Let’s face it. Rarely does someone wake up and say, “You know what? I’m going to rebuild my healthcare practice’s website.” That’s because the process can be confusing, time-consuming, and in some cases, really expensive.
However, in today’s competitive landscape, your website is the foundation for your practice’s online presence and usually the first interaction a prospective patient has with your brand.
That means it’s critically important that your website connects with your target audience, positions your practice the right way, and provides a great user experience.
If you are considering a website rebuild and talking with different providers, you will inevitably encounter a company that will have the “answer” to ALL of your problems – their proprietary Content Management System (CMS). And they’ll typically position it as an “industry-specific” solution or “all-in-one website marketing system.”
In reality, it may be a solution that will end up causing you nothing but heartache and more money in the long run. We speak with healthcare practices regularly who have fallen victim to this trap.
Choosing the Best CMS for your Practice's Website
Choosing the right CMS for your website may not seem like a big deal but it’s a HUGE deal. In fact, it’s one that could not only impact your website but your overall marketing efforts! There are two main types of CMS platforms.
LET'S DISCUSS YOUR WEBSITE
Here are several reasons you may not want to choose a proprietary CMS for your practice.
You’ll have limited control over and access to the back-end of your website.
With a proprietary CMS, you will have limited access to the back-end of the website. You may be thinking, “I’m not a website developer, nor do I have time to mess with that stuff, so I don’t need access to the back-end of the website.”
If you’ve selected a website that’s on a proprietary CMS, chances are you are out of luck. Your website vendor may not grant access for your digital marketing company to place tags like Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, and in our experience when they will accommodate, it’s like pulling teeth just to get it done. What these proprietary website vendors will do is tell you they can handle your marketing, essentially locking you into the “marketing” solution they offer.
You’ll likely have limited functionality, features, and access to updates.
Proprietary CMS platforms are owned and managed by a single company or group of web developers and typically “locked-down” to outside integrations. This allows these proprietary providers to maintain complete control over the website. Their lockdown significantly reduces website features, functionality, and even key updates that may need to be implemented. You won’t be able to access the 1000’s of plugins that are typically available for an open-source CMS like WordPress. You will be at the mercy of the web developers who own the CMS.
It’s risky business. What happens if your vendor with a proprietary CMS loses key web developers or even worse, goes out of business?
If you’re on a proprietary CMS, you’re stuck and will more than likely have to rebuild your website from scratch. If you want to avoid that sunk cost and frustration, you may want to avoid choosing a proprietary CMS solution.
You may not own your own website.
This is a big one. Your website should be a company-owned asset. However, with a proprietary CMS, you run the risk of losing access and ownership of your content and your website design should you decide to move to another website vendor. We see this same scenario play out over and over again with new clients. If you don’t want to be “held hostage”, you need to avoid this type of “partner” arrangement.
The switching costs may be high.
Some of the “benefits” proprietary website vendors tout are “low upfront costs” and convenient monthly subscription fee billing.
That may sound good at first glance but what if you decide you want to change vendors? As referenced above, if you don’t own the design, content, or images, then you have two options: (1) stay with the current vendor or (2) completely rebuild your website. Neither are good options. If the initial website investment is a concern for you, keep in mind that there are providers who build on an open-source CMS who will also offer monthly payment options.
What's our advice? Ask tough questions.
In closing, don’t be afraid to ask your website developer tough questions to ensure you’re choosing the right developer and CMS platform. Some great questions to ask during diligence could be;
- Will you be building on an open source platform or a proprietary platform?
- If I want to do digital marketing with another company, will they have access to place code for tracking and make UI updates for conversion optimization?
- If I wanted to, could I log in and make some quick text or image updates?
- Do I own the website? And if I don’t, when will I?
At Bell Media, we believe clients should own their websites. That’s why we power our builds with open-source CMS, specifically WordPress. And if you are looking for a monthly payment option, we got you covered there as well. Contact us today for a free consultation.