Like most big decisions, choosing a website provider for your practice can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Selecting the right website provider is key, as your website is the foundation of your online presence.
To help you get started with the selection process, we’ve outlined three critical components.
- Expertise — This is foundational. To illustrate, there’s a reason beauty schools offer free haircuts – these budding professionals are still mastering their craft. While we’re not against giving people a chance, we are strongly suggesting not to roll the dice on an unknown entity when it comes to your dental website.
Your dental website provider should be knowledgeable about marketing and the dental industry itself. As you know, dentistry isn’t e-commerce. You’re not selling widgets. You don’t treat clients; you treat patients – and this requires a different approach.
2. Design Capabilities — Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to website design than aesthetics. Effective websites employ a combination of art and science to deliver an ideal user experience. For optimum performance, define the types of designs you like while also identifying the goals of your website – is it to attract new patients? Focus on educating existing patients? Appear higher in search results? This should be one of the first questions a potential provider asks, as it will guide the entire process.
Once your goals are defined, what’s next? Is it ok to use a website template? Should you invest in a custom site? The answer often depends on who you talk to, but for most dental practices, the sweet spot is somewhere in between. When designing a dental website, most dentists want a degree of custom personalization (i.e. ability to use their logo, photos of the team, etc.) but don’t necessarily need a website built from the ground up. Be wary of companies that try to make it sound like a 100% custom site is the only way to go, as they may just be trying to upsell you.
3. Content – It’s easy to get lost in the razzle dazzle of website design – from color palettes and font libraries to layout selections, button options, and more. The key is to not get so sidetracked in choosing images and color schemes that you neglect the dental website content.
A dental-specific website provider gives you ultimate advantage in this area. It’s helpful to choose a company that provides both design and content. In addition to custom dental content (which is written specifically for your website) companies may also offer a library of pre-written core content that can be modified to reflect your practice’s personality and align with your offerings. The main benefit of core content is that it saves you time and money – enabling you to build your online presence in days instead of weeks.
You might be wondering…
Is core content the same as duplicate content? Technically speaking, yes. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” This means that if your site has content that matches another site, it is considered duplicate.
Will my site be penalized if it has duplicate content? Google treats duplicate content differently based on intent. Yes, it’s that smart! If duplicate content is being used to be deceptive or manipulate search engine performance, it will negatively impact your ranking. Auto-generated content is an example of such manipulation; it is comprised of paragraphs of random text that include keywords, but don’t make sense.
Another example of this type of manipulation is having multiple pages dedicated to the same topic with similar copy on one website. That said, if you’re not trying to game the system you can relax. Google notes that the presence of duplicate content alone is not grounds for action on their part. The takeaway is that while custom content may be necessary in certain instances, the decision should be based on your specific practice goals and not the fear of being penalized.
Questions? Reach out to a ProSites Internet Marketing Advisor at (888) 932-3644 to discuss the right website and online marketing options to help you meet your practice goals.
TOMORROW: Part 2, Questions to Ask When Hiring a Dental Website Provider
About the blogger
Heather Frechette-Crowley is Director of Product Marketing at ProSites. ProSites offers leading dental website design and online marketing solutions including search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and pay-per-click advertising. For more information, or to start a free trial, call (888) 932-3644 or visit http://www.ProSites.com.