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Monday, June 15, 2015

Is a template website design right for your hospital?

Sherilee Coffey, Director of Creative Operations

Budget is an important concern for most healthcare marketers who need a redesign for their hospital's website.

That's why stock website templates can be so tempting.

Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace and Wix promise DIY template websites that are quick and easy to set up and cost less to create than custom website designs.

Using a website template can be a great idea in some cases. But there are some significant drawbacks to using a stock template for your hospital or health organization's website. It's likely that these drawbacks will make using a template more costly for your hospital or health organization in the long term than if you had gone with a custom website design.

Here's a look at a few of these potential drawbacks.

Limited website customization

Stock templates are great for websites, like blogs, that have a single purpose and don't require a lot of customization to meet your needs. If you're simply plugging in content, a template can be a good choice.

Your hospital or health organization's website is more complex than this, though.

Features like provider search, event sign-up and online bill pay all require complex database integration and user interface designs that match the unique requirements of your organization. These features also have to be built in a manner that allows them to grow and evolve as needed over time.

Customizing a stock template to meet these types of needs can require a lot of additional development time.

Poor website performance

Stock templates are built for mass production, rather than for your hospital's specific needs. Because of this, they often contain features and plugins that are aimed at reaching the widest audience possible. It can be difficult—or, in some cases, impossible—to turn off unneeded features without significantly altering the website template. As a result, you may end up with code that isn't clean or efficient. This can slow your website down and contribute to problems such as decreased search engine performance and a poor experience for healthcare consumers who visit the site on mobile devices and tablets.

If you choose to develop a custom website for your hospital, your vendor should optimize the code for your needs, so there's nothing unnecessarily slowing the website down.

Security concerns

Stock website templates are often built around components and 3rd-party plugins. This approach is part of what makes them cost-effective. But it also poses potential security risks. Hackers may see a 3rd-party plugin as an opportunity to take down a lot of websites at once.

Lack of ongoing support

Another issue related to 3rd-party plugins is the work needed to keep them up-to-date. That kind of necessary ongoing maintenance isn't always included with stock website templates.

Do you need a website redesign quote?

Coffey Communications has been building award-winning hospital and health plan websites for years. We understand the unique needs of healthcare organizations and their audiences. We invite you to learn more about our website design and development services.

If you're ready to get a quote on a redesign of your hospital's website, call 888.805.9101 or email us.


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