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    Great Expectations: Does your website pass the “test”?

    Every year, new technologies, clinical techniques, materials and research findings change the way you practice dentistry in your office. The same is true for web design. In the past five years, web design and development have evolved drastically. Web sites that were designed just a few years ago are starting to show their age in part because of changing design trends, evolving programing languages and larger screens on mobile devices. Just like your dental practice grows and evolves so should your website.  

    Your website is one of the first opportunities you have to make a positive impression with a potential new patient. You want to make sure their impression of your practice is the best possible experience on any device on which your website might be viewed. That’s why it’s so important your website is not only a reflection of your practice brand but also responsive and following current design trends. 

    Related reading: 7 ways to make your dental practice easy to do business with

    Marketers have seen this coming for awhile now, Google prefers websites that are responsive and ranks them higher in searches than those that aren’t. We saw this trend happening in 2014, though Google was keeping quiet about it and not making any official statement. In early 2015, Google made an official announcement that beginning April 21 all websites that do not have a responsive design will be penalized. They even created a “test” that your site can go through to see if it passes Google’s expectations – if you don’t pass, your site may suffer in searches via mobile devices.  

    If your website is more than three years old, you should upgrade to a new design with the responsive feature included. When sites were designed three or more years ago, designers were not thinking about responsive design because it didn’t exist. They designed for one screen—the desktop. Now that programming languages and design techniques have evolved so has the way designers design for the web. Nowadays, when designers builds a website, they are thinking about the entire user experience, whether it’s on a desktop, tablet or a mobile device so this changes the platform on which the site is built.

    This year, more people will view your website on a mobile device than on a desktop. You want to make sure your website is set up for success so you don’t lose potential new patients. With a responsive website design, you will engage viewers and your practice information will be presented in an easy to read format, thus eliciting a new patient to call you. Furthermore, search engines like Google place a large emphasis on responsive websites. If your website is not responsive, Google can detect this is will hurt your Google rankings. If your website is responsive, it can help your rankings.

    Related reading: Top tips for designing a modern dental practice website

    Susanne Kimball
    Susanne Kimball is Senior Marketing Advisor for Jameson, an international dental management and marketing firm. Susanne creates ...