Know your way around your dental web designer’s rate sheet

How not to get up-sold for your new dental website……..

One of our objectives at Dental Media is to bring transparency to the oft murky world of dental web design and marketing. For the uninitiated, it can unfortunately be a world of up-sell, hidden costs and onerous monthly fees if you are not on your guard.

In this article, I’ll take a quick look at what some designers try to do to encourage the unsuspecting to spend well over the odds when starting out on a new website project. In particular, how web design “packages” are used to try to up-sell to more expensive services. Importantly, we’ll also take a quick look at how to avoid all of that and get what you really need at a realistic and fair price.

The dental website design package

It worth understanding how this technique is used to try to sell you more than you might actually need. Typically a range of services will be offered, starting out with a lowly “starter” site building through to a “platinum” website, apparently filled with all of the latest bells-and-whistles. The designer’s plan here is to encourage you to spend more to get those latest “essential” features – but do you really need that and what value does it really add?

As a sensible alternative, we prefer to give our clients the opportunity of a great design at a sensible price from the outset. We then help them to add new features progressively as needed and when budget allows. There is no need to spend over the odds for those “bells and whistles” which frankly aren’t going to help you much.

Restricting the number of pages you can have

Designers will often try to restrict the number of web pages you can have for a particular package, typically just under the number you really need to get a good platform on the web. You are then encouraged to spend lots more to get you to a package with more pages and more appropriate in terms of the content you need. However, the step up in price from the lower to higher package is often huge.

As an alternative, how about a truly bespoke package which offers just the number of pages you need at a pre-agreed price? As development of your website progresses, if you find you need a couple of extra pages, it seems reasonable for these to be added on for a small incremental fee rather than a huge hike? A much more flexible arrangement and the way we prefer to work.

Head designer versus junior designer

Some businesses, for example the local hair dressing salon, might advertise in this way, but you will find some design companies doing it too. Will you be worried that your site is in the hands of the junior design guy just because you couldn’t justify purchasing the “platinum” package? Or would you be more confident if you knew that your design would be first-class even if you only selected a moderate scope initially?

Dental practices typically need to add more content to their websites as their business builds, so it makes sense to ensure that the site framework is excellent from the outset – even if you start out small. Of course you can achieve this and avoid the “head designer” tactic if you select the correct website partner.

Splash page/Landing page

You may see this offered with more expensive packages. However, this type of design went out with the ark and serves no useful function. Not only does it end up confusing your users but it’s really poor for search engine optimisation too. Please avoid this.

Charging lots more for having different internal page layouts

This means that the designer is unwilling to make modifications to how your internal web pages will look unless you pay lots more for it. So basically everything past the first page may look bland and uninteresting. At Dental Media we organise internal pages in line with the content – so if it looks better with a re-styled layout, then that’s what we do and you don’t need to pay more for it.

Single use of images

I commented on this in an earlier blog and it’s certainly something to watch out for. What the designer is not telling you is that they won’t use the images again in any of *their* projects. However, everyone else out there can purchase exactly the same ones from the same stock image sites and use them too. So no real exclusivity at all.

Blogs and Content Management Systems (CMS)

Another one to watch for. Some designers use the WordPress blogging platform to build dental websites and then don’t allow their client to access the default blogging and CMS functionality unless they pay lots more. So you’ve got your website that you paid a lot of cash for, it’s already built on a CMS and with a blog, but you can’t access it unless you pay extra.

The SEO package that isn’t one

Some dental design companies are so keen for you to pay a monthly fee to them, that they will let you think you are getting services that really you aren’t. The golden phrase “SEO” is often used to make the unsuspecting think that they are actually getting something worthwhile when all they are actually getting is an automated report from Google Analytics. It really is important to understand what is being delivered for your cash. Genuine SEO means that proactive, ongoing work is underway to optimise your search positions, not simply sending you an automated report.

The monthly maintenance fee they don’t mention on their website

Here, the marketing company tries to convince you that you need to pay a large monthly fee for website maintenance. You may also be tempted with “the latest marketing updates” and advice about any regulatory requirements from the likes of the GDC. Truth be told, your website can be maintained much more cost-effectively on a “pay-as-required” basis and the latest dental marketing news is readily accessible too – this blog for example. At Dental Media, we also proactively inform clients about regulatory updates in advance and without charging monthly fees.


transparent servicesAs a dentist, when you are embarking on a new practice website project, it is important to be aware of some of the tactics dental marketing companies will use to try to maximise their sale.

In this blog I’ve tried to highlight some of the techniques you will find out there, so you can be well-informed in advance.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to avoid all of the risks, please call the Dental Media team on 01332 672548 to discuss your website and marketing project. We’ll be pleased to demonstrate how our transparent and affordable services will bring genuine benefit to your dental practice without onerous fees.