I thought the tips would be relevant to any dentist wanting to improve their home page.
Dr. Charles Payet is a very successful dentist in Charlotte, NC. I met Dr. Payet online when we began interacting in conversations on Google Plus. Recently, Dr. Payet posted a question about adding image sliders to his website. In the ensuing conversation, he asked a few folks to weigh in on how he might improve his home page.
I think it is a question that many dentists have, so I figured why not give some tips to Dr. Payet and at the same time, make them available to any dentist wanting to improve the home page of their website.
On the Subject of Sliders
Generally speaking, as it pertains to Sliders, I take my guidance from Peep Laja and his blog ConversionXL. That said, when I think of a Slider, my immediate thought is that it negatively impacts web page performance, and isn’t a great attribute to have when viewing via a mobile device.
However, there are some compelling reasons to use sliders that largely depend on your audience needs. In the case of a dentist, while I may not use a slider on the home page, images of current patients, your staff, your office, really anything related to your practice that would help make an emotional connection to your audience would be OK.
As it pertains to the home page specifically, absent any performance issues, I would limit the use of a slider to:
- Images that make an emotional connection
- Service categories, but, broken down by patient type, not actual service categories
Other than that, I think Sliders are a distraction and a design feature that more often than not doesn’t add any value to your audience. As such, it likely doesn’t add any value to your practice.
Considerations for Your Dental Website Home Page
When you are designing your home page, you want to be sure to consider the following things:
- What you want your home page to do for you and your audience.
- Who the audience is for your dental practice, typically broken down by the types of patients you serve.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to give these two things lot’s of consideration before you making any design choices. As a simple example, your home page may not be your websites primary page, or it may actually be the most significant page on your site.
If it is not your primary page, and your goal is to get people to other pages as quickly as possible, you want your home page to resemble, in a way, the cover of a magazine, where the most important content is linked to, and discovered as easily as possible.
On to Dr. Payet’s Home Page
The following tips are general considerations, things to think about only. Absent a thorough understanding of Dr. Payets intended audience, it is difficult to say with certainty how his home page should be configured.
- Take a look at the performance of your home page in Google Analytics to see if changing your home page title could impact the conversions in the form of click rate. As it is now, your page title is “Dr. Payet” focused and may work well for those searching for Dr. Payet. It may not work so well for someone searching for “Cosmetic Dentist in Charlotte NC”.
- When I search for Dr. Payet’s website, I find in the search results, the snippet that people will see as their first exposure to his home page. I might play around with both the title and the meta description to see if I can impact the number of clicks I get from search results. Specifically, I know the Dr. is a cosmetic dentist yet his meta description comes across as very family oriented. Could very well be that someone looking for a cosmetic dentist is turned away by the appearance of the practice being for families. In any case, this is something worth testing.
- The home page banner is some sort of progressive load design and takes entirely too long to load. I would make this a static image.
- The tag line in the home page banner needs a more well refined font style.
- The tag line is very family-centric, and just like the meta description noted above, may mitigate the opportunities for bigger cosmetic cases. I would make the tag line less specific unless you focus entirely on the practice of family dentistry.
- “If you are looking, you’ve come to the right place” is not the most effective thing to say there. It is almost as if you are being redundant because by the time they arrive on your home page they likely already know they are in the right place. I might consider changing that to a general heading like “Family and Cosmetic Dentist Serving Charlotte NC and the Surrounding Communities.”
- The home page banner color is not distinct enough for it to appear like a home page banner. I would find a way to alter the color of the banner, or have the entire banner redesigned to show better against the rest of the page.
- I would not have the three boxes for the services or products you sell as the first thing a prospective patient sees when coming to your website for the first time. I would place very little priority on those things and make those initial boxes very patient-centric.
- Under the initial heading that sits just below what will become your new banner, I might have a brief paragraph or two that your prospective audience will identify with. Something that lets them know you know who they are. Often, I use, as an example, the population demographic, where for example, if the community is blue collar, I say that in the opening line.
Generally speaking, there are a number of reasons people choose a dentist. Often times it is just because someone referred your practice. Even in the case of referrals, the top reasons people choose a dentist are:
- Friendly staff
- Nice facility
- Services offered
The home page should really make a presentation of the these variables. Pictures of you, your staff, your practice, the outside area and of patients will go a long way in getting them to click more pages on the inside of your site.
Every dentist is different. Every area is different. The patients you serve are going to be unique to the services you provide and the area you serve.
That said, here are some websites that I really like that should give you a sense of the direction you can take your website in.
Each of these websites has it’s own style, but gives the prospective patient a visual opportunity to connect with the practice.
Hope that helps Dr. Payet.