How To Look After Your Website
It’s a wonderful feeling to see your website going live on the internet. Especially after weeks or even months of hard graft working closely with your design team and getting this far. But now that this project is finally complete, you need to know how to look after your website.
MAINTAINING YOUR WEBSITE
A dental website is made up of many different coding instructions. There are thousands of them and they need to function perfectly in order for a wesbite to operate. All websites require regular checks and maintenance. There is nothing more frustrating for a patient than experiencing a broken link, missing page or a facility unable to complete its task.
SO WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Websites use many software applications and require different hardware devices in order to function. Below is a list of potential pitfalls which could intefere with the smooth running of a website:
Your new website will be hosted on a dedicated internet server. These servers require 24 hours a day uptime so maintenance is imperative to prevent any catastrphic failures. From time to time a website may experience downtime whilst a server fault is repaired. Once fixed, certain codes on your website may become interupted when the server goes live again. These days many internet servers have multiple back-up facilities in case of failures so the likely hood of your website dissapearing is small, although this does still occur. (Find out more about secure web hosting here)
We all have our preferred internet browsers whether it’s Safari, Firefox, Chrome or Explorer. Websites rely on stable internet browser software applications so that they can appear as they have been designed to. Like any business, browser engineers are faced with many technological challenges and have to constantly develop their applications to help improve our viewing experience. This is because new computer products such as PC’s, laptops, smart phones and tablets, including their own operating systems, renew at such a fast pace too. When considering these multiple hi-tech levels of communication, it is not surprising certain elements on your website may fail to view correctly after major browser updates. A professional website design company would always check the most popular browsers before a new website goes live. However, regular browser checks must continue as it will help to identify any problems before too many users experience them.
Special Features & Functions
Be mindful that if your new website has been designed to include lots of animation, videos or other functionality, then any of these coded structures can sometimes cease to work. All website links, enquiry forms and special coded facilities need to be tested to ensure they are fully operational at all times. I have witnessed many websites that fail to operate properly and have probably been broken for months without anyone realising.
Websites built using a free online management system have to rely on plugins. WordPress is a typical example of a popular online management system. It facilitates plugins which are independent modules of specific coding that carry out actions or tasks. Each plugin needs to cooperate with other coded instructions that make up other parts to the website. All very complicated but in a nutshell, plugins are built by third party developers and these require updating to enhance its individual performances. Or they are updated to function correctly with other updated software applications. It is critical to maintain websites built in WordPress as these are more likely to go wrong.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR WEBSITE
It’s highly likely that you will be unable to fix any technical bugs or coding issues on a website. However, you must be aware of how to look after your website and your responsibilities as part of the general maintenance.
Your primary responibility is ensure content on your website is up to date. Text relating to services, dental treatments, staff, opening times and prices can become obsolete very quickly and often need checking. GDPR requires websites to be up to date so make it your responsibility to ensure your website includes the most up to date information for your patients to read. By carrying out your own monthly checks you will avoid any potential confusion or embarrasments. If you don’t have the time, appoint a dedicated member of staff to do it for you.
HOW DO I MAKE CHANGES TO MY WEBSITE?
If your website is built in a content management system, then you can make easy content changes using this facility. WordPress is a popular online management system which allows the owner of a website to update content anytime they like, any where in the world (provided they have internet access). Unfortunately, most website owners do not have the time learn the system nor do they have the time to update it. So the easiest option is to commission a monthly website maintenance plan from your website designers. This way you’ll have peace of mind knowing your website is fully operational plus you can instruct content changes when you want.
The downside of most content management systems is that they have design limitations and they take much longer to build a website. They are also time consuming to use when implementing dental SEO or carrying out maintenance tasks.
As experts in our field of web design and search engine optimisation, we always advise against opting for a CMS system. Unless you are wanting to build a website that sells lots of products daily, then it is not necessary. HTML is the universal website language and ideal for dental websites. It can be updated quickly and efficiently by your website professionals and at a lower cost.
Before making any updates to your website, beware that you could face an unexpected costly bill if you tried to update your website and mistakingly break some coding.
CHOOSING A WEB MAINTENANCE PLAN
Regular checks and maintenance are critical especially if you expect to rely on your new website to generate valuable enquiries. A website must always be maintained, updated and checked throughout its whole life.
The internet world is growing at a fast pace and your dental website is your business’s shop window. Search engines, directories, social media, mobile apps and offline advertising will all direct traffic to your website so patients can view it any time of day and from anywhere in the world. It will be the main source of income and the main hub for marketing your dental practice so you cannot ignore it.
In my opinion, the best solution is an all in package that contains website maintenance and search engine optimisation (SEO). This will ensure your website is checked, updated and found easily on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
If you have a WordPress website, it is essential to purchase a maintenance plan. WordPress uses many third party plugins which can stop working and may affect other aspects of your website too.
HTML websites are more reliable but can still use third party coding facilities. Nevertheless, all websites must be kept up to date as this is a GDPR requirement. Having worked on many websites over the past 20 years, I have witnessed many that have faltered for different reasons. There is nothing worse for a dental website when it has not received an enquiry for months due to a broken form, phone number or email link.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS
At design4dentists, we offer separate website maintenance plans and all in one dental SEO plans. For more information you can view our packages on the design4dentists website. Alternatively myself and my team of experts are available to speak to and can advise how you can make the most of your dental practice website. Simply call our SEO team on 01923 609770 if you would like more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Never let your website breakdown, it could seriously damage your wealth.
WHO AM I?
Alex Nicolaou is a Brand Designer and Advertising Strategist who partners with company directors, dentists, specialists and entrepreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands. Having 20 years experience in dental marketing and a total of 30 years designing and advertising in all industry sectors, Alex knows how to make your brand get noticed and communicate with your ideal target audience.
Alex has always been artistic, creative and passionate about art and design. His natural talent enabled him to develop his career working on blue chip accounts for successful London based advertising and marketing agencies. The skills learned and experienced gained placed him in good stead for running his own business which he has successfully managed and directed for 19 years.
His expertise has helped dental practices and other businesses to win national awards for design, branding and marketing. If you want your business to turn heads, he’s the man.