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Your Practice Website: DIY or call in an expert? That depends on how much you like wine!

Posted in Web Sites @ Sep 9th 2012 9:27pm - By Ali Burden-Blake from Ali B's Vet Marketing School
Websites with WOW Reduced

I think it’s fairly obvious that the internet is well and truly here to stay.  Well I hope so ‘cause I get cold sweats having to go for just a day or two without access, the thought of no longer being able to connect with my friends and family from behind my desk, do my shopping (okay... buy wine) and research something at the drop of a hat by jumping onto Google, makes me feel ill!

I realise that not everyone feels the same way, but there are an awful lot of people out there that do! So using the internet for one reason or another, has become an everyday occurrence in many homes. That means that each time someone hops onto Google to research a purchase, or connect with a friend they are being exposed to dozens of new websites. Now call me daft, but I reckon that makes the general public as a whole, a connoisseur of websites. You see, if you were to taste a range of different wines each day you’d quickly become somewhat of an expert in what was good and what wasn’t (there’s that wine thing again!).

So you may have already figured out that you have a number of options when it comes to creating, revamping or just plain updating your practice website (and no, not having a website isn’t an option!), you can go online and choose from any number of free do-it-yourself options like Google Sites, Wordpress.com, Weebly.com, Wix.com, Moonfruit.com, to name but a few, or you can spend some money and call in an expert.

With such great content management systems out there these days you really don’t need to be able to code in order to build a website.  Many of the options will walk you through the process completely visually, hell I saw an ad on the TV the other night for a hosting company that even gives you ‘industry specific text’ for your website! Yeah ‘cause that’s a great idea! Have the same text as 2000 other veterinary websites out there and not only is it not portraying your practice, but Google will come down on you like a ton of bricks! Funny, the ad left that bit out.

But if budget is your only concern and you have loads of time on your hands and your website doesn’t really have to do any work to bring in any new clients, then go for it! 

The thing is though, I haven’t met a practice-owning vet yet that’s told me they have loads of spare time and more than enough clients (if you do and you have, please contact me!)

You see I always believe that you get what you pay for (mostly), and although you may not be shelling out cash for your website, believe me you will be paying for it somewhere - time, energy, fewer new clients, no leads, take your pick.

So although I reckon you’d probably be able to do a fairly decent job using a freebie site builder, here’s the thing, some people are pretty good at making wine at home, but if you were entering a contest with your wine, against some of the best in the world, that everyone else could taste at will, well.....

I reckon I’d be calling in the expert wine-maker. (Alright, enough with the wine analogy!)

There are a few things that you get when you call in an expert - or should I say, the right expert. One of them is knowledge, you get to find out from someone who knows the veterinary market what works, what doesn’t and how you can get a website that is not only good-looking, but has all the key elements in it that help to make it user friendly, lead-collecting, useful, interactive and easily found! The other is time. Time to keep being a vet.

The importance of being able to include, and best showcase all of the elements that Craig mentioned in last week’s post (Top 5 Client Requirements from their Veterinary Practice's Website): quick contact, access everywhere, showing the practice team, speciality services and confidence should never be over-looked. Your clients and potential clients are likely research monsters and website connoisseurs, they want to be able to see who you are, what you look like, what you can do and whether they like you and how to reach you, all in about 7 seconds flat, from anywhere - make sure that you don’t disappoint them! Oh and you’ll never know if you do, because they’ll just never call you, they’ll call the next local vet that they do like the look of.

So whether you choose to build it yourself or you choose to bring in an expert, make sure that at the end of the day you can hold your website up to internet-land and be proud of it because it reflects your practice ethos and it works damn hard at bringing in clients for you.

How did your current website come into existence and is it working for you? Feedback always welcomed in the comments.

Ali-B is a woman on a mission!  Having realised that many vets were missing out on the practice growth that social media and good solid traditional marketing can bring when done correctly, she has set out to help vets to get both right.

Ali-B's Vet Marketing School is THE online home for vets and practice managers wanting to learn how to make their marketing most effective, how to get the best out of social media and to discuss what's working and what's not with Ali and other vets from across the world.

Many side effects of joining the Vet Marketing School include better sleep, more quality time to spend with family or on hobbies and great holidays!*

*obviously due to your practice's growth! 

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