I sometimes participate in a popular forum for doctors and dentists. There, I saw a thread by a physician asking for advice on hiring an agency to build his practice website. Most commenters suggested using DIY web design platforms such as Weebly, Wix and Squarespace or hiring web design freelancers on online freelance marketplaces such as Fiverr. Some also said they hired an agency and were charged $8,000 a website in addition to high recurrent fees for maintenance.
Many doctors get similar advice on other forums and social media, so in this blog post I am addressing the flaws with such advice.
1. A professional custom website doesn’t have to cost $8,000. Our websites cost about half as much and include custom design, custom content writing (optional, or you can write your own content) and full SEO (search engine optimization). And unlike most companies, we do not charge any recurring fees.
2. We use WordPress to build our websites. With WordPress, our nontechnical clients can very easily make content updates on their own without having to come to us for every little change. Our websites are very editable. I don’t recommend Wix and Weebly or Squarespace for the following reasons:
a) These platforms are very limited compared to WordPress. You can only use the features these platforms offer. And since these platforms are proprietary, you don’t have customization options beyond what the platform offers. Many of our clients want customizations. With WordPress, you can build and customize things in any way you want. WordPress is an open-source platform, so it’s much easier for developers to build a website to the client’s specifications and for clients to get what they want. WordPress websites are a lot more scalable. You can set up a basic website and build it up with features and customizations along the way. With Wix and Weebly, you are very limited in that regard. It’s always a good idea to think long-term when you are investing in a website. So when choosing a platform, you must consider how easy it will be to scale your website, to build new features, and to do customizations. WordPress clearly wins here.
b) At the time of writing, WordPress offers much better SEO tools than Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. It’s also easier to build ADA compliant websites (websites that can be easily used by people with disabilities) with WordPress rather than with Wix or Weebly because, as I said above, WordPress developers have a lot more options and tools. As a doctor, you want your website to be as ADA compliant as possible. You also want good SEO so patients can find you online easier.
c) WordPress websites can be hosted anywhere, so you have plenty of options for good and affordable hosting. You or your developer can choose the best hosting that provides high loading speed for your website (which is VERY important) and the best technical maintenance (backups, upgrades) automatically for you. There are plenty of very affordable, high-quality hosting vendors and they all host WordPress websites. With Wix, Weebly and Squarespace, you can only host on that platform and nowhere else, so you can’t choose the best and cost-effective hosting options. Wix, Weebly or Squarespace websites aren’t portable. So if you decide you don’t like Wix, you can’t move your website to another hosting and you will have to rebuild your website like some of our clients did. On the other hand, a WordPress website can be easily moved to another hosting.
3. Be careful with freelancers that you find on Fiverr. We’ve seen some clients who hired freelancers to build a website and the freelancer abandoned the project, or did a poor job, or never answered the phone when the client needed help later on. Check out our similar post on logo/web design from 99designs. A website is an investment so again, you need to think long term. You should hire a reputable and reliable company that will not only build a high-quality website but will also be around for you should you have any questions or need help going forward.