So, you just were home for Thanksgiving and between the political arguments and earnest discussions about the can ribs showing themselves on the jellied cranberry sauce, the talk turned to your practice’s website. Since you’ve just split off on your own after formerly working for a group practice, you need a new website.
And your nephew, who is a “computer guy,” volunteered to build your site for a really great price.
Hopefully, you just said, “Thanks, but I’m good.” Or, if you said, “I’ll consider that and get back to you,” just mysteriously don’t get back to him.
There are many reasons not to have a friend or a family member build your practice website. If you don’t believe that, Google this: Why a family member is not good to design your website. The search returns 87,600,000 results!
Here are a few reasons to put a relative in charge of picking the white elephant Christmas gift, not the design of your practice website.
How much does invisible cost?
OK, so your uncle is a “marketing consultant.” You sure that doesn’t mean he’s unemployed? And he knows the web. You sure that doesn’t mean he’s just surfing it all day long instead of working?
At least he gave you a good deal. The question is, how good a deal is it if your site is out in the vast wilderness of the Internet and cannot be seen by a single person actually searching for the procedures you specialize in?
Your site needs to work efficiently everywhere
Your cousin may know a certain WordPress template that works pretty well on your Mac at home. But what about on your iPhone 6? What about your wife’s Android? Uh oh. You opened the site on your phone and you can’t read the text. The layout is…bizarre. Anyone coming to your site on their phone is now off to the practice down the street that has a mobile-friendly site. Search is increasingly done on mobile devices, and your site needs to be mobile-friendly.
To make sites work efficiently everywhere you need two things: expertise and patience. Different mobile devices display pages differently. Even iPads are different than iPhones. To effectively design a website to work everywhere, your design firm needs to test and test and then test some more to be sure the site looks great everywhere. Oh, and a ton of experience doesn’t hurt.
Does your designer know the difference between SEO and his dad, the CEO?
Just because your nephew can build an OK-looking site doesn’t mean it’s built in a search-friendly design. You may not know the ins and outs of search engine optimization, but it’s an art form all to itself. And Google and Bing change the rules every day. Just a couple years ago search was ruled by keywords; now search is more driven by content. Is your cheap site optimized for the current search algorithms? Doubtful.
Behind the scene architecture is just as important in search as what the site shows the public. Header and alt tags, meta descriptions, site maps, even making sure all of your practice contact information is the same across different review sites such as Yelp and RealSelf — this all adds up to higher rankings in organic search. Does your nephew know any of this stuff? No wonder your site traffic averages in the low single digits, and those visits are coming from your staff members!
Why go cheap on the front door?
The days of the practice being a totally separate animal from the marketing materials are over. Most doctors didn’t even advertise 20 years ago. If they did, patients didn’t bring the practice’s trifold brochure with them when they visited the office. Continuity wasn’t that big a deal, especially with a limited outward marketing budget.
But everything’s different now. Today, the first contact — the front door, if you will — is often your website. When researching a procedure, potential customers are likely to come across your site (if the SEO is effective!) before any other marketing materials. So, does your site look and feel like your practice and your other marketing materials?
Patients use practice websites as a virtual tour of sorts. They get a feel for the quality of your practice from the look of your site and the quality of its content. Your site really has to be a receptionist of sorts, greeting potential new customers when they hit your homepage.
But your site’s clunky architecture locked up and now that potential patient is off to the well-built site of your main competitor. How great was your nephew’s discount price now?
There are tons more reasons your practice needs to hire a firm like Advice Media to build, optimize, maintain, and continually update your website. After all, we’ve been building great practice websites for our clients longer than your nephew’s been out of diapers. You could say we know our way around this stuff.
Do you have questions about the intricacies of beautiful, effective website design? Contact the team at Advice Media and ask away.