You may be asking, “Do I really need a blog? Who the heck is going to read it?” For most of you, the answer is, “Nobody. Except Google.” In other words, you’re doing it for SEO, the Google juice. You are creating content relevant to dentistry that links back to your website and practice. Google likes that a lot.
As far as consumers–patients–not that many are willing to read blogs written by dentists. They like food blogs a lot more (like my wife’s, The High Heel Gourmet). But if your blog is displayed in your website they will be more likely to at least glance at the posts.
But because search engines like Google are looking outside your website to see what other content or mentions there are about your practice, then a blog is critical, especially since it is unique content, and by that I mean not just content supplied by your website builder. Your blog doesn’t have to be brilliantly unique, just written by you or someone on your team.
Step one is to pick a blog hosting site. I recommend WordPress or Blogger. These are free, and if you pay a little, they don’t run little ads inside your blog.
Step two is to pick a theme. Many of these themes are like online magazines, which is overkill for what you are intending. Pick something simple, and also “responsive”, which means it adapts easily to any device and still looks good. Something like “2011” in WordPress or “Simple” in Blogger.
DESIGNING YOUR BLOG LOOK:
As you set up your blog, they will ask you what you want to call it, and specific questions about how you want it to look.
You will need a name for your blog. Nothing long or elaborate, but not just your practice name or your website domain name. More like this: “The Blog of Ed Flynn, DDS”. Part of it should have “dental” or “dentist” or “smile” in it. You want to be identified as dentistry, not just health care, or just you.
Then you will choose a domain name. It’s going to have “blogspot” or “wordpress” as part of it right now. Let them add this. Don’t worry about your own domain just yet. This domain name can be something shorter than your blog title, and they will show you if it’s available. Here again try to get “dental” or “dentistry” into it.
You can choose your favorite color palette and upload an image, possibly your practice logo or a picture of you or your team or even something that just looks good.
As part of your setup, you want to connect your blog to Google+, which you should already have a profile on for your practice. If not, you need to claim your business on Google, which means you need to read this blog and the blog it links to.
Believe it or not, you’re ready to start blogging. You can tinker with the settings later, none of that is really critical at this point. And you can even change the theme later on, and everything will change and nothing will be lost.
WHAT TO WRITE:
This is where you are going to write about dentistry, any way you can think of. Two short paragraphs, two or three sentences each. You don’t need a lot of content here to be effective.
So write about:
- Your technology
- Your training
- Your favorite electric toothbrush
- Managing gum disease
- Bad breath
Get it? Pretty much anything.
HOW OFTEN TO POST:
Weekly, ideally. But you don’t have to do it every week. The beauty of blogging is you can schedule when they post. In the “Publish” section on the blog composing page you can see where you can edit whether or not to publish immediately. So you can write five or ten blogs at a time and schedule them to publish in sequence.
I don’t necessarily recommend the dentist be the author. I think it could easily be the social media designee in the office. Remember, you’re not publishing a paper for JADA. You’re writing for spiders. (That’s the term for the Google robots that “read” everything on the internet.)
AMPLIFYING THE REACH AND SEO:
If you have a website that is dynamic, your blog can feed into it automatically. This is one of the many reasons why you want a website like we build with WebDirector. To learn more about dynamic websites read this post.
You can also post your blog on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. There is a button in the blog editing page called “short code”, which gives you a simple code to put into a post on social media, and it doesn’t just provide a hotlink but also the title and beginning of the blog, as well as any picture you posted.
This is Blogging 101, to get you in the game. You can certainly take it to the next level if you find it interesting to do. An excellent example is Dr. Charles Payet’s blog, Smiles by Payet, which he has been writing for years, and doing a marvelous job. In fact, he has multiple blogs, some for patients, some for dentists.
So get started. It will take months for Google to index your blog, and you can always go back and re-edit them after they were published. You can do very little harm and eventually get a lot of Google juice out of it.
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