I’m often asked what a dentist’s website navigation should include. Most web users prefer a concise navigation that’s intuitive. Practice owners and consultants want to make sure the call to action (Make an Appointment!) is prevalent on every page. Google wants information – lots and lots of unique, educational information. Though these ideas may seem contradictory, it is possible to give everyone what they want and come up with a sensational layout.
Where to Start Planning Website Navigation
Without considering how many navigation tabs your site will have, step into the mind of Google and think about the topics that will cover all of your services, as well as ways to answer the questions a potential patient may ask. (We’ll get to making it look clean and pretty in a bit.)
Of course, you’ll need the “brochure” pages:
- Contact Us
You may also want:
- New Patients
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To answer patients’ questions and please Google, you’ll need:
- Individual services pages (general, cosmetic, restorative, prosthetic, preventive dentistry; sub-services for each, meaning under cosmetic – bonding, veneers, teeth whitening, white fillings and crowns, gum contouring, etc.)
- “Cost of” descriptions (cost of dentures, cost of veneers, cost of sleep apnea treatment)
- If you see families or children, you might want a “For Parents” and “For Kids” page.
But how can your site have all of these pages and not seem cluttered or overwhelming?
Simple – we use sub-navigation, with or without dropdown menus, to organize the pages, as if cataloguing books in a library.
Let’s say you want only five headings in your primary navigation. Here’s an example of how those pages can house other, related pages. The main pages are bold. Sub-navigation is blue.
- About Us
- Meet the Doctor
- Meet the Team
- Office Tour
- Blog and News
- General Dentistry
- Checkups and Cleanings
- Periodontal Treatments
- Sedation and Anesthesia
- Second Opinions
- Children’s Dentistry
- Restorative Dentistry
- White Fillings
- White Crowns, Inlays, and Onlays
- Bridges and Partials
- Dentures and Implants
- TMJ/TMD Treatment
- Snoring Cessation
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Bonding and Contouring
- Teeth Whitening
- Gum Contouring
- Smile Makeovers
- New Patients
- What to Expect
- Forms and Registration
- Financial Policy
- Contact Us
- Newsletter Signup
- General Dentistry
So, with this navigation, you have five tabs on your homepage: Home, About, Services, New Patients, and Contact Us. All of the sub-navigation bullets (blue) can either be housed in dropdown menus that expand and collapse below the main navigation headings, or if that looks too cluttered, the sub-navigation pages can be accessible through the main tab’s landing page, with clickable links.
The Start Small and Build Plan
Let’s say that you don’t want to start your website with 20-30 pages of content, but you know Google wants it, and it would help your site rank better. The goal of a dentist’s website is to drive more new patients to the office, right?
The BEST plan is to start with all of your main navigation and sub-navigation pages, then build out your blog with weekly posts. This strategy provides all Google needs to rank a website high in search engine results pages (SERPs) for targeted keywords, and it also adds fresh, unique content to a site on a regular basis (weekly blogs are ideal). Google wants lots of unique content, but also new, fresh content – thus, this is the best strategy.
However, you can opt to build out our site over time, adding pages and blogs on a scheduled content management plan. It’s not unreasonable to begin with the main pages (black, bold topics in the above sample), then add two pages per month and two blogs per month, until the full site navigation is built out (blue sub-navigation pages above). This plan works well for dentists who need to maintain a reasonable monthly budget for online marketing, but it is only effective if the content addition schedule is maintained. Oftentimes, a dentist will put copywriting on the back burner, so what starts as an awesome plan fizzles into “what could have been.”
About That Contact Us Button on Every Page
So with the navigation worked out, let’s revisit the aforementioned contact us button, or call to action, being prevalent on every page. You have a plethora of options for integrating a call to action, but I suggest that you:
- Make a clickable link to your contact page accessible on the top and bottom of every page.
- Make the link (button) obvious, so people who want to call don’t get sidetracked looking around.
- Include your phone number on or near every call to action link.
Remember, the goal of a good call to action is ease of access for making an appointment. We can lead your patients to your website, then to your phone number, but as your website developer, we cannot make them book a visit. It’s imperative that in your office:
- A human should always answer your phone, with a smile.
- That human should have access to your appointment schedule and be able to book the caller’s visit, right then and there.
- The caller should never be placed on hold for more than five seconds. This may mean that more than one staff member must be available to schedule appointments, talk to patients at check in/check out, and answer the phone.
- The person who answers the phone needs to know your address and local landmarks, as well as your site’s domain name, by heart, so providing directions to the office is fast and flawless.
Back to the Dentist’s Website
Whether you already have an established website that needs new, original, or additional content; you’re about to launch a website and need a blogging plan; or you need a new, responsive, cutting-edge website, the Identiwrite Creative team is here to help. Not only do we compose original, well optimized text for dental websites and blogs, but we actually design and develop awesome websites.