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Welcome this week's MMM! It today's episode, Xana Winans is spilling the beans on what it takes to build an effective website or find the right person to do it for you. She will be sharing five of her favorite nuggets of wisdom that can make all the difference. From maintaining a secure and unique domain, to keeping your content fresh and engaging, we've got you covered. Xana also dives into the hot topic of ADA compliance, working with freelancers, and making sure your patients have a pleasant experience on your website. If you're planning on building your website, or hiring someone to, stop right now, and listen in to these 5 essential tips first!
Catch my latest conversation with Xana for your website must-have checklist today!
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Michael: Hey Xana, so talk to us about websites. How can we utilize this, or what advice, suggestions, or methods can you give us that will help actually attract new patients through
Xana: our website? So websites, boy, one of my favorite topics to talk about Michael, um, because we get lots of calls from clients all the time, or prospective clients who are saying, okay, my website's really outdated, or I don't feel like I'm getting patients from my website.
I feel like I need a new one. And I think a lot of times doctors kind of go into the process of buying a new website from somebody or trying to build their own, but they don't actually know. What's the right way to do it? So while there are a million different things people need to know before they build a site, I thought maybe like, let me share some of what I would consider to be like the top five things you must know.
Mm-hmm. Before you build a website, whether you build it on your own, you're paying somebody else to build it. So first thing is the website domain. I am the biggest preacher about doctors need to own their own assets. So whether you're building it or you're paying somebody else to build it, doctors, you should own the domain.
You should own the login, the password. You should know exactly where it's stored. I can't tell you how many times I've had to hunt it down for people. Don't let another company, especially if you're working with a freelancer, like if you're trying to build it yourself, Register the domain for you because you could lose access to it.
I, I've seen some relationships go bad with other freelancers, and then somebody is holding essentially the keys to your marketing. They're holding it hostage. They can take the domain down if they want to, so gotta know where it lives. Gotta have complete ownership of it. If you have no idea what the status of your website is, there's actually a great site you guys can go to called Who is.com.
I don't know if you're familiar with that. Not really. Um, and you can type in any website address and it will tell you, um, if it's privately registered, you won't be able to see that much, but for most people, you'll be able to see who owns it, when it was originally registered, when it's due for renewal, if there's any other contacts on it.
Like, we'll be a technical contact on domains, just to make sure, like if things come up for renewal, that we know they're good to go. so yeah, that's a really, really big one in my mind because without a really good domain, your, your website doesn't exist. Mm-hmm. So there's one. the other thing that I think is really important to know before you build a site, whether you're building it on your own or you're paying somebody else to build it, is understand what platform the website is built on.
So I'll give you a great example. I have a client right now who, um, has a, a nice website, pretty well optimized, being built or has been built recently built by, A whole nother company in the dental marketing industry. I have no problem with what that person did in building the site. The problem is it is a proprietary backend, meaning that that website can never leave That company's.
grasp. So if you, as a doctor wanted to take your website and move it to a different host or have somebody else do your seo, you're stuck. You have to build a brand new website from scratch. So you need to know that you are building your website on something that you can take with you. Because otherwise, you know, you could be a year into a relationship, wanna move on, and you're kind of stuck and you gotta do it all over again.
And you know what goes into building a website, you, you sure don't wanna have to do that every single year. Yeah. Would
Michael: that also include like, oh man, now I also have completely change a whole different like U R L domain name and everything, or.
Xana: No, you can typical, well, if you have access to your own domain name and you're the owner of it, then you can, um, redirect to a new website when you've built it.
But you can't take the website from the company who built it. If it's a proprietary, software. Like, I'll give you an example. I think, um, ProSites does this, and that wasn't the company I was talking about. I believe Sesame does this. there's a couple of kind of the template companies and, and so you're kind of stuck.
So personally, we build on WordPress. It's universally considered like the most popular platform to build on. It's got the most flexibility. But if you're building on Wix, that's fine. Just know that you're always gonna have to host your website on Wix for the rest of your life. Yeah. Otherwise you gotta build a new one.
Michael: Gotcha, gotcha. And if Wix goes outta business, then like, okay, there goes your whole thing right. At the same time.
Xana: Gotcha. Well hopefully they're not going out of business. Yeah. Yeah.
Michael: Okay. Awesome. So number
Xana: three. Number three is security and ADA accessibility. Uh, your website being secure on a secure hosting platform is critical.
there are a lot of hackers out there who would love to get into your website. Uh, magically make it redirect to a very questionable website that might be selling drugs in another country, or even worse. And they will hold your website hostage. So you have to have your website hosted with an incredibly secure host and use an S L or security http version so that nobody can hack your site.
It's also a really good signal for Google in terms of SEO that it's a secure site. and kind of right along with that is making sure that the site is ADA accessible. So have you heard all those stories that have been going around the past couple? Mm-hmm. About. Legal firms that are claiming your website is an American with Disabilities Act accessible.
Yeah, Uhhuh, there's actually only like four, I believe four firms in the entire country that do this. They're responsible for all the lawsuits and it is not coming from an actual disabled person who can't use your website. So these. Very shady law firms are finding every website that is not built to ada, uh, specific, code.
And they're basically sending threatening letters saying, we're gonna sue you. And they are hitting the doctors up for a couple thousand dollars to basically make the lawsuit go away. Wow. Okay. Isn't that awful? That's pretty bad. Yeah. Yeah, so there's just, you gotta know if you're building it on your own, there's some options you can use.
Like accessibility is an option. It's basically a plugin that helps make sure it's, um, ADA accessible. There's a couple other versions, but that's a big one. You gotta know, or guaranteed those law firms are coming after every single dental website in time. So
Michael: how can you, right now, if we were, we're like, okay, is it ADA compliant?
I don't know. How do we tell.
Xana: so if you don't know, I would go to your website host and ask them if it is ADA accessible. I know there are testing platforms out there. I don't happen to know one off the top of my head. I can send it to you. but most people's websites are not truly ADA accessible, so ADA accessible basically means.
people need to be able to read it with a, a reader if they are visually impaired, that your images are named the right thing. That, uh, there's just all these criteria that go into it. So I'd say talk to your website company who built it, and, um, make sure that you are compliant as best as humanly possible.
It's not so much just for your actual patients, but to protect you from these crazy
Michael: lawsuits. Gotcha. Okay. Okay. So make sure you have security and ADA compliance, right? Yeah. That's number,
Xana: those three. That's number three. Uh, Fourth big thing everybody has got to know is once you build your website, I have seen plenty of doctors and freelancers build sites using WordPress templates.
There's themes out there. I think there's even one called like theme forest. You can go in and there's. Thousands of website designs, which makes it really easy to build a website. But a lot of these websites use plugins so that the plugin might make it a d a accessible, or it might make it so that your videos, play properly or that your images work on a slider.
The thing is, all these plugins go through updates, so. And they don't do them automatically most of the time. So somebody, either you or your web company needs to be staying on top of those updates because all of a sudden you'll have like a broken section in your website that just isn't working anymore.
So if you're building it on your own, know that you gotta be maintaining your plugins. And it's not just WordPress plugins are pretty much on all websites. Yeah. Okay.
Michael: So be on top of the plugins.
Xana: Out of the plugins. Okay. And then the last thing I think everybody needs to know before they build a new website is, who the heck is writing this thing?
if you're doing a template, there's a lot of prefab content, which is great, it kind of gets you started. But Google is not a fan of duplicate content, so your page on fillings is gonna be the exact same as everybody else's page on fillings who uses the same template company. So unless you really like writing, you are gonna want to pay somebody else to write the website.
So make sure you know upfront is the expectation that it's your job, the doctor to write a 25 or 30 page website, which holy cow is a lot. Or is it part of the contract with the company that you're paying for? And, um, and making sure that they get your voice and your personality in your, you know, in your brand that comes through in that content and that it's written for s e o.
So that's just a few of the things I think that people need to know before they go building a new website. Yeah.
Michael: On the number five, What do you, what have you seen work better? Because I've seen people talk about, like, as in they're mentioning like, I love my community and I love this, but then I also see people say like, oh, Dr.
Like Dr. Zana loves her community. She loves like a third person. Mm-hmm. What is, uh, what have you seen, like has been received better?
Xana: unless the doctor is personally writing the site, I wouldn't go first person. I, it feels super informal, which is great from a reader perspective. but that personality has to come through in the practice when they walk in the front door.
and there's also kind of this mix between writing for the search engines, using the right keyword phrases, using them with the right amount of density on a given page. and, and if unless you're trained in writing for seo, you might spend a lot of time writing the website and just not have it be valuable in terms of bringing new patients in the door, cuz you just don't know Google's rules for where they want the keywords to appear.
But I will tell you, I, there's a, a doctor that I know from years ago, um, and, and I don't have his name off the top of my head. He actually has a practice in, Australia. And he wrote his website, first person, and he's got this great dry sense of humor and you see it coming through in the website and it's just a joy to read because it's fun.
And that's a gift. Not a lot of people are able to share that type of personality through their site. Um, when you can, if you're, if you're someone who's got that, I absolutely encourage it cuz people are just gonna gravitate to that. They get to see you and your brand. Gotcha.
Michael: Okay. And then on number three, with the plugins, how often do you see like plugins, ODed, go out and need updating?
Xana: On a regular basis?
Michael: Like? Like weekly or, or daily
Xana: even, or? No, no, not daily. I generally say like it's a good idea once a month. Mm-hmm. Minimum once a quarter that you're logging into the backend of your website, and it'll typically give you a notification if there's a plugin that's out of date. And then you have to agree whether or not you wanna approve that plugin.
And it comes kind of up to date. But then you still need to check the site and make sure that it didn't do anything wonky. Cause you don't wanna spend, you know, three months with your, your homepage video not being able to play because some plugin was broken. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. So good idea to check on it once a month ideally.
Michael: So are these the things like that. Consider, like we need to continue to optimize or like, you know what I mean, be on top of your website.
Xana: Um, this isn't even so much about the SEO and you know, your ability to be found. It's, this is about having a good experience as the consumer. So kind of that end user experience.
What are they seeing on your end? But also you as the doctor, the owner of the website. This is a really important asset, your brand and your message. You gotta make sure that you feel like it is a good reflection of you and that you, you understand what you're buying. Because the website is not just pretty pictures, it's about educating your patients and motivating them towards taking action.
Michael: Okay. Is there anything we can say to, I guess, like a agency to be like, is this a proprietary. Uh, you know what I mean? Or is it, or is there like a specific, is that the phrase right there? Proprietary? Like is this a proprietary website or is this a template website or?
Xana: Um, so what I would say is, um, one of the questions you need to ask is if I decide that we no longer work together, once my website is built, do I own this website?
Can I move it to any host that I want to? Um, and they'll, they might give you a little bit of a run around. So you can also add in, you know, is this a proprietary content management system? So content management system, c m s is the, the backend where you log in and you could edit a bio or, you know, edit some content about a service.
Uh, that's a really, really important one. Now if you like your template and it's dirt cheap and you know you don't mind keeping it there for a couple of years, that's fine. It's totally okay. You should just be making an educated decision before you commit.
Michael: Ah, okay. Awesome, Xana, I appreciate your time and if anyone has further questions, you can definitely find her on the Dental Marketer Society Facebook group, or where can they reach out to you
Uh, best thing is just to go to our website, which is golden proportions.com, um, and you can click on the chat button. It's pretty much monitored, um, all throughout the business day, but shockingly, I take a lot of chats on the weekends too. Um, and you can also just give us a call directly, the numbers on the website.
We would love to chat with you.
Michael: Awesome guys. So all her contact info's gonna be in the show notes below. And Xana, thank you for being with me on this Monday morning marketing episode. My
Xana: pleasure. Thanks Michael.