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Should You Build a Custom Website for Each Dental Practice in Your DSO?


If you’re in the process of adding locations to your emerging DSO, you’re probably considering whether to design custom websites for each new practice you bring on board. 

There’s no doubt that a custom-designed website can look fantastic. Work with talented web designers and you can get a site that will highlight a location and stand out to potential patients — if you’re willing to invest the time and money.

But is that investment worth it? The largest DSOs offer different perspectives. 

Aspen Dental, for example, uses one large corporate site to cover all of its practices. Just punch in your information on the main site and you’ll be directed to make an appointment at their most convenient location. 

Heartland, however, does create custom sites for each practice. Book an appointment with a Heartland practice and you probably won’t even know it’s affiliated with the DSO. 

So which do we recommend? Neither.

To us, the Aspen model feels too sterile. However, for DSOs that don’t have Heartland’s resources, spending big on a custom-designed site for every practice is simply not cost-effective — especially because that process can take months to complete. 

Instead, we recommend trying a third model: building sites based on standardized templates with room for custom tweaks. 

By choosing from among a few repeatable website templates for any new practice that joins your DSO, you can shave weeks (or months off) of your web development timeline. You’ll also have the ability to build templates that are optimized for performance and use them again and again, which will give you more consistent, long-term results. 

And you’ll still be able to add bits of individual branding to each site so that each one feels unique.

Our friends at Mosaic Dental Collective are a great example of this middle-ground option. They’re a mid-sized DSO with 50-ish locations that have used templated sites (powered by SMC!) to great effect: rolling out dozens over a relatively short period of time.

There’s an old saying in business that you can have fast, high quality, and cheap: pick two. We like to think that the templated site approach gets you to 2.5.

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