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Does Your Website Pass the 8-Second Test?


The average internet user has a short attention span, which is not completely their fault. Everyday, users are bombarded with ads and content. Over time, they get pretty good at glossing over much of what they see. From the perspective of a Dental practice, this raises a few important challenges. How do I stand out? How do I create a website that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them there?

To evaluate your site, you’ll want to do the 8-second test.

What Is The 8-Second Test?

From the moment a patient enters your practice website, you have about eight seconds to impress them enough that they decide to stay longer. It’s crucial that you optimize your dental website to make the most out of those eight seconds, with a few key components:

  • What matters is above “the fold”
  • Professional logo
  • Easily accessible contact info
  • A call to action
  • Custom picture of the staff smiling

In just eight seconds, the patient needs to learn a lot about your dental office; they meet your staff, know how to contact them, what social media outlets they are on, where they are located, and that they are open on Saturdays. All the vital information is clear, and it’s easy to book an appointment.

Does your dental website provide all of this?

Testing Your Website

A clear and personal homepage will allow your practice to pass the 8-second test. Try the test on your current website. Start a timer for eight seconds, and see what information you can gather from your website.

After eight seconds, ask yourself (and be honest!), do you know all the information we listed?

If your website isn’t checking all of these boxes in eight seconds, you’ll want to chat with your dental website company about what needs to be done to make that happen. Once you have the homepage sorted out, it’s time to consider where patients navigate to from the homepage.

We consistently see the “Meet the staff” page in the top three pages viewed on the average dental practice website. This is often a page that is neglected, and opportunities are being missed. The good news is that it’s not difficult to get it right.

Improving Your Dental Practice Website

What Matters Is Above “The Fold”

You might have heard this term before, “the fold.” The fold is what can be seen in a web browser without scrolling down. When you open your browser and load your website, don’t scroll down – what can you see? If you can’t see one or more of the items below, that’s an issue you’ll want to address.

This isn’t an issue for most web designs, but it’s also important to consider the different types of devices your website will be viewed on, because the screen size and device type will affect what’s “above the fold.” If your website is mobile responsive (it should be, or we have bigger issues), you can shrink the size of your browser window to simulate a tablet or mobile phone. This will give you a decent idea, but it’s better to test your site on multiple devices.

Professional Logo

Some practices overlook the importance of a good logo because they can be expensive. Some practices opt for a family member to create a logo for them, or they’ll even do it themselves. If your family member happens to be a graphic designer then go for it; but if not, it’s definitely worth the money to get your logo done right.

A logo is incredibly important, and while it’s only a piece of what makes up your overall brand, it’s an incredibly important piece. A good logo is essential for brand recognition; it’s a symbol that represents your practice.

Easily Accessible Contact Info

This might be the most important item on our list. If a potential patient can’t figure out how to contact you with ease, they’re likely going to give up and move on to the next dentist. At the very least you need to have your phone number in your website’s header, this should never be below the fold. It should also be clickable because, while this feature won’t work on a desktop, it will work on a mobile device, which makes up a good amount of all web traffic and that is going to become more and more prominent going forward.

It’s also not a bad idea to integrate your contact form into your homepage, whether it’s linked to a call to action or a scheduling link above the fold. The reason it’s worth including is that not everyone wants to call to schedule an appointment, and you need to have options for them as well. This is especially true for younger generations, so give patients the ability to reach out or even schedule an appointment through your website without hopping on the phone.

A Call-To-Action

A call to action (CTA) can take many forms, and it can be in several different locations. As long as it’s above the fold, you’re moving in the right direction. Ideally, a CTA will link to some sort of contact form or the ability to automatically call your office (on mobile), so the copy on your CTA button could read something like “Schedule a Free Consult” or “Call Now!” The thing that matters is it needs to be actionable – it needs to entice the patient to take action. More often than not, that action is booking an appointment.

So how do you know that your CTA button is going to work? Testing is generally required; that’s when A/B testing comes in handy. The most important thing to remember when A/B testing a CTA button (or anything on your site), is that you never want to test more than one aspect at a time. So, if we’re testing the wording, change only the text and give it some time, so you’re able to see if there’s a noticeable change in response.

You can also test things like the location of your CTA button, the color, etc. All of these elements may have an impact, so test them all, but remember to only test one at a time!

Custom Picture of the Staff

We see it all the time, a well-designed dental website that meets all the requirements above but something about it seems generic. There are many dental websites that have a strong design with a large well place banner image but don’t have a custom photo. There are hundreds of stock photos you could use to fill space on your website and add visual appeal. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with stock photos, but there’s a time and a place to use them, and your homepage banner is not one of those places.

When a potential patient is on your site, they’re trying to decide if you’re the right fit for their needs, which means your website needs to have a personal feel that reflects the practice and its staff. Having custom photos of your smiling staff can do wonders and in a location as prominent as the homepage banner, it’s worth hiring a photographer to get it right.

If you use the 8-second test on your website and find that you meet all the requirements, your website is where it needs to be. While there are certainly other things to consider when building and maintaining your website or digital marketing strategy, hitting all five of these targets puts you ahead of many competitors.

If your website doesn’t pass the 8-second test, you need to talk to your website marketing company about what they can do to maximize its potential!

If you’d like to explore your options for improving your website/marketing performance, give Great Dental Websites a call. We’ve helped many Open Dental customers optimize their online presence, and have developed a unique website platform to seamlessly integrate eServices features like online scheduling and online forms. Call us today at (720)399-7071 and talk with us about how an optimized website can help you grow your dental practice!

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