Optometric Management Tip # 295 - Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Practice Websites, Part 2
Chances are good that you already have a practice website, but if you don't or if
you would like to change some aspects of your current site, here are some ideas
Designing your website
While it's certainly possible to design and program your own website, the
computer code language that is used may be a little difficult to master for the
uninitiated. Besides that, a great website should have design elements that may
be best left to professionals. The primary language used in websites is called
HTML (hypertext markup language). Some commercially available software
programs (such as Microsoft Frontpage, Expression Web or SharePoint
Designer) are available to guide you through the web authoring process.
A far easier way to obtain your own website is to use a company that specializes
in web design. The services available from a website development firm range
from personalized work with an individual designer to complete self-service
where you just type your text into a template and upload your files for photos and
printed forms. You'll get more creative personalization and a more unique
website with the former, but you'll find a lower cost and possibly more control
with the latter.
There are many website design firms available to you. The list below contains
some companies that have experience creating websites for eye care
professionals but it is by no means exhaustive nor does inclusion constitute an
endorsement or recommendation. You should evaluate and select a company
that matches the needs of your practice.
What to look for in a web development company
Whether you use a local boutique web designer, a national firm specializing in
eye care web design, an Internet do-it-yourself company, a web template service
offered through a vision plan, or your brother-in-law who dabbles in computers,
be sure to insist that you have direct access to your website so you can make
changes easily by yourself. I think it's important to be able to log on to your
website file with a password and delete, change or add text and files. If the web
designer wants to assist you with every change or update, you'll find that you
avoid making changes because it's inconvenient and may trigger an additional
fee. You should own the website and have direct access to it yourself anytime
Here are some additional features to consider:
Website development firms
- Can you use your own domain name independently from the web hosting name?
- Can the web design firm host your site for you on its computer server and what is the cost for this service?
- Can you get hit statistics about your website?
- Does the firm offer features such as online contact lens ordering, appointment scheduling and office form completion?
- Is technical support available?
- Will the firm assist you if you wish to send emails to your patients?
This list is not exhaustive and inclusion is not an endorsement, but all of the
companies listed here have been used by eye care practitioners.
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management