A dental practice website can be built a number of ways – and I’m talking about the backend, the coding. Techies often like to build just using code. They may never even look at the front end of a site (the visual elements we see) until the coding is complete. That’s hard to imagine, but it’s true! With this type of site, you’ll always need a techie who can read the code and make updates or changes. There is no backend administration panel, or CMS (content management system), for you to go in and make changes.
Most website development companies, particularly those who sell template sites, but also some that build completely custom sites, use a CMS. This allows lay persons, like you and your staff, to use a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG, pronounced wizzy-wig) admin panel to edit and revise the site. From the CMS, you have a panel of tools, much like what’s in a standard email system. You can easily add text, images, and other elements to a website from the CMS admin panel. Structural, functional, and color changes have to be addressed in the code, usually, and will require someone well versed in html and, perhaps, css.
At Identiwrite Creative, we always use WordPress – because it’s best for you, not us, in the long run. I’m going to give you three solid reasons that your dental website should be built on WordPress, rather than another CMS or without a CMS.
- Your dental practice website belongs to you, 100%. This is a point that dentists don’t consider before purchasing a website. You’d think that if you pay a few grand (or more) for a marketing tool, it would belong to you. However, that’s not always true.I mentioned a proprietary CMS earlier. Basically, a CMS is a tool that a website is designed to use, for WYSIWYG administration. Each website company can build its own CMS, so it’s part of their system, and it does not go with the website should you move your site elsewhere, like to your own hosting in GoDaddy or Bluehost. In short, you purchase your website’s code, not the CMS that you use to manage the site. So, if you stop working with the company that built your site, you have to have a technician handle coding from that point forward. It’s as if the site was never built with CMS capability.
Furthermore, some website companies have proprietary templates. In this case, you can’t take anything with you. Basically, you rent the template while paying for the monthly service. If you leave, the template stays behind. You could capture any images and content that you added to the site, so you can use it elsewhere, but the site itself – the structure that you see on the front end – is not really yours. If you move, you have to build a whole new website.
In contrast, because WordPress is open source software, a dental website built on WordPress template can be customized as much or as little as you like. There are literally thousands of templates to use or purchase. All WordPress sites have a WYSIWYG admin panel; it comes with the site itself. So, if your website is built on WordPress, you can take everything with you — the code, the admin panel, and all of the text and images that you created (those for which you own the copyright).
- In a pinch, you or your staff can make website changes. This kind of goes along with number one, above. Because WordPress sites have an admin panel, you can always log in to your website and post blogs or make changes to text, images, navigation, plugins, and widgets. You can learn how to administrate your own site, or hire a company to take care of it for you. The admin panel comes in very handy for dentists who run special offers, post their own blog content, or maintain an “office news” page.
- Automatic updates come with the template. This means, as long as you log in and approve automatic updates to the WordPress template, your site will be kept up to date. As the Internet and Google change, websites must make small changes to keep up. With most WordPress templates, these updates are made by the company that produced the template, and it’s kept up to date for you. No technician required!
Perhaps of equal value, you or your technician can add widgets, plugins, and features as they become available. Widgets and plugins add all kinds of functionality to sites – from user experience additions to security and page-load improvements. New WordPress widgets and plugins are becoming available all the time – some are free and some cost a reasonable fee. Currently, over 37,500 WordPress plugins are available!I will add to this, however, that websites built on an older WordPress template run the risk of the template becoming obsolete. Those sites built five or more years ago may not be updatable – meaning that the template is no longer sold and used, so the author abandoned creating updates. Because all dentists need a new site about every two to three years, to keep up with internet technology, I do not find the potential for aging out, if you will, to be a significant concern.
WordPress Isn’t Going Away
Many tech companies have come and gone, but rest assured, WordPress isn’t going away any time soon. Millions of sites use WordPress right now – 17% to be specific. It’s available in 51 translations, so WordPress is global. When Identiwrite Creative builds your site on WordPress, you’ll be investing in a trusted platform that you can take with you, or even sell with your practice when you decide to transition.
Take a look at Identiwrite Creative’s website portfolio to see some of the sites we’ve created recently. Then call me, Shauna Duty, owner and director of Identiwrite Creative, at 940-395-5115. You can also email me at [email protected]. I’m always available to answer questions about WordPress, dental website development, and SEO.