Recently we’ve had an experience that has left us feeling somewhat nauseated for a bunch of healthcare practices. In trying to assist a could-be client with some issues on their existing website, it came to our attention that their website issues had been somewhat overstated by their current developer, who also hosts the website. The client was told that all their issues were the result of the underlying infrastructure – which they weren’t – and could really only be fixed by paying a significant sum for a completely new website. We asked the client if they could get a backup of their website, which we installed on a development server into a similar infrastructure as the original site, and in under 20 minutes after simply installing some updates and adding a functional Google Maps API key, the site was fully functional. Ironically, installing those updates is supposed to be part of the service for which the client is paying. The really nauseating part? Well, it would appear this same treatment has been metered out to a significant number of other clients, most of whom are completely oblivious to the fact. Hmmm.
Editor’s Note: The unfortunate part of this kind of behaviour is there is nothing much an outsider can do. Our “Anti Spam” laws in Australia prevent us from contacting these practices via email to let them know what is happening. Phoning seems to be blocked by the “receptionist firewall”. So to a large extent, our hands are tied. All we could do was touch base with a few practitioners with whom we already had contact through other channels, and offer to fix their issues. It would, therefore, appear that companies are seemingly getting away with this kind of behaviour unfettered.
So, in this article, we’ll explore a few of the ways you can determine if your web developer is looking out for you, or mostly their bank account.
The question is, how well do you know your healthcare website provider? How long have they REALLY been in the game of helping Healthcare Practices with their internet presences? Have they been around in the industry for a while, or are they just claiming to have developed a lot of healthcare websites when, realistically, they’ve built very few if any? The challenge for you as a healthcare practice owner, not a web developer, is knowing if you’re being “played”. So here are a few things you can look out for…
The Jargon Test
This is something you probably should be doing before engaging anyone to build your healthcare practice website.
If your provider claims to have been around the healthcare industry for a while, try the jargon test on them. Get them on the phone and start using some of YOUR industry jargon. Not the really meaty stuff, just a few terms that you know someone familiar with the healthcare industry will understand, but will leave a layperson looking like a tree full of owls. If you get a long pause on the phone or their response suggests they’re doing a quick Google search, chances are they really have very little experience with the requirements or laws surrounding regulated healthcare advertising. Ultimately, that could land you in trouble.
Things that did work, suddenly don’t
One of the sure signs that things aren’t quite right is issues suddenly arising that weren’t there before. I’m not talking about having just one minor glitch because a “plugin” was updated on your WordPress website and that update caused issues with something else on the site. Those kinds of issues happen regularly. But they’re one-offs. And in just about every case, they can be fixed pretty quickly. If you have a managed hosting package like those offered by us here at ClinicBeat, those issues will, in most cases, be fixed before you even know they exist.
The types of issues that should raise your eyebrows are ones that weren’t there previously, have suddenly appeared, seem, even to a layperson, like they should be a relatively easy fix, but for whatever reason, you’re being told just can’t possibly be fixed without you paying for a full overhaul of the website.
Frankly, in nearly every case that is bunkum … as it was in the recent case I mentioned at the outset.
Pushing new services you didn’t seem to need before
We all know SEO is important for a website, right? What if I told you there are different types of SEO that are relevant depending on a whole range of factors; that not every business needs the full gamut of SEO services? And, indeed, some don’t really need any active SEO! In some cases, you’d be much better served spending your hard-earned on promotional services such as social media marketing (SMM).
Has your provider suddenly started trying to push SEO services onto you, despite you being only a small Practice, with little competition in your local area? If so, beware!
The thing is, Google wants local businesses to rank well, yours included. It benefits the claims they make about their search engine. Think about it logically. If the only results returned on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) were for big businesses that can afford to spend lots of money on SEO services, who would want to use Google? So, as a “rule of thumb”, if you are a small business servicing a particular area, and you set up your website to tell that story, to clearly define what it is that you do, to provide good information to your (potential) clients in your service area, Google will rank you well. It really is that simple. There are some methods – not “tricks” – to doing this well. The only “trick” is to ensure those methods are integrated into the website to start with. If your provider is wanting to put you onto some additional SEO plan, do some research before signing up to anything. You might just be spending money unnecessarily.
Here at ClinicBeat, we’ve been working hard on a new concept in Healthcare websites. A full-featured, results-oriented platform for creating your engaging healthcare web presence, called Insites. While every business is different, we’re confident that Insites will deliver good results for just about any sized healthcare clinic.
You’re being told essentials will cost you more
There are a number of “essentials” when it comes to your website. For example, as I write this article, we’re past the half-way point of 2018. It has been more than two years since Google stipulated that websites should … no MUST have SSL certificates, to avoid ranking penalties. So by now, every healthcare practice website should be sporting the green padlock in the address bar, showing that it has a valid SSL Certificate; that any data transmitted to and from that website, is securely encrypted to avoid issues such as identity theft and email account hacking. SSL Certificates are also now freely available. With their installation being so trivial, there is absolutely no reason why any website on any kind of managed service plan, shouldn’t have this functionality.
Does yours? If you navigate to your website in your browser, do you see the green “Secure” with a padlock at the start of the address in the address bar of your browser? If not, have you asked your provider why not? In our experience, there is nothing that prevents this from happening. We’ve heard some great excuses given to clients as to why it supposedly can’t be done on their site, but in EVERY case, they indeed were just excuses. Most of them with a price tag attached – “oh, we can fix it, and this is how much it will cost you.”
Here at ClinicBeat, all our hosting packages include free SSL certificates. Green padlocks are for everyone!
Hmm, some of this sounds familiar! What can I do?
One thing you definitely do NOT want to do is sign up for anything new that you are being told you need to do, to rectify these issues, without first getting a second opinion. I know medical practitioners often don’t like the “I need a second opinion” line, but in this case, do it. We can do a check of your website to quickly determine if there are clearly visible issues that should be fxied. To request a check, simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
Also, consider that our ClinicBeat healthcare website hosting packages are probably not only better value than what you’re currently paying, but we also offer free transfers* of your existing website, and in most cases, the above issues, plus a few others like slow loading time, are rectified while we transfer the site to our state-of-the-art hosting servers. Once we have your exiting website on a better hosting platform with the current issues fixed, if you wish we can then discuss moving your site to a new and significantly better Insites clinic website package with very little, if any, change to your monthly outlay.