Custom-Built Websites Versus Stock Themes: What You Need to Know About WordPress Sites
You’ve decided you need a website for your medical or dental practice—great call. The next step is to find an online marketing firm that can help create a site that gives you the aesthetics and functionality you desire. Some agencies may offer to design and build your practice website from scratch, and others may suggest a template or stock theme to save money or time. This is an important crossroads—how this decision is presented to you can reveal much about a company. Furthermore, the choice you make can either give you significant control over the outcome or frustrate you with severely limited options. It can sound confusing at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the need-to-know facts in plain English.
Pressure Is Good for Diamonds, Not So Much for Proposals
First and foremost, if a marketing firm pressures you to go with a stock theme on WordPress (one of the most popular platforms for developing websites), do not pass go; do not collect $200; move directly to the next company on your list and try again. Also, companies aren’t always quick to inform you that they’re using a template, so it never hurts to be proactive and ask (one tip-off: Is their quote well below comparables? Find out why). Built-in themes can seem enticing, but you should know you’re exchanging a potential price break or a quicker turnaround for digital handcuffs. This may make you happy in the short term, but the likelihood of future obstacles is high and such simplicity doesn’t present a very good long-term option for optimizing your site.
More Templates, More Problems
Some people are content with pre-set themes, but there are significant limitations with template websites: they can restrict your customization options, usually cannot be transferred (so if you change marketing companies or platforms, you may have to start the web-building process from scratch), and are often prone to security issues. Additionally, one-size-fits-all themes can be overloaded with buggy plugins that slow down your site, especially if the template is outfitted with old, outdated code. This can negatively impact your ability to rank, not to mention drive away Internet visitors who are known for having notoriously short attention spans. Be an informed buyer and don’t settle for mass-produced; create a product that’s true to you, your practice, and your expertise.
Another problem you may run into when you opt for a stock WordPress site is the likely possibility that scores of other users are using the same theme. Google doesn’t necessarily penalize your site for looking identical to another, but this uniformity can hurt your ability to be trusted—by both the search engine and your visitors. This is especially true if your medical website design shares the same theme as spam sites or low-value sites, which can negatively associate your practice with a format that, from experience, visitors may assume offers a poor user experience. Google favors robust, high-quality sites with strong branding—characteristics that may not be easily attainable with a mass template.
Personalization and the Pursuit of Excellence
Okay, so you decided to go with a custom-built WordPress site. Now you’re in the clear, right? Well, not necessarily. Just as physicians require experience on top of extensive education to achieve exceptional results, your marketing team also needs skill honed over time to capably build and manage a customized medical website. Rosemont Media’s adept group of digital architects has a deep appreciation for technical best practices. In turn, they can help you achieve a site that’s not just visually appealing, not just easily navigable, and not just informative; but all that plus premium visibility in its online marketplace. Don’t settle for standardized. Come see what uncompromising customization can do for you by contacting us today.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on May 19, 2016.