How Your Dental Clinic Can Benefit from Reputation Management

If you’ve never heard of “reputation management” before it probably sounds like something from the entertainment industry – the kind of job done by someone working for a major film studio or record label.

But while the entertainment industry certainly has its fair share of people whose jobs consist of burnishing and protecting the reputations of the biggest stars, you might be surprised to learn that reputation management should also be a concern for dental clinics.

As a dental healthcare provider, your good reputation is a priceless asset – one that will be a natural draw for new patients. And in the age of online reviews, managing that reputation and making sure that it isn’t tarnished unfairly is something every dental clinic should take seriously.

While I have written before about the importance of online reviews for dental businesses of all sizes, in this post I specifically discuss the role of review management software – a key tool to help you bring your reputation management into the twenty-first century.

To that end, I’ll answer three of the most common questions that I get from healthcare providers who want to know more about reputation management services in general and review management software in particular.

1. What is Review Management Software?

Review management software is designed to help businesses of all kinds effectively handle their online reviews. According to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, negative online reviews can sometimes cause doctors to see significant drops in patient enrolment, which can snowball into catastrophe if left unchecked. 

Most review management software offers a variety of tools that help you acquire a greater volume of reviews on social media as well as industry-specific websites. It also helps you curate the reviews you receive from your dental patients and highlight the most positive ones.

Review management software usually doesn’t interfere with negative reviews but it does provide response options that allow you to manage reviews from unsatisfied patients to minimize the negative impact and ensure that the issues they raise are dealt with productively.

Perhaps most importantly, review management software takes a lot of the uncertainty out of review management and gives you the opportunity to easily oversee how your dental clinic is being talked about online.

2. How Does Review Management Software Work?

Review management software for dentists works on four distinct fronts by:

  • Increasing review volume
  • Highlighting the best reviews
  • Responding to negative reviews
  • Optimizing the placement of reviews

For example, this software helps you solicit more reviews by automating review acquisition campaigns via email and text, which means that you don’t have to organize your own campaigns every month or every two months. It also sends you and your team alerts every time a review is posted, which puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to responding to negative reviews and helps you mark up positive ones so that they will be more SEO-friendly, and consequently more likely to be seen by potential patients.

Finally, this software lets you track your performance over time, so you can get a bird’s eye view of how your patients are evaluating the service your clinic provides.

3. What Difference Does it Make?

While most dental clinic managers and owners intuitively understand that a good reputation is essential for growing their patient base, I often hear people ask whether review management software really makes a difference. After all, if you already have good word-of-mouth promotion, will a few reviews whether positive or negative, really make a difference to your business?

The truth is that as the Internet becomes a more and more integral part of how we gather information and make decisions, word-of-mouth is no longer enough – you also need strong online reviews.

According to recent data, 90% of consumers consult online reviews before visiting any business, while 88% of consumers value online reviews as highly as the recommendations of their friends and family. This doesn’t mean that a few mean-spirited reviews online can cancel out the testimonies of satisfied patients, as long as your positive reviews sound genuine and speak to the same positive experiences. 

One thing to remember is that bad reviews come easily, while good reviews don’t, so it pays to invest in software that encourages your patients to do the latter.

Patients, like any type of consumer, are more likely to actually take time out of their day to write a review if they had a bad experience. Essentially, these reviews act as a warning to others. The good news is that people who seek out online reviews are savvy and if they see one negative review stacked up against 20 positive ones, they will be able to read the numbers and understand that one bad review likely doesn’t speak to the overall service provided by a dental practice.

With a growing number of patients making decisions about which healthcare providers to choose based on what they read online, ensuring that your online reviews reflect the best service you provide is essential. And, the best way to garner positive reviews is to simply ask for them.

If you want to grow your business and attract new patients to your dental clinic, building a strong reputation, cultivating good reviews, and ensuring that negative reviews are not prominently displayed needs to be part of your strategy. Review management software is by far the best tool for making this strategy work.   

Automated Patient Communication Systems Are All The Rage: How To Find The Right One

For good reason, there’s been a recent explosion in the number of dental practices that are using automated patient communication solutions.

In short, they save administration time and help boost revenue by sending customized patient messages in a batch via email, text or voicemail.

Common messages include appointment notifications, appointment confirmation requests and outstanding treatment notices. Patients can respond from their smartphone, tablet or computer and the system automatically updates their e-calendars – fast and easy.

This blog provides a summary of the benefits of using an Automated Patient Communication solution and explains what factors to consider when choosing one.

Patient Communication Benefits Summary

  1. Patient Convenience: Patients can quickly and easily respond to appointment notices by email or text     
  2. Reduced Costs: Automated patient reminders and confirmations save significant administrative time
  3.  Reduced No-Shows: Patients that receive electronic reminders are more likely to keep appointments
  4. Increased Booking Rates: Patients that receive outstanding treatment notices are more likely to schedule appointments.
  5. Patient Engagement: Automated communication keeps patients actively involved in their oral health.

Choosing a Patient Communication Solution

While some dental practice management systems (DPMS) have this type of functionality built within the software, there are also third-party solution vendors who provide dedicated patient communication applications that integrate, to varying degrees, with a number of DPMS. The following table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages both options:

Third Party Solution
These applications are dedicated to automated communication only and are marketed to a variety of customer service organizations including dental practices. Since they are not part of the dental practice management software, they must extract the data from the software’s database.

Practice Management Software Solution
Automated patient communication capability is either built-in to the software or offered as a fully integrated optional module. Since both applications are provided by the same vendor the integration and data sharing between the two is secure and potentially unlimited.
PROSPROS
Third Party Solution
– Typically feature rich
– Vendor depth of experience – specialize in automated patient communications
– Wide range of systems and feature choices







Practice Management Software Solution
– Tighter Integration between the DPMS software database and the communication features
– Database updates in real time maintaining data integrity
– Single entry of data
– Features remain reliable and consistent with all DPMS upgrades
– One vendor support
– Often included at no or minimal cost
– Ability to offer Patient Portals (see more below)
CONSCONS
Third Party Solution
– Typically more costly
– Not dental practice specific
– Limited integration – only as good as the data it can extract from the DPMS system
– Database updates are not always in real time
– May require additional patient data entry
– Integrations can break as DPMS versions change
Practice Management Software Solution
– May lack advanced features
– Not the DPMS vendor’s primary product/focus






Patient Portals

Some DPMS solutions also offer a patient portal – a secure, online website that gives patients 24-hour access to specific information and an instrument for information exchange (as determined by the dental practice).

Portals enable patients to carry out tasks that previously had to be completed either by telephone or during an in-person visit. This may include appointment requests, healthcare information updates and responses to surveys and review requests. The key is that Portals give dental practices the platform and the power to increase patient engagement making them an essential feature for most offices.

Portal Benefits

  • Increased Administrative Efficiency: Improves                        communication between your patients and dental team.
  • Patient Convenience: Patients can request and respond when and how they want.
  • Enhanced Patient Care: Patients and providers can view up-to-date patient information.
  • Efficient Marketing Tool: Provides an effective source of patient referrals and testimonials.

Note:  Third-party vendors have little or no ability to provide comprehensive patient portals as they have limited access to the DPMS database and no control over additional data fields that may be required to provide the functionality and information exchange desired.

Conclusion  

Automated Patient Communication and Patient Portals that are developed by DPMS vendors are specifically designed for use with their own practice management software. Integration integrity is ensured and maintained with uniform DPMS/Automated Patient Communication upgrades. There are no inherent limits for data exchange and data is never out of date since it is updated in real time. Additionally, there is the convenience of single vendor support for all functions.

With a third-party solution, the DPMS database is potentially at risk of corruption every time the third-party application accesses it to obtain the patient/appointment information that it needs to function. On the other hand, third-party solutions typically offer a wider range of features and are the only option if your DPMS vendor does not provide automated patient communication functionality.

In summary, if your DPMS vendor offers patient communication features that meet your needs then it is likely to be a more stable and secure solution making it preferred when compared to any third-party offering.

Looking To Improve Your Quality of Service? Review Management Software Can Help

What price would you put on attaining a great reputation?

If you operate a dental clinic, your reputation in the industry is one of the most important aspects of your business. A good reputation will attract new patients and help you keep the patients you have – but it will also do a lot more than that. 

Earlier this summer I wrote about the value of reputation management software, and review management software in particular, as a way of increasing the growth and profitability of your practice. This week, I want to share some of the less obvious ways in which strong online reviews can make your dental clinic shine.

Yes, using review management software to curate your online reputation will help you build your patient base but, as you’ll see below, that’s not all it can do for you.

Good Reviews Attract Good Staff

Every dental clinic relies on a strong team of receptionists, assistants, managers, hygienists, and dentists in order to function well. Building a good team isn’t easy, and attracting talent can be a challenge, especially in competitive urban markets. Attaining as many positive online reviews for your clinic as possible will make it much easier for you to find passionate, dedicated staff. 

Most job seekers will read up on online to find out as much as they can about their potential future boss before they ever send in an application. If you don’t have much of an online presence, or if your online presence contains a lot of negative reviews, this can make attracting the right people even harder.

Conversely, if your clinic has received a lot of positive, public feedback online from genuine patients then potential employees are far more likely to consider working for you.

Reviews are a way for potential employees to discover a number of things about your practice. Here are some of the things patients may comment about in reviews:

  • Your Team – A strong team with the right work ethic will attract better candidates
  • Service – Potential hires want to know whether a practice is trying to improve people’s lives by providing great service and by making them feel welcomed and appreciated
  • Workspace – The physical space of a clinic is as important to employees as it is to patients and a comfortable, well-kept office with modern equipment will attract both
  • Office Culture – A positive office environment is an attractive quality for potential hires

Negative Reviews Give Opportunities To Show You Care

No one likes logging onto the review management component of their dental software and seeing that someone has left a negative comment criticizing their dental clinic.

But wouldn’t you prefer to know if your patients are having a bad experience, rather than remaining unaware of the impression your clinic is leaving in patients’ minds?

They say that ignorance is bliss but in the world of healthcare it is actually dangerous. Knowing how your patients feel about the service you offer is absolutely essential if you want to give them the best care possible.

For this reason, you should embrace negative reviews as an opportunity for growth. After all, you can’t get better if you don’t have reliable feedback about where you are missing the mark. 

One of the reasons why dental reputation management software is so helpful is because it alerts you to every review posted about your clinic, and gives you a variety of action options, putting you in the driver’s seat when it comes to dealing with disgruntled patients. 

According to some experts, when healthcare professionals respond to negative reviews, patient satisfaction can double, turning a bad visit into a good experience. So, make sure your review management software is set up so that you can respond to them as quickly as possible!

Tapping into Patient Reviews Helps You Fine-Tune Your Practice  

Earlier this year, I wrote about some of the ways you can improve the culture of your practice. Everyone working in dentistry should be striving to give patients a better experience and a better level of care. One of the best ways to find out where you can be doing better is by regularly reading what people have to say about you.

For example, if most of your patients’ reviews indicate their appreciation for your practice’s implementation of appointment management software, e.g. for convenient  patient confirmation or re-booking of appointments online, it indicates that your approach to booking is working. It also suggests that your patients are pretty plugged in which may lead you to adopt new digital tools to make your clinic even more accessible.

Remember, even when patients are happy with your service there are still ways that it can be improved!

Online reviews have rapidly become one of the most important factors in how patients decide on their health care options but this isn’t the only reason to take online reputation management seriously. Investing in review management software can also help you attract talented employees, respond to negative criticism in real time, and fine-tune the service that your dental practice offers. 

Purchasing new Dental Software? What you should know before signing on the dotted line!

A few months ago I wrote a blog article about what to look for in dental software to get the best fit for your practice. However, once you identify the software you prefer for your office, it is critical to ensure you have considered all factors before making a commitment to the vendor.

In this blog we will look at important selection criteria that often gets overlooked during the evaluation process – only to be discovered (and regretted) after an agreement has been signed.

Purchase Model/Overall Cost

Cost is often the main concern of dentists when comparing practice management solutions but it can be challenging to make an objective cost comparison.

  • Each vendor may offer a different mix of components that comprise their standard configuration
  • Any additional features you desire will likely only be available an additional cost – either from the vendor or from a third party
  • Some parts of the total solution may be offered in the form of perpetual software licenses for an upfront, one-time, payment
  • Some other features may only be available by paying a monthly subscription

The simplest way to deal with this complexity is to list the main features you require then calculate and compare each system’s upfront and monthly costs.

In addition to the core practice management software being offered, here are examples of specific features and services that may be available either bundled or separately:

  • Clinical applications (Charting, Clinical notes)
  • Patient Communication/Appointment Reminders/Patient Portal
  • Imaging software/Third Party Imaging Software Integrations
  • Patient Kiosk
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Payment Card Processing
  • Reputation Management
  • Remote Back-up services
  • Productivity Tool Integrations (Accounting, Office 365, Payroll, HR Management)
  • Software Maintenance (updates)
  • Software support (telephone, knowledge base, email, chat)
  • Training (on-site, classroom, web-based, telephone) 

You should also consider the after-tax cost of your investment. Upfront payments for software and hardware are treated as capital costs that can be depreciated at different rates. Alternatively, these assets can be leased and lease payments are treated as an expense against generated income. Monthly rental/subscription payments are treated similarly for determining after tax income. It’s best to check with your accountant to determine the optimum financing mix that minimizes your taxes and preserves cash flow based on your practice profile.   

Data Conversion

If you currently use practice management software, chances are you will want to transfer as much practice data over as possible to the new system. However, if you have many years of data, it makes sense to limit the carryover of transactions to the last two to three years so your new system starts with a relatively “clean” database.

Worth noting here is that you should be able to run your old software (and database) simultaneously with your new software during the early stages of the new implementation. This arrangement equips you to look up historical transactions as required.

Now let’s look at the different levels of practice data conversion to be considered.

Basic
-Patient Demographics including recall dates and account balances
Intermediate
-Patient Demographics including recall dates and account balances
-Appointments
-Financial transactions
-Procedure history
-Insurance information for eClaims
Full
-Patient Demographics including recall dates and account balances
-Appointments
-Financial transactions
-Procedure history
-Insurance information for eClaims
-Clinical charts and diagnostic notes
-Outstanding treatment plans
-Detailed insurance information/coverage

Your chosen level of data conversion will be influenced by the number of patients and records you decide to transfer. For example, you may not wish to pay for appointment information transfer if the number of future appointments is small and quick to enter manually.

Beware of companies who promise detailed conversions at no or low cost  as an enticement. Regardless of the amount of automation used in the conversion process, each data conversion is unique and takes substantial time for planning and testing. Low cost conversions will likely lead to poor results and cost you much more if you need to correct corrupt data or enter missing information.

Keep in mind that the The differences from one software to another can lead to data that doesn’t map accurately into ABELDent. Some systems are based on ancient, obscure or proprietary differences in dental software databases means not every data field from one system will have a direct match in another system. Furthermore, some software systems are based on obscure, proprietary technology that make it difficult to extract data. In addition, some vendors encrypt your data making it impossible to move it to another system without obtaining the decryption key (for which they may charge a substantial fee).

After you’ve chosen the level of data conversion that’s right for your dental practice, the easiest way to ensure a satisfactory conversion is to request a sample and check it for data accuracy. Ask the new vendor for a data conversion agreement that specifies the files and fields that will be carried over and where they link to in the new system. You will also need to schedule a time for the new vendor to receive your most current backup prior to going live so that the data transferred over is as up to date as possible.    

Implementation/Configuration:

When you are ready to make a commitment to a new dental software vendor, it is important to have an implementation plan in place so that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. Ask your new vendor what their implementation steps are and how any issues you may have experienced in the past would be resolved this time around.

Choose a reputable hardware/IT vendor and make sure they consult with the dental software vendor so that your new dental software system gets configured to specification. Skimping on quality hardware or using inexperienced technologists can cost you a lot more down the road in lost productivity if the system and/or the support prove unreliable.

Schedule several training sessions prior to your “live” date so that staff have an opportunity to get familiar with all the basic functions of the software. It is best to shut the office down during training so staff can give their full attention instead of dealing with interruptions. Once up and running, don’t be satisfied using just the basics. Switching from your current system implies you are looking for something more so book advanced training to help your team fully realize the  software’s capabilities and increase your return on investment!

Service and Support: The Key to Dental Software Satisfaction

Recently I wrote a blog about four main factors to consider when evaluating and purchasing dental software. One of the factors cited was the importance of a vendor’s quality and level of service and support. While writing, this had me thinking back to a time when we were doing a lot of conversions from other vendor’s systems – the primary reason not being lack of functionality as one might think, but rather in many cases, the lack of sufficient customer support at critical times.

With the increased complexity and functionality of dental software today, the importance of service and support is even more critical, yet often remains a neglected factor when evaluating which practice management system to implement. Let’s look at the components of a comprehensive support plan that help ensure your practice runs smoothly with minimal interruption.

Solution Implementation

The first indication of the level of support you will receive from a vendor usually comes during the sales process – but at this stage you are dealing with promises. It’s during the software implementation phase where you will receive tangible evidence of a vendor’s commitment to support.

Whether you choose a local server or a cloud-based solution, it needs to be configured to the workflow requirements of your practice and that requires assistance from the software vendor. In many cases, you will need to contract third party hardware/IT vendors that will also rely on your dental software vendor for support. Many installations also involve conversion of practice data from a previous system – another indicator of service level based on the quality and delivery time of the data converted.

Training

The amount and level of training you will receive is another indicator of the vendor’s dedication to high service levels and is a huge determinant of how your dental team will perceive the functionality and quality of the software.

Look for a vendor that has the resources to offer a variety of training methods including onsite, classroom and web-based, and ask about the software’s built in help system and whether they have other training collateral available such as tutorials and videos. The number and experience level of trainers on staff is also a good indication of the quality of training you will receive.

There is a temptation to skimp on this area in an effort to save money but the irony is that quality, comprehensive training allows for the greatest return on investment. However, if you have a person on staff that is skilled enough to train the rest of your team, this can be a viable option to optimize your investment and help ensure that all team members follow the same procedures when using the software.

Software Support

As mentioned, a common reason practices switch to new dental software is poor customer support from their vendor – specifically, slow response times and insufficient problem resolution.

  • Request performance statistics, such as the average on-hold time and average length of call. This information will provide you with an objective metric when comparing service levels between vendors.
  • Ask how many software support analysts they have on staff to respond to technical questions and/or issues.
  • Check out the type of support plans offered and the scope of service hours to see if they match your requirements and budget. Ideally, the vendor should provide 24/7/365 support.
  • Find out from your colleagues whether their vendor’s technical support staff often go beyond simple problem resolution by providing helpful tips based on their experience working with dental practices.
  • Review the vendor’s customer newsletters, blogs, ebooks, training materials, etc. to gauge how helpful they will be and the degree to which they will keep you informed.
  • Look for vendors that provide a customer portal for convenient access to value added resources.

Software Updates

As the dental industry and practice management best practices continue to evolve, so will your dental software need to progress. Software updates you receive from your vendor should consist of improvements to existing features as well as new functionality rather than simply “bug” fixes. Downloading updates should be seamless and require minimal setup to limit practice downtime. Small incremental updates are preferred so that learning curves to implement new features are short and reliance on support services is minimized.   

Third-Party Integrations

No matter how comprehensive the dental software package you choose is, there may be third party applications you want to add that can benefit from an integration. The integration will typically involve sharing of information between the new application and the dental practice management software to provide administrative/clinical synergies and reduce data entry. Third-party applications that can benefit from integration include imaging software, payment card processing, reputation management, and automated patient communication. The number of integration partnerships a vendor provides is an indication of how dedicated they are to delivering leading-edge solutions to their customers.

Conclusion 

Like all companies that use software to help manage their business, dental practices rely on service and support to maintain productivity and minimize downtime. Unfortunately, many dental practices underestimate the importance of quality support before purchasing dental practice management software only to realize its impact after it is too late to change course easily. There is also a temptation to cut support costs since it is an ongoing expense – however, this service has the potential to provide a large return on investment if used effectively.

It can be difficult to determine which vendor is positioned to provide the best levels of service and support. It is wise to start by evaluating the vendor’s overall track record in the industry – a good indicator of the quality of support they will provide after you purchase their software.

Discover Your Hidden Profit: Uncover Unscheduled Treatment

In working with hundreds of dental practices over the years, I’ve discovered a common theme – each practice seems to have a group of patients that prove to be elusive when it comes to scheduling their outstanding treatment or overdue recall. The simple solution is to get each patient to book their next appointment upon leaving the office and then contact them prior to the appointment to confirm. But what about patients who refuse to book right away or book and then cancel their appointment later without rescheduling?

To solve this dilemma, ensuring that you retain these patients and deliver the treatment they require, let’s look at two practice management tools that you can leverage – dental software and automated patient communication.

One essential tool is your dental practice management software that, ideally, has a system to automatically:     

  • Assign contact dates for follow up with patients, based on their specific appointment interval, after they are billed a recall or scaling code
  • Create predetermination contact dates for patients after a predetermination is sent
  • Create a contact date for patients who cancel or miss an appointment
  • Assign appointment contact dates for unscheduled treatment plans for each required appointment and allow manual adjustment/entry of contact dates
  • Delete the appropriate contact(s) when the patient schedules to avoid booking duplicate appointments

Picture a virtual Rolodex with all of those contacts organized – patients requiring appointments for different reasons at specific times and intervals. Next, visualize a system that logically organizes those contacts and retrieves targeted groups based on specific selection criteria such as:

  • Due date range
  • Procedures required
  • Outstanding predeterminations
  • Cancellations and missed appointments
  • Provider

The following image shows such a system and how it manages a group of identified patients.

In the above example, ABELDent’s Contact Manager:

  1. Shows the list of patients that meet the selection criteria along with each contact’s date
  2. Displays the appointment profile for the selected patient
  3. Shows a financial summary and note profile – these boxes can be expanded for more detail
  4. Lists all contacts for the chosen patient and family members
  5. Displays future appointments booked to avoid duplication
  6. Keeps a record of previous patient contact for reference
  7. Immediately links to the appointment scheduler – once the appointment is booked, the contact is removed 

There are even more benefits to using a tool such as the one above since it will allow you to:  

  • Book all family members that are due with one phone call
  • View all relevant information from one screen before calling
  • Update patient files based on their feedback
  • Track phone call results for future reference
  • Use one click for schedule access to book the appointment
  • Send email/texts to patients not available by phone

Another increasingly popular tool to assist with boosting appointment booking and is automated patient communication.

With a keystroke, the software application sends individual “request for confirmation” and/or an “outstanding treatment notice” messages to the selected group of patients using each individual’s preferred communication method (text or email). Message recipients can then respond using their smart phone, notebook or computer and, in many cases, automatically update their e-calendars.

In fully-integrated systems, patient responses automatically update the appropriate data fields within the practice management software, for example, scheduled appointments would show as confirmed.

There is a tremendous time and cost savings opportunity when managing appointments using this technology and there is strong evidence of improved booking and appointment retention rates.

In summary, technology tools can greatly assist a dental practice with identifying and booking outstanding treatment and help the dental team fulfill production and profit goals. When staff can easily find patients that have outstanding treatment and use automated tools to remind those patients of the importance of their recommended treatment, it shows that you value their dental health and increases case acceptance.

4 Ways to Build a Better Website for Your Dental Practice

The importance of a strong web presence to the success of any dental practice cannot be overstated. This is why I’ve decided to write a follow-up article to one we published earlier this year on how to maximize your web presence with a strong site. This time, I’m putting a deeper focus on the technical side of things.

As I constantly tell my colleagues in the dental industry, it’s not enough to simply have a site anymore. In order to compete today, you must put in the work to have your online presence noticed and to ensure its relevance week after week and month after month.

Not every clinic has the money to allot big budgets toward paid advertising and so it becomes all the more vital to make organic efforts. But what many people don’t realize is that to achieve organic results, you need to understand what’s going on under the hood, so to speak.

To ensure your site’s success, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and/or use third-parties that specialize in improving the look and functionality of websites.

Luckily, there are many different ways to engage with users and to build your audience – read on to learn more about how to improve your dental practice website:

1. Update Your Site’s Look and Functionality

Internet content is evolving at an increasingly rapid pace and what looked good three years ago might not cut it today. A dated website won’t inspire prospective patients to take the next step and get in touch. The first step toward improving your site means conducting an overhaul.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that everything on your site is working as it should be. You’ll want to conduct a thorough audit of your clinic’s website, going through each page looking for:

  • Out-of-date content
  • Missing or poor-quality images
  • Plugins or themes that require an update
  • Broken links
  • Style or formatting inconsistencies

While this may seem like a lot of work, updating your website will pay off in major ways, starting by maintaining your relevance in the dental services marketplace.

You can also improve your site’s performance by checking your analytics – these will help indicate where you may need to make changes. This may seem like a hundred-dollar word, but this simple tutorial will show you the basics:

Once you’ve learned how to access and use analytics, you can start to track:

  • Which pages are the most popular
  • Which pages are engaging users and keeping them browsing
  • Which pages your users find uninteresting or unnecessary

2. Invest in Search Engine Optimization

Some companies swear by what’s known as search engine marketing, paid advertising such as Google AdWords that boost your site’s visibility through a cost-per-click model. While effective, this can get very pricey.

Search engine optimization (SEO) on the other hand tries to increase rankings organically. This is done by identifying which words are most associated with your field, and then using those words – or keywords as they’e called – to buff up your site’s content.

By sprucing up your homepage with keywords, and by running a regular blog (see below) that also includes keywords, your brand will slowly become tethered to the most popular search terms in your industry. This will help your practice climb to the top ranks of a Google search – making it easier to entice new visitors. Although it might seem obvious, make sure your website includes applicable keywords such as:

Dental Exam, Dental Emergency, Dental Cleaning, Teeth Polishing, Perio Scaling, Dental Implants, Teeth Whitening, TMJ, Mouth Guard, Root Canal, Tooth Extraction, Dental Crowns, Family Dentistry, Periodontics, Orthodontics, Oral Surgery, and Child Dentistry.

3. Start a Blog

Speaking of blogs, creating one that’s accessible through your website and posting weekly content will help you to connect with your audience about topics or issues relevant to your business. It also gives you a reason to spark engagement on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Furthermore, it humanizes your brand, allowing an authentic voice to come out and build brand loyalty. Finally, by including keywords like those mentioned above into your content, you’ll increase search engine rankings at the same time.

If you don’t already have a blog, it can be easier than you think to generate some great content. Here are a few basic blog topic ideas to help you get started:

  • Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Smile
  • 5 Tips for Improving Your At-Home Dental Routine
  • A Simple-to-Follow Guide on Teeth Whitening
  • 3 Signs That It Might Be Time to See Your Dentist
  • Does it Matter Which Tooth Brush or Tooth Paste I Use?

4. Maintain Up Time

Whether you’re a multinational corporation, a simple blogger, a not-for-profit organization, a news outlet, or a dental practice, traffic must reach your website otherwise it is partially closed for business. 

If you are using an unreliable service provider and your site goes down, you’ve effectively disappeared off the internet radar. Essentially, dental practice seekers can’t find or reach you when they need to – causing your credibility to plummet and making it seem to search engines like Google that you’ve received zero clicks or visits during that period and are therefore losing relevance.

Host your site with a credible provider – one who can ensure 100% up time guarantees as part of their hosting package.

I’ve talked before about cyber scamming, and the best way to stay safe is to find a hosting provider that can also help you protect your site from hacking attempts. While you should stay educated and regularly test your site for functionality, also make sure that your provider guarantees automatic updates and maintenance to prevent data leaks.

Staying up and running is integral to maintaining a strong reputation – especially for those who are looking to boost their SEO.

When it comes to websites, remember that a little goes a long way.

Hopefully, these tips will help get your practice noticed and engaging with more of your present and future patients. Continue to visit the ABELDent blog for more on this and other topics.