Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of dentists choosing to use free dentist website building services. It's been reported that thousands of dentists have accepted these free dentist website offers, and are using free dentist website builder tools that claim to provide them with simple yet powerful tools that will allow them to create a productive and profitable website for their practice.
At face value, these free dentist website builder tools appear very attractive. But are they any good? These free tools claim they will make it a breeze to create a website that will rank at the top of Google, generate new patients, and be search engine optimized. To those dentists who do not understand the level of complexity it takes to get a website at the top of page one in Google, or those who routinely trip over dollars in order to save pennies, these promises sound very attractive, especially when attached to the word FREE.
Are free dentist websites optimized well enough to rank on page one of Google, Yahoo! and Bing?
From a search engine perspective, it is very misleading that these free website vendors offer a website that is optimized for search. They may allow your practice to be found by the name in search, but they don’t deliver high rankings for non-branded search terms relating to your practice, such as cosmetic dentist or dental implants.
Getting your website to rank high on page one of Google in the organic (free) listings requires an SEO specialist who can deliver a high listing in Google’s PageRank, which is a highly contested and sought after spot for every one of your competitors who are serious about generating quality new patients from the web. It’s just not possible for a service that offers free dentist website building tools to deliver organic search traffic to your website. To get traffic to a free dentist website, you will need to run paid search advertising like AdWords, and or actively network via blogging or Facebook.
The free website tools offer a range of design templates to choose from, and many are mobile optimized, but is this enough to convert visitors? In short, not normally, as inquiry conversion is a function of many elements, and it is dependent on how content is structured on the website, pathways to content, and of course, the content itself. Good design is the icing on the cake that brings the whole website experience together.
What is the real value in having a dentist website?
While some dentists still view a website as little more than a glorified business card, it is an important part of your dental marketing program and a worthwhile investment. It’s often the first contact that prospective patients have with you, your staff, and your services, and it’s a direct reflection of your perceived professional reputation in the online community.
Your website should fulfill a number of requirements:
- It should be built on sound growth hacking strategies and principles.
- It should use gamification to increase user retention, site shareability, and new patient appointments.
- It should incorporate a content structure that aligns with search activity and delivers excellent usability so that visitors can easily find what they’re looking for.
- It should include compelling content unique to your website about your services, patient testimonials, introduction of the doctor and staff, and easy-to-use registration/information request forms.
- It should include high quality images that are relevant to the copy.
- Infographics should capture attention and should be used often, thus increasing your chances of converting visitors to patients.
- The website needs to conform to Google’s guidelines for SEO.
- Clear pathways should be visible throughout the content, directing visitors to areas that further engage or lead to conversion points.
- The website design should be fully responsive so that it delivers optimally, regardless of the device used by the visitor.
- The website should be coded using the latest HTML 5 techniques, and should meet the w3c standards and score highly in the Google Developers page load test.
- The website should include a good analytics setup like Google Analytics so there is clear visibility to performance and areas for improvement.
If you want a new website and have lots of unanswered questions, or if you’re considering building your own free website, I recommend you read my article about the potential pitfalls of using a free Dentist Website, and the powerful (and free) alternatives you won’t want to miss.
ALSO BY DR. KEN NEWHOUSE:
Want more of your website visitors to schedule appointments? 8 strategies that will transform the productivity of your website
Are your dental marketing messages coming up short? Consider growth hacking
Dr. Ken Newhouse is the founder of Growth Hacker Central, the “official” Growth Hacker for the Dental Profession Worldwide™, and creator of the Dental Marketing Assistant University™. Dr. Newhouse is also author of “The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking Your Dental Practice” and the free Guide, “5 Keys to Increasing Your New Patient Traffic, Improving Patient Retention and Referrals with Gamification Program."