Dental website function audit
If you’ve had your website function audited by the Dental Engine and want to learn more about each one of the factors, you’re in the right place (if you’d like to get your dental website audited click here).
Our Website Function Audit contains 10 factors that summarize your website’s overall functionality. Focus on optimizing these functional elements in order to improve your website’s functionality.
Below you’ll find the what and why of each one of the factors from the Website Function Audit.
1. Simple Navigation
To have a functional dental website, you need to ensure that website visitors are able to find the information they are looking for on your website. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for prospective patients to navigate your website and find the information they are looking for.
You can achieve this, in part, by having simple navigation, starting with your menu at the top of your website.
When we audit your website we rate Simple Navigation as one of these three options:
Simple Top of Website Navigation
This means your website contains a sticky menu at the top of your website (sticky meaning the menu stays at the top of the page when someone scrolls) and contains links to all of the main pages on your website. Your main pages should include links to your about pages (such as team/staff/office info pages), services pages, patient info pages, and contact/appointment pages. Most often having Simple Top of Website Navigation means you’ll have some sort of dropdown in the menu to include links to all of these pages.
Complex Top of Website Navigation
This means that your website contains a menu but it is not as simple as it could be. One example of this includes making a prospective patient click to see the menu instead of making it readily available without a click. Another example is not linking to some of the main pages in your top menu. By not having links to all of the main pages in your menu that a prospective patient might want to see, you’re making the process of them finding the information they need to move forward with a decision more complex than it should be.
No Top of Website Navigation
This means that your website doesn’t include a menu at the top of your website. Though this situation is quite rare, this can often come from either poor planning or an issue that occured after the launch of your website. No matter how this has happened, it really important to correct this action in order to increase the effectiveness of your website.
ACTION: If your website menu was rated “Complex”, you should consider simplifying it it in order to more easily help prospective patients find the pages/information they’re in search of. If your website menu was rated “No Top of Website Navigation,” you should consider adding a simple menu that contains links to the main pages on your website it it in order to more easily help prospective patients find the pages/information they’re in search of.
2. Load Performance
Load performance is all about how well your website loads when someone is loading it in their internet browser. A website will good load performance will load quickly and without errors. A website with bad load performance will load very slowly, with errors, or worst case scenario, not load at all. Ensuring that your website loads quickly and without errors is important to both your prospective patients and to search engines (such as Google and Bing). If it doesn’t prospective patients will lose patience in waiting for your website to load or won’t be able to see all of your website’s content due to the errors. Likewise search engines want to share websites in their search engine that perform well, as this builds credibility with the end user incentivizes them to come back and use their search engine more. If a search engine such as Google decides that your website’s load performance is poor, it will be less likely to share your website high in their rankings or maybe not at all. This can have a negative impact on prospective new patients finding your dental practice online.
As part of our Website Function Audit, we check your website’s home page load performance on both desktop computers and on mobile devices. We do this using a tool created by Google called PageSpeed Insights. This tool rates a webpage’s load performance on a scale of 0-100 for both mobile and desktop experiences.
Here’s how we rate the load performance based on the 0-100 scale:
Great Load Performance (90-100)
If your load performance is between 90 and 100, then your website’s load performance is great. This essentially means that your website is loading quickly and without errors.
Average Load Performance (50-89)
If your load performance is between 50 and 89, then your website’s load performance is average but could still use some work to ensure it loads quickly and without errors.
Low Load Performance (0-49)
If you scored 0-49, then your website’s load performance is weak and could use major improvements.
ACTION: If your website load performance falls in either the Average or Poor Load Performance categories, then open up Google’s PageSpeed Insights and add your home page URL to the top bar and click “Analyze”. From here Google will show you your website’s load performance and will list out both “Opportunities” and “Diagnostics” in which Google will suggest ways in which you can improve your dental website load performance. If you’d like to redesign your website and ensure that it has great load performance, start your Free Website Design Services the Dental Engine here.
3. Mobile Friendliness
Having a mobile friendly website means that all the elements of your website load well and look good when someone is loading it from a mobile browser. This specific factor is important because in recent years, more and more people are searching for and loading websites from their mobile phones as opposed to their computers. Because of this trend is it more important than to ensure that your website loads and works good on both computer browsers and mobile phone browsers.
Part of the Website Function Audit includes looking at how your dental website loads on mobile phones, which we call mobile friendliness. Like the last factor, we check this by using a tool by Google called Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool takes a webpage’s URL and then tells you how friendly it loads on a mobile browsers. For our audit, we specifically check how your dental practice’s home page of your website loads on mobile.
Here is how we rate the mobile friendliness in our Website Function Audit:
Page is Usable on Mobile
If your page is usable on mobile, this means that Google has determined that this page on your website is mobile friendly. Though you should technically check to see if all the pages on your website are mobile friendly, typically if one your pages is mobile friendly then it is likely that most or all the pages on your website are mobile friendly.
Page is Not Usable on Mobile
If your page is not usable on mobile, this means that Google has determined that this page on your website is not mobile friendly. This essentially mean that Google finds the way the content on your page is loading isn’t optimized for a mobile browser. This could means images and text boxes are overlapping each other or that there are errors with specific elements on the page. If your page isn’t usable on mobile then people who load your website will have a hard time navigating your website and could lose trust with your brand for a lack of professionalism on the web. If one page on your website is not mobile friendly, then there is likely more or all pages on your website that are also not mobile friendly.
ACTION: If your audit resulted in a Page is not usable on mobile then we would first recommend checking all the pages on your website to see if there are additional pages on your website that are not friendly. Next, we would recommend redesigning your website to ensure that it is mobile friendly. At the Dental Engine, we design dental practice websites using WordPress, which is the world’s most popular content management system [CMS]. This allows us to ensure that all pages on a dental website are mobile optimized. If you’d like to redesign your website and ensure that it has great load performance, start your Free Website Design Services with the Dental Engine here.
4. Service Page Status
Every single web page you create on your website is an opportunity for search engines to display your dental practice in front of prospective new patients right at the time they are searching for the services you offer. Think of each web page on your site as a new hook you are throwing into a lake. The more hooks (aka pages) you throw into the lake (search engine), the more likely you are to get a bite (a new patient).
This starts with having a unique page with written descriptions for each of the dental services your dental practice offers. Detailed information on a unique page for each service you offer, allows search engines such as Google, allow them to place your website in their search engine index. This is best accomplished by ensuring each service you offer has its own web page. By doing so, you facilitate the process of displaying your website pages on their search engine results pages. This is advantageous to you as your pages are more likely to rank higher on the search engine when prospective patients are searching for the exact services you offer.
You want to ensure that your service descriptions contain the keywords and phrases that prospective patients can struggle to make a decision on whether or not to schedule an appointment with your dental practice.
Here is how we rate the service page status in our Website Function Audit:
Individual service page for each service
Having an individual service page for each one of the dental services you offer is the best way to get your dental practice to rank in search engines for all of the different services you offer. If you have a unique page for each dental service with well written descriptions, you’re much more likely to rank on search engine and attract prospective new patients to your website.
Multiple service pages but missing some services
If you have multiple service pages but list more than one dental service on any of your pages, then you are missing opportunities to add additional “hooks” into the search engines.
Only One Service Page for All Services/No Service Pages
If you only have one service page that lists all of your services, then you’re essentially missing out on most of the opportunities to rank
ACTION: List out the different services your dental practice offers on individual services pages, on service per page. This ensures that you’re providing adequate information to prospective patients visting your website while also making it easy for them to find that information. This also helps search engines such as Google to properly show your web pages for the most relevant keywords that are related to your dental practices.
5. Special Offer(s) (Home Page or Menu)
Special offers play a crucial role in dental website marketing strategies, as they have the potential to attract new patients and scheduled appointments. These offers can range from short-term promotions to free services and bundle deals. Placing them on a visible location on the homepage or creating a separate page dedicated to them can attract a lot of people to schedule their next dental appointment by offering a value proposition that stands out from the competition.
When we perform the audit, we rate the special offers as either:
Present on Website
This means that you have special offers listed on either your home page or in the menu, giving some unique reasons for your patients to choose your services over others.
Not Present on Website
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find special offers listed on either the home page or in the menu.
ACTION: Consider adding special offers on your website, as they can provide a compelling incentive for patients to take advantage of a unique opportunity that may not be available elsewhere.
6. Schedule Appointment Form
Having a form for scheduling an appointment on a dental website is essential in today’s fast-paced world. Patients want to be able to book their appointments quickly and easily, without having to make phone calls or wait on hold. By providing a simple online form, you can give patients the convenience they crave and attract new ones in the process.
By implementing an appointment form on your dental website, you can also improve your online presence. Patients are more likely to choose a dental practice that offers online scheduling, as it shows that the practice is up-to-date with the latest technology and is committed to providing a convenient patient experience. Moreover, by streamlining the appointment scheduling process, your dental practice can increase efficiency and reduce the workload of the front desk staff, allowing them to focus on providing high-quality patient care. Overall, implementing an online appointment scheduling system can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction, practice efficiency, and business growth.
Here is how we rate the Schedule Appointment Form in our audit:
Present on Website
This means that you have a form for scheduling an appointment added on your website, offering a convenient and hassle-free way for your patients to schedule their dental appointments.
Same as Contact Form
This means that although there is a form for scheduling an appointment, the form serves the same functionality as a contact form, by only having fields for name, email, and message, rather than having the option for the patients to request and schedule appointments.
Not Present on Website
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find a form for scheduling an appointment anywhere on your website.
ACTION: Consider adding/updating your form to include online scheduling, which can be done through a software tool, and enables patients to schedule their appointments online with a few clicks.
7. FAQ Page
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on a dental website is a necessary component of a successful online presence. This page provides a comprehensive list of common questions and answers related to dental services, office policies, insurance, and other related topics.
Having a well-organized FAQ page can enhance the user experience by providing quick and easy access to important information that patients may be looking for. It can also improve the website’s SEO rankings by including relevant keywords and phrases that potential patients may be searching for. Additionally, it can help streamline communication between you and your patients, reducing the number of phone calls and emails regarding basic inquiries.
When we perform the audit, we rate the FAQ page as either:
Present on Website
This means that you have a FAQ page added to your website which answers your patients’ most common questions.
Not Present on Website
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find a FAQ page on your website.
ACTION: Consider incorporating a FAQ page on your website, as it can contribute to increased patient satisfaction, improved SEO, and more efficient practice. Start with at least five of the most common questions your patients ask you, and then slowly add some more as they come in.
8. Live Chat
Live chat is a valuable tool for dental practices to engage with their customers in real time. It involves a live person addressing questions and concerns from patients via a chat interface.
One of the primary benefits of having a live chat function on your dental website is that it can reach a larger audience. Patients who may be hesitant to call or visit your practice in person can easily ask questions and get answers in real time. This can lead to increased patient satisfaction and a more positive experience overall. Furthermore, a live chat function can help reduce missed opportunities, as it gives patients yet another option to reach out regarding their questions. Additionally, by building relationships with patients through live chat, you can learn more about your patients and tailor your services to meet their needs.
Here is how we rate the Live Chat in our audit:
Present on Website
This means that you have live chat on your website, giving your patients one more option to reach out to you.
Not Present on Website
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find a live chat added to your website.
ACTION: Consider adding a live chat to your website, as it can really improve communication with your patients while providing them an exceptional service.
9. SSL Certificate
Having an SSL certificate on a dental website is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a secure connection for patients who are submitting sensitive information such as medical records, insurance details, and payment information. This ensures that their personal data is protected and cannot be accessed by hackers or cybercriminals. Secondly, having an SSL certificate on a dental website can improve search engine optimization (SEO) and boost online visibility. Search engines such as Google give priority to secure websites, and having an SSL certificate can help a dental website rank higher in search results. Finally, having an SSL certificate on a dental website can build trust and credibility with patients. It shows that the dental practice takes data security seriously and is committed to providing a safe and secure online experience for its patients.
When we perform the audit, we rate it as either:
Website Contains SSL Certificate
This means that you have an SSL certificate on your website and that patients can visit your website safely.
Website Does Not Contain SSL Certificate
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find an SSL certificate added to your website.
ACTION: Add an SSL certificate to your website, as it helps build trust and credibility with your patients, enhances the website’s search engine ranking, and protects both you and your patients from cyber attacks.
10. Google Analytics Code Status
Having a Google Analytics tag installed on your website can provide valuable insights into the website’s performance and user behavior. A Google Analytics tag is a small piece of code that is added to a website’s pages to track user activity and behavior. It allows website owners to see how many visitors their site receives, where those visitors are coming from, what pages they are visiting, how long they stay on each page, and much more. This data can be used to make informed decisions about website design, content, and marketing strategies.
Here is how we rate the Google Analytics Code Status when performing the audit:
Added to Website
This means that you have the Google Analytics tag installed on your website.
Not Added to Website
This means that while performing the audit, we couldn’t find a Google Analytics tag installed on your website.
ACTION: Consider installing a Google Analytics code on your website, as it’s an important tool for understanding and improving the website’s performance and user experience.