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Most dentists accept that they need a website, but it can be difficult to maintain a site once it's up
The power of the internet should not be underestimated or ignored. But that’s what many dentists are doing when they fail to develop a web presence, or worse, launch a practice website and then neglect it.
Jordon Comstock, founder of
, a software company that has created a turnkey, hosted website solution designed specifically for dental and medical practices, says he sees many dentists with outdated or unfinished websites.
“I had a meeting with a dentist and he hadn’t updated his website in 10 years,” Comstock says. “His staff is all different.”
Is that the image you want current and potential customers to have of your practice?
What’s the problem?
Comstock recognizes that dentists are busy. They don’t have time to invest in learning how to develop or update a website. That’s not why they went to school. But the problem is that they often hire a website designer or developer, and pay them in the range of $5,000 to build the website. The developer then hands the website to the dentist who doesn’t have the time or the knowledge to manage or update it.
“[Dentists] need a team of people, all the time, to help them with their website whenever they make changes,” says Comstock, who set up RocketFire with a subscription model. Once a website is developed, a technical team is always available to update software and make changes to the website when needed.
For example, if your website is not optimized for mobile use, you could be losing potential customers. That’s because most people today use their phones to search online. If they find your website but it’s not optimized for mobile, the individual will have trouble navigating the site.
“Dentistry is a business about experiences,” Comstock explains. “And a website is where people get a first impression. So, if they’re first impression is a bad experience, you’re off to a bad start in the relationship.”
If you build it…
Comstock believes that a well developed website can enable a practice to build and generate new patients. Online forms should be easily available for current or potential patients to contact the practice. Live chat software encourages interaction between patient and staff right from the start.
“If a new patient came to your physical office looking to schedule an appointment and your staff ignored them, that’s a really bad thing to do, right?” Comstock asks, rhetorically. “Online, it happens every day with dental practice websites. And I think it’s important to have some way of communicating with patients when they go to your website.”
It’s also important that your dental practice website is easy to manage. That doesn’t mean staff will update software or do any other heavy lifting. But if changes need to be made to a form or policy statement, or adding a new staff member’s photo or bio information, the site should be designed in a manner that enables staff to easily make necessary edits.
“Some front office staff love the idea of being able to log in and change what they need,” Comstock says. “I think it’s important because they feel in control of their own website.”
A dental practice is a professional organization. You want your staff to act and behave professionally at all times. That’s the same approach needed when developing a practice website. Work with professionals. Or as Comstock says, “Stop hiring your nephew or cousin,” who may not be motivated to take ownership of the website.
Tom Dickson, DDS, owner of
, in Midvale, UT, noted that Comstock and his staff “… have done an incredible job designing and hosting my website. I could not be happier with the results. I have been able to create, with their help, the website that I should have had long ago. The process has been painless and fast.”
And working with professionals ensures that backend technology is regularly updated.
“Nobody ever talks about getting hacked, but it happens all the time, especially with websites that aren’t updated regularly with the technology,” Comstock says.
Beyond putting patient records at risk, hackers who gain access to the practice’s server can use those resources, which ends up costing the dentist money.
“You pay for a host, a server, like you do on your cell phone,” Comstock explains. “If you exceed your limits, you pay extra. A lot of hackers will do that and it can cost dentists a lot of money.”
And their reputation. Hackers have the ability to redirect patients to inappropriate websites, which is not the impression you want to leave with patients.
“All the tools that we provide help dentists improve their bottom line, and improve their practice.”