Website Design that Converts
by Tyson Downs
*This post was originally published February 11, 2016. It has been extensively updated and republished on December 19, 2019.
Is your website helping you convert visitors into patients? If the answer is no, then it’s safe to say that web redesign should be on your radar. After all, your website should be optimally designed to help build and grow your practice.
At Titan Web Agency, we get a lot of questions about dental websites. One of the most common is this:
What can I do to improve dental website conversion and grow my practice?
The good news is that there’s plenty you can do. We believe that the single most important quality every dental website must have is a terrific user experience. If your website is not user friendly, then potential patients may not enjoy visiting your site and cause them to look for one of your competitors, instead.
What’s more, 94% of users’ first impressions of a website are based on its design. With that in mind, here are the most important web design elements to help you get more patients.
One area that trips up a lot of medical websites is the overall aesthetic of their design. While it might be tempting to have as many bells and whistles as possible, users may not like it if your site is confusing or takes a long time to load. In relation to this, estimates say that businesses lose $2.6 billion annually due to slow-loading websites.
Attracting new patients with your website starts with a clear, easy-to-follow design. In order to be successful at the minimalist approach, your pages should be clean looking with lots of white space and attractive images.
Embracing minimalism doesn’t mean that your site can be unattractive. 59% of people say they prefer to scroll a page that’s beautifully designed to reading one that’s plain and boring.
You can use minimalism to your advantage in a web design that converts by:
- Working with a professional web design company to create a layout that will appeal to your target audiences
- Including information that’s highly relevant with no fluff or unnecessary content
- Ensuring that your site is easy to navigate (more on that later)
A well-designed, minimalist website can do a great deal to improve website conversions.
Is it easy for people to find the menu or navigation bar on your website? This question is easily answered through user testing. If the answer is no, then your web redesign should include the implementation of intuitive, optimized navigation.
Attracting new patients with a website means respecting their time. You already know that a slow-loading site will drive potential patients away. The same is true of unclear or confusing navigation. If people can’t find what they want, they’ll hit the dreaded back button and try another site.
A key element of optimized navigation is putting your navigation bar and menus where users expect them to be. That usually means that the navigation bar is at the top of the page or along the left side. Putting it anywhere else may cause disorientation or confusion for visitors to your site.
The categories you choose for your menu are just as important as the menu’s placement. The categories chosen should be based on what your visitors will need the most. Keep categories to a minimum and avoid overloading visitors with too many choices.
For example, you don’t need to have a separate menu category for every service you offer. Instead, include a Services category. When visitors click it, they should see a list of specific services they can click to read detailed information. This will also help with the minimalism aspect that you are trying to implement as well.
In addition to helping visitors, implementing optimized navigation is essential for a higher conversion rate. The longer a potential visitor stays on your site, the more likely it is that they’ll subscribe to your list or, better yet, schedule an appointment.
Your website’s bounce rate is one of Google’s factors for determining your website’s rank in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). When people find what they’re looking for on your site and navigate to other pages, it tells Google that your site is valuable. This is what will be reflected in your rank.
A Value Proposition
If you want to develop a website that converts, the focus should be on providing a value proposition. A value proposition is something that lets visitors know what makes your practice special and how they will benefit from your practice if they schedule an appointment.
It makes sense to include a clear value proposition on your website since the alternative is to have a low-converting website that leaves its potential visitors to figure out what you’re offering. Here’s an example (https://www.coxbonddental.com/):
This dental practice offers personalized service. Including a staff photograph allows potential patients to see the friendly faces who will greet them if they make an appointment. Many patients can be fearful about visiting the dentist so this practice’s value proposition is one that is intended to make potential patients feel at ease and help them attract more patients.
Here’s another example from the website (https://www.pdoms.com) of a practice that specializes in dental implants:
You can see from both examples that these sites have clean designs that clearly highlight a value proposition designed to appeal to potential patients.
Think of your value proposition as an elevator pitch. If you have only a few words to tell people why they should choose your practice, what would you say? Make sure that statement is highlighted, bolded, or enlarged on your website to improve website conversion.
In August of 2018, Google announced an algorithm update called E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. The websites hit the hardest by the update were medical sites.
Google holds websites that involve health to a high standard because they want to ensure that patients find what they need. If you want a web design that converts, you’ll need to focus on showing potential patients why they should trust you.
Expertise and authority can be built through the content you post. That means blogging regularly about topics relating to dental care and providing visitors with evidence that you and your staff are experienced and knowledgeable.
Equally as important is including trust symbols. For healthcare providers, that might mean:
- The logo of a respected professional organization to which you belong
- Award symbols
- Professional certifications
These symbols show visitors that you are a respected professional and can help you get more patients with your website.
The best websites for healthcare professionals offer some kind of social proof to boost a visitor’s confidence in their practice. There’s a good reason for that. 97% of all consumers say they read online reviews and 93% say that reviews influence their buying decisions.
Social proof can take many forms, but here are some of the most common for healthcare sites:
- Patient testimonials
- Articles about your practice
- Links to external review sites such as Yelp, Dentistry.com, or Google My Business
Geisinger has a great website design that highlights some social proof, yet maintains a simple and easily navigated design. (They have since updated their web design.)
If your practice has a social media presence, you may also consider adding a widget or link at the bottom of your website so that people can check out your social media profiles and connect with you.
Take a look at how Loyola Medicine does this.
Web Design That Converts
When it comes down to it, the quality of your website design isn’t a question of pretty or ugly, modern or outdated. It’s all a matter of how easy your website is to use for the visitor (not for you), and how your practice is perceived by the visitor (not by you).
It isn’t just about having a site that looks good. The elements we’ve outlined here will ensure that visitors have a positive experience. Through minimalism, social proof, optimized navigation, and more, visitors will understand your practice and why it’s a better choice than that of your competitors.
About the Author
Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenue goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and enjoys spending time with his family. Particularly on the baseball field.