Be sure what you are purchasing when it comes to your new practice website
Earlier this week I came across a couple of questionable selling techniques in use by well-known dental website marketing companies. In the interests of those dentists who are investigating a new website for their practice, it seems appropriate to raise awareness as to what these tricks are so that you can make an informed decision before jumping in.
Use of third-party website building tools
Whilst this may be a valid option for DIYers and maybe even suitable for those who understand it and accept the pitfalls and limitations, the use of third-party platforms for building websites isn’t ideal. As we’ve covered elsewhere in this blog, hosted website building tools such as those you may have seen advertised on TV, may well get you on line cheaply, but what you get may not be exactly what you expected. For example, your site will not be portable in that it’s restricted to the hosting of the provider and simply can’t be moved elsewhere if you need to move supplier.
From a design perspective, chances are you will get a generic template which is made to look “dental” but is in no way truly bespoke. There are other downsides too, for example the facilities for SEO may well be much better than they once were, but still not ideal. Want to integrate a good blog? Well, you’ll likely struggle.
So there are quite a number of significant disadvantages of these DIY web builders when compared to professionally coded websites. It would be fine if these were made clear by the companies selling them, but unfortunately they aren’t. What you’ll actually find is companies pitching them as bespoke builds with all the features of pro websites, where in reality there are a number of significant downsides.
The advantage for the companies using these systems is that they actually don’t need a great deal of skill to develop – so you will often find print design companies deploying them at what seem like cost-effective rates. But when you understand the limitations, the value-for-money is highly questionable. We actually have a couple of recent new clients who fell into this trap and then subsequently had to jump ship several months later when they realised what they’d purchased.
So before you purchase your new website, be sure to understand what it’s built with, if it is really bespoke and just how portable it is.
Bargain practice package websites!
Well we all like a bargain but you can’t get “owt for nowt” as they say. What’s happening with these types of offers is that marketing companies are reacting to increasing competition in the market place by pretending to offer “fully loaded” websites for what appear to be bargain prices. But what is really happening is that much of what you get has already been sold to several others and is being recycled over and over again. Look closely and you’ll see:
- re-used logos
- pre-purchased templates (it costs the web company £35 plus a few dental images)
- recycled text
- cheap, generic images
- not maintainable and ultimately potentially hackable
This may be fine to get you online in a budget fashion, but don’t expect it to work well in search engines or to provide a professional platform which will work optimally for new patient acquisition. Perhaps one of the most flagrant cases is where a company uses the same treatment content for all of their client’s websites – this simply won’t work well in Google. This practice used to be rife but there are still one or two well-known companies still doing it. In my opinion, deploying something which is so badly wrong, is just a complete disregard for their clients.
You might think that all websites are the same and that you’ve done well to get online with a bargain basement offer. However, you’d probably be wrong and within a few months you’ll likely start wondering why those promised new patients aren’t materialising. The truth is, that if you’ve skimped on your purchase or perhaps fallen foul of one or more of the selling tricks I’ve mentioned, you’ll be lucky to get any payback at all.
Given that your dental practice website is perhaps your most important marketing tool, it really does make sense to do some homework and look closely at what you’re getting before diving in.
A professional, truly bespoke website may well be less money than you thought. Need to know a little more? Please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548 for clear advice.Google+