What’s the Right CMS for My Medical Website?

Every practice is different, right? Everyday Medical Web Experts receives phone calls and a doctor, nurse, office administrator or receptionist tells us about how “our practice is different.” If your practice is different, shouldn’t your website be different too? Yes! It obviously should be different and custom. Each practice has different requirements for a website. Some practices want a website for marketing and new patients, others practices only take referrals and need a website for information about the practice, some practices want a robust patient education section and most practices want a connection to their electronic medical records’ patient portal. The list could go on for pages and pages. Different practices have different needs and therefore need a custom design for their functionality.

Medical Web Experts offers website solutions for all specialties, across the United States and even internationally. A pediatric website in Youngstown, Ohio is going to be vastly different in its look and feel, and possibly functionality, compared to a pediatric website in San Diego, California. You can insert any specialty and any location and you will most likely need a different looking and functioning website. You, as a physician, know your patient base the best. You spend precious time with each patient discussing intimate medical issues. You know what drives them to choose your care over others and you need to sell whatever that is. It may be your location, your services or even your location. Template website companies don’t offer you video production services and allow you a custom section to highlight yourself with a video! A custom website company like Medical Web Experts offers solutions like custom video production and much more when building a custom website for your practice.

Best Content Management System (CMS) for a Medical Practice

What’s the best CMS for a medical practice? For those who are not familiar with website development this question may seem as simple as ‘vanilla or chocolate?’. However from Medical Web Experts point of view this question is loaded. The first question you need to ask yourself is, ‘are you actually going to use a CMS?’ In most cases we have discovered that no one in the practice will actually learn how to use the system. It’s like any other project we started in our lives. Remember when you wanted to learn to play guitar? Today that guitar has turned into a decorative ornament in the corner near the antique record player. The analogy might seem silly, but it it holds true. If you don’t want to learn how to use your new CMS, just pay your website company to do the updates for you. If you are still married to the idea of a CMS, please read on.

Why is it a loaded question? Simply, because it depends on how internet savvy you are and your needs. CMSs in their simplest forms are systems, which allow you to change content and pictures on your site. Now let’s move to your needs, the more complicated part. There are plugins for each CMS and all these plugins are different. For example both WordPress and JOOMLA! have customer relationship management (CRM) plugins, but one may be better than the other depending on your needs, if you even need a CRM at all. Both CMSs also have a blog options, however WordPress is built for blogging, so it might be a better option, if your practices main focus is blogging with the new website. This is why Medical Web Experts will always ask you, ‘why do you want or why do you need this?’ If this plugin section has not scared you away from a CMS, please keep reading.

1) The most basic and easy to use CMS for a medical practice is Adobe Contribute CS5. The software costs $200 and the installation by Medical Web Experts is free. The backend is simple to use and looks a lot like Microsoft Word, so the learning curve is not extremely high. Medical Web Experts provides a training session at a very low cost and you can make updates to content and pictures.

2) A user friendly CMS is WordPress. It is extremely widely used and you can find help and useful tips all over the internet. It has a countless number of plugins and is best know for it’s easy to use blogging function.  Other functions include Askimet for an industrial-strength spam protection, Google Sitemaps Generator for SEO, related posts for providing readers an easier navigation to find related content, BackupBuddy for having your website securely backed up, subscribe to comments for keeping track of comments/conversations, contact us forms, DisplayBuddy to showcase images, Mobile to create an iPhone version of your website, EmailBuddy for collecting email addresses and to send customized newsletters to patients and more.

3) A ‘hot’ CMS right now, which everyone is asking about, is JOOMLA! It is frankly more complicated than WordPress, but is very search engine friendly out of the box. It takes three steps to update a page oppose to the one step it takes for WordPress, however it is dynamic in many ways.  JOOMLA! Has, dynamic form builders, image and multimedia galleries, eCommerce and shopping cart engines, forums and chat software, calendars, blogging software, email newsletters, data collection and reporting tools, banner advertising systems, subscription services and more.

Our real opinion is you should have a custom website built in php. php is the mostly widely used language on the web today and is used it sites like Facebook and the New York Times. It also provides the most flexibility for the future. Do you know what functions you will need or want on your website in two years? And neither do we, so let’s be realistic and give yourself the best chance to have the flexibility you need. If you want to make updates to your website, you might as well learn html coding and you Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, because it will take you as much time to learn html as it will your new CMS. You will become a more versatile and coveted asset in the workplace when you know html and will be a better prospect in the workplace if and when it is time to move.

We hope this has been informative and helpful! Please call use at 619-793-4791 for more questions about the best content management system for a medical practice.


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