Every second household in Germany has access to the Internet – mostly via DSL. The Web is also becoming increasingly important for people over 60. Anyone who can still manage without a website or relies on an outdated homepage will miss the boat and be run over by a colleague who is often only a few hundred metres away.
The relaxation of the “advertising guidelines” today offers an effective and cost-effective way to draw attention to yourself all year round, especially on the Internet, and to attract new patients. There is no second first impression! All female employees are sent to communication seminars so that the first contact on the telephone is “perfect”. In 2010, the practice was completely renovated and the designer reception area shines in halogen light for thousands of euros. The wall colour harmonises perfectly with the practice logo and even the team’s polo shirts are perfectly matched.
The homepage was often made by the nephew of the dentist – eight years ago. And that’s how antiquated the website usually looks. Not to mention that it is not listed in Google. And these colleagues in particular often say: “Our homepage – we have never had a patient about it before”. Who is surprised? Sometimes it would even be better not to have a website at all. If you miss the first impression, you won’t get a second chance. Today, the enlightened patient already informs himself “online” about his potential dentist before visiting the practice. Those who don’t “score” here won’t be helped by the best designer ambience, because the patient doesn’t even enter the practice in the first place. One must not run after success – one must actively approach it. An attractive website that “stands out” when opened and leaves a positive impression (Fig. 1) is just as much a part of the marketing mix as a stylish practice logo.
Does a website bring new patients?
What does the patient expect?
What does a professional internet presence cost?
One-off costs: A simple “web business card” is available from 150 euros. For the creation of a professional web presence with editorial system (CMS) you should plan between 2,500 and 5,000 euros – depending on the scope and special requests. For a good photographer, between 500 and 1,200 euros (depending on the time required and the number of photos) are added. Running costs: For storage space on the Internet (hosting) usually between 50 and 100 euros per year – including the cost of the “domain” (for example www.dr-huber.de).Additional domains (if necessary) cost about 15 euros per year.
Maintenance: If the website is realized with a CMS, you can make almost all changes yourself and have no external costs for the maintenance of the site. The investment may seem high in the beginning. But if you assume a useful life of about five years, that’s an average of around 800 euros per year. If only one (!) single prosthetic patient per year comes into practice due to the website, the costs are easily amortized. And the homepage is present 365 days in the year – in contrast to newspaper announcements for several hundred euro, which migrate at the latest after three days into the waste paper …
What role do search engines play?
While in other countries a mix of different search engines is used, Google is the undisputed market leader in Germany. Over 95 percent of users search for information there. An Internet presence is only effective if it is placed at the top of the search results. Who is on the first page is clicked accordingly often. This slowly decreases until the third result page, and hardly anyone continues to search for it. By the way, patients most often search for “dentist place” …But how do you get “right to the top”? This formula for success is one of the best kept secrets. Search engines use many factors to build their list of results. And the weighting changes almost weekly. Successful search engine optimization (SEO) is therefore an art in itself and requires good knowledge and extensive experimentation.
Engage a real search engine professional. Unfortunately there are many black sheep who advertise “loudly” with optimization. Tip: Let us show you the positioning of references in advance. Who finds its homepage with over 250.000 search hits on the first side (for example under dentist ulm), can be very content. If one searches very concretely for “dentist ulm michael merz eselsberg virchowstraße dates”, only 190 results remain. To stand “on top” here is no art and no proof for good optimization knowledge of the web agency. Who saves with the search machine optimization at the wrong end, can save itself the investment for its Internet appearance actually also completely. After all, what good is a fancy website if nobody can find it later? Nothing!
Good photos are half the battle …
Do I need an “editorial system / CMS”?
Risk trap Warning / legal certainty
A good web designer
The website should be visually appealing and impress with the first opening. A well-trained web designer has a feeling for colour harmony, integration of the design into an existing corporate design (practice logo etc.) and realises a clear, intuitive navigation. Ideally, every piece of information can be reached with a maximum of two mouse clicks.
The users are also extremely “scrollfaul”. A maximum of two screen contents are read per subpage. The content should therefore be broken down into small bits. And search engines place greater importance on positioning more extensive sites than on those with fewer pages. Despite DSL one should pay attention to short loading times. A meaningful usage statistic rounds off the package. This makes it possible to evaluate which pages are frequently viewed, how many visitors the website has, under which keywords one was searched (and found) and much more. Who invests a little time here, can adapt its contents purposefully and win still more users. And last but not least: A functioning search engine optimization is extremely important – otherwise one can save the costs for the website (except for the image care with the existing patients) actually completely.
Exciting texts, but also not too short Exciting, short and concise texts captivate the reader. For Google and Co., however, search-relevant terms should always be present in the text. If one sets all contents over the practice, which really interest the patient, covers the dentist Website (depending upon power spectrum) about ten to 25 sides including a range with current information . A good web design partner provides you with a large part of the text content, which you “only” individualize for your own circumstances. Agencies specializing in dentists can save you a lot of time if you don’t have to “suck everything out of your fingers”. In addition the Web agency knows some tricks, how one texts skillfully for a good search machine positioning. Of course, you can also create all the texts yourself – but who wants that? Your web designer does not extract any teeth. If your designer asks, “What is endodontics?”, you better hire a professional.
The right time
Unlike printed matter, any content on the Internet can be changed in seconds. So if you plan to take a colleague with you into practice in twelve months’ time, you don’t have to postpone your Internet presence. “Now or never” is the motto. And if something changes – then make an update. Thanks to the editorial system, you can usually even change the content yourself – quickly and easily.
Sometimes time is of the essence and something has to be adjusted “quickly” for a few weeks. As a temporary solution, a so-called “web business card” can be used. This is created at short notice and contains the basic information (with the prescribed mandatory data). Thus one bridges elegantly the time up to the completion of the actual Internet appearance.
Anyone who is not yet positioned in the net of nets cannot be “fished out”. A professional website is standard today and pays for itself within a very short time – even if only one major case is landed per year.