As technology evolves, people are spending more and more time on the internet. In fact, a recent study found that the average internet user spends over 6 hours a day online!
What does this mean for your dental practice? It's quite simple. If you don't have a website you're missing out on clients.
But before you can launch a website, you need a web hosting service.
A web host stores your website files on a server that can be accessed by users on the internet. Hosting services are important for scaling and growing your brand.
After launching your website, you need to think about how you're going to manage and maintain it. Making regular updates to your site is crucial for improving load times and security.
Here's everything you need to know about hosting and managing dental sites.
Why Your Practice Needs a Website in 2021
A website provides clients with a window into your dental practice. If you're still not convinced that you need a website in 2021, here are some of the most obvious benefits of having a website for your dental office.
Clients Expect it
In this day and age, the majority of people will visit a business's website before buying their products or services. Having a website gives your practice a presence online and allows users to find you in search results.
Having your own space online allows you to fill it with important information for your clients such as services, working hours, and appointments. This is the kind of information that clients expect to find online.
Having to phone your practice to ask about consultation times might be a hassle for some people. Having a beautiful website to showcase important information is important for retaining clients.
You want your practice to come across as competent and professional. Having a website allows you to portray your practice in the right light.
For many people, a website is their first interaction with a business, so it's got to look good. Furthermore, a website provides potential clients with social proof.
In other words, you can showcase testimonials from previous clients to help new clients feel at ease about using your services.
Your Competitors Have Websites
Chances are at least some of your competitors have websites already. If so, then you're falling behind.
When people search for dental services online, your business won't come up but your competitors will. If you don't have a website up and your competitors do, then you're losing clients to them.
Showcase Your Services
One of the most important reasons to have a website in 2021 is to showcase your services. Many people going in for dental procedures don't know what to expect.
Why not outline the process on your website? You can even showcase "before and after" photos of previous clients and display pictures of your practice. You could also film a short video introducing yourself and your staff.
All of this can help make your clients feel more relaxed and give them peace of mind that they are in good hands.
Creating a Dental Website
So you've decided to build a website? Great! The next step is to choose whether to do it yourself or hire a professional designer. Here are the pros and cons of each.
The advantage of building a website yourself is that it's cheaper to do. In fact, these days there are a number of free tools available for building websites.
WordPress and Joomla for example, are two popular content management systems that allow you to build sophisticated websites without knowing how to code.
The downside to DIY website building is that it's difficult if you've never done it before. You'll have to spend a long time learning how to use different software. After all, putting together a good-looking website takes time and experience.
Hiring a professional web designer is the way to go if you're serious about growing your practice. A web designer knows the ins and outs of building beautiful websites that meet the needs of your business.
Hiring a professional might not come cheap, but it's a worthwhile investment for your practice.
What Is Web Hosting?
Before you can launch a website, you need a web hosting account. Web hosting refers to a place (server) where you can store your website files and make your site accessible over the internet.
The best way to host your website is to pay for a hosting provider. Professional website hosts usually charge a small monthly fee to host your website on their server.
The advantage of using a professional hosting service is that they provide technical support if things go awry. Another benefit of using a web host is that you can upgrade your hosting at any time.
For example, if your practice starts growing and more people start visiting your website, you may need to move it to a bigger server that can accommodate the extra traffic. This is easy to do and a professional hosting provider can help you with the migration.
What Is Website Management?
Building and launching a website isn't a one-off project. Websites are like houses, they need to be maintained and updated as time goes on.
Website management refers to the tasks that need to be done regularly in order to maintain and optimise your site. This includes:
- Uploading new content
- Removing old, irrelevant content
- Doing software updates
- Monitoring website security
- Checking website speed
- Checking uptime
- Testing forms
Maintaining a website can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing. That's why you should hire a professional to keep everything running smoothly.
Website Management 101
Website management involves performing a number of tasks and checks to make sure your site is fully optimised. Here is a bit more information on each of these important tasks.
A website backup refers to creating a copy of your website files and storing them in a remote location (like Google Drive or Dropbox). Doing regular website backups is important in case your site goes down or gets hacked.
If you don't do backups, you risk losing all your data and files in the event your site becomes compromised.
Online security threats are increasing. Securing your website against cyber-attacks and malware is crucial.
If your site is using WordPress, there are a number of plugins available for keeping your site secure, including WordFence and Securi. You may need the help of a professional to set up and monitor security software.
One of the most important ways to keep your website secure is to perform regular software updates. Any third-party software needs to be updated regularly to protect it from malware and remove possible entry points for hackers.
You can't control when the updates are released, but you should apply them as soon as possible.
To access the internet, you need a web browser. A website browser translates website code into comprehensible text and visuals. There are different web browsers available for surfing the internet and each one differs in how they render content.
That's why it's important to cross-test your website across the different popular browsers to make sure it functions properly on each. After all, if your website layout is broken, it doesn't send a very good message to your clients.
Many people browse the internet on their phone or tablet so testing your website across different devices is also crucial. Phones and tablets have smaller screen sizes, which means your website content will be displayed differently on those devices.
A professional web designer will build you a site that is responsive (i.e. looks good on all devices), but testing is still important for ensuring an optimal user experience.
Reviewing your website analytics helps you to analyse where your traffic is coming from and how many people are finding your site through search results.
Monitoring analytics is essential for planning a marketing strategy, gauging your website's growth, and optimising important pages.
One of the major factors that affect a website's SEO rankings is page speed. In other words, Google will penalise your site if it takes too long to load.
Fast loading times also improve user experience. Impatient clients might exit your site if the content is taking too long to load. There are a number of ways to decrease load times including reducing image sizes and using page caching.
Another important aspect of website management is testing forms and input fields. Dental sites often have appointment booking forms or contact forms where users enter their details.
These need to be tested to make sure they are working properly, otherwise, your patients are not going to be happy.
Professional Website Hosting and Management Services
It's important to understand the ins and outs of web hosting and management for your dental practice. Having a well-designed website where your clients can find you online is crucial for growing your business.
Websites need to be maintained and updated in order to keep them secure and well-optimised. There's nothing worse than landing on a website with outdated content and slow load times.
Are you planning to set up a website for your dental practice? We're here to help. We provide website design, hosting, and management services. If you're interested, contact us today.