Doctors and other health professionals are beginning to realize that a practice website is important, not just for marketing but also for online reputation management, patient education and engagement, and meeting the needs of younger, healthier patients who can help keep your practice profitable. Once you’ve decided that you need a practice website, one of the essential choices is what platform to build it on.
Here at Haden Interactive, we’re a WordPress shop. We believe, on the basis of extensive experience, that WordPress is an excellent choice for medical practice websites. But we also know that many healthcare professionals have concerns about using WordPress. Let’s examine some of those concerns.
Concerns about WordPress
We work with a therapist who has a SquareSpace website, because it was easier for her to build on her own. We heard someone say at our last WordPress meetup that SquareSpace is popular because you can make your website look the way you want it to look.
Here’s something important you should know: the way your website looks is not the most important thing about your website.
We build beautiful websites and that’s important to us, but the most important thing about your website is how it performs. A website that looks good and doesn’t perform well is not actually useful for your practice. If you build a website by dragging things around till they look good, you may not have considered the most important aspects of your website.
This usually means that you shouldn’t be building your own website yourself. If professional help is not in the budget right now, figure out how to get it into the budget in the near future.
Another concern about WordPress websites is the fear that they are less secure than… and here the sentence usually ends, because this is a fear based on false premises. 40% of all the websites in the known universe are built on WordPress. A lot of them are DIY and are not very secure. So yeah, you probably have a friend or a friend of a friend with a WordPress website that got hacked. WordPress websites are not inherently less secure than any other kind of website. Read more about WordPress security.
The myth of WordPress
The story is that anyone can build and maintain a WordPress website with no training, no tech skills, no design resources, and no worries. In ten minutes. Less if they’re kids.
I’ve had students set up WordPress.com blogs in the classroom, and at least half of the average freshman class can indeed get their blog up and running within a single class period. That is not the same as the myth of WordPress.
- A WordPress.com blog is not the same as a professional practice website. It has a different goal and will get different results.
- A quick install and choosing a theme doesn’t include SEO, digital marketing, HIPAA compliance, effective content that is valuable for your patients, original graphics, or functionality for your office needs (such as linking to your patient portal, appointment booking, ecommerce, job posting, and so forth).
- The quality of the content and design of your private or classroom blog is not important in the same way that the quality of your professional practice website is.
WordPress does require some skills and/or training if you want to use it effectively. We’re happy to provide WordPress training. We’ve found that it’s easier for our clients who want to be hands-on with their websites to use WordPress than to use other platforms. They’re successful more often.
That doesn’t mean that they don’t need web professionals. It does mean that they can divide the labor up if they feel like it. They can get into their websites and make minor changes when they feel like it. And they don’t have to compromise on quality as they might have to with some other platforms.
WordPress offers some significant benefits:
- Because it’s easy to use, you can keep it up to date in-house, or your web people can make changes more quickly and therefore more cost-effectively.
- WordPress is much more than a blogging platform, but since it started out that way, it’s excellent for blogging. Blogging is the best thing you can do for your website’s SEO.
- WordPress has a library of plugins that allow you to have functionality at your website that can be very expensive if you have to hire a developer to build it.
- WordPress is built with SEO in mind.
- WordPress is so popular and has so much excellent support that you are likely to be able to find help for your website easily. Hiring a support staff person with WordPress experience is much easier than finding one who’s skilled with Joomla.
We hope that this information helps you make the decision. We’ll be happy to discuss the issue with you further if you need more information, or ask a question in the comments.