Open post

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Observe National Cybersecurity Awareness Month with an eye toward improving your computer, dental website and data security which are parts of HIPAA compliance.  There are many aspects of HIPAA compliance to consider for your patient data, patient communications and dental marketing.  I have already written several dental blog entries and social media posts about the need to make your dental website secure with an SSL certificate.

Here are some helpful links to HIPAA reference materials created by The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR):

Here is just a partial list of HIPAA compliance tasks that you can implement now:

  1. Provide staff training in HIPAA.  Here is a cost effective on-line program created by the American Dental Association.
  2. Implement Business Associate Agreements.
  3. Conduct an assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of patient data.
  4. Implement security measures sufficient to reduce risks and vulnerabilities to a reasonable and appropriate level to comply with § 164.306(a).
  5. Add a HIPAA Sanction policy to your employment manual.  Ensure that all staff members receive the new policy with documentation.
  6. Implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports.
  7. A covered entity that maintains a a dental website that provides information about the covered entity’s customer services or benefits must prominently post its notice on the website.

I encourage you to subscribe to the HIPAA Journal.  It is a FREE on-line journal providing valuable information and news about HIPAA for the healthcare professionals.  They just published an article entitled: “Why Dental Offices Should be Worried About HIPAA Compliance.”

HIPAA compliance is a process.  Keep working toward getting a secure website.  If you need help, please call Cutting Edge Practice at 847-370-9131 or reach out to your IT professional.

Google Begins Identification of Unsecured Websites

Google announced in April 2017 that it will begin identifying websites that do not have an SSL certificate as Not Secure. When visitors search for your website in Google Chrome, and your website appears, Google will mark your website as Not Secure.

Websites that have a valid SSL certificate will be labeled https://websiteaddress.com
Websites that are not secure, will appear like this illustration below:

If you are collecting information from patients and you want to inform your current patients and your new patients that your website is safe, your dental website should have an SSL certificate.
Read the original announcement from Google here….

If you want to learn more about SSL certificates, read one of my earlier blog posts.

Need help?  Contact Sharon Kantor Bogetz at 847-370-9131 or send her an email at Cutting Edge Practice.  She can help you secure your dental website.

How To Optimize Your Photos For Use On-line

How to optimize photos for use online | Cutting Edge PracticeIf you are wondering how to optimize photos for the internet or mobile devices, I have the answer!

Resizing photos for use on your dental website, dental blog or on social media is a challenge for most dentists trying to manage their own website, blog or social media campaign.

I recommend two simple ways to optimize (downsize or compress) your photos without loosing image quality.  Try one of these techniques.

1st Choice – My top choice is using http://www.CompressNow.com

This website allows you to upload any size photo, compress it to your desired size and then download it for use in your dental website, dental blog or social media.

It is FREE, easy to use and extremely fast.  No coding or previous knowledge is necessary.

2nd Choice – If you are using WordPress for your blog and your website, I suggest you use WP Smush.  This is a FREE plug-in that you or your web designer can install and activate.

The plug-in can automatically compress your images for you.  This plug-in has some short comings.  It can’t compress large files and you cannot control the amount of compression.

In other words, you can’t manage the specific size of the file, the WP Smush has control over the final photo size.

Why should you learn how to optimize photos for your dental website, social media or dental blog?

There are several benefits to using optimized photos:

  • The page containing your photo will load quicker.  Large photos take longer to load on mobile devices and on desk top computers.
  • Google uses page load speed as a factor in their ranking algorithm.
  • Optimized photos take up less space on your website.
  • Optimized photos require significantly less bandwidth.
  • You will be able to avoid pixilated low quality images.

If you want help preparing photos for use on your dental website, dental blog or social media, call Sharon Kantor Bogetz, MBA, MEd at (847) 370-9131 or contact her by email. She has been assisting dentists with their dental marketing and branding since 2002.

Use Rich Snippets for 2017 SEO

Rich snippets 2017 SEO - Dental Marketing - Cutting Edge PracticeWith the rapid expansion of digital platforms, rich snippets are gaining increasing importance in the 2017 SEO (Search Engine Optimization) arena. Although they don’t have a direct impact on search rankings, they will help websites stand out from the crowd with increased credibility in your Google research results. Consequently, these can boost the likelihood of users clicking into your website and improving your CTR (click through rate).

Rich snippets enable you to communicate the right signals to search engines, particularly Google, about your business and website content. Rich snippets are a kind of structured data that can help improve your SEO by positively effecting your search engine results.

What are rich snippets?

Rich snippets are the extra bits of useful text or information that appear under search results for a given keyword. It is a broad term that refers to a range of structured data markup designed to help search engines to better understand the context of a website.

How do rich snippets benefit 2017 SEO?

Rich snippets benefit the website owner and the end user doing a search.   The snippets enable the dentist to add more useful information to their web search result. Since SEO is largely a game of gaining more clicks, rich snippets render additional traffic to your site by providing a more robust description of a website or web page.

Snippets display more information for the end user.  This additional information about the content of a web page helps end users better identify which search result has the most relevance to their query.  The user can then make an informed decision as to which website to click and visit.  If the snippet reflects the primary content of your page, it will lead to an improved user experience.

How to implement rich snippets

You simply need to add additional code to your existing website or configure a WordPress plugin designed for rich snippets. Don’t worry, adding this won’t affect the page’s visual appearance. Use Schema markup by schema.org. It’s the most recommended and most popular of all rich snippets.

Why is this important for your dental marketing?

Using rich snippets can improve your Google search results and enhance the user experience leading to an increased CTR (click through rate).  This means that more potential patients will click into your website and learn about your services and your office.

If you would like to improve your 2017 SEO, contact Sharon Kantor Bogetz at Cutting Edge Practice at (847) 370-9131 or send her an email. She has been working with dental websites, internet dental marketing and dental SEO since 2002. Give her a call!

Why HTTPS matters for your dental website….

HTTPS for dental websites - Cutting Edge PracticeHaving the HTTPS designation on your dental website is now becoming more important to Google, the #1 search engine. Google posted this position statement on their Google Search Console Help page:

“HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an internet communication protocol that protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site. Users expect a secure and private online experience when using a website. We encourage you to adopt HTTPS in order to protect your users’ connection to your website, regardless of the content on the site.”

Why does this matter for your dental website?

In 2017, Google is returning page-1 positioning for websites that are HTTPS.  Dr. Peter J. Meyers at MOZ reported that “Projecting the fairly stable trend line forward, the data suggests that HTTPS could hit about 65% of page-1 results by the end of 2017.  I’ve speculated previously that, as the adoption rate increased, Google would have more freedom to bump up the algorithmic (i.e. ranking) boost for HTTPS pages.” Read his entire article……

What should a dentist do to secure his/her dental website?

An easy way to do this is to contact your website hosting company and ask them to make your website secure by adopting an HTTPS or SSL certificate for your website.  At GoDaddy for example, SSL certificates cost between $59/year to $299.99/year.  Contact Godaddy or your hosting provider to learn how you can add security to your website.

Need help?  Contact Sharon Kantor Bogetz at Cutting Edge Practice.  She can help you through the process.

 

2 Reasons to Comply with HTTPS Everywhere

 Google prompts website owners to adopt HTTPS Everywhere

Safeguarding information is important to Google and it should be important to each of us. In 2014, Google adopted HTTPS Everywhere to move website owners to secure their websites and their data.  As healthcare providers, HIPAA has strict rules on how we manage patient information and patient communications.

Many dentists use their websites to collect patient information.   Dentists want their websites to be as interactive as possible.  Dental websites collect patient data from new patients as well as from current patients.  Data collected on these forms are transmitted to the dental office in the form of an email.  Here are common forms used on dental websites:

  • Contact Us form
  • Make An Appointment form
  • Health History form
  • Dental History form
  • Financial Information form

Addressing the encryption of patient data is of paramount importance to maintain HIPAA compliance.  Adding secure socket layer (SSL) protection in the form of a SSL certificate through your website host and email host is a good place to start.  Make sure that your patient-information portals are moved to an SSL page. Restricting access to the website and data coming to your office through your website should be restricted to trusted personnel.

Emails containing patient information must be encrypted at both ends to be HIPAA complaint.  Hosting companies like Godaddy and NetworkSolutions a web.com company, have staff devoted to helping website owners with SSL certificates and encrypted email.  Contact your hosting company for a phone consultation regarding website and email security and compliance.

HTTPS Affects Your Search Engine Placement

Google has announced that it will begin penalizing websites that have not been secured. The HTTPS designation is given to websites that have been secured.  Websites with URLs that appear as HTTP:// instead of HTTPS:// will be flagged by Google as unsecured.  Google will be giving preference to secured websites in search engine placement.

So you now have 2 reasons to adopt HTTPS Everywhere:

  1. HIPAA compliance
  2. Improved Google search placement

For those of you who are interested, here is a 45 minute video made by Google explaining their “HTTP Everywhere” initiative in detail.

Need More Reasons To Have A Mobile Ready Dental Website?

Cutting Edge Practice creates mobile friendly responsive dental websites

Google is getting ready to implement a new change to Google searches in May 2016.  Consumers are turning to their mobile devices to access information by cell phone, by tablet, on their car consoles and their watches!  Maile Ohye, a developer programs tech lead at Google posted a great video outlining the reasons businesses should have a mobile website. Here is some of the information she presented in her video explaining why customers searching for information on their mobile device matter.  You can watch her complete video at the bottom of my post!

  • “85% of smart phone users have searched for local info
  • 81% have taken action as a result
  • 40% visited the location in-person
  • 35% called a business after searching”

Because Google made a pivotal change in their search engine algorithm last year in reaction to the dramatic shift in the way that consumers use mobile devices & search for information, you must have a mobile friendly website to stay competitive.  On March 16th, Google announced that starting in May, 2016  “we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”   If your website is mobile friendly, you won’t see a change, but if you do not have a mobile friendly website, you will begin to see your rankings fall behind.

Read more about the benefits of a mobile friendly dental website in the blog I published last fall.

Don’t wait until May to start your new dental website design.   Sharon Kantor Bogetz, MBA, MEd, partner at Cutting Edge Practice and her team of website designers can create a mobile friendly responsive website that will launch before May 2016.  If you already have a website you like, we can re-engineer a new dental website that will be mobile friendly before this next big Google change.  Call Sharon to discuss your options at (847) 370-9131.

 

What are the benefits of a mobile friendly dental website?

mobile friendly dental website - Sharon Kantor Bogetz | Cutting Edge Practice

Google announced that it would be changing its algorithm to factor in website mobile friendly website design on April 21, 2015.  The industry called this ominous date “Mobilegeddon.”   This will potentially affect every website on the internet!   Its no longer enough just to have a website, you must have a dental website that is mobile friendly be be relevant on-line.

Google posted their help website for developers if you are interested in learning more.    Building a website on a WordPress blog platform is the easiest solution moving forward.    Websites built on their blog platform will be mobile friendly.

There are a variety of benefits to making the investment in a new mobile friendly dental website in 2015.  Here are a few that you should consider.

4 Benefits To A Mobile Friendly Dental Website

  1. Better website visitor experience –  Patients who visit a mobile friendly website won’t have to squint to see the tiny version of your website.  They won’t have to adjust the size of the image until they can tap on one of your tiny navigation buttons to open up a new page.   The text, photos and graphics will be enlarged automatically and readjust to their tablet or smart phone.
  2. Improved search engine results – Because Google has added this requirement to it’s search engine algorithm, your website will be penalized if it is not mobile friendly.  Having a separate mobile friendly version of your dental website should only be considered a temporary solution.  Google stated:  “This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it appropriately fresh.”
  3. Faster website loading speed – Search engines will not have to redirect the visitor from your old website to a separate mobile version of your website.  This redirection increases website load times.
  4. Competitive advantage over other local dental websites – Having a mobile friendly site will send a signal to your website visitors that your practice is up to date.  Most of your local dentists will not invest in a new mobile ready website.

Sharon Kantor Bogetz, MBA, MEd, partner at Cutting Edge Practice and her team of website designers will create a mobile friendly dental website for you.   We also help dentists re-design websites in this new format.  Call Sharon to discuss your options at (847) 370-9131.   Sharon and her website design team have created more than 50 dental websites!

Do smart phone users search for healthcare information in 2015?

mobile use | dental website | mobile phone useYes, Smart phone owners use their phones to look up healthcare information.  Aaron Smith at Pew Research found that “62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.”     Read more….

Mobile devices are used by consumers of all ages.  Smart phones are used to access news, directions, reviews, banking, music and information.  Smith also found that “About three-quarters of 18-29 year old smartphone owners have used their phone in the last year to get information about a health condition…”

Most people are never more than 5 feet away from their mobile device.  Business Insider found that “consumers look at their phone more than 150 times a day, on average.”   Read more…

What does this research mean for your dental website?   Having a mobile friendly website will allow your practice to be found by potential patients looking for answers to their questions.   If your dental website is not responsive and mobile friendly,  your website will begin loosing ground in Yahoo, Bing and Google searches.

Contact Sharon Kantor Bogetz.  She will test your dental website to evaluate whether it is mobile friendly.

 

 

Go mobile or be left behind!

Responsive web design |  free dental website evaluationThe PEW Research Center reported on April 1, 2015 that 64% of U.S. adults own smart phones.  Read more about this PEW study…… 

Google recognized this huge shift toward mobile use.  On April 15, 2015, Google launched a new algorithm which will reward mobile friendly websites with higher rankings.   Practices with dental websites that are not mobile friendly will watch their rankings fall.

What does this mean for your dental website?   If your dental website is more than 4 years old, chances are, it will not be mobile friendly.  Contact Sharon Kantor Bogetz, M.B.A., M.Ed. to get your FREE dental website evaluation.  She can test your website for Google compatible mobile friendly design.   All of the websites created by Cutting Edge Practice and by Midwest Dental Solutions are now mobile friendly responsive websites.

 

Scroll to top