The Dental Website Design Process
What to expect – from quotation through to design, publishing and aftercare
It can be quite a concerning time when a dentist decides to build a new website for their practice. Whether this is an upgrade to an existing site or starting from scratch, it’s useful to know the process and what to expect in reasonable detail.
Good dental web design companies will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but it would be wrong to assume that the dentist themselves and possibly their team, won’t have to have any input. Indeed, the websites which work best tend to be those where the dentist is keen to be involved to ensure that his/her ideas are incorporated and to make sure that the ethos of the business is properly represented online.
So what’s involved in the website design process at Dental Media? Let’s take a look at the key steps, from the initial enquiry and quotation, through to the design, publishing and maintenance.
We try to make enquiring about a new website as easy as possible by providing clear contact details on our website. You can complete our online enquiry form or call our team directly – we’ll be pleased to assist whichever method you prefer.
Our aim is to reply to all new enquiries within two days albeit we will send an acknowledgment immediately. We need a short period of time to analyse you request and also check factors such as the competitive situation in your location. We will also ask you any questions to ensure that we have all of the information we need to provide a quotation for a high-quality website solution.
Following on from your enquiry, we will assess the information you provided to create a bespoke quotation for you. This could be for a stand-alone website or a package of tools to assist with your practice marketing.
Here at Dental Media, websites for dentists are just one of our core competencies, but we’re also adept with a wide range of promotional disciplines, from SEO to pay-per-click and more. However, we won’t foist unnecessary services on you – we are here to help your practice flourish with the most suitable tools and techniques available. We will provide fully transparent pricing and also illustrations on return-on-investment.
Acceptance and next steps
If you elect to work with us (and we hope that you do!) we will send our usual contract documentation and web design questionnaire. It is important to note that our contract does not tie you into any long-term commitment, it simple cover the legalities for the duration of the website build. Thereafter there are no tie-ins. This is important to understand as many web companies are overly keen to tie clients into long-term, arguably very onerous contracts.
Our design questionnaire is extremely important as it will provide us with a variety of information, from basics such as preferred colour schemes, to the more specific business interests, ethos and expectations. We will also hold additional discussions with you to ensure all is in place.
As with all web companies, we also require a deposit payment to get the project moving. This is simply to cover the time we invest in developing concept designs etc.
The draft design
Using the information you provided together with our own research and expertise, we will develop a draft website design for your feedback. We will already have worked with you to understand which treatments you provide together with any preferences for the types of services you wish to proritise. We will use best-practice techniques to ensure that the website not only looks excellent, but also performs well technically with regard to latest web authoring standards.
Sometimes there can be conflicts between aesthetic elements e.g. home page video, and technical performance and where these conflicts exists, we will explain them and give our recommendations. It is important to note that these days, websites have to look good and perform well too.
We don’t simply present you with a design and that’s the end of the process, far from it. This stage of the project is very interactive and we expect you to feedback about potential changes you would like to see. We will do all we can to accommodate changes like this unless there are technical reasons to exclude them.
Iteration on the design can go on for a couple of weeks but when all is complete to everyone’s satisfaction, we freeze the design and move on to the next step, building out the website pages and starting to add content.
As part of the information collection phase we will have provided guidance about the information needed from the practice to facilitate the website build. This will range from policies and procedures to staff biographies, GDC numbers etc. We will guide you at each step.
There will also be sections of the website where you will want to add your own input, for example introducing the practice and perhaps any specific treatment content you would like to provide. Our content writers will be pleased to do the heavy lifting for you but we will also be pleased to add your own text to – indeed some of our clients like to write their own web material. The choice is yours.
Photography and video
Where budget allows, we strongly recommend the use of high-quality bespoke photographs and video for a dental website. This type of personalised imagery can make a big difference to the appeal of a website and differentiates it from those which use generic stock images. Where bespoke visuals are part of our contract we will arrange for our team to visit site to complete the shoot. This content is then edited, approved by the client and made ready for use on the website under development.
Checking progress – the development server
At all times you will be able to see the development of your new website as it will be published to one of our development servers using a hidden web address. This allows you and the dental team to see the website but excludes the general public and Google. You don’t want a part-finished website appearing in Google of course, so we take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
You are welcome to feedback on progress at all stage of the development; indeed your designer will be in touch regularly to ask for your comments and to ensure that you are happy with progress.
We are somewhat different to most companies in that we firmly believe that the dentist should have direct access to the designer. This is why we avoid unnecessary hierarchies such as “account managers” where messages can easily get lost.
Making your website “Google ready”
I mentioned earlier how a dental website not only needs to be visually appealing but also needs to function excellently too. Part of this is ensuring that the site is set up optimally for Google searches and to give it the best possible chance of ranking well from the outset. To achieve this, our team performs comprehensive “on site” search engine optimisation which we can complement with ongoing “off-site” SEO work.
Final checks and go-live
At the end of the design process and following search optimisation, we will perform a series of documented checks to ensure that the website is ready-to-go and working as intended. We will also ask you to carry out your own final checks and let us know any last-minute changes.
When all is complete and signed off, we will publish the website to our secure UK-based hosting facilities where we will look after it for you per the agreements we have in place. We will also set up secure email services should these be required.
Irrespective of the type of website you have, you will need some level of ongoing care and maintenance. Websites with content management systems (CMS) require more technical input to keep them secure and for these we may discuss the option of a service contract with you. This is never forced and entirely optional. However we do mandate certain important security updates to keep your website and our servers secure and no doubt you would expect this.
For websites where we manage all updates on your behalf, these are typically charged on an “as required” basis which will almost certainly be much more cost effective than the compulsory monthly contracts so many dental design agencies insist on.
Supporting marketing services
A very large part of a website’s success results from where it appears in the search engines. To assist with this we provide ongoing monthly SEO services whereby we progressively move your website into prominent ranking positions in Google.
We also provide complementary pay-per-click and Facebook/Instagram campaigns as part of our holistic web marketing services.
Starting a new website project for a dental practice can be quite daunting but when you know the expected workflow and what your participation will be, it’s really not so bad at all. This is particularly so when an experienced team is looking after the project and leading you through.
The workflow discussed above is typical of the one we use at Dental Media and which has proved extremely successful in launching hundreds of websites for dentists. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with our team on 01332 672548 or if, you prefer, please complete the website contact form.