by Glenn Lombardi
Patients are not only visiting your practice's website from their home computers, they're looking at your site from their mobile devices. The problem is that if you do not have a mobile-optimized site, the conventional desktop version on a patient's smartphone or tablet looks and performs poorly.
With the prevalence of smartphones and tablets today, a mobile presence for your practice is a must-have. Patients expect their mobile experience to be just as good as their desktop visit to your site. Considering how connected people are to their mobile devices, it's surprising how few dentists have optimized their traditional website for mobile platforms.
Do not lose potential patients to a poor mobile website experience. Cater to your growing mobile audience and optimize your site before patients look elsewhere.
Bad mobile experiences turn potential patients to competition
Google said it best when stating that the fastest path to mobile customers is through a mobile-friendly site. If you offer a great mobile experience, visitors are more likely to take action on the spot, such as calling your office or requesting an appointment.
Unfortunately, even the best looking website can function incorrectly on a mobile phone. Text is small and difficult to read, images appear distorted and are slow to load, and important functions such as appointment scheduling or maps may not render correctly. All of these can lead to a frustrating user experience. This may drive visitors to your competitors, who may have already optimized their website for mobile use.
A study by Google revealed that when people visited a mobile-friendly site, 74% said they would be more likely to return to that site in the future. Likewise, 79% of people who stumble upon a nonmobile site will search elsewhere. By becoming an early adopter of mobile, you will be in a much better position to attract new patients.
A mobile user's expectations
As mobile user sophistication grows, so do the expectations of mobile sites. When someone views your website from a smartphone, the site should look and behave in a way appropriate for that device. So what is most important to mobile users?
Designed for visibility
On the small screen of a mobile device, a nonmobile website page is difficult to navigate, and text and navigation buttons are often too small to be read without pinching and zooming. Mobile sites are organized, clean, and easy to view.
Ease of use
Click-to-call and instant mapping functions, among other mobile-specific features, help eliminate extra steps required to contact or visit your practice. All of these important functions should be easily accessible so that on-the-move visitors can get to the information they're seeking without much effort.
Mobile phone users expect websites to load as quickly on their mobile devices as they do on their desktops. They are usually looking for specific, quick information, such as phone numbers, hours of operation, directions to your office, or an appointment request. With a mobile website, patients can access this information from any location and at any time. But if your mobile site is not up to speed, users will likely move on to another one that is.
Mobile devices will soon overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide, and your practice cannot afford to lose new patients on account of poor mobile website accessibility. With a mobile-friendly website that's easy to use on smartphones and tablets, you will not only provide potential clients with the experience they want, but you will be more likely to get their call, their business, and their recommendation.
Get started by visiting your website from a mobile browser. This will give you a clear understanding of how your current site looks on a smartphone or tablet and where you should start optimizing it for mobile. Talk to your website provider about optimization, or find a mobile website professional who can help you seamlessly create a solution for your practice.
Glenn Lombardi is president of Officite, a provider of dental websites and Internet marketing strategies, including social media, search marketing, reputation management, and mobile websites. Officite has built thousands of websites that have generated more than a half million new patient appointment requests since 2002. For more information, visit www.officite.com or call (800) 908-2483.
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