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I Don’t Own That – Or “Why I can’t make that Change on my Dental Practice’s Website”

Published:  October 25, 2012
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As a practicing general dentist AND a web developer, I understand that there is minutia in both of these fields that the average patient or client doesn’t need to know – nor cares to know.   I love the chemistry of fiber posts and talking about how their flexural strength is similar to dentin – but my (non-engineer) patients simply don’t care – they just want the crown to look great.  Similarly, the majority of my website and search engine optimization clients don’t care WHY I configured the Wordpress backup a certain way, or HOW I was able to get them to rank first in Google listings for “keyword X”. 
But something I INSIST of my patients and my clients is the need for a sense of ownership of their “product” – whether it’s a crown or a website.  As we all know, the patient MUST be involved in the dental process – they don’t need to prep the crown, but they need to assist with shade selection and they need to maintain hygiene for success.  Similarly, having a great dental website and doing well in search engine listings is not simply a “set-it-and-forget-it proposition”.   You as the dentist or physician don’t need to know the difference between HTML 4 and HTML 5, and why asynchronous javascript is great (as cool as it is) – but you DO need to have an overview-level understanding of what’s going on with your website – and you MUST OWN IT ALL.

Check who owns YOUR Website Assets

So at this time I want you to take a break in the next week or two and look at your website assets (which I list below) and see who actually “owns” them.  Way too often a development or marketing company will own the dentist’s domain name, website, analytics data (or all of these) and I find this wholly unacceptable.
Who owns the chairs in your office?  Who owns the crowns (before you insert them)?  \What if you decided to add a system such as Isolite to your operatories, but found that you couldn’t make any upgrades to the chairs because the manufacturer  “owned” them and you could only make upgrades that the chair manufacturer allows?  The take home message here is that I don’t care WHO you use to help you with building, maintaining, and optimizing your website and your social media pages, but ultimately if you are going to have any freedom at all to call the shots on your website (which you should be doing – with guidance, of course), then you or your office needs to own it all.

Here is a list of your website assets that you should own: your domain name, your hosting account, your website and content, your SEO and analytics data, your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts (where applicable).

I created a table of these items which is available as a .PDF file that you can download here.  I've  added some extra lines at the bottom so you can add your own items.  In the center column write who owns the item, and in the right column, write what you are going to do about it if that owner isn’t you, or what the reason is that you don't own the asset.
Remember, part of having a website for your dental practice is having a good idea of what's happening with the site -- and this starts with owning as many of your website assets as you can.

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