You don’t need a domain name, or hosting, or even know a thing about building a website to get started on the most important part of a website for your practice. Here’s how to start a practice website:
You may have heard the phrase, “content is king”. This is a buzz-phrase (is that a word?) often applied to online marketing and websites for business.
Content is just “the stuff on your web pages”. This could be anything including:
- blog posts
- podcasts or audio
- patient education pages
- directions to your office
The more original content you have on your website, the longer patients will stay there, read what you have to say, and the more opportunity you’ll have to build confidence and trust.
The original content method
Go ahead and begin creating your web page content now, even if you don’t have a website or your existing website is “less than optimal”. These steps will get you started:
Create a short list of the top ten patient education topics in your area of practice. Find these on your specialty society’s website or (better yet) base it on the top ten clinical problems your own patients have.
Create text files on your computer for each one. Alternatively, use Google Docs in your Gmail account to set this up. That way you can add to the files from any computer that has internet access.
Create folders on your computer for each topic and collect three review articles for each topic to store in those folders. These will serve as a collection of “cheat sheets” from which you’ll start building your own review articles.
Start writing a review article for each topic, basing the content on your three review articles. Use layman’s terms as much as possible – most review articles won’t use language that your patients will understand. This is why re-writing them in your own voice is so valuable.
The shortcut method
When I created my own website from scratch, my first priority was putting patient education information on the site.
The shortcut method for doing this is to put a list of links to existing and reliable educational web pages in an easily findable area of your homepage on your site.
Without much work on your part, you can create a “patient education” section of your website quickly and easily, so patients have at least some access to reliable information when they visit your site.
This is not ideal, since the articles won’t be “from you”, or contain your unique spin on the information, but you can always go back and modify each one over time.
I’m currently doing this on my own site – some of the links go directly to articles I’ve written, complete with images and videos. Other links go outside my own site (external linking) to articles produced by my specialty society.
The best part about the first method is the originality of the final product. Also, it can be done right away, before you know a thing about websites.
If you have an existing site
You can work on either method, even if you have an existing site for your practice. Depending on who puts the content on your website, you’ll just send the files to that person whenever you’re ready to publish them online.
Creating or changing a website can be daunting if you’ve never tackled it before. Since the content of what’s on your website’s pages is so critical, I think this is a good place to start.
If you’ve already got a site but you haven’t customized the content and given it your own voice or flavor, start by re-writing some of your existing articles or pages.
You can update the content to reflect a new way you approach a common problem or a new treatment method.
You can add in helpful examples or illustrations that may help clarify the material for patients. For example, if you’ve recently taken a classic-looking x-ray that illustrates a common diagnosis, add an image of the film to a related patient education article (obviously without identifiable information on it).
What’s the most intimidating part of changing/creating your practice website? Let me know in the comments or send me an email!