The website for your Practice can be an important marketing tool for you. There are some basic tips you can follow that will help you get the most out of it.
Here are a few key terms that you might need to know when setting up your website:
A domain name is the address that your website can be accessed at. An example is “cliniko.com”. Technically speaking, the domain name is separate to your website, however it will often be packaged together when someone is building the site for you.
When choosing a domain name, here a few tips:
- If you are not serving clients around the world, a country specific domain name is better. For example, if you are an Australian business called “Healthy Times”, you are better off with www.healthytimes.com.au than you are with www.healthytimes.com. The reason for this is that you will come up more often in search engine lists (Google) to people in your country, it also lets your potential customers know that you are in the same country as them.
- Avoid using non-alphanumeric characters (eg. hyphens). It can make it harder for people to remember your address correctly.
- Take your time and choose something you are comfortable with. It can be problematic to change this later, and it is also quite likely your email addresses will use this too (ie. email@example.com).
- It is important to have the domain name purchased in your name, so that you can take it with you if you change website providers. You can always have your provider added as a “technical contact” so that they can still take care of things. Your provider will know how to do this.
This is the actual creation of the content for your website. Usually a software developer or web designer would do this for you. There are a lot of tips to share for this topic, however they will come in a future part of this blog series.
A few key things to keep in mind are:
- If you have someone create the website for you, ask them for the source files and store them somewhere safe. If you need to make changes to the website later, these files will be required. You may not be able to access the same person that helped you last time, so its much better to have a copy yourself. Assuming you have paid for these to be created, the developer should have no problem with you owning them.
- Consider a content management system. This is basically a website that lets you log in and make minor changes yourself. If you think you will want to make regular changes to your site, this is a good idea. Otherwise you may pay a hefty hourly fee for someone to make the changes for you. A content management system doesn’t always cost more either, there are some great frameworks around like Wordpress that your developer may be able to use.
- Make sure your website suits you. If you are not someone that is going to update it regularly (and be realistic), then perhaps a news section on the front page is not for you. It doesn’t help your marketing if the latest news on your homepage is 5 years old, people may not think you are around anymore.
- Ensure your website is not using a technology called “Flash”. This is a tool some designers may use to build your website in, however your website would not be able to be displayed on iPads or iPhones, which are becoming a much bigger source of web browsing.
We have covered building your website above, and also the address it is going to be found at, the final piece missing is hosting your website. This means where your website files will actually be placed to be accessible on the internet. There are many hosting companies that provide this service for you. It is likely your website developer would include hosting in the total package. Typically, hosting will be charged monthly or yearly.
Some things to consider with hosting:
- Make sure you use a hosting provider in your country. Your website will be faster to people in the country that your website is hosted in. You may as well have it fastest to your target audience.
- Website hosting should not be too expensive, in Australia you should pay less than $150 per year (unless you have a very complicated website). If looking for a bargain, you could find hosting for under $60 p/year.
- Ask for the access details for your hosting provider, again if you need to arrange changes to be made, these details will be required.
This should give you enough terminology to be an educated buyer when looking to get a website created. The next part in this blog series will cover in more detail what you should include on your website.
Cliniko is amazing practice management software for healthcare businesses. Visit https://www.cliniko.com to see for yourself.