As the story goes, a weary marketer finds themselves with a handful (or truckload) of websites with different CMS providers and different back end infrastructures. Whether acquired or built as one-offs, they find themselves with an unsustainable set up. They usually come up with the idea to have a template and just copy that over and over again. On the surface, this seems reasonable and efficient – and it is to a point. But I want to highlight the cautions I’d throw before marching down that web development path.
How Big Does An Organization Need to Be to Start Thinking About This
We hear this story the most right around 7 different brand sites. That’s about the tipping point where a small marketing team has growing responsibilities and they realize they can’t manage all the website changes. Some will let it go to about 20-25 locations, but at that point, you either need to make a change or accept that the sites across the board will not be managed efficiently. At that size, only the “fires” are going to be the things that get fixed. This is not a healthy set up for the marketing/operations staff nor is it healthy from a digital marketing strategy perspective.
The Thinking of Efficiency is Right But the Execution is Wrong
The organization correctly realizes that whether they’re on a growth path to acquire more practices or make the organization lean, the current website set up is not sustainable. The upside of very fast website creation is clear but there are downsides to the simple copy/paste method of websites that may not be as clear.
The method I’m describing is where you might create a template site you like and copy and paste this site into different WordPress installs. All separate domains. All separate installs. All looking exactly the same. Here’s the background on some downsides of this:
What Happens When You Need to Maintain It?
What does maintenance look like? Who does it? What usually happens is it gets left behind or you have to hire someone that doesn’t understand your system, structure, or industry. Whether that’s overseas labor or local, now YOU have to manage them for even simple tasks. Additionally, since everything is on a different install, 50 updates is 50 updates. While a well built site has little maintenance, maintenance is still a reality and it can get overwhelming fast for a small marketing team. You don’t have to let your site degrade like an abandoned building anymore, there’s options.
What Happens When You Need to Change Info On It?
Your business evolves, things change. Doctors move, locations change hours, headshots are updated, and insurance providers are updated. You may make a change at scale with some or all of your clinic sites. Who’s going to take care of that lift? Even if you pay to have it done, you’ll have to manage it, check they did it right, and then you’ll wonder why you paid for it if you’re still doing a bunch of work. You may want to change design, approach, or information but realize you can’t because its too overwhelming or cost prohibitive.
Even something simple like a new doctor being added or a location’s hours changing is an arduous process at this size. What if accessibility standards change or SEO standards change? Good luck making all those changes. You don’t have to be a pseudo-website-project-manager anymore.
Do I have to Lose All the Branding Uniqueness?
In traditional set ups of the copy-paste method, you can’t customize at scale. This leads to everything looking the same and the brand losing its identity that patients are familiar with. You don’t have to choose between brand identity and efficiency anymore.
What Happens When You Want to Test to Improve (AB Testing)?
That’s going to take a nearly full time job to manage those tests and make all those changes. There are several resources we’re familiar with as simple as Split Hero or Nelio to the fancy version like VWO and Optimizely. The latter is often seen as prohibitively expensive unless your org is big enough to justify the expense (ie right in the 15-20 different sites range). Regardless, wouldn’t you want to remove all the variables in a website so you’re actually testing things that move the needle? We help remove those variables so your websites are apples to apples and you KNOW what’s working and WHY.
The Carenetic Solution
Our approach to websites allows you the efficiency and performance of “copy/paste” or “template” approach without creating overwhelm for your marketing team or losing any ounce of identity in your organization. You can indeed have the best of both worlds.
In our experience, this is much easier to get right from the start and scale up but we have extensive experience in switching over existing sites to a new network of websites.
Carenetic has been building only websites for a decade plus. We are not an all-in-one marketing service. We are developer nerds and performance junkies. We are experienced working with agency partners and making a product they like to work in as well. We understand the website can’t be a headache for your team, it needs to just be “taken care of”. Additionally, we get that they need to perform and maintain experts in strategy, testing, and performance so you’re always getting the best.
If you have concerns such as your size of org, timeline, or cost, we can talk all of that on a short call to see if it makes sense to work together.
In conclusion, while the copy/paste method of website creation initially presents as a straightforward and efficient solution for managing multiple sites, it ultimately leads to significant downsides. These include maintenance challenges, difficulties in updating content, a lack of brand uniqueness, and obstacles in effective A/B testing.
Carenetic offers a viable alternative, balancing the efficiency of a template approach with the flexibility and individuality essential for brand identity. Our focus is on creating a network of websites that are easy to manage, visually distinct, and optimized for performance. With our expertise in web development and digital marketing strategy, we ensure that your website infrastructure is not only sustainable but also adaptable to the evolving needs of your organization. By choosing Carenetic, you avoid the pitfalls of the copy/paste method and gain a partner dedicated to the seamless and effective management of your digital presence.