Dental Websites & Blogs: Template is Not a 4-Letter Word

In dentistry, custom means quality. But that’s not true in all industries.

Outside of dentistry, custom does sound great – a custom home, a custom “ride,” a custom wardrobe. The word custom conjures up thoughts of being unique, elite, exclusive. Truth is, for savvy business people, even cosmetic dentists who cater to a high-end clientele, when it comes to Internet marketing, custom means frivolously expensive. Stick with me here, even if you don’t agree right now.

Brand & Logo Design

Dentists do need a custom, well-thought out brand that accurately represents their practice philosophy, vision, and message. Custom branding is essential to a unique and memorable brand. Once the brand has been developed, however, it’s time to shift the focus. The priority should move toward attracting potential patients, then converting them to active patients.

Blog & Website Design

Blog and website templates are much like the templates we use for word processing. For a business letter, resume, tri-fold brochure, or business card, formatting is predetermined. There is a right and a wrong, and with good reason. The traditional templates we use in word processing have been developed over years of trial and error. They include essential elements and are organized in a logical way that appeals to the reader. Templates also help us get the job done faster, so we can move on to the next step in our project. Time is money.

Similarly, blogs and websites, whether custom-built or based on a template, must include some of the same elements. They have to fit on a rectangular monitor (and a smart phone). A website visitor should be able to easily move around all pages of the site, so navigation (page names) should be on every page. Another important factor is contact information. A business’ phone number and email address should stand out on every page of a website. In most cases, a footer with copyright information is standard.

Website & Blog Text

A website’s design can start with a template, but words (also called text or content) should never be stock. The main purpose of a website and blog is to attract targeted patients, which means you need good visibility. What’s the point of putting up a billboard behind a building? People need to see your advertising, or you’re wasting time and money. Google owns 65% of the market share when it comes to search engines. Competitors, including Yahoo and Bing, aren’t anywhere close to Google.

Regarding the words on your website, Google places high value on uniqueness and news (blog posts are considered news). If your website or blog features content that can be found on other websites, Google will not rank your website as high as it would if the site had original text. For more on this topic, check out this blog about feeding the Google beast.

Customizable Templates

I sincerely believe that instead of paying $5K or more for a custom, built-from-scratch website, it’s wise to start with a template. Notice I said start with a template, not rely on a template.  There are hundreds of thousands of templates for blogs and websites these days. Many include customizable features. A designer can change colors, design elements (like the location and style of a special offer button), as well as photos, fonts, and widgets (like surveys, link lists, and social networking feeds.) You can often add video or slide shows, as well.

I say all this to verify my point: template, in regards to the design of a website, is not a 4-letter word. Marketing companies have made the general public believe that template indicates cheap, when in reality, a more accurate describer is savvy.

If you’d like to learn more about customizable websites and blogs, call Jill at 972-781-8861 or email us. The Modern Dental Marketing Team has years of experience with website marketing for dentists, and we’d like to show you how to invest your marketing dollars wisely in 2011.