Should You Build Your Own Website? Absolutely Not. Here’s Why.
Affordability is one of the most common concerns dental offices express when looking for a new website or website redesign. While it’s smart to shop around for a website, it doesn’t make sense to spend half the money, but get half the results. A website deal that seems too good to be true is likely too good to be true. After all, professionals build powerful, attractive, and effective websites because they have extensive experience and education doing so.
Individuals that claim they can build a website for you for under $1,000 are likely so inexpensive because they don’t build websites for a living. It’s probably more of a hobby. As a result, your website will look more like one made by a hobbyist. Potential patients aren’t likely to find your website if it is made by someone without a background in medical online marketing and probably won’t take you seriously if it lacks the clean, polished look a professional’s website should have.
Aside from hiring amateurs or hobbyists, another popular “affordable” option out there is to build your own website. The DIY website is fast becoming a popular option, but it’s also one that we see people coming to Optimized360 to fix.
Why? Because website design is about more than just putting information on the web.
Medical Online Marketing
Your website is more than just a place to put information. It’s a critical marketing tool that, when done right, can have a huge impact on how successful your business is. Most people go online to find the information they’re looking for. From restaurants to doctor’s offices, most businesses can benefit from a professional website. In dental website design form and function must come together in order for it to be successful.
Designing a website to work as a marketing tool requires more than simply publishing a pretty design. As a healthcare professional, your website should be designed to not just look good, but also function. This means that it should be ‘responsive‘. Responsive websites render properly regardless of the device that they’re being viewed on. With more and more people visiting websites from their mobile devices and tablets, it’s important that your website be easy to navigate on any device.
A website that is programmed to be responsive will shrink to meet the dimensions of the device, and stacks all components perfectly so that your navigation, call-to-actions, and contact forms are all easy to access and navigate.
Responsive websites and mobile friendly websites also tend to rank well on search engines. This brings us to our next point: search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of creating quality online content that answers questions people are seeking answers to. For example, when someone searches for a dentist in Chicago, they’re really asking where a dentist in Chicago is. Search results are delivered to answer this question. Most often websites in the top five get clicked the most. This is why search engine optimization exists. It helps to ensure your website is ranked well so that people who are interested in what you have to offer and searching for it actually click your website and become visitors and ultimately leads.
In order for your website to succeed at search engine optimization it needs to be designed to meet the specifications of search engines like Google and Bing. If it doesn’t meet these requirements it isn’t likely to rank and won’t do its job as a marketing tool.
What About DIY Website Builders?
DIY website builders like Wix and web.com are advertised as quick and simple solutions to getting an attractive website. But the truth is these builders might be easy to use for a professional designer, but they are dangerous in the hands of amateurs. Sure, you might get some images and text blocks on a web page, but are they effective? Is the layout one that will make people want to take action or one that breeds trust with visitors?
Most of these websites lock you into certain templates, so setting yourself apart from the competition is unlikely. Additionally, if you’re looking for your website to provide more than information – for example, offering patients the opportunity to book appointments online – you likely won’t get the function and HIPAA compliant privacy standards that people would expect from a medical practice’s website.
Effective website design for healthcare professionals takes strategy. An office administrator can’t just throw a website together and think that it will get results. Additionally, website builders like Wix and Web.com don’t often meet accessibility requirements that make your website easy to use for persons with disabilities. Imagine being visually impaired and using a screen reader to navigate a website, only to have everything read in the wrong order or context. Or, think about what it would feel like to watch a video as someone who is hearing impaired and not have subtitles. If a person in need of accessibility accommodations comes across your website and it isn’t accessible, chances are they’ll leave the website and be left feeling pretty bad. Read more about website accessibility and why it’s important.
Is WordPress a good option?
WordPress is an incredibly powerful content management system that can provide dental offices with an attractive, highly functional website. However, while people can try to create a website on the platform, this platform is designed to be maximized when used by professionals.
An experienced design team can create custom templates that give your website an incredibly unique look. Additionally, WordPress offers a variety of plugins that increase functionality. While installing them is easy, a professional needs to be around to configure the plugins and make sure they’re working appropriately. When a plugin isn’t integrated properly it can break your website.
Having a website built on WordPress is a great way to get the website you want, but also have the ability to make quick edits yourself. This is because content management systems like WordPress were created with flexibility and ease in mind. This is something that most dental practices find useful and appealing as they navigate the waters of web design.