As we’ve written before, well-written, unique dental website content is a must. Especially if you want to get new patients from the Internet. Not only does unique content help your website’s search engine ranking, it’s also the most important part in the new patient conversion process.
But content alone is not enough.
Your content’s readability and browsability are as important as the content itself.
Dental Website Readability
Education Professor Dr. John Pikulski explains readability this way:
“Readability is the level of ease or difficulty with which text material can be understood by a particular reader who is reading that text for a particular purpose.” *
In other words, you must think about your target audience and their goals first. Then, write your website content to make sure you create content that is readable to them.
There are different ways for measuring readability. Generally the formula includes sentence length, average number of syllables per word, length of paragraphs, use of personal pronouns, and syntax.
Keep in mind that your dental practice website is not for you. It’s for patients. Therefore, your patients and prospective patients need to be able to understand the content on your site.
Data shows that the average adult reads at a 7th or 8th grade reading level. That’s the readability you’ll find in popular magazines and newspapers. This means dentists need to ensure the content on their website features short paragraphs. Simple, declarative sentences. Even short fragmentary sentences. Like these.
It may come as second nature to describe your dental services in technical, textbook terms, but will the average prospective patient plow through that? Probably not. And over-their-head content will turn them off to you and your site.
New patient lost.
How to Write Readable Content
The professional writing team here at Smile Marketing aims to keep our clients’ content around the 8th grade reading level. In fact, this post comes in around the 8th grade reading level. It simply requires sensitivity to word choice and sentence length. It makes your content more accessible and avoids sounding like a dental school textbook.
The key is to keep it simple without being simplistic. You don’t have to use baby talk. Just explain your services in a way that makes sense and calms, rather than intensifies, any anxieties patients may have about visiting the dentist.
You can even check the readability of your text in Microsoft Word. When you finish writing your website content in Word, run the spelling and grammar check. When the dialogue box pops up, click “Options” and check the box next to “Show readability statistics.” This will help you to keep your content at the 7th-8th grade reading level.
Is Your Website Content Browsable?
Browsability is an idea that goes hand in hand with readability. It is the ease with which a person can browse, or visually skim, your content to get the information they need.
We live in a fast-paced world and that fast pace has carried over into how people read on the Internet. Studies show that about 80% of website visitors will read headlines, but only 20% will stick around to read more than that.
If your website content is made up of long paragraphs with no sub-headings or other eye-catching elements, it is not going to appeal to most of your site visitors. Break up the text with descriptive sub-headings, use bullet-point lists when appropriate, and pay attention to paragraph spacing to make sure your paragraphs are clearly defined.
How to Fix Your Dental Website’s Content Today
The best way to explain readability and browsability, and help you determine if your content needs improving, is with an example.
Take a look at the two content pieces below (click to enlarge each image) and judge for yourself. Which one is going to be more appealing to dental patients?
Example A1 Example B2
Take some time to re-read your website content. Does it need some work? Use Example B above as a resource to help you make some simple content improvements to your site today.
Not sure if your website is readable and browsable? Contact us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.