Creating a new website is a great step forward for your practice, but sometimes it can feel like pulling teeth. Now, I know as a dentist that sounds like oodles of fun, however for the rest of us this is a euphemism for a potentially dreadful experience.

With so many marketing and web design agencies vying for your business, it’s easy to forget what you wanted in the first place.

These are four questions you’ll want to ask to ensure you get exactly what you want.

  1. What is this going to cost me and why?

Different agencies offer different ways to charge for different things. For example, one of the biggest reasons we find dated content on sites is because dentists’ website contracts force them to pay obscene amounts of money for minor updates. We’ve had clients tell us they’ve had to fork over hundreds of dollars to embed their own video on their site! Learn how to embed video here

Make sure nuanced things that send up red flags aren’t in your contract. Read the fine print, ask questions and ensure everything is clearly outlined and within your budget. If an agency says something you don’t like and claims it’s industry standard, get a second opinion.

  1. Will my website have unique content?

Speaking of templates, some agencies get lazy with their content creation; this is bad on multiple fronts. For one, nobody likes reading generic content. There are a lot of dental practices in your area and you want to stand out. We’ve found that visitors respond to personalized content that truly gives them a sense of your office and staff. Do you have a beautiful view from your operatories? Does your staff hold special accreditations? Prospective patients want to know these things! Make sure all of this makes it onto your site. Google is the high school English teacher of the internet and absolutely HATES duplicate content. Turn something in that is plagiarized, and “she” will know.

  1. What CMS do you build your website on?

CM-what? Even though you might not know what a CMS is, asking will make it sound like you do. A CMS or Content Management System is a fancy name for the building blocks of your site. Two keywords to listen for are proprietary and open-source.

When you hear proprietary, think shackles. They are cheaper initially, but proprietary sites are not very flexible. Any updates you want may be impossible to carry out yourself or, like mentioned above, cost you a pretty penny. Additionally, proprietary CMS has very limited capabilities so these sites tend to become outdated quickly.

When you hear “open-source,” think Frank Sinatra and do it “your way.” It might cost you more initially, but you’ll have the “world on a string” in the long run. For starters, you can make sure you are the rightful owner of your website. You are free to pack it up and take it anywhere you want. If you don’t like the agency you initially chose to build your site, there are many WordPress, Squarespace and Drupal developers who can seamlessly take over your website building and updating process. If you want to customize your site and say you “did it your way,” open-source platforms come with many bells and whistles. Check out this before and after feature we use with our clients.

  1. What happens after you build my site?

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. You may reach a point where new patient numbers are stagnant and you want to know why. Some agencies have interns jumble favorable numbers together and tell you all is good, while others hand you all the Google Analytics in hopes you will get lost in the data and leave them alone. Unless you like these options, ask: Does the agency use simplified reporting software? Will you have a dedicated account manager you can easily talk to about your site?

We schedule monthly reporting calls with clients and offer an analytics dashboard that pulls all important data from websites daily. From keyword rankings to new patient phone calls, you should be able to easily see for yourself what’s going on with your website traffic. Expect to be educated on the basics of “click through,” “bounce” and other rates that’ll help your practice keep moving forward.

If you have questions about the information shared here, please leave a comment below or email me at [email protected].

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