Dental websites suck.
There, I said it… and it feels good.
On the whole, throughout the dental industry, I can say that dental websites suck. That’s actually the reason Studio 8E8 started.
Years ago, I began consulting with dentists to create confident marketing plans and more often than not, that involved a new website. The first few years, I would refer them to all the main players in the space (I won’t mention names), but in every instance I was disappointed in two things: (1) The Process — it was so difficult and took so long to actually get the site live and often it involved the doctor, their team or me doing most of the writing. (2) The Final Product — I’ve never had one experience where the site went live and the doctor said, “Oh my goodness, I love this site! It represents my practice 100%!”
It. Never. Happened.
As I worked through half a dozen of those projects, I became frustrated. I was referring clients to these companies and the process was completely broken. It was obvious that at some point along the way, it became acceptable to create dental websites that sucked.
It’s a failure of the industry and it’s not okay. Dentistry should be inspiring and beautiful. Why did that get lost in translation when building a website?
So we started Studio 8E8 specifically for that reason. Here are a few insights into our process of how we create websites that don’t suck. You can also watch Episode 78 (due out Oct 11) and 79 (Oct 25) of The 8E8 Show to see the team discuss it live.
In order to create a website that’s “Exclusively You,” we’ve developed a few tools to get to know our clients. The first is our Brand Creator. It’s a series of exercises designed to bring the values of the practice to the surface. It starts with a 20-minute video on why “telling the story” of a dental practice is so important and then walks the doctor, team, spouse, partners, associates, etc. through the exercises. It’s really amazing to see the practice “personalities” that come out of this process.
We’ve also developed our Style Guide which allows the doctor to choose fonts, colors, logos and the styles that they like. This gives us tremendous insight into their personal preferences and speeds up the branding process.
Last, most of our clients prefer to start this project with an on-site Strategic Consultation. I get the privilege of seeing their practice first hand, interacting with their team and getting a feel for the community in which they practice. Often we work through a live Brand Creator session which is a great team building activity and gets everyone on the same page for this project. Yes, it costs more, but if the site accurately represents the voice of your practice and sets the marketing direction for years to come, the investment is minimal.
Every part of our sites are completely custom built to represent you. Once this project gets going the most important step is to schedule Photography. Most of our team would agree that this is the “secret sauce” that the entire site revolves around. We fly our photographers to your practice for a two-hour session with you and your team. We make it a fun and memorable time where we capture you doing what you do best.
Copywriting is an essential part of every site and instead of pushing this back on you (because, who has the time to write a website; plus isn’t that part of what you’re paying for??? plus, this was one of the things that always made me so mad, ugh!), our team uses the Brand Creators to develop a direction and “voice” for your practice that is consistent all the way through the site. The tone of your website should be an accurate representation of you, your practice and your philosophy of care.
From the design all the way to the Coding, everything we touch is custom. We don’t use ANY templates (None. Zero. Nada. Nope.). Your site is built from the ground up. It’s a massively important (and often overlooked) SEO advantage. When Google indexes your site and sees that 165 other dental sites across the nation use that same template, it’s a knock on your overall quality score. When Google indexes your site and sees completely custom content that can’t be matched anywhere else, they quietly crush on you and rank your site higher. That’s why we rarely have SEO problems.
Once all the pieces come together, we design, develop and deliver the Home Page first. The home page sets the overall direction for the entire site. If that’s off, the whole site will be off. We send it to you for review and feedback which ensures we’re all heading in the right direction.
Our process involves multiple steps, so we’ve developed multiple Inspection Points along the way to control quality and consistency. Our project managers check the photography once it’s edited and filter through the best images. We edit first drafts of copy to make sure the voice is accurate and the direction is consistent. We preview the home page development as a team to test functionality and verify key elements. Finally, we all sort through the finished site together before sending it off to make sure it meets our standards.
Building a website that doesn’t suck takes a team of creatives, but it also takes a team of specialists. People who are uniquely gifted to create in their area of expertise. Our process involves over seven different team members along dozens of steps to create something that we are proud of. When a site leaves our company we can proudly say it’s making the world of dentistry more beautiful and more inspiring. And when you receive a Studio 8E8 website, you have a site that’s not just “you,” it’s “Exclusively You.”