The following article will compare and contrast the differences between sites created by Online Medical versus those created by a typical website provider. We examine the most important issues that could affect the quality of your website and value of services provided.
As you will see, you truly do get what you pay for – so often you may not be making an "apples to apples" comparison. We think our clients (and their patients) deserve a world class website – which is why we offer such high standards.
We offer a dedicated project manager together with access to cloud based project management and document storage. Our testimonials and our long list of satisfied customers attest to the value of an experienced person to guide and encourage you throughout the project. We encourage you to meet your obligations for reasonable deadlines and follow you up if required to offer assistance. Our project manager is always happy to discuss the needs of the project and any particular problem you may be having. Our project manager has the requisite skills and experience to coordinate the efforts of you (the client), our designers and developers – to ensure your website is top notch.
Many other providers simply do not offer this service in any meaningful way. You are essentially on your own – or perhaps have to deal with a number of different people, rather than a single contact. As a result, deadlines can easily slip, and quality control can greatly suffer. If little attention is offered, project budgets can also run out of control.
Online Medical employs the services of specialist website designers, who are experienced with User Experience / User Interface issues specific to the web. Our designers are also very experience in dealing with the requirements of a Healthcare website.
Each design is customised to suit the mandatory requirements of a Healthcare website and the specific needs of your practice. Additionally, we ensure that our websites are user friendly and work well across a range of devices – Desktop, Tablet and Mobile.
We offer high fidelity design mockups for these devices, so you can see the details of the proposed look and confirm your formal approval before we develop the website (coding).
These designs are vetted internally by our project manager, then modified if required (before client review). Our project manager has decades of design experience working in a range of Advertising and Branding Agencies – and is an experienced creative director. So essentially, you enjoy Ad Agency level attention to design, at a fraction of the expense.
Many other providers claim to “design” a website, however often all they are really doing is “skinning” a pre-existing theme, purchased from a theme website. They then add some minor customisation – such as your logo, font and colours to this fairly rigid layout with associated site code. This template may (or may not) offer a decent user experience. Often times this is essentially like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – you cannot effectively have a truly customised design based on a template.
If you happen to get lucky and find a provider that does produce custom designs (which are of course, significantly more costly to produce) – you may still have issues. Graphic designers are commonplace… however, truly excellent website designers that understand best practices (UI / UX etc) and the specifics of healthcare are quite rare. It’s even less likely that less expensive offerings incorporate the services of someone acting in a creative direction capacity.
We have tried and tested systems in place to offer substantial advice and guidance to clients who decide to create their own content (text and images). These systems provide the ability to create the content in an efficient manner, with the least hassle possible.
For our clients who decide that they need some assistance to create website text, we are able to offer a copywriting service. We have similar service offerings for photography and video. These service offerings are on a par with Ad Agency content, at a fraction of the expense.
Many other providers don’t pay due attention to the breadth and depth of website content (or how to organise and structure this information). As a result, the website may fail in one of the prime objectives – offering a great patient experience.
We develop on the acclaimed Drupal Content Management System (CMS). This platform has a number of significant advantages over alternatives. It’s one of the top 3 CMS by market share. It is supremely flexible and able to create any feature likely to be required. Unlike alternatives, such customisation to your needs is very cost effective. True customisation of systems such as WordPress or Joomla can be prohibitively expensive over time. There are other reasons why this CMS is our preferred choice – including superior security (discussed below).
By default, we perform site / page speed optimisation. This often-overlooked process involves painstaking attention to detail and advanced technology to implement well. Our sites are typically superior in this regard – and are all tested, predominately achieving sub 2 second page load speed.
Many other providers are likely to have settled on WordPress or Joomla because it is more common and they have not performed the necessary due diligence to explore the available options.
There are a number of reasons why this is likely. A significant reason is that developer skill requirements for these alternative CMS are considerably less – such developers are easier to come by and often cheaper. The flip side of that is that development talent is often lacking. It is our belief that our clients should not be shortchanged by the selection of a CMS purely for financial reasons.
Additionally, many other providers do not have the technical capability in place (or perhaps the financial incentive) to perform best practice site speed optimisation techniques.
Online Medical have well-resourced website and email hosting. The server is located in Australia (a legal requirement) in a well-regarded data centre and has good performance. This together with configuration such as SSL by default and HTTP2 connectivity help us to achieve sub 2 second page load times for the majority of our websites. Such performance-oriented default configuration is very important for usability and SEO.
Additionally, we have in place a range of deployment systems that equate to best practice deployment methodology (secure / private code repositories together with Continuous Integration (CI) service). This is important as it allows us to easily test before deployment of a new website or site feature to the live server.
Depending on your provider, hosting services may have a number of significant drawbacks. The server may or may not be configured for performance. Even if it is configured to perform – in reality your website may share server resources in a fashion that means your site performance can suffer (particularly at peak times).
The vast majority of server code deployment arrangements do not offer a Continuous Integration (CI) service, which makes it easy to review code on a staging server before deployment to your live website.
The specifics of the software and configuration are not discussed here for security reasons – however, we are happy to discuss if you are interested.
It's important to note that all of our systems feature automated notifications to our Server Admin / IT Support staff if anything of concern is detected.
We have automated updates in place for the Control Panel software present on our servers. We use cloud-based software to protect the LAMP software stack on our servers from people or bots with malicious intent. We also have an additional layer of server / website defence. This system is a multi-layered defence architecture from a leading cloud services provider. It ensures precision targeting and eradication of malware and viruses that affect the website itself.
We also use software to monitor and protect against trojans, viruses, malware and other malicious threats distributed via Email. Depending on circumstances we can activate an additional level of software to screen incoming spam that is directly targeting your email addresses.
We offer a highly recommended service for Security and Stability Updates. This ensures that the CMS Modules that comprise your site are up-to-date. This reduces the risk of site compromise from hacking or other means. Note that Drupal by default tends to have superior results in relation to security issues, due to the nature of the platform itself. Additionally, there is significantly less malware targeted towards the Drupal platform – possibly due to the relative number of Drupal websites.
It’s important to note that all providers are vulnerable to some degree. There cannot be a guarantee of any sort that the server, or your website is immune from security compromise. However Online Medical’s security architecture can be considered an application of the defence in depth principle – essentially a multi-pronged approach that covers everything from the base hardware up to the level of the website itself.
In the event of catastrophe, we can reply upon our regular offsite server backup.
It is not likely that many other providers offer such comprehensive protection.
Additionally, most providers don’t employ the services of experienced IT Support, relying instead on the abilities of those that host the platform itself to offer support. Such support can be notoriously slow to rectify problems – potentially resulting in your website remaining offline (or worse acting as a source of malware if compromised) for an extended period. This can lead to reputational damage unless handled well.
Often if backup solutions are mentioned at all, it’s the bare minimum that is implemented.