Questions to Ask a Prospective Web Host
#2 – What will you be doing after my site goes live?
Most website hosts, especially discount providers, think their job is pretty much done when they launch your site. There was a time when simply having a website was all you needed. Today that is no longer the case. This reveals the critical distinction between a website sold as a product and a website provided as a service.
Websites sold as products tend to have a high set up fee and a low monthly hosting fee. Websites provided as a service tend to have a more modest set up fee and a higher hosting fee because of the ongoing effort needed to "work" your website after it's launched. Such as:
- Monitoring competitors – Other dentists in your area are vying for the same new patients you are. You thrust. They parry. They zig. You need to zag. It's a constant game of cat and mouse. Someone needs to be keeping an eye on competitors.
- Search engine optimization – As competitors jockey for the top positions on the search engines it requires a constant refinement of keywords, citation creation, directory additions and the monitoring of review sites. That's on top of keeping up with Google's constantly changing algorithm for local searches.
- Adding new content – All things being equal, Google and the others tend to favor websites that have more content, especially if they see that new content is constantly being added. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this. Who will be blogging on your behalf?
- Social media integration – It's clear that search engines include social media participation as one of the signals they use for ranking a website. Ignoring social media can cost you the competitive edge. Who will be making posts and tweets on your behalf?
- Sending patient newsletters – These days an online practice newsletter is a crucial way to increase patient engagement, improve retention, stimulate referrals and cultivate deeper, more influential relationships. Who will be writing and sending your monthly patient newsletters?
- Periodic design refreshes – As the Internet continues to evolve, the designs and capabilities that were on the cutting edge even just a year or two ago can quickly look tired and out of date. How will ongoing website makeovers be handled?