Choosing a website company can be one of the most daunting tasks a dentist will face. It can be overwhelming to try to choose a company that will not only capture the look and feel you want for your brand but who will also deliver a site that performs as well as it looks.
Choosing a website company – simplified
To help make the process a little less intimidating, we’ve compiled a list of ten questions you should ask before choosing a website company to create your dental website and perform your SEO (search engine optimization). Use these questions as a guide when reviewing potential agencies.
Many of the questions below are related to SEO. Whichever company you choose to design your new dental website should also have an understanding of how to build a solid technical SEO foundation. Why?
Well, let’s look at it this way: A dental implant looks like a beautiful, seamless part of a patient’s smile. The only part that’s visible is the crown, but it’s supported by a solid foundation, the implant – a functional, lasting solution. A successful implant is planned and executed with skill, education, and experience – before, during, and after the procedure. Similarly, a website should be an attractive, appealing part of your brand – but underneath, it needs that solid SEO foundation to really deliver. It must have a technical foundation that’s been properly planned and executed by a team with skill, education, and experience – before, during, and after its creation.
With that in mind, here are ten questions for you to ask when choosing a website company:
1. Can you provide examples of websites your company has designed?
Be sure to review examples of the website company’s designs and content to make sure you can see your vision come to life. Compare the examples sent to you and ask yourself:
- Do these websites look different or do they look like templates?
- How’s the content? Is it duplicate or personalized to the practice?
Comparing these examples will give you a good idea of how the company operates and if they’ll create a custom site truly personalized to your practice.
2. Are your websites custom or templates?
Your website is an extension of your office, so it’s crucial you stand out from your competition. If the company’s websites are templates, how are you going to stand out?
A template website may be cheaper, but you may be at risk for duplicate content that doesn’t solve your patients’ problems. A custom website has custom design and content, which will look cohesive with your brand and message. When searching for a website company, you want to make sure they are looking out for your best interests and will work with you to set you apart from the dentist down the street.
3. Are your websites responsive?
The most important factor for ALL websites is to present a user-friendly experience. This includes being viewable and attainable on all devices. Many consumers own a mobile device and get information on the go. Easily accessing your information is a HUGE ranking factor for Google. When you’re looking for a website company, make sure their websites are responsive.
4. Can you itemize the services you intend to provide as part of our SEO strategy?
If your potential website company is reluctant to enumerate the SEO work they intend to carry out, be wary. Inexperienced SEO companies or freelancers have a tendency to hide the truth about what they are doing for the cash you’re paying them.
A good agency will be completely transparent with you and not be scared to list the services they intend to provide as part of the strategy.
5. Will you be implementing technical changes?
Before you commit to a contract, make sure you know who is responsible for each task. Some agencies or freelancers are vague with their proposals, which can result in a shock further down the line when you need to hire a developer to implement the changes they recommend. Find out who’s doing what and if they’ll require external help.
6. What do you know about my industry?
If you’re a dental practice, for example, you’ll want a website and SEO company who has at least some experience in the dental industry. They don’t need to specialize in dentistry, but they do need to specialize in SEO and have a good knowledge of what works well in dentistry plus have the right kind of writers and networks to be able to create and place accurate and effective content relevant to your industry.
If the agency does have other clients in your industry, chances are they are going to have a good network of partnerships and assets which will be beneficial to your practice too. Ask them about this and try to get some examples of digital assets they have created and placed for similar clients in the past.
7. What sort of ranking increases can we expect?
This is the million dollar question which, sadly for you, has no direct answer. Everyone wants to know where the website will be ranking for specific keyword phrases and by when. But the truth is, that’s an impossible question to answer for many reasons. No one has control over the organic search positioning but Google. It depends on so many external factors like competition levels, where the searcher is located, their previous search history, daily/weekly/monthly fluctuations, and algorithm changes.
The reason you should ask this question to see what sort of response you’ll get. While a good website and SEO company will explain the above points (and more) in detail and will give you an idea of what to expect over a certain period based on their experience and know-how, no reputable SEO company will guarantee rankings.
8. Are you experienced at improving local search results?
Appearing in the top local search engine results is especially important to brick-and-mortar local businesses (like dentists!) trying to attract nearby customers. You’ll want a website company with expertise in local SEO techniques.
If your website is optimized for what’s known as “local SEO,” it should appear when someone nearby is searching for keywords that are relevant to your business. To achieve that, a consultant should add your business’s city and state to your website’s title tags and meta descriptions, and get your site listed on Bing, Google, and Yahoo’s local listings, which are online directories of businesses that cater to a specific geographical area.
9. What happens if we part ways?
When your contract expires or if you terminate it early, you should still maintain ownership of all of the optimized web content you paid the consultant to provide.
Accordingly, you’ll want to make sure the contract states that when you part ways, consultants will not change or remove any of the content they added, modified, or optimized on your behalf. You also should ask consultants whether they charge any fees for early contract termination and if so, to specify them in the contract.
10. What is your philosophy of approaching SEO to deliver results?
There are three major facets of SEO, and the most effective SEO companies consider all three as components of a comprehensive SEO strategy.
Technical SEO considers code, site structure, site speed, and other metrics that could impact your search traffic. During a technical SEO review, an SEO professional will make sure that search engines can crawl your site and its content, will review 404 errors and will analyze redirects, among other tasks.
User experience (UX) is the optimization of the content of your digital properties. You want a website company that will strategize effective user-facing aspects of your site, including content, navigation, and keyword optimization.
Off-page SEO means improving your SEO presence by earning links, strengthening the brand online, and improving the popularity of the site and content. To execute off-page SEO campaigns, an agency will look for opportunities to increase your domain and page authority through incoming links to your site from other high-quality properties.
Modern website design and SEO requires a holistic strategy AND experienced execution. When choosing a website company for your dental website, make sure the company you are evaluating can answer all of the questions above to your satisfaction (in clear, understandable language!), can perform all three aspects of SEO mentioned above (technical, UX, off-page), and have a clear strategy for balancing them.