engaging piece of content, an opportunity for the user to learn more, or an immediate conversion through a Schedule Now or Contact Us option.
In my time reviewing sites, the most common error I’ve come across is practices lacking Call to Actions, specifically within the first “fold” of their website. In order to capture the user’s attention, and encourage them to connect with your practice, the site must contain ample call to actions – the most effective and crucial call to action residing in the header and top fold of the site. Whether it’s a “Schedule Now” icon, a clickable “Call Us” button, or a “Learn More” icon, a call to action must be visible when the user first arrives to your site.
After establishing compelling call to actions on the initial view of the website, it’s also imperative that these call to actions continue through the rest of the site. Every “fold”, or scroll, of a site should have a least one call to action connecting the user directly to the practice, or guiding them through different areas of the site. These call to actions should be standardized sitewide, either in a header, footer, or embedded within the internal pages of the site.
By strategically including call to actions on your practice’s site, you are welcoming and embracing the user, and ultimately increasing the chances of that user becoming a new patient to your practice.
2. Lack of Personalization
Whether a user is visiting your website for themselves, or on behalf of a loved one, it’s essential that the user feels a connection to the practice, and to the doctor. One of the most common errors found on practice websites is a lack of personal, compelling content. While reviewing practice sites, we often find that practices have failed to include information about themselves, the team, and practice philosophy.
At GPG, we put heat maps on all of our dental websites in order to collect data on the most visited sections of a dental practice’s site. More often than not, the most visited section of the site is either the Meet the Doctor page, or the Meet the Team page. This shows us that, even more than services offered or patient resources, users are looking to connect with the doctor and team in order to feel confident in their decision to choose your practice.
In order to ensure this connection to users, practices must “humanize” themselves. This humanization can be displayed strategically, through personalized bios, family photos, and emotionally driven dental practice content. Whether it’s including fun facts about your team, the origin of your practice and what it stands for, or personal photos and/or videos, presenting yourself and your team as warm and welcoming is an effective way of establishing an instant connection with a user.
3. Lack of User Experience
To put it simply, if your website isn’t designed with a heavy emphasis on user experience, a user will find a site that better fits their needs and connects with them on a level a “boring” site just does not offer. Far too often, we see sites that are difficult to navigate, hard to read, overwhelming, and faulty. This type of site experience discourages a user to stay on a site, and ultimately runs the risk of losing a potential new patient.
Most importantly, the site needs to be easy to navigate. You can ensure an easy browsing experience for your user by having a simple, organized menu bar, clear call to actions, and streamlined content. The information on your site, whether it’s service-related, contact information, or resources, should be easily accessible and digestible for a user. The information should be organized within the menu bar and should be linked methodically throughout any corresponding pages. The user should know, without a doubt, how to access the information they’re looking for, and should be prompted to access this information throughout various areas of the site.
Once the site is organized, it’s important to review the aesthetics of the content presented. The color scheme of your site should be optimized for user experience, making it easy to read and effective in highlighting the most important information and calls to action. Text should be moderately large, clear, and placed on a complimentary background to ensure readability. While bold colors are engaging and compelling, it’s important to use them sparingly as not to overwhelm a user. Bright pops of color, clear font, and strategic use of white space help guide the user’s eye throughout the site, and ultimately draw them to the call to action and conversion opportunities.
Once the site is organized and optimized aesthetically for readability, the content must then be streamlined for user experience. A site that is too “text heavy” is incredibly overwhelming for a user. It’s important to display the text in a way that’s easily digestible for a user, and use design elements (like bold headers, graphics, animations) to convey information without making the user feel discouraged. Examples of how to create engaging, readable content are:
Use of Interactive Text Boxes
Format Custom Content in Question & Answer Style
Use of Graphics & Icons to Call Out Services Most Important to Your Practice
By including call to actions, personal content, and optimizing your site for user experience, you’re setting your practice up for success, and welcoming new patients into your doors. Avoiding the Top 3 Most Common Errors on Practice Sites will position your practice as a compelling option for users, and can further the prosperity of your practice as a whole.