A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words: How To Choose Images For Your Dental Website

The first impression many potential patients will have of your dental practice is via your website. It takes less than three seconds for a visitor to your site to form an impression of your practice and visually confirm that view.

While you can have a great design and compelling copy, if your photos are not right, that impression may not be as good as it could be. Here are three ways to make sure the visual look of your site is as good as it can be.

1. Hire a professional.

These days, it seems like anyone with a smart phone can take a decent photo. But the truth is, most of these "decent" photos are darker, blurrier and less composed than a professional image. With website design trending toward the use of larger photos that are unique to your business, you can't rely on whatever you can find to do the trick.

Smart dental practices have professional images of the dentists, staff and office to give the website visitor a good overview of what they can offer. The subtle -- and sometimes not-so-subtle -- benefits of professional photos are that your visitor will get a better impression in that brief window of time when they first open up your site. Clear, dynamic and professional photos are key.

Hiring a professional photographer can cost between $100 and $500 for an hour of time, depending on the market you're in. That can pay for itself with just a couple of new patients. Find a photographer who specializes in commercial images like what you're trying to achieve, rather than a portrait or event photographer.

2. Show the dentists and staff.

There's a reason why real estate agents and insurance agents put their photos on their business cards and other marketing materials: People are happy with what they're familiar with. If they know what you look like prior to meeting, they're more likely to feel comfortable.

At the same time, "mug shot" portraits are losing ground as the best way to depict a doctor or professional staff member. Instead of lining up everyone against a white background, show your dentists, hygienists and front-office staff doing their everyday jobs. No one needs to be grinning for the camera.

Showing what the doctor looks like as he's examining a patient or how the receptionist appears as she works with someone new to the practice are much more compelling than a basic head shot, and work the same way to give the website visitor a feel for who the people are behind the practice.

3. Give a flavor of the office.

Stock photos, or generic images that you buy online of dental related things, don't have the same power as unique photos of your office. Show your hygienist holding a variety of toothbrushes and dental floss, for example, instead of a generic image of the toothbrush against a white background. This gives your website authenticity.

You can also give visitors a good idea of what it's like to enter the waiting area, go to an examination space or make a follow-up appointment by showing those parts of the office.

Having basic, amateur images isn't the way to impress potential patients who come to your website. But with a little planning and professional assistance, you can have amazing images for your custom dental websites that do a good job of selling your practice to new people.