Things they don’t tell you when designing a website

Shaz Memon, the Marketing Expert, discusses what to look out for and avoid when searching for a dental website design agency.

I won’t insult your intelligence by saying ‘These are the things website designers don’t want you to know!’ as that would be a bit naff. So instead…

These are some of the most common misunderstandings we come across when clients decide on a design agency.

This guide is here to help you when selecting a website designer. Full disclosure: there is a major bias in this article as I run a dental website design agency… However, everything in this article is true. You could roll the dice with any design agency but go better prepared with the 🎤 mic-drop gold beneath.

Ongoing costs

Sure, everything worth keeping in life needs maintenance. Just glance at your kids or significant other and you will immediately get it.

Nearly all website designers (not Digimax) charge you monthly (or annually) for something called ‘website hosting’. We have seen this cost anything between £900-£1,500 per year. Over five years, this is costing you circa £5,000 on top of what you paid for the website.

Website hosting is like renting a space on the internet where your website can live. It’s where all the information and pictures for your website are stored so that people can see it when they visit online. Every website needs hosting.

The truth is, website designers look at hosting as a profit-generator that is priced up for recurring revenue. For many months, you get charged all kinds of additional fees that won’t make sense, such as ‘hosting security patches’, and refusing to pay it is a bit like saying ‘I don’t want my website’. You are bent over a barrel to pay forever… with no real visible benefit.

At first, this cost may seem reasonable, but as the cost piles up, especially when the ongoing support isn’t always there… it starts to pinch. I am not saying that hosting fees are an evil… I am simply saying that many people feel a sting as time goes on.

Digimax abolished hosting charges many years ago as a way to have a feel-good factor to our service. If you are using a website designer that’s going to charge you for hosting, try and negotiate and ensure it’s a fixed fee.

Ongoing support

This is a big one:

  • ‘My website designer has disappeared’
  • ‘They don’t understand the changes’
  • ‘I have to wait weeks on end to get changes done’
  • ‘The cost of the changes are ridiculous’
  • ‘They aren’t as enthusiastic as they used to be’
  •  ‘They are saying I need a new website, and they can’t make the changes’.

Lack of ongoing support, or the quality of it, is one of the biggest reasons people move website design agencies. Ensure you understand their ongoing support service and avoid being tied into fixed monthly cost contracts for support.

Digimax websites can be self-edited easily for which training is provided. Ad hoc pay-as-you-go support is available on request too if you didn’t want to change fees, team members or treatment content yourself. Our ongoing support is called ‘concierge’ and is provided by a well-equipped enthusiastic team, should you need it.

Enthusiasm of designer

Designers like to create, there is no question about this. What they don’t like is to have to create ‘too-much’. The passion of a new project can quickly take a deep-dive leaving you feeling like a burden, as opposed to the gift that you are should you not like the design.

Most clients find that their designer wants you to accept the design you have been provided even if you don’t like it. Often, they will want you to pay again to make changes or to redesign. Our designers, don’t work in this way. When choosing a designer, ask the question: ‘What if I don’t like your designs?’.

Tip: Provide a strong brief. At Digimax we ask a lot of questions to prevent this from happening. And if it does happen, we won’t give up on you. Our business has only grown through raving fans.

My involvement

Practices massively underestimate the level of involvement that is needed in creating a showstopper website. Sure, an experienced company is meant to limit how much involvement you need to make a project that not only makes you proud, showcases your brand in its best light but most importantly is profitable because of the way it is designed. However, not having much involvement and leaving it to your designer to guess and just put it all together will cause you damage in the long run.

When you do finally have time and look at your website that you approved just to get it ‘done’, it will eventually make you feel sick in the stomach and angry at yourself (but more usually at the designer) for accepting your minimal involvement.

While at Digimax we have done everything to minimise how much time you need to spend with us, we do need your involvement to give you a project that is outstanding in every way.

How long it takes

Most agencies want to complete your project as quickly as possible so they can get paid. This means not being able to spend the most amount of time on your project. Not every project is the same, so some projects will need more time than others.

A bespoke dental website cannot be built in one month. The amount of information, design creation, coding and optimisation that is needed and approvals required would mean that anything less than three to six months may involve taking shortcuts. We find that our work at Digimax can be completed within three months, however due to clients having more than just a website on their plate taking up their commitments, a website design project can quite easily stretch to five to six months.

At Digimax, we don’t mind if a project takes longer due to the client’s commitments, as we are fully focused on delivering the best project we can for that one client, as this work becomes a showcase for our next clients.


The dictionary definition of copywriting is the act or occupation of writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing. Writing of content is the biggest reason a website project slows right down. Understanding the General Dental Council (GDC) guidelines when writing content is also an art form.

To speed up the process, we recommend writers that have experience in writing dental content, and we pay towards it (as it helps us!). However, we can’t downplay that content writing from the writers part, and your edit time from the proof-reading part can take several weeks.

Videography and photography

Think about any website that you love the look of. Now take the pictures and videos away… what’s left?What’s left is exactly what a designer can create for you in the absence of excellent photography and videography… which isn’t beautiful.

For us to create a stunning website, we need your support – and this takes some of your time!

This article explains how to build a show-stopper website with Digimax.

You won’t always know what you want

  • ‘I don’t like it, but I don’t know what I like’
  • ‘I like parts of other websites, but they don’t look good on the design you showed me, and I don’t know why’
  • ‘Can you just show me something I will like? You are the expert’.

The above does happen. However rare it may be, it is something every designer will hear and you as a client may even be the bearer of such a statement.

It’s true – sometimes you won’t know what you want, and the best thing to do when this happens is to really have a think about why you feel this way. Most award-winning websites do really well because they are designed for the patient to create a successful journey for the patient that matches the brand.

Unfortunately, if you are working with a highly experienced agency and you find yourself dictating a lot of the design work, you might be creating something that won’t have the desired benefit you want it to. Collaboration is important, but leading the design without having a design background is dangerous for the success of the project. Remember, clear and constructive feedback helps the designer tailor the design to better meet your expectations.

At Digimax, meeting client expectations is a given – we want to do that, and have been doing this for over 20 years. However, our number one priority is that the website is profitable and powerful – it’s very easy to accept design feedback for a designer – what’s hard is to speak up and say ‘we don’t think this will benefit you because…’, and this is what a good designer should do.

I can ask for help, and someone must explain it to me in a way I understand

If you don’t understand something, it’s on the agency and not on you.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions that you may think sound silly. Keep asking until you understand – the better your understanding, the more successful your project can be.

I won’t own the website

Even if you paid for a website, it doesn’t mean you own it. Many agencies hide this in their small print.

Not Digimax. With us, you own your website.

A non-dental designer can produce something unique and better

Why go to a generalist when you can go to a specialist? An outstanding dental design agency should be creating you something that is powerful and still unique to you – with all the learnings from the dental industry and implementing patient user behaviour into the design flow.

Most non-dental experience designed websites get dental websites so wrong that there is no simple place to begin, and it’s hard for a client to spot themselves.

GDC website compliance, which is often a big fail on websites, is one place we see websites getting into trouble for ridiculous marketing claims such as ‘best Invisalign provider in [town]’ which is a statement completely prohibited by the GDC as it isn’t something that can be easily proven!

Our history at Digimax started as non-dental, and it took us a good part of 15 years (and still learning) to be in a position to claim specialism in dental website design and marketing.

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