Jonathan S. Barrett
Senior Web Developer/Designer, SEO Specialist
What does it mean to “own” my own website?
When you OWN your website, you maintain copyright ownership of all content and images found throughout the website. This means there aren’t other veterinary websites out there that look just like yours.
Additionally, this entails that you also own the website’s packaged files (database and source files) in their entirety — more on this later.
Owning your own website ensures that you maintain the ability to relocate your website in its entirety to a different hosting provider at any given point in time (less any existing binding timeline agreements/contracts).
How can my veterinary practice determine if we own our website?
We regularly encounter veterinary practices who think they own their website but actually do not.
Ask your current website and/or hosting provider for an overview of existing contract details, specifically asking if you have maintained ownership rights to the website, including all copy and images. Keep in mind that where your website is currently hosted may not necessarily indicate who originally built it.
It’s also important to be aware of term commitments in your contract. Every website needs to be updated over time. Doing this with your template theme can be costly. Most template licenses need to be renewed every year, and it’s not guaranteed to be the same price you initially paid for.
When is it appropriate to have a 3rd party own my website?
3rd party websites (i.e. websites through Wix.com, etc.) can be beneficial if a practice is just getting started or if cost is a largely prohibitive factor. They are sufficient at providing a basic online landing/presence for small, service-based businesses who use static web content.
How does a template website affect my SEO?
Renowned for having poor structure, messy code, and inadequate browser compatibility, template websites not only affect your user experience, but also your SEO.
Clean code is important because that’s how search engines read your website and determine if you are legitimate. This is necessary in order to have ranking for the specific key words that pet owners are using to find a new veterinary practice.
Although it might look okay, your template website is seriously under-serving you if Google and other search engines can’t read the information.
While you may save money up front on a template website, over the long run it will cost you significantly in terms of lost visibility to new, prospective pet owners.
Owning your website gives you the ability to not only maximize your content SEO efforts but, most importantly, maximize your technical SEO efforts.
What are the long term benefits of maintaining a database/archive of my organizational growth/development?
Maintaining a database/archive of your organizational development is an important aspect of SEO that is not possible with template websites.
Site archives allow you to steadily enlarge the size of your footprint on the world wide web, establishing yourself as the subject matter expert in your veterinary profession, centralizing at your physical location and branching outward.