Why have a Web site?-Part 3

March 1, 2003
It's time to get moving on that new web site for your practice. After reading my last two columns, you should be ready and willing to get this project going.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD

It's time to get moving on that new web site for your practice. After reading my last two columns, you should be ready and willing to get this project going.

Let's begin with a checklist of steps you need to run through while designing your practice Web site:

• Visit other dentists' Web sites to view what your colleagues are doing with their Web sites.

• Develop a purpose for your Web site. Decide on the style for your page.

• Draw a diagram of how you want your site to be arranged; then, build a storyboard of your site. Draw a page for every page that will be on your site.

• Come up with site and domain names. This will be your URL (uniform resource locator) or your Internet "address." Make this something that can be easily identified with your practice, such as your name or the name of your practice. Keep it short and simple and easy to remember because it will become a major part of your image or branding strategy. It needs to be registered at a domain registration site.

• Design the main graphic that will highlight your site.

• Pick out background colors and textures for your site.

• Design your basic page elements.

• Put on some final finishing touches.

• Decide on photographs and graphics.

• Design places on site to get patient feedback.

• Upload and test your site.

• Register and advertise your site.

• Maintain your site.

Site maintenance is a very important step that often is overlooked. Make sure it is working properly. Add new articles, information, photographs, links, etc., as time goes on. You need to keep your site fresh and exciting. Do not think that once your site is online and functioning properly that you are done with your work. A Web site is an ongoing, work-in-progress project.
Some excellent web-authoring software packages are available for those who are inclined to do the designing and programming of their Web site on their own. Some of these include "Adobe Go Live," "Macromedia Dreamweaver," "NetscapeComposer,"and "Microsoft Front Page." These software packages can walk you through the design of a Web site, but the final products do appear standardized. My personal opinion is that you should leave this work to the experts, who produce a professional-looking and effective Web site for you.

What follows is a list of some of the companies that are great at working with dentists in developing high-quality Web sites. Contact them, view examples of their work, and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.

Internet Dental Alliance:www.internetdentalalliance.com
TNT Dental: www.tntden tal.com
Healthcare Web Image: www.healthcarewebimage.com
Curtis Group: www.curtis group.com
Einstein Dental: www.einstein dental.com
Dental Success Interactive: www.dentalsuccessinteractive.com
Dental Web Smith:www.den talwebsmith.com
Dentalogo: www.dentalogo.com
Excelident: www.excelident .com
Niche Agency: www.nicheagen cy.com/dental
Dentistinfo: www.dentistinfo .com
Dental 101: www.dental101. com

You can't go wrong with any of these companies! Keep in mind that this list is just the beginning of what you can find in cyberspace.

Don't sit around and think about this any longer. It is time to allow your practice to join in this world of cyberspace. In the next installment, I will discuss how to market your newly designed Web site.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by email at [email protected], by phone at (31•) 567-5612, or by fax at (31•) 567-90•7.

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