When you’re running a medical practice, whether it’s dental, OBGYN, dermatology, pediatrician, or any other specialty, you’re juggling more balls than you can count:
• Interviewing and hiring staff
• Finding the right PAs and nurses to add to your team
• Selecting and furnishing the right office space at the right price
• Ensuring all computer and insurance billing systems work smoothly
• Selecting the right advertising media
And of course – actually providing top-tier medical service to your patients!
Medical Practice Websites: Too important to forget!
On top of all that, you also need to figure out a budget for your practice’s website. How much should you pay? Is custom worth it? What about do-it-yourself options?
If you think back, you may remember wondering: is paying more for my site going to bring me more value, in terms of patients and revenue?
With everything else you have to juggle, you may let web design fall by the wayside and go with a default choice.
But, a solid web presence is critical for a modern, growing medical practice of any specialty.
You already know: that you only get one chance to make a great first impression, and in today’s digital age, your website is going to often be that first impression: professional, clear, informative, easy to use, easy on the eyes!
How much does a medical or dental website cost? The real question: how much to invest!
Yes…how much do you spend to get that awesome website? The one that makes a prospective patient think, “This doctor/dentist looks like the most professional, knowledgeable, and qualified in my city. They can solve my or my child’s problems: I’m calling and booking an appointment now.”
To figure out how much to invest, I suggest that you think of your website as exactly that: an investment. Investments are different than consumer goods like hats, football tickets, or pizzas, in that they provide a return. You’re putting money into the investment, with the hope and expectation, that this prudent choice will provide you with more money, ongoing, in the future.
See, the truth is that your website doesn’t exist to look “pretty” for its own sake, but to serve a valuable purpose: to connect prospective patients to your practice, to welcome and entice them, and to convert them from prospective patients into satisfied, honored, and loyal patients of your practice.
The better the website, in other words, the better investment, is the one that better helps you earn more patients.
In the rest of this article, I’ll do my best to illustrate to you the merits of two different, common options medical professionals use when investing in web design services.
You can compare the merits of these web design options, and reach your own conclusion on how much you’d need to invest in your practice.
For the sake of an easy explanation, I’m going to offer you the story of two doctors, Dr. Adams and Dr. Baker. Both of them needed new websites. They practice in the same city, are about the same age, and at the same stage in their careers. They have the same number of patients, and the same quality of office staff.
The only difference, and the only one we’re interested in, is how much they invest in their new website. Dr. Adams paid $1,000, Dr. Baker paid $10,000.
Doctor Adams’ Choice:
$1,000 for a semi-custom template design
Let’s start with Dr. Adams. He feels that it’s time he got a new website. He knows how important an investment this is to the growth of his practice. What he doesn’t know is which web design route to take.
From researching online, he realizes he has three broad options:
Option 1 (smallest upfront investment, least professional help): Dr. Adams could use a “do it yourself” website builder like he’s seen advertised on TV and YouTube. This would involve the smallest monetary investment on his part, but would provide the least professional advice, feedback, and professionally customized features. He’d basically be building the whole site himself. His practice is doing well, so he thinks he should invest more than this.
Option 2 (greatest upfront investment, most professional help): At a dinner party, over glasses of wine and plates of grilled salmon and vegetables, his friend Charlie got on the topic of his work: professional, custom website and app design. Charlie explains that he and his design team can have deep and thorough conversations with all sorts of clients, to help realize the features and aesthetics that will go the furthest towards growing their business. A custom website will stand out, he explains, and project the best image of professionalism and value to potential customers.
Dr. Adams finds this all extremely appealing! He wants that level of expertise on his side, and he wants his website to make his practice stand out. But Charlie’s cost estimate, of $10,000, makes Dr. Adams hesitant.
Maybe he can get the same value for less?
Option 3 (the “middle ground”): Ultimately, being a prudent shopper, Dr. Adams goes with the option that seems to offer the middle ground: he pays $1,000 for a semi-custom template.
Pitfalls of the “Middle Ground.”
At first, this seems like a great middle ground! Dr. Adams communicates with one of the company’s designers in response to a brief email survey, and then once over the phone, and gets a recommendation on a template to use. The designer assures him that this template is the best for a medical practice, and that “every” doctor he’s worked for has used it.
There were only a few options to choose from, so Dr. Adams has some suspicions that this same template is frequently also used for various other businesses, like shoe retailers, restaurants hairdressers, or tour guides…but, the layout does have lots of pictures he provided of himself and his staff and office, and it does look good with his name emblazoned across the top of the page in a font the designer strongly suggested.
And he got this site up and running and looking pretty good for only $1,000!
Yet, Dr. Adams can’t help feeling uneasy in his gut. Does the site really feel like him, does it convey the value of his practice on an emotional and technical level? It doesn’t really highlight the expertise in procedures he most wanted to emphasize. And the layout looks so familiar…he swears he’s seen sites with all the tabs and drop-down menus and image slideshows in the exact same places, even with the exact same fonts and colors.
He thinks back to his conversation with Charlie at the dinner party, and his comments on how much completely custom work his company has done lately for dentists, hospitals, and even health insurer – he thinks to that friend’s designs, and how unique, practical, and perfect they all looked for who they represented.
He wonders if he should have invested more in this critical part of his practice.
Back to the results of Dr. Adams’ website in a moment.
But first, how did it go for Dr. Baker?
Dr. Baker Went Fully Custom:
$10,000 for a fully custom design
Dr. Baker learned of a fully custom web design service through his own research online. He looked at their value proposition, their history, their examples, and their pricing. Getting a fully custom website package through them with all the features he wanted would indeed cost about $10,000, significantly more than “off the shelf” options for $1,000 or even less.
Dr. Baker thinks of the potential return on investment, and makes the choice to go with this $10,000 design service. He thinks of how much revenue the average patient brings to his practice in a month, in a year, (then 5 years, 10 years…) compared to the upfront cost of the more custom, higher quality website. He begins to visualize how much bigger his return on investment can be.
With this designer, he has a great experience, free of doubt.
Over the phone, he has an enjoyable and engaging conversation with the designer, who asks him all kinds of useful questions about himself, his practice, and what value his practice provides. The doctor gets to proudly talk about the areas of his specialty where he makes the biggest difference in his patients’ quality of life, and what his patients have said they like best about him and his practice. The designer asks questions the doctor wouldn’t have even thought of himself, but that give great insight into what the site should emphasize.
There’s plenty of back-and-forth info exchange about the design process. In the end, Dr. Baker is blown away by the sleekness, uniqueness, and practicality of his custom site. It functions just as well on mobile as on PC screens, its SEO (search engine optimization) is top-notch to reach more prospective patients, it loads fast, it’s helpful to patients, and it looks like his practice.
From the moment he looks around his new site, Dr. Baker already feels like he’s gotten his money’s worth!
Results for the two doctors:
Both doctors earned new patients and new revenue as a result of their new websites.
But the difference in quantity was tremendous.
Dr. Adams, with his semi-custom site, could attribute $20,000 in new patient revenue that year as a result of prospective patients finding him through the website. Not too bad for the $1,000 originally invested.
But Dr. Baker, who spent $10,000 on his fully custom site, brought in about eight times as many new patients as a result, leading to $160,000 in new revenue that year.
|Website Type||Website Cost||Revenue Generated|
|Semi-Custom Template (Dr. Adams)||$1,000||$20,000|
|Fully Custom Website (Dr. Baker)||$10,000||$160,000|
Which equation and result would you prefer for your practice?
Before you answer, keep in mind that the $9,000 difference in cost for the fully custom website is a one time investment. After that, the site is yours. If you were to only earn $9,001 in new revenue that year as a result of the site, you’d be ahead. And that’s being conservative with the value a custom website can bring.
See, the good thing about web design investments for medical practices, from a business perspective, is that it’s much easier to make a great ROI (return on investment) versus most other businesses.
Performing dental implants and cataract surgeries earns much more revenue per instance than, say, selling a couch or fixing a PC, yet the cost of the initial investment in a good website is generally similar to those other sorts of businesses.
This allows for “more bang for your buck,” hence, it makes sense to spend more bucks for more bang, so to speak.
If you are a more “see it for yourself” type of person, I suggest browsing the example custom-built websites below. Maybe, they will help you begin to piece together ideas of how your own practice’s website can look.
Examples of custom medical websites:
Hopefully the stories and the examples above get you thinking about how much you believe may be appropriate to invest in your practice’s website. I suggest that you carefully think through these questions:
What makes your practice unique?
What services do prospective patients need to know about?
What do patients love best about your practice?
Who is your ideal patient?
Now, how is your website going to convey all that?