When Your Dentist launched its find-a-dentist website five years ago at www.dentist.com.au, the aim was to provide dentists with a way of delivering information about their dental practices to the public and in turn, to provide the public, i.e. prospective patients, with a way of easily finding that information.
The find-a-dentist service lists basic contact information for every dental practice in Australia, free of charge. Up until now, you had one option to increase your exposure on the website by paying an annual fee of $200 to include more detailed information, photos, and priority in searches.
"Given that many dental practices are now actively shopping for more extensive websites, we have introduced a number of new options to ensure we have a product for everyone," said Your Dentist publisher Joseph Allbeury.
"We still list everyone for free – which is essential to our goal of providing comprehensive information to the public – but now also offer a further four 'stages' of participation for practices. We're about to commence mailing every practice in Australia with full details and I'm sure the response will be positive.
"One product in particular, which we call Stage 3, is a multiple-page website that you can change yourself over the internet whenever you want. You choose the menu items you want to include, add photos, practice news and more. The package also includes domain name registration and a license fee for an interactive map that patients can Zoom in and out of."
According to Mr Allbeury, Your Dentist Stage 3 fulfills the ease-of-use charter established for previous Your Dentist products. You simply fill out a form that includes details of your practice. Your Dentist then sets up your website with your information and gives you a password. You can then change the information whenever you want over the internet.
"Stage 3 is simple to use. You supply us with basic information about your practice and we deliver the website which includes that information, plus a whole lot more. Once you have your password, you can choose the menu items you want, you can choose to include a range of patient information and post-operative care instructions that have already been written for you by simply clicking a button and you can include things like a photo gallery, privacy statement, practice news, information on practitioners and staff and more."
Mr Allbeury said that they had extensively researched the information patients look for from a dentist and also how dental practices want to be presented to the public and come up with the ideal product that will suit 80% of practices. A Stage 4 and Stage 5 option are also available for practices wanting an even greater internet presence – from a full customised website to their own web server, broadband internet connection, remote backup facilities and more.
The problem – no one can find my website!
Mr Allbeury said that the key reason to use a Your Dentist website product was the power of being seen.
"One of the problems with the internet is the sheer amount of information out there. It is incredible. Anyone can publish information about anything, but how do you find what you're looking for?
"In the beginning, you used a generic search engine, entered what you were looking for and had a good chance of success.
"Now however, it has become increasingly difficult to do this because there is so much information out there and the results of your search are enormous as a result.
"As a dentist, you can try and list your website on a search engine, but the problem is that dentistry is essentially a local business. People shop based on convenience to their home or workplace. As a result, if your practice is in Perth, someone in Sydney will have no interest in looking at your website.
"This is where Your Dentist is invaluable. If you enter the word 'dentist' in any popular search engine, such as Google, NineMSN, Yahoo, LookSmart, etc, then Your Dentist will be at or near the top of the list. Prospective patients then simply go from a generic search engine to the Your Dentist search engine, which is specific to Australian dental practices.
"We market the site in a number of ways, including through search engines. We also have the AOL Keyword of 'Dentist' for Australia. After five years, between 20,000 and 60,000 people look at www.dentist.com.au each week – that's up to 3 million a year!
"Those 3 million people will not all look at your information, but the information they look at will be exactly what they want. If they search for a dental practice in Broken Hill, they will only see practices in Broken Hill, not from all over Australia or indeed the world."
Mr Allbeury said that apart from the new website options allowing your practice to include more extensive information, your ranking in searches was also higher.
"As a reward to practices choosing to upgrade to a Stage 2 website, your details are listed ahead of basic entries. If you now choose a Stage 3 website or above, your details will be listed first in the search results, followed by Stage 2 websites, followed by the basic listings. This also ensures patients looking for detailed information will find it at the top of the list."
Mr Allbeury said that priority in searches was important, particularly in large cities where a search might return hundreds of choices.
"These new products are very exciting for the dental community," Mr Allbeury said. "From Stage 1 to 5, we can now deliver a presence on the internet for the dental profession to suit every need and every budget."