Will your DIY website get you to the top of Google?

Using WIX, Squarespace or the like for your dental website? You may struggle….

clicking on mouseDentists often ask why they shouldn’t try building their own practice website using one of the numerous DIY site builders that exist these days.

The answer used to be very easy, simply because the early generations of site builder were not only poor aesthetically but also very poor technically; particularly when it came to optimisation for search engines (SEO).

Some website agencies will still try to put you off by telling you that is still the case today, but actually it’s not that simple, as things have improved considerably with one or two of the main website building tools.

So for example, you can now adjust the main technical features which impact on SEO and basic things like URL structure (www addresses for pages) have been fixed to be SEO friendly. Although the templates the DIY systems come with look very generic, some of them are just about adequate and you can use the “drag and drop” functionality to adjust them. As an experienced web guy I shiver at the thought of “drag and drop” editors, but I have to be fair and say they are better than they used to be. So you can just about produce something which is basic if not stunning.

OK, that said then, are you good to go to simply pay a tenner a month and have a crack at building your own website with a realistic expectation that you’ll shoot up the Google results? Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple.

The pitfalls

So we’ve discussed how DIY site builders have improved and how they can get you online cost-effectively with something basic. However, in times of serious and increasing competition, basic isn’t really good enough.

Aesthetics, usability and conversion potential

Whilst it may seem straight forward to knock together a website and get it published using one of these systems, are you really sure it’s representing your best interests? With more and more practices producing high quality websites built by skilled and experienced designers, it isn’t really reasonable to suppose that a DIY version is going to be able to compete on an even footing.

There are a number of key ingredients which all have to be expertly developed and tuned to produce high-end dental websites which not only look great, but also acts as excellent marketing platforms to encourage potential new patients to contact you. The skills needed to implement these types of features come with suitable training and lots of experience. So whilst trying a DIY venture is commendable, please stop and consider the practicalities if you do. Your website is your number one marketing tool and deserves suitable investment to get it absolutely right.

DIY websites and SEO

Whilst the core SEO features of website builders may have improved considerably, do you know how to use them to best effect? Unless your are an experienced search marketer, the answer will be ‘no’. You can find many SEO tutorials on line but the quality varies hugely. This may get you past the basics, but best-practice on-site SEO is now a skilled technical discipline which cannot be picked up in 5 minutes. Please also keep in mind that Google is adjusting constantly; so the feature you tried to implement a few months back may now actually be outmoded and potentially outside of Google’s publishing guidelines. With the best will in the world, you probably won’t have the time to stay on top of the ever-changing face of Google and what works versus what doesn’t. It’s genuinely one for the experts.

There are other significant issues too. All of the do-it-yourself website builders are hosted by the providers of the service i.e. you are tied to their platform. Whilst this may not seem like an issue immediately, there are several constraints. Often the web space they provide is quite slow and not totally reliable, unlike true “business-grade” services. This can effect how Google views your site.

What happens when you want to implement a blog? You can’t upload something like WordPress to a hosted platform and the blogging facilities offered by the DIY providers are still inadequate in comparison. Blogging is a key component of SEO and you really want to be doing it on the best platform available, not something half-baked.

There are other third party systems which are very useful for website SEO campaigns but which won’t integrate fully with a self-build website on a third-party platform. So there are other technical exclusions too, not just a good blogging platform.

Last but definitely not least relates to SEO services and the fact that most of the good providers won’t go near a DIY website as they are fully aware of the limitations. Less scrupulous providers might offer to “help” simply to try to take your money, but treat them with caution unless they are able to illustrate how they will solve the problems discussed above.

Summary

DIY website building tools have certainly improved in the last couple of years and now can produce a basic site for your dental practice. However, “basic” isn’t really good enough these days, particularly when it comes to investing in a tool which should be a primary source of new patient enquiries.

Professionally built dental websites don’t have to cost the earth and will beat self-build any day as long as you select a competent designer. For more information and to discuss options and prices, please call the Dental Media website team on 01332 672548.

Posted in seo