Do You Use Your Website’s Content Management System (CMS)?
Research suggests that fewer than 1 in 7 dental practices update their own website
Your website may have a facility which allows you to make updates in-house and without referring back to your designer, but do you actually use it? Research suggests that most dentists with this type of facility, known as a content management system (CMS), actually struggle to use it properly, with many not even knowing it even exists. Most are simply referring back to their website designer when site updates are due.
But why is this? Surely this type of system is ideal and allows the dental practice to make updates quickly and easily without having to pay for third-party services? On face value you might think this is the case, but in reality, the vast majority of users really struggle to make even the smallest changes using CMS. They then get frustrated and end up asking their preferred web designer for help.
CMS – more complicated than you were told?
Most content management systems are way more complex than you may have been advised when you bought into it; so-much-so that it can be extremely daunting for a user when they first log in to try some editing. This is particularly the case for WordPress where you are confronted with a huge array of menu items and page layouts which would be alien to most users, particularly the uninitiated. Unfortunately many dentists believe they have a suitable system in place and designate the editing task to a team member, only to be disappointed when that team member fails.
It is also worth understanding that designers look to tools such as WordPress to make their initial design job easier, rather than providing an intuitive system which can easily be used by a lay person to make required website updates. So the CMS is sold as a useful tool, but for most it simply doesn’t work out that way.
CMS maintenance – you’re likely paying monthly for it
There’s a negative double-whammy here in that not only are most dentists unable or unwilling to use complex CMS, they are also likely paying monthly maintenance fees for the ‘privilege’ of having it. This is because systems like WordPress need quite a lot of intervention to keep them updated and secure and hence part of the reason why most dental design agencies charge quite onerous monthly service fees. The bottom line is that in many cases, dentists are paying for the upkeep of something they struggle to use.
Can CMS ever be user-friendly?
The answer to this is “yes” but they have to be selected carefully and set up in a specific way to achieve this. CMS is not really very flexible in the “drag and drop” sense that you may be used to when using a desk-top tool such as Powerpoint and so this has to be taken into account when setting up the system for users. By applying the content management functionality to specific sections of a website, for example the pricing page or team section, it can be set up to be reasonably user-friendly for relatively simple changes such as text edits or maybe uploading a new photograph to a treatment cases gallery. However beyond this, you will still need training or previous experience.
What are the alternatives?
When we offer websites to clients, we always make it clear that there are pros and cons to CMS with full transparency about editing and ongoing fees for keeping such systems updated and secure. However, we also offer the very popular option of completing the client’s changes on their behalf, quickly and efficiently. These changes are not subject to monthly retainer fees and it’s easy to demonstrate that one-off payments for this type of work typically add up to much less than onerous monthly fees. So you get the edits done right first time and you’re not paying out for monthly retainers “just in case”.
Content management systems for websites can be useful, but many don’t understand the pros and cons that come with them. In their default form, they can be very complex and beyond the scope of use for those without suitable experience. Even where CMS is configured to be easier to use for lay people within the dental team, they still need to be maintained rigorously and for this you’ll likely pay a monthly fee. This is often much more than if your site is updated by your designer on your behalf and charged each time as the need arises.
Hopefully this article has given some food for thought if you are considering a new dental website and you need to make the decision whether you opt for CMS and regular ongoing maintenance fees, or if you prefer to simply hand over to your designer when updates are due. If you’d like to discuss in more detail and for help in making an informed decision, please get in touch with the web team at Dental Media on 01332 672548 for impartial advice.Google+