It’s important for any professional to be well-rounded and exposed to many different things. In some fields it’s more important than in others. For SEO, I tend to think that it’s makes sense to focus on dental only. For web design, however, it’s important to be exposed to the outside influences. In fact, web design is largely niche-independent – it’s mostly about skills and best practices which are common across the net.
To clarify: web design and SEO are not the same field, though they overlap in some areas. Web design includes programming, design, and usability. The web technology evolves and changes so fast, and there are so many things going on in the web industry that I believe it’s vital for a web designer to have hands-on experience with many types of projects, and it would be beneficial for dentists if their web designer has such an extensive and diverse web experience in addition to his/her dental web experience.
For example, I work for White Coat investor – a doctor and a finance blogger who has a blog, forum, ads, and all kinds of other technology implemented on his website. I also work for another prominent doctor who, in addition to her practice, actively blogs, participates in shows, and writes books and who needs all kinds of features on her website. I also work for a dentist who runs multiple websites and needs custom configurations. Same for my other dental clients – I often face the need to implement custom features for them. My dental clients don’t want one-size-fits-all approach, they expect custom solutions from me.
Having experience with a wide variety of projects helps me here a lot, because I know what works out there and can tap into that knowledge. Had I locked myself into the “dental” template, it would have been be much harder to think outside the box and offer custom solutions.
“Dental only” could work for cookie-cutter web design. But I see an increasing number of dentists who want to customize their websites beyond the average dental template, because in this day and age with increased competition, people start realizing that they need to utilize their websites to stay competitive and innovative. For such entrepreneurial dentists, it will be beneficial to see that their web designer has a rich and diverse experience in addition to dental. It’s not longer safe to say “I focus on dental only” if you want to produce custom websites with custom features for your clients.