The Coffey Blog
How to choose a company to build your hospital's website
Eric Dutton, Business Development Consultant
So, you've decided that your hospital or health organization needs a new website. Now you need to choose a website development agency to build it.
You have a lot of options and a lot of factors to consider when making your choice. Here are some questions that can help you find an agency that is the best possible match for your project.
Does the agency's approach match your goals?
There are a lot of ways to build a website. You'll want to work with an agency whose general approach fits your hospital's needs and goals.
For example, if you're looking to build a large, feature-laden site, you can probably rule out freelancers who build basic sites with software like WordPress or those who propose building your site using a stock template.
Does the agency specialize in healthcare?
Choosing an agency that has a healthcare focus will help ensure that the team you work with understands the ins and outs of HIPAA and other issues that are important to a health organization.
Has the agency built websites for other hospitals and health plans?
Take the time to look into the track records of the agencies you are considering. Have they built websites that are similar to what your hospital or health plan needs? Do their clients enjoy working with them? Do they deliver on time and on budget?
Can the agency help you with content for your hospital's website?
Quality content is essential to the success of your new website. In most cases, simply moving content from your old website to your new one isn't the best option. If you choose a website design agency that doesn't offer content strategy and search engine optimization (SEO) services, you'll want to make sure those needs are met elsewhere. But choosing an agency that does design and content can help streamline your site build.
Does the agency communicate well with you?
Website development is complicated. You may understand a lot about it or very little. Either way, it's important to choose an agency that will communicate well with you and help you make the best possible decisions.
Choose an agency whose people take the time to ask questions about your hospital's needs and can explain why they recommend a certain approach.
Avoid agencies that try to push particular technologies or features on you or that make unsupported recommendations and marketing claims.
Does the agency emphasize user experience?
The success of your new hospital website will be determined by how well it meets the needs of your audience. So user experience needs to be a focal point of the site's design and layout. The agency you choose should be able to explain how their approach will result in a website that is both useful and easy to use.
Does the agency follow website development best practices?
It's important to make sure that the technologies used to build your new website meet the web development standards that are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This will ensure that your new website is compatible with current browser, device and SEO standards and meets Section 508 accessibility requirements.
Pro tip: Be sure to ask any web development agency you're considering this question: "Who will own the site code and assets after my website has been built?"
Does the agency offer ongoing services and support?
The initial build of a hospital website is generally just the 1st phase of the project. Look for a web development agency that can provide the additional services and support you need. That may include design, programming, content creation, SEO and social media strategy.