There are over a billion websites on the internet worldwide. A website has become a necessity for every type of care provider whether you are in healthcare, long term care, or assisted living. A care provider’s website is most often viewed by individuals. Sometimes it could be visited by even another business. You want to help them learn lots of things about your organization. For sure the viewer would like to know about your services, amenities, and probably something about your team of professionals, where you’re located, and how they can contact you. There can be a large variety of features and functionality in websites, but you must be able to answer a very basic question. What do I want my website to do for me? Do they have a problem that I can help them solve?
Your answers will get you thinking about more questions that need answering. Eventually you will come up with a list of features and content that are needed to communicate the purpose of your website.
If you have been surfing the web and looking at many care provider websites, you will have concluded that not all websites are alike. Below is a description of common types of website solutions:
A CMS website was developed so that the end-user can manage the content of their website. The concept is that there is already a structure or an “admin back end” created for the website. The user can log into the back end of the website as the administrator of the account. There the user will find menus and components that will allow the admin to configure the CMS. You can have additional users that can also have access to parts or all of the website. There also security settings that should be used to help avoid unauthorized users access to the website. In the admin area you can even use prebuilt templates for page layouts or if you prefer, customize your layouts for a unique look or a special purpose.
The basic CMS website software has to be installed on a large computer called a web server. After it is installed you will have the ability to log into the admin area of software and make changes or edits to the website. It is designed to help the website manager maintain their content, add placeholders for graphics and images, etc. You can also do more advanced changes to the website like creating more pages and installing “plug-ins” for added features like, blogs, calendars, and forms, just to name a few. You will likely need to learn the “how-to’” to do these more technical administrative functions. You can find help from tutorials on the internet, videos on YouTube, perhaps a user’s group online or in your area. Your other option is that you can hire a professional to build your CMS for you. Once it is built and fully functional, then you can take responsibility for it and manage it yourself.
A layout of content on web pages will determine where text, images, etc. are placed. You can purchase a template for your CMS or your layout can be constructed by a web designer one component at a time. There are best practices to learn more about web page layouts. You could learn about the dos and don’ts of website layouts by searching for more information on the topic.
A template for your CMS is often purchased for a small fee and then installed as part of your CMS software. A template is designed by someone else and is sold to lots of other people. There may be another company you know may also be using the same template that you are. If you choose to use templates, there is no way to control who else might be using the same template that you are.
The other option is to hire someone who has knowledge and experience to design the layout for you. In contrast to a template, a custom layout will be specific and unique to you and your needs. You can think of it like buying a cabin. You can buy a floor plan book for cabins and lake homes and use a contractor to build you one that you found in the book, or you can sit down with a contractor and tell him what you want and he will build it for you and to your specifications.
If you do a little research you will conclude that a custom-built website is a better choice, but it will be more expensive than the cost of simply buying templates website. Custom design gives you a marketing advantage over your competition. Most care provider organizations want to be recognized as different and unique from their competition. When you are seen differently from other care providers, you give your potential new patients or residents compelling reasons to pick your organization over someone else.
An alternative to selecting a CMS website is to have a website designed and developed by a website company. Custom built websites might limit some of your editing ability, but you will get your website project completed faster and get a website just the way you want it. If you want to make changes to the website you will need to submit your changes to the web developer. They in turn will make the changes for you. One significant advantage with a custom-built website is that you will not have the technical learning compared to becoming proficient using a CMS. Using web service companies is much the same as using a lawyer, contractor, or a banker. They are all specialized in their field, can help out whenever needed and it will be done right.
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