The days are getting longer, freezing winds are abating to be replaced with warm sunshine and the supermarket shelves are bedecked with chocolate eggs, bunnies and daffodils. Spring is no longer just around the corner, it’s well and truly upon us. As is traditional, many of us are taking stock of what we own and debating what can stay, what needs a polish and what needs chucking out altogether. When looking at your website, you should be thinking the same thing.
A website going live is a great feeling. Everything is just the way you want it, all up-to-date and made using the latest design tools and marketing trends. It’s bright and shiny and new and, as Marie Kondo would say, it sparks joy. However, like everything we buy, websites have a shelf life. A well-made website can last years and still do its job, especially if it’s well maintained and constantly updated. After a while though it’ll start to lose its lustre, look tired and ultimately start to fail at the one thing it’s been designed to do – bring in new patients.
A question I’m often asked is ‘how do you know when a website is no longer fit for purpose?’ and once again the devil is in the data. A very important metric we use to track how well a website is performing is the bounce rate. This is a measure of the percentage of people that when visiting a website will more or less immediately leave. In dentistry, the industry average is around 45-60% for bounce rate. Any higher than this and alarm bells should start ringing.
Bounce rate isn’t the only metric we look at when determining a website’s suitability. Speed is a factor and older sites will often run much slower than newer ones. Responsivity, ie how well the website functions on mobile and tablet, is often much worse on older websites. Outdated code, minimal functionality, static imagery etc. The list goes on. At the end of the day, if you are driving traffic to your website but it isn’t converting then you have a problem.
The condition may not be terminal. Your practice website might just need some good old-fashioned TLC, a bit of polish. There’s plenty that can be done to keep it functional and we suggest amendments to our clients all the time in order to prolong the longevity of their websites. However, if the data is telling you that it’s no longer fit for purpose then it may be time to reinvest in something modern, fresh and profitable.
Understandably, such a big investment may not be something anyone wants to jump into without due consideration, but taking into account the average lifespan of a website is 5 years and comparing that with the number of patients it can generate for you in that timescale, then it’s probably the soundest investment you can make in your marketing. In fact, it might even put a spring in your step.