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3 questions to ask a website provider before getting a new dental practice site

July 27, 2015
How do you find the right website host for developing and maintaining your dental practice website? There are many things to consider, but theses 3 questions should be top of mind.

A website for your dental practice is as necessary as a phone and business cards. But given the fact that purchasing a new practice website is not something you do often, it can be hard to know how to find the website host that is right for you.

We’ve outlined the top three questions you need to ask a potential website provider before committing to a new site. The answers will help ensure a good fit and a good return on your investment.

Question 1 – Who will write the content for my website? Content is arguably the single most important factor in converting website visitors into new patients. Your website content is what will educate prospective patients about your dental practice and your services and ultimately help them decide whether or not they trust you and want to visit your office. If you’re considering a do-it-yourself website, keep in mind that the content creation will rest on you. This is usually the case if you use a graphic designer who does not have a writing staff, or if you hire or barter with a patient to create your website. Writing persuasive, SEO-friendly dental website content is an art, so make sure you have the time, energy, and writing skills if you go this route. If you decide to partner with a national dental website company, find out who will do the writing. Many companies have a small writing staff available to revise and edit content that you supply, whereas others have a professional writing team on staff to create original content for you. For instance, the Smile Marketing writing team creates the unique content based on a brief telephone interview with you so that your voice shines through in professionally written content.

ALSO BY STEPHEN ANSON: How to get new patients from your dental practice website
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Question 2 – What will you do after my website is live?
In your research for a website, you will encounter two types of providers – those who sell websites as products and those who provide websites as a service. The hard work is far from over when your website is launched, yet many discount providers who sell websites as products believe the work is done. That’s when the real work of making your website effective should swing into high gear with competitor monitoring, search engine optimization, new content, social media integration, monthly patient newsletters, and design updates. To stay competitive and get new patients from your practice website, you need a website service.

You can distinguish between websites sold as products and websites sold as services by the set-up and monthly fees. Products typically have a high set-up fee and low monthly hosting fee, whereas a website service usually has a modest set-up fee and slightly higher hosting fee. This is to cover the ongoing effort required to ensure the new patient converting power of your website.

Question 3 – What is the response time on website updates?
Your practice website is never “done.” You will need to add fresh content, update your practice hours, or add a new team member to the staff page. It’s important to ask a potential website provider how long changes like these will take so there are no surprises. Some companies will charge a fee for making these types of updates.

For instance, a freelance graphic designer may not enjoy updating existing websites when his or her focus is on designing a website, not maintaining the site. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure updating your site is easy. Too many hoops to jump through on the back end and you’ll never want to update it.

If you’re dealing with a dental website company, ask about the turn around time. It can range from same day up to a week, so make sure you find a company that works on a timetable similar to yours. It’s very likely you’ll find that those who provide a website service, such as Smile Marketing, respond much more quickly than those who sell a website product.

If you want more new patients, a practice website is not optional. With patients doing research online before selecting a dentist, you need to have a solid Internet presence and patients need to be able to find your website. Do your homework and ask the questions discussed here before selecting a dental website provider in order to ensure a profitable and lasting partnership.

Stephen Anson is the cofounder of the dental website service Smile Marketing. He is a new patient marketing specialist who has been helping health-care professionals generate new patients from the Internet for over 10 years. Steve can be reached at [email protected].