With 83% of patients visiting the dentist’s website before (maybe) making an appointment, getting your practice’s dental website design right is mission-critical.
In this blog post, we’ll review the principles of effective dentist website design, why you should consider hiring a web design agency, what you can expect to pay for a high-quality website, and the most important design elements and features that every 21st-century dental practice website should include.
What is Dental Website Design?
Quite simply, dental website design refers to the overall look, feel, functionality, and user experience of your practice website.
With most patients initiating searches for dental providers online, your practice’s website effectively serves as the “welcome mat” — and the right design is essential in making the right first impression.
Why is a Dentist Website Important?
A dental practice website is the foundation of any dentist’s online marketing strategy. It is the digital asset around which all other marketing efforts (SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.) revolve.
For most potential patients, your dental website is their first look at your practice.
In addition to making the first impression on a potential patient, your dental website design directly impacts the likelihood that someone calls or fills out an online form to schedule a new patient appointment. Digital marketing agencies like DentalScapes focus on conversion optimization, which is a fancy way of saying that design and development choices are driven by data to improve the website’s ability to convert visitors into leads (i.e., prospective patients).
Why Should I Hire a Marketing Agency for My Dental Website?
Despite the growing popularity of low or “no-code” website builders like Squarespace and Wix, most dental practices hire a dental website design agency to plan, design, and develop their professional websites. Hiring a dental web design company is especially important as search engine optimization (SEO) — ensuring that your practice ranks highly on Google and other search engines — is largely influenced by your website design, structure, and organization.
For best results, dentists should consider hiring a marketing company that not only has a solid grasp of dental website design but also understands the fundamentals of SEO.
How Much Should I Spend on a Website for My Dental Practice?
Fees charged by marketing agencies for dental website design can vary greatly. Some agencies offer website design on a “subscription” model, wherein a practice pays a monthly fee that includes a website design, typically accompanied by other marketing services. Those fees can range anywhere from $99 to more than $2,000 per month.
More often, dentist websites are built and sold as standalone or “one-off” projects. Here again, pricing varies. A fully featured dental website might cost as little as $500 or as much as $20,000 (sometimes more) — it all depends on the features, functionality, and complexity of the site.
In general, you’ll pay more for dental website design if the marketing company is also responsible for developing the content, and less if your practice provides the content (e.g., written text, photos, and videos) itself. While both approaches have their own advantages, it’s worth considering outsourcing website content development to an agency that has experience with dentist SEO.
You Get What You Pay For
So how much should you pay for a new dental practice website? As with most things, you get what you pay for.
A dental website that costs $9,000 will almost certainly include more features than one that costs $900, and you’ll certainly pay more when you work with an agency that has more experience and a proven track record of success. In general, dental practices should approach website design quotes of less than $3,000 with caution — many marketing agencies simply apply the same design “template” to hundreds of dental practice websites with little customization or unique functionality.
At DentalScapes, our dentist web design projects typically range from $7,000 to $9,000, depending on various factors such as website size (the number of unique pages or URLs), content development needs, required technology and integrations, and technical specifications, among others.
Own What’s Yours
In rare cases, marketing agencies may include fine print in the website design agreement stipulating that they, not you, will retain ownership of the website in the event that your practice decides to stop working with them. Read any potential agreement or contract carefully, and don’t give up ownership of your dental website, no matter what.
At DentalScapes, every digital asset we create belongs to the client.
How Long Should Designing a New Dental Website Take?
The time it takes to design (or redesign) a dentist website can range greatly based on the size of the site, desired features and functionality, and — most importantly — any required content development. Client revision requests and approvals must also be prompt in order to move a website design project along and stay on schedule.
With the right marketing agency, a new dental website design project can typically be completed in two months or less — sometimes a bit longer, sometimes a bit less. In general, dentists and practice administrators should be wary of marketing agencies that promise to complete a dental website design in less than two weeks — these companies may be relying primarily on templates and ignoring the customizations that your practice could benefit from.
Key Elements of a Dental Practice Website
There are many important elements that make up an effective dental website. Some of the most critical components of a high-performing practice website include:
The #1 goal of your practice website is to convert visitors into new patients. A “call-to-action” (CTA) is a clear prompt to the user, encouraging them to contact your practice and set up an appointment. There are two primary CTAs on a dentist website:
- Submit a form
By far, the most valuable action a user can take on your website is to make a phone call. That’s why it’s critical that your website includes prominent “click-to-call” buttons, which make it easy to place a call from a smartphone. At DentalScapes, we always recommend including a “persistent” click-to-call button, which follows the user as they scroll through the website, so that the opportunity to call is always close at hand.
Most dental practices also include a form that potential patients can fill out to schedule an appointment or request more information. While form completions are less likely to convert into a new patient appointment, they are nonetheless important for potential patients who, for whatever reason, do not wish to make a phone call.
Some practices also include an option to talk with a representative via “live chat,” but this is typically reserved for larger practices with the level of staffing required to monitor and respond to chat inquiries. Research shows that if a website chat is not answered within 20 seconds, the user will abandon the chat.
On a website, “navigation” refers to the top menu from which a user selects which page to visit. Not only is the navigation important for ensuring a positive user experience, but it’s also critical for communicating to Google and other search engines the way in which your site is organized, which in turn influences your site’s ability to rank in search results.
It’s important that your dental practice website’s navigation is clear and relatively simple. Rather than crowd the menu with “top-level” pages and potentially overwhelm the user, dropdown menus should be used to organize content into relevant categories. In general, the better organized your site navigation, the more easily Google will be able to index your content and position it appropriately.
Similar to the “click-to-call” button mentioned earlier, it’s also important that the top-level menu is “persistent” on mobile devices so potential patients can easily navigate to a different page at any time, without scrolling back to the top.
The About page is one of the most frequently visited pages on dental practice websites, and that’s because potential patients understandably want to know what you and your practice are all about before they schedule an appointment.
This is your best opportunity to showcase what makes your practice unique.
The About page essentially functions as an “elevator pitch” for your practice. Practices should consider including content that addresses the following topics on their websites’ About pages:
- Practice values
- Treatment philosophy
- History of the practice
- Key differentiators (e.g., technology, office environment, sedation, etc.)
Another frequently visited page is the Provider page, which allows potential patients to learn more about the dentist(s) at the practice. The Provider page is an opportunity for your practice to showcase the expertise and personality of the dentist(s). The goal of the Provider page is to introduce the dentist(s) as professional, relatable, and committed to patient health and well-being.
To provide a comprehensive introduction, practices should consider including the following information about their provider(s) on the Provider page:
- Professional associations
- Family (including pets)
- Hobbies and interests
- Community involvement
If possible, practices should also include a short video of the dentist(s), welcoming potential patients to the practice and introducing themselves. See more about the importance of video in the “Video” section below.
Second only to the Providers page, your website’s Staff page is a prime opportunity to introduce potential patients to the people that power your practice. At DentalScapes, we believe it’s important to provide more than simply names and titles — prospective patients want to learn more about the unique personalities, experiences, and interests of the people who will be caring for them.
The Services page is one of the most important of any dental website, and should provide detailed information on your full breadth of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic treatments. In addition to general information on the services your clinic offers, the Services page is also an opportunity to answer FAQs about specific procedures. Your practice should consider including short “explainer” videos about various treatments.
Rather than spend limited budget producing these videos in-house, your practice can easily and affordably license these videos from an array of online educational video providers.
For both patient education and SEO, every dentist website should include a blog. Not only is your practice’s blog the best place to provide detailed educational content for current and prospective patients, but it’s also an opportunity to generate the kind of fresh, consistent, and authoritative content that Google craves. A regularly updated blog informed by keyword research and optimized for SEO will convey subject matter expertise to Google and help your dental practice website rank more highly in search results. Authoritative blog posts are also a prime opportunity to pick up inbound links from external websites — a critical component of any dental SEO strategy.
In addition to educational content, dental practices should use their blogs to feature important announcements, community involvement, staff milestones, and more. Like the About, Providers, and Staff pages, an effective dental blog is an excellent place for highlighting the unique personality of your practice and the people that work there.
A regularly updated dental practice blog is also an excellent source of fresh content to share via your practice’s social media channels, Google Business Profile, and email newsletter.
Patient Information / Portal
Your dentist website is an ideal place to share information with patients in preparation for their visit. A Patient Information page (or, for larger or more technologically advanced practices, an interactive patient portal) can host a wide array of assets, including but not limited to:
- New patient intake forms
- Consent forms
- Insurance questionnaires
- FAQs related to an upcoming appointment
By providing information relevant to the patient’s appointment on your practice website, a Patient Information page or portal can reduce staff time required at check-in and improve practice efficiency.
Effective dental websites require a mix of text and visual content, and high-quality photography is a must. While there are many services offering stock images at relatively low cost, it is always preferable to feature photos specific to your practice. Images of providers and staff interacting with patients are ideal — just make sure that you obtain written consent from patients prior to taking photos and featuring them on your website.
At DentalScapes, we always recommend hiring a professional photographer. Costs for professional photography can vary greatly, but you can typically get a significant number of high-quality, edited shots for $500-$1,500.
Video has quickly become the most popular and frequently consumed form of content online, and it’s a must for dental website designs aimed at engaging potential patients. There are near-limitless opportunities to feature video on your dentist website, including videos focused on:
- Provider and staff introductions
- Treatment “explainers”
- Preventive care “explainers”
- Patient testimonials
- “Office life”
- Community involvement
- Special offers
In general, videos on your practice website should be professionally produced and edited. Professional videography can be pricey, often ranging from $1,000-5,000 for a few short videos. You can maximize your investment by repurposing your video content on social media, and uploading your videos to YouTube for greater visibility.
Video content isn’t just important for patient education. It’s also an increasingly important factor in SEO and can help boost your dental website’s search rankings.
How to Find the Right Dental Website Design Company
When you’re ready to invest in a new dentist website, it’s time to search for the right dental marketing agency. There’s no shortage of digital marketing agencies focused on the dental industry, and a wide range of capabilities and costs.
At the end of the day, what’s most important is finding a dental website design company that does high-quality work and whose team meshes with you and your practice culture.
Get a Free Dental Web Design Consultation
At DentalScapes, we design dental practice websites laser-focused on converting site visitors into new patients. Book a free strategy call with our dental marketing specialists today and let’s see how we can help.