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    What's your address?

    Why the Internet is the new real estate to covet.

    Everyone knows the first rule of real estate is “Location, Location, Location.” But in the Internet age, the World Wide Web is quickly redefining what it takes for your dental practice to be ideally situated.

    It’s no longer enough for your office to be conveniently located near a major intersection and for it to have great signage, a welcoming waiting room and all the latest dental technology. These days, a quality website that is easy to find via major search engines is a baseline expectation for most tech-savvy prospective patients—who often are your most desirable demographic.

    Regardless of how you personally use the Internet, it’s crucial to recognize that no matter how recently you may have renovated your office or how up-to-date the technology in your practice is, there’s a whole segment of society that isn’t quite sure if you’re a legitimate business unless they can easily find information about your practice online—not only on your website but also via a variety of social media outlets that provide third-party validation that you are someone they can entrust with their oral health.

    A website is not enough
    First, let’s talk about your practice website. Was it designed in 2007, or worse, 1997? In the past three years, the incredible advances in the types of features and functionality that dental websites can offer, as well as the massive changes in how people use the Internet with the advent of social media, means any website more than three years old is probably out of date.

    How could this be? You just spent a few thousand dollars designing a website a few years ago and already it’s obsolete? The simple answer is: Yes. There are some necessary dental practice website features that simply weren’t widely available three years ago, and others that weren’t even conceived of in the 2000s.

    • Some of these features include:
    • Password-protected patient and referring doctor login
    • Online bill pay and online appointing or appointment requests
    • Links to social media sites (“Find us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” links)
    • Video testimonials from patients or referring doctors
    • Online forms (new patient forms, health history forms)
    • Syncing with practice management software for improved electronic patient communications
    • Websites that are built on a platform that supports current Search Engine Optimization techniques

    This last bullet is key. No matter how often you update your site or add new features and functionality, websites that were built years ago simply aren’t structured properly for the algorithms, or “spiders,” that run today’s search engines, and those search engines are precisely what enable your website to be found. And isn’t that what your website is for?

    What’s more, there are some things that just weren’t apparent in the past. For example, how often do you go to a website that has music, or any kind of sound? These days, this is a big no-no. Many adults spend time surfing the Web at work—and they don’t want to get caught taking care of personal business like making a dental appointment.

    Naomi Cooper
    Naomi Cooper is President of Minoa Marketing and CEO and CEO and co-founder of Doctor Distillery. Naomi is a respected dental marketing ...