Do You Own Your Website?

Sometimes when a business contracts with a web development company to create a web page the domain is registered in the name of the web developer not the name of the business. This can be a very big deal if the web developer goes out of business or if the business owner wants to change from one vendor to another. There is an online tool called whois you can use to check to see who owns a domain name. You can access whois from Go Daddy or any domain registry site. Just type in the domain and whois will tell you who owns it.

Also be sure and check the web development agreement. It is not unusual for the developer to claim ownership or copyright to all your web content.

Sadly I have heard from a number of dentists who report trouble from the vendor when they try and change providers. In some cases they even needed to get a lawyer involved and are still having problems.

General Internet Social Media

From ADA News

manage online ADA

Digital Marketing Internet

New Google Rank Algorithm

google-toothThere is considerable buzz in the tech world about the new Google ranking criteria set to launch April 21. Do you need to panic? Will your website disappear from Google? Relax, the big changes aren’t really that big and should not have much effect on most dentists. Especially if you have been following our advice when it comes to dental web pages.

The first change is to add rank value to web sites that are mobile friendly. The best way to do this is to have a responsive site. That is a site that detects the device on which it is being viewed and displays itself accordingly. This has been good advice for years and now Google will be rewarding you for doing it.

The second change is to penalize sites with multiple doorways. These are pages designed explicitly to attract specific Google search terms that then direct users to another site.

For some help with the mobile site issue Forbes has a good article here.

For web site development including mobile responsive sites I like TNT Dental and Sesame.

e-Services Management

Re-Activate for Year End

practiceActivatorActionRun helps dentists improve marketing results by providing cloud-based patient communication services for New, Active, and Unresponsive Patients. Our communication services go much further than simple email, text, or voice reminder solutions.

via Improve Dental Marketing Results with ActionRun Services.

ActionRun is one of my favorite e-services, especially the re-activation application. It not only contacts patients who are overdue but examines their clinical records and creates personalized messages.

Year end is a great time to re-activate old patients. Get them back on track for the new year.

Digital Marketing e-Services Internet Paperless

Website Stuck in the 90s?

WomanAtComputerIf your website is just an electronic brochure you are stuck in the 1990s. Your website needs to be interactive. That means that users can get information or enter information. This process goes by several names but is commonly referred to as Web 2.0. An interactive Web 2.0 website is not just a static page but a site that users interact with to generate content or access personal protected information.

Interactive user generated content is the key element to that amazing phenomenon of social media. It is what will make your website a community that patients use rather than an electronic brochure they ignore. If your website is just a brochure for new patients then every patient has an incentive to go there exactly once in their lifetime. More website traffic means more Google juice. Interactive web sites are the final element of a truly paperless office.
What kinds of things can dental patients do online? Fill out forms. Check on their balance and make a payment. Confirm an upcoming appointment. Check on insurance benefits. Request an appointment and more.

You need several things to be able to have a web 2.0 dental practice web site. First of course you need to be using a good practice management system so that you are capturing patient information in a digital format. A patient can’t expect to check online for their next appointment if the appointments are being kept in a paper book rather than an electronic book.

Second you need to have a web page. Most dental web pages are static brochure type templated pages. These are an easy place to start but don’t offer much if anything in interactive use. However a basic static page can be upgraded to a more effective web 2.0 site.

Third you need a link between your dental practice server and your web site. This link allows patients access to the data stored in your office computer, like their balance or next appointment and it allows patients to send data to your office computer such as a payment or an updated medical form.

This link is the tricky part. It must be able to navigate your practice data, it must be able to add data in a proper manner and it must be secure. That is it must be password protected so that a patient can only see their own information.

Follow the link below for a good explanation of how Dentrix does it with what they call website manager. The link includes an easy to follow video.

via Dentrix | eServices Website Manager.

Sesame Communications also provides patient login service.

TNT Dental offers creative designs and Interactivity.

Dental Speaker

CDA San Francisco September 4-6

I am very excited to be presenting two hands on Internet programs next week for the CDA San Francisco Meeting.



Lawrence Emmott

Lawrence Emmott, DDS

Dr. Emmott is one of the most entertaining speakers in dentistry. He is a leading dental high-tech authority with more than 30 years of experience as a practicing general dentist.


  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Social Media)
  • Just Do It: Hands-on Social Media, Thursday, September 4, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Social Media)

Speaker List.

Dentalcompare Digital Marketing Internet

Does Your Dental Practice Website Have a Purpose?

building_a_website_imageIn Case you missed it: Dentalcompare from July 2013.

Do you need a dental website?

Do you need a high speed handpiece?

The folks who sell websites to dentists have focused on the marketing and advertising potential of web pages, and as such, many dentists think that is the sole purpose of a website. If you do not feel the need to market your practice then you do not feel a need to have a practice website.

However marketing to new patients is only one of three primary website purposes.

The Purpose of a Dental Practice Website

  • Promotional to generate new patients

  • Manage your online presence

  • Support your existing patients

via Emmott On Technology: Does Your Dental Practice Website Have a Purpose |

Website developers do not want to merely build you a web site they want you to buy SEO from them on an ongoing basis. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and some vendors will charge $$ thousands $$ a month for it.

SEO may help if a random surfer is looking for a generic dentist. However at this time it is questionable if SEO has any value for most dentists in a large metropolitan area.

On the other hand most new patients still start with a referral and will type your name into Google rather than a generic key word like “dentist”. That is what you need to worry about, what happens when someone types in your name.

Two items that will give you great “name” results are Google+ and a well-designed web site.

Finally what about established patients? If your site is just for new patients then everyone has a need to go there once per lifetime. Good web pages offer patient services such as online payment and forms.

Dental Speaker Digital Marketing Internet

Online ADA CE Course


This course will show you how to use Google, Web pages and social media to generate positive user reviews and safeguard your online reputation.

via ADA CE Course Overview.

Digital Marketing Internet Management

Websites that Work

If the only thing your web site is designed to do is to attract new patients then people have the need to visit the site exactly one time in their entire lives.

Good web sites provide both information for potential new patients and services to support existing patients. One of the primary items patients look for on a dental website is information and help in paying for treatment. One of your main navigation buttons should be Finances and it should take the patient to a page that looks something like this:


Notice the page give insurance information, talks about Financial Arrangements and then lists credit cards the patient can use. However the most important option is CareCredit right at the top.

The CareCredit logo should be an active link that will take patients directly to the online application. You should then direct patients to this link on your website in order for them to apply for credit. You can do this over the phone, via e-mail or even sitting with the patient in the office. You should direct existing as well as new patients. Making payments easy helps your patients choose good dentistry over neglect.

Not only does having this link and then pushing patients to it provide a service it creates Google Juice. Two of the many factors Google examines in determining your page relevance, and therefore your ranking, are the number of users and the number of active links in and out of the site. Using your own site as a conduit to CareCredit helps with both those goals.

Dentalcompare Internet

Are You Net Savvy?

Internet-Marketing1In case you missed it: This Dentalcompare article from May.

Are you net savvy? Take this quiz to determine your online footprint…

The quiz has two purposes. The first of course is to give you a score to evaluate yourself in order to determine how well you are doing and where to put future resources. The second purpose of the quiz is to demonstrate that having an online footprint does not simply mean you have a web page or an office Facebook page.

Growing your online footprint means tapping into the power of dynamic, interactive web sites, social media, e-communications, search engines, social networking and more.

via Emmott On Technology: Is Your Dental Practice Prepared for Online Engagement? |

We usually think of the Internet as the World Wide Web, but that is just part of it. The Internet also includes e-mail. Are you using it to communicate with patients? If you ask 66% prefer e-mail to snail mail or phone calls.

Social Media is not just Facebook it includes Google+, Twitter, YouTube and more.

If you do not control your online presence you will still have one it will just be left in the hands of others.

Digital Marketing Internet

5 SEO Fails

SEOHT Susan Richardson from Sesame Communications:

…a few months later we check back on the site’s search engine rankings and we simply sigh. If only businesses understood the complexities of search engine optimization. If only businesses understood that search engine optimization is not a “once and done” endeavor.

via 5 SEO Fails: What You Risk by Managing SEO Internally – Business 2 Community.

The five SEO Fails are:

  1. SEO as an afterthought
  2. Selecting a non-SEO friendly CMS
  3. Narrowing your site architecture
  4. Lack of tag research
  5. No ongoing SEO strategy
Digital Marketing Internet

The 5 Worst UX Mistakes Websites Make

From Mashable:

The user experience of websites has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, but there are still sites out there that may leave you asking, “What were they thinking?!”

via The 5 Worst UX Mistakes Websites Make.

The five mistakes are:

1. Paying Too Much Attention to Macro and Short-Shrifting the Micro

2. Putting Too Much Time Into Designing Your Homepage

3. Relying Too Much on Text

4. Designing for the Wrong Generation

5. Ignoring Multi-Screen Behavior

Worth reading if you want your website to be more effective in both developing new patients and engaging existing patients.

Digital Marketing Internet

Eight Seconds

If a random web surfer lands on your office page you have eight seconds to capture their attention.

Digital Marketing Mobile

Patient Use of Smartphones Increasing

From DoctorBase

We’ve already seen the number of mobile phone users in the U.S. eclipse the number of people who use computers. Now there’s a shift happening within mobile itself with the movement from ‘dumb’ feature phones to smartphones. Over the past year, smartphone usage has increased 7% in the U.S. And, these smartphone users are increasingly using these smartphones to go online

via Patient Use of Smartphones Increasing.

Two things to consider in order to take advantage of this trend. One, have a mobile version of your office web page and two an app for your office.

Both of these ideas accomplish similar results, that is a site that is easy to read and navigate using a smart phone. The mobile site should concentrate on the essential items people want to communicate and work with you. That is your phone and e-mail, and your office address with maps and directions. Secondarily they can check an appointment, confirm an appointment, or request an appointment.

In very broad terms you can think of it as the difference between a brochure and a business card. Your office brochure can have lots of impressive graphics and details about you and the office. Your business card just has the details.

Your web developer can help.

Social Media

Google+ Launches Branded Pages

I am frustrated trying to use Facebook for business. I like the Google + concept and it seems more useful but so far it cannot compete with Facebook for number of users and daily use.

Google has finally unveiled brand pages for Google+, allowing businesses and brands to join Google’s social network

via Google+ Launches Branded Pages.

Digital Marketing Internet

It all Starts with Search

Some recent research numbers to consider:

  • 92% of US Internet users use Search
  • 80% of Searchers use Google
  • 58% of consumers begin the buying process with Search
  • 24% start with company websites
  • 18% start with social media

Search + Social Media Increases CTR By 94 Percent: Report.

Social Media

Ferreting Out Fake Reviews Online

According to the NYT article linked below people are offering to write positive online reviews for a fee. (HT BoctorBase)

“For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site xxx, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, xxx, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.”

I have been concerned for some time about the power of online reviews. The system may be well meaning but is rife with opportunities for abuse.

Some review sites practice what is little more than cyber extortion. If you fail to become a dues paying site member your reviews turn ugly, your star rating plummets and you have no recourse.

Most reviews are anonymous. For some reason people tend to let their vicious snark fly when they can’t be identified and held accountable. Even more importantly a conscientious business or dental practice has no way of identifying the unhappy review poster to follow up, correct the problem and make amends. In addition there is a problem with fake negative reviews from business rivals who can remain anonymous.

Now we find according to the NYT fake positive reviews are being offered to boost a business’s online presence in a kind of “review system arms race.” 

Like it or not you will be faced with these issues. In fact some of you may have negative reviews online right now you are not aware of. For the time being there is no simple reliable answer to this problem. The best you can do is to Google yourself regularly to see what is being said about you online and when possible to confront and remove negative reviews.

BTW as an intersting aside, as a general rule, positive reviews far exceed negative reviews.


via Ferreting Out Fake Reviews Online –

Digital Marketing Internet

SEO and Small Business: What’s really needed?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is designed to improve your position and Google. There are all kinds of techniques including keywords. meta tags, and various “secret” formulas SEO firms use to improve a web sites search engine ranking.

On the other hand Google is always refining their search algorithms and take great pains not to be manipulated by SEO techniques.

That means that SEO is not a one time built in design but must be constantly tweeked. As a result some SEO companies charge a monthly fee, sometimes thousands of dollars to keep you high on the search rankings.

Is it worth it?

According to the attached article for many small businesses (like a dental practice) the answer is no.

I see many small businesses get ‘taken for a ride’ by many “SEO companies”. The fact is, if you’re a small business and you’re looking to find more exposure and customers online, than you do not need to pay thousands of dollars a month.

via BestThinking / Articles / Computers & Technology / Internet / SEO / SEO and Small Business: What’s really needed? (Article).

Digital Marketing Internet

Googling for Dentists

The only way to be sure you will appear on the first page of Google is to buy it. More or less. 🙂

That is you buy an ad and you Pay Per Click, PPC. The ad will appear in a Google search as a “sponsored link” based on the “keywords” you have bid on. Google calls them AdWords. If the Googler does not click your ad you pay nothing. If the Googler does click you pay a fee that is determined by the keywords you bid on and the competitiveness of the market.

Keywords in Los Angeles will cost ten times as much as the same word in Knoxville.

By the way there is a lot more to it than just buying the keyword dentist. Look here for some keyword strategy.

Whether or not your sponsored link will appear on a search is determined by a mysterious Google “quality score” as well as the content of your landing page the relevance of your ad and a whole lot more. Search Engine Marketing has rapidly become a complex process and it is a good idea to get expert help from someone like Sesame .

In addition Sesame Communication has done some research on the use of keywords in dentistry. The results have been published in a white paper.

Here are three key findings:

1. On average 9.6% of the searchers who clicked the keyword ad called the practice. This is a very high conversation rate. Your conversion rate will be determined by the keywords and the quality of the landing page the ad sends them to. Here is what Sesame had to say;

“Consumers are now more sophisticated and when they click on PPC advertisements they are further advanced in their purchase cycle and ready to purchase the service researched.”

2. 79% of the people calling based on Google AdWords were new patients.

3. The average cost to acquire a new patient lead using the AdWord process was under $50. The national average for new patient acquisition is $275.

To connect directly with Sesame for a free Internet effectiveness evaluation look here.

Digital Marketing Internet

What are Patients Looking For?

Sesame Communications has completed an extensive research project looking into what people want and just as important what they don’t want from a dental practice web page. The results are available in a white paper called “Effective Practice Marketing in the 24-7 Digital Age of Dentistry” you can find online here:

I will be blogging about the research findings in the coming weeks. However it is good to start with a common misconception from dentists who are putting off establishing a practice web site.

Myth: My patients don’t use the web for finding a dentist I get all my new patients from referrals.

Fact: Even patients who have been referred the old fashioned way by word of mouth are looking you up online.

Here is what the Sesame research found:

Even if a potential patient has your practice in mind because of a word-of-mouth referral, they are still very likely to check out your practice website to confirm that you will fulfill their needs. Use your practice website as the starting point to a long-term relationship with your patients through effectively communicating your commitment to them.

To connect directly with Sesame for a free Internet effectiveness evaluation look here.