A website is an excellent way to establish an online presence, build brand awareness, and drive leads to your dental practice. However, building a website is just the start. To reap the long-term benefits of having a website, it needs to be well maintained. Consider this: 50% of web users will leave your website for a competitor if they have a poor user experience. The buck stops with website maintenance.
This article aims to guide you through the ins and outs of dental website maintenance. By the end, you’ll come away with an understanding of why your website needs adequate maintenance. If you’d first like to understand how a dental website can help your practice grow, check out this article. Otherwise, keep reading to learn more.
Why You Need a Dental Website
A dental website acts as a digital business card, presenting your practice to existing and potential patients. It allows patients to understand your services and what to expect upon visiting. Moreover, it will enable you to take advantage of many avenues of digital marketing that otherwise wouldn’t be available, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Local SEO.
Local SEO helps your practice’s website to appear higher on local search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to an increase in traffic. It helps your website reach highly targeted nearby patients who are likely to inquire about your services. If these patients find your website unmaintained and challenging to navigate due to neglect, they may disregard your practice as unreliable.
How To Maintain Your Website
Maintaining your dental website may be challenging without the proper technical knowledge. We at The Dental SEO Experts are here to help. Here are three ways to maintain your website without exhausting your technical knowledge.
Back Up Your Site
Perhaps the most simple but equally important step in maintaining your dental website is to keep a backup and version history. Doing so means that if something breaks and the site runs into errors, you can temporarily roll it back to the last working version until the issue is resolved. This will help to reduce website downtime and prevent the loss of potential patients during that time.
Several tools are available to help you back up your website, though most Content Management Systems (CMSs) and website builders will already have this functionality. If your website is based on WordPress, backup plugins you may wish to use include:
- WP ALL Backup
- WP Time Capsule
Uptime Monitoring Software
No matter how well built a website is, it’s likely to run into errors at some point. Identifying these errors as quickly as possible is key to maintaining your website. When they’re found, they can be resolved swiftly, but keeping a constant eye on your website is an impossible task, especially while you’re busy running your dental clinic. That’s where uptime monitoring software comes in.
Uptime monitoring software tracks whether or not your website is live and accessible to
users. When your website goes down, a notification is sent via email or SMS to inform you that action needs to be taken. Some services, such as Manage WP, also allow you to manage the status of your dental website’s plugins and functionality to pinpoint exact issues.
Some uptime monitoring services you may wish to try are:
- Sematext Synthetics
- Site 24×7
- Better Uptime
Invest in a Website Maintenance Package
If you want to bypass the maintenance process and focus on running your dental practice, you should ask your dental web developer about long-term maintenance packages. All reputable agencies that offer custom website development, like The Dental SEO Experts, should offer robust post-release support packages. If not, you may need to find another development agency. Schedule a call with us today to discuss dental website development and maintenance packages at an affordable rate.
5 Reasons Why Dental Website Maintenance Is Necessary
Now that you understand a few ways to maintain your website let’s break down why website maintenance is crucial.
1. Keeps Your Site Secure
An unmaintained website is more vulnerable to cyber attacks than its well-kept counterparts. This is because hackers and data thieves can exploit bugs and loopholes within your website’s code when it is not held watertight. Website maintenance is necessary to keep your website and patient information secure.
This may include considerations like annually renewing your SSL certificate. SSL secure websites–one’s with HTTPS at the start of their address–allow web users to form a secure connection when entering your website, reducing the risk of attacks.
2. Keeps Site Visible on Search Engines
Website maintenance doesn’t just include technical considerations; it also includes regularly updating your site with fresh content. This could mean frequently uploading blog posts and articles or changing your web copy to reflect new and changing services. Failing to release new content onto your website signals to search engines that your site has not, and is not kept, updated.
Release new content on a regular basis to prevent search engines from identifying your content as outdated and of little value to users. Content usefulness is a factor considered by search engines when ranking websites on search engine results pages (SERPs). This means that if your content is seen as unuseful to web users, your website will likely fall on SERPs, becoming less visible when users search for local dental clinics.
3. Ensures a Smooth User Experience
Did you know that 88% of web users are unlikely to return to a website after a bad experience? In the dental industry, this means a substantial loss of potential patients browsing for service information, thus reducing the number of leads. Many poor web experiences result from an underdeveloped and poorly maintained user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), i.e., the interactive elements of your website. Maintaining your website will help improve its UI/UX by ensuring all clickable elements function correctly.
Maintaining your site’s UI/UX will also serve to increase your SERP rankings and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) scores. This is because a positive user experience will inspire users to dwell on your site for longer, decreasing bounce rates. Your website’s bounce rate denotes how soon after entering your site a user leaves. High bounce rates signal to search engines that your site is not providing a valuable experience, which negatively impacts your standing with search engines.
4. Improves Your Site’s Performance
Maintaining your website is key to improving your website’s performance. Performance typically relates to the load speed of your website when users initially enter the site or navigate internally. If a site takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of users will leave. As a result, solid site performance is key to retaining potential customer interest.
Improving your website’s performance starts with choosing appropriate dental website hosting provider and compressing image files to less than 100Kb. This can be done with free online tools, such as Tiny.PNG and 11Zon image compressor. Doing so to all images across your website will have a noticeable effect on load times, as large images are a common culprit of sluggish site performance. More technical considerations can also be made, such as connecting your website to a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
5. Maintains Online Credibility
All of the above reasons contribute to this final point: maintaining your site allows you to maintain your online credibility. When a user enters a poorly maintained site that takes too long to load, has poor UI, and limited content, the site appears disregarded and unworthy of the user’s time and attention. This hurts your reputation and online credibility.
A solid online reputation is crucial for all businesses, including dentists. This is because, as a professional medical provider, patients must put their trust in your services. If potential patients find a poorly maintained website, they may think this is a reflection of your overall practice.
How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?
Website maintenance costs will vary depending on the size and functionality of your website, as well as the technology used for development. If you created your website internally and have a solid understanding of your Content Management System (CMS)–the portal used to modify your website–then you can maintain your dental website yourself. Otherwise, when hiring a website developer, ensure that you inquire about their post-release support options.
Like The Dental SEO Experts, any reputable dental website developer will offer post-release support packages. If a developer or agency does not provide such options, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Any website, no matter how well developed, will eventually run into errors. Being covered by a support package means these bugs can be swiftly resolved.
Web Development and Maintenance from The Dental SEO Experts
If you’re looking for expert dental web development with maintenance packages and digital marketing options, The Dental SEO Experts are for you. We have a team of dedicated specialists ready to take your dental clinic to the next level. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more.