Cost vs. Benefit of Building an Online Presence
Blogs are all the rage for company websites and an increasing number of dental practices are using them. You may have already dipped your toe in by starting one or wondered if it’s worth it.
The answer is: Sort of.
What’s a Blog and Why Do I Need It?
A blog is simply a short or long amount of written information added regularly to a specific page on a website (this is getting pretty meta, isn’t it?). It’s a place where people write public thoughts, opinions, etc. Usually, it’s more casual than most other website copy. In the dental practice world, you might use it to explain common questions patients have in more detail, relate patient success stories, or talk about your practice values/events.
Saying you need a blog though is like saying you need a new paint job in the office. Unless the place looks like a barnyard shack and paint is peeling down entire walls, it’s hard to determine exactly how much of an effect the improvement is having.
Understanding the Pros and Cons of a Dental Practice Blog
Blogs – in marketing a business – are used mainly to improve Google ranking. A higher Google ranking for keywords related to your practice like, ‘[insert state/city] dentist,’ means you’re one of the first links a potential patient sees. They aren’t likely to look past the first page.
Your initial instinct might be to post randomly generated nonsense using ideal keywords. Unfortunately, Google is too smart to let people game the system that easily (not to mention it looks crazy next to the rest of your gorgeous website and people will actually try to read it).
Blog content has to be readable and it has to be mostly real/unique. Effective blog posts are Frankenstein monsters of actual relevant content and arbitrary computer info that helps Google do its thing (i.e. keywords interspersed a maximum and minimum % throughout, meta descriptions, titles of a certain length and structure, headings, overall blog length, and so on). There are WordPress plugins that will help you manage the latter.
Here’s the clincher. Your ranking won’t be boosted to any useful degree by posting an ideal blog once a month or once a year. For the system to work, you have to post regularly. The exact amount of times a week or month is unclear, but at least once a week is preferred.
If you don’t have the resources, time, or desire to make decent content and post it often (or have someone else do it), there isn’t much point to doing it occasionally. It’s going to be off-putting to potential and current patients browsing your website if the latest post on your blog is many months to multiple years old. It looks unprofessional and makes it seem like your practice went off the radar for a long period of time.
Basically, if you can’t hire someone for the amount of time it takes to completely paint the wall and/or don’t have the ability to finish it yourself …. well, why even start in the first place?
What has your experience been of incorporating a blog into your practice website? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!