February 27, 2007

Websites Need Remodeling Too!

How's your website? Have you added more content, made any improvements lately? It's easy to hire a company to set up a nice looking website. Sometimes the website is part of a package that you get when you buy practice software or marketing services.

Most people are relieved when the website finally goes live. Then they get so busy with other things that new content is added on a very sporadic basis. The site may not have anything new for months at a time. Sound familiar? I'm guilty of this too.

The problem is that unless someone is assigned the task of sending update material to the web master on a regular schedule, it simply won't get done. One of the obstacles to website updating is that you have to get the web master to do it. Then you have to check whether what he or she did is working properly and get them to fix what is wrong.

This has been a big frustration for me and I decided that I was NOT going to be at the mercy of some web master's work load any more. After months of research I found a web site design program that we can handle in-house. (We're using Freeway Pro, which is only for Macs.)

Many of the internet marketing guru's recommend "throwing a bomb" into your website every couple of years and doing a complete re-design. So that's what we did. To save time, I hired a web master who knows the program in and out to do the initial design and set up.

Now my assistant and I are in the final stages of adding new material and fine-tuning everything ourselves. Our brand new totally re-designed website will be up by the end of March (maybe sooner!). We've given our business a fresh new look with a new logo and color scheme carried through in printed materials (business card, letterhead, etc.) and on the internet.

Sometimes you need to "throw a bomb" into your old image and start fresh again. When you remodel or move to a new location, think about the image you present in your printed materials and on your website. Your identity sticks in the mind of your patients only if it's consistent across the board.

I'm so happy to be in total control of my website at last. Now if I want to add a new photo or case study my assistant can do it and I'm right there to edit it as I see fit. And new content can go live the same day! No more waiting for the web master to do it! Your website may be larger and more complex than mine, but that doesn't mean you can't have better control over updating it.

If your website was built with DreamWeaver (one of the most popular web design programs) you can use a program called Contribute that allows you to make changes and updates only to certain portions of the site. Your web master can set it up so it's impossible for you to mess up the code on the essential elements.

The web is an important marketing tool that no practice can afford to ignore. When you have an easy way to do changes, you'll stand a much better chance of keeping your web site up to date.

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