Time was when owning a website for your business was a luxury and you were a visionary, but now today in 2010 owning a website has become a necessity. We look for everything on the web – phone numbers, addresses, directions, shopping, competition, ideas, weather, even ordering pizza! Whenever a question arises in our office, we “google” it. The internet has become indispensable. People rely on it for everything.
Maybe you have been thinking about getting a website for your office or your billing service but don’t know how to start. If you don’t have a website yet but have been considering it, now is the time to get started. People are looking for you on the web and you are not there.
A medical office can use a website for many things. Hours of operation, services provided, information about your specialty, and information about the providers are just a few of the basics you can offer on a website. It’s also a great place to educate the public about your specialty. Maybe you offer a new treatment that isn’t available elsewhere and you need to get the word out. A downloadable intake sheet can be added to a website so a new patient can have this document all completed before they come into the office.
A website can even be set up to sell products. If you offer products in your office you can also offer these products on your website. Orders can go directly into a shopping cart. Many chiropractors offer various products in their offices such as supplements, pillows and Biofreeze. These could be sold thru their website as well as from the office.
Some providers also like to offer a monthly newsletter. The website is a great place for patients to sign up to receive the newsletter. For providers who have patients that need to return regularly this is a great way to keep their name in the patient’s mind.
Many of us would like to have a website but just don’t know how to go about it. Should you try to build it yourself or should you hire it done. Much depends on your situation. Building a website has become easier and easier. You can even build a website for almost no cost. You can also have a professional website built for you for a few hundred dollars. Here are some of the things to consider.
• Are you a quick learner and able to get around the internet fairly easily?
• Do you have a good idea of what you want on your website or do you need help deciding what to use?
• Will the information you put on your website be changing and requiring updates in the future? If your information is constantly changing and you hire someone else to build your site, how much do they charge to update the site? If you plan on building it yourself do you have the required time to update?
• Do you have the time required to build a website yourself. You may be better off using your time in your business and hiring someone to build the website.
Whether you decide to build the site yourself or hire it done you need to sit down and make a list of all the things you want to include on the site. Check out some of your competitors sites for ideas. If you are a medical office, google “medical offices” and see what others have on their sites. Get an idea of what your pages would be called and what information you would put on each page.
It is important to decide what the purpose of your website is, and then design it from there. Basically you are working backwards. Do you want your website to attract new patients, or do you want to inform your patients what you do and who you are? Or are you a billing service and you want to use the website for marketing? It is important that you identify what you want the website to accomplish for you and then decide what you need to put on the website to do that.
Once you’ve determined the purpose you need to decide if you are going to build it yourself or hire someone. If you decide to hire someone, check with others you know who have websites. Did they hire someone? Were they satisfied? Look at their site and see if you like it. Don’t just go with the first web designer in the yellow pages. Ask the designer for some samples of their work. Not all designers are the same. Think of clothing designers. There are some out there that have beautiful clothes and there are some you probably wouldn’t be caught dead in. You don’t want a web designer that has a style that doesn’t fit you. Whether you build it yourself or hire it out, once you decide you need a website, go for it.