Does Your Practice Need a Blog?

On September 25, 2007, in your practice website, by Dan

If you don’t have a blog by now, you likely know someone who does. In fact, as of April 2007, there were approximately 120,000 new blogs being started each day. That’s right – each day.

So…as a practitioner, do you need one? Should you have one? Do you want one? Does it matter?

The Benefits of Blogging

There is a substantial upside to blogging, particularly if you’re jazzed about marketing your practice online:

  • Blogging can help your search engine traffic – search engines tend to like the blog format, and the freshness of the content.
  • Blogs are a great tool for generating discussion, creating community, and keeping topics current.
  • Because patients can “subscribe” to your blog and receive updates automatically, you can stay in touch with some of your existing patients with minimal cost and effort.
  • For clinics with multiple practitioners, a blog can be easier to sustain, and give prospective patients a taste of each practitioner’s style prior to their visit.

But is it a great tool for CAM practitioners to build a practice? Before you make the leap, it’s worth considering the drawbacks.

The Downside

  • There are millions of blogs languishing in cyberspace. Stale-dated, untouched and unloved, they just hang around aging. While there’s nothing really wrong with trying a blog on for size and then abandoning it, remember that a blog becomes another part of the public face of you and your practice. From a credibility perspective, having no blog at all beats a blog that hasn’t had an update in six months.
  • It can be time consuming, and if it takes you away from other marketing you should be doing, it may not be worth the investment.
  • If you’re not a strong writer, it’ll show on your blog.

In the end practitioner blogs are for those who will enjoy the actual act of keeping an online journal. In other words: blog as an end, not a means.

But, if you’ve got something to say, and really want to make the leap to blogging, here are a few tips to help your startup:

  • Write 20 or so Posts in Advance. Really. Before you do anything else, just keep a diary for 30 days on your computer. If, by that point you’re still jazzed about blogging, you’ll know you’ve got some time and stamina. You’ll also have a clearer idea of what it is you really want to say, and have a nice backlog of posts to start with.
  • Use Your Own Domain. Don’t mess around with a hosted blog at www.myblog.blogspot.com, etc. Get your own domain, or add your blog to a domain you already own. For the $8 or so per year, it’s a small price to pay to build a brand, and enjoy full control over your blog.
  • Use WordPress.org. This blog was started in Blogger, and recently made the transition. WordPress is a far better way to go. Just trust me.
  • Remember You’re on Stage. You’re putting yourself out there – good for you. Just remember that your patients can now easily see a far more personality-driven side of their health care provider. What you choose to say and how you say it is up to you – just remember that it’s public.

Some additional info (these links are not affiliate links, just honest advice):

  • AlternativeHealthPractice.com is hosted by HostGator , which provides automatic WordPress installations. The domain was registered with GoDaddy.
  • For newbies wanting to set up a personal blog, you can ask the folks at Install4Free to install WordPress for you. Free is a very reasonable price.
  • For commercial blogs (like your practice), you can ask your local geek, or try WordPressInstall.com – they’ll do it for $20.

If you’ve got a practice blog, tell us about it in the comments so we can all be inspired. Happy blogging!

This post is part of the Practice Website Series.

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1 Response » to “Does Your Practice Need a Blog?”

  1. My web designer recommended I add a blog to my acupuncture website to help drive traffic there. So, he built it all up with a WordPress blog. Your right about WordPress. It is really simple to use. The hard part is coming up with topics, and things to talk about to keep it up to date. I don’t mind writing, so it is not too hard for me. But if you find writing a chore it may not be for you.

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