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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Need new patients? Get a website.


Let me just start out by saying that I think websites for doctors are highly over-rated. Just having one does not increase the likelihood that you'll attract patients. In order for this to happen, you must have a nice looking, informative website and you must try to get your website noticed using SEO--search engine optimization. Even then, the website is just another tool for prospective patients to find you with, not a money-maker in its own right.


Let's start first with the site itself. I believe your website should reflect you, and be unique, like you. I therefore, don't feel that standard template websites, like those available on GoDaddy or 1And1.com or the UrologyChannel.com are any good and any prospective patient that goes to one of those sites will see "business as usual" as their first impression. Almost anyone with any computer experience can design a great looking, unique site using 1 of these 3 programs: Dream Weaver, FrontPage or iWeb. I use iWeb for mine, host on .mac and have my domain name, http://www.drschoor.com/ point to the .mac site. Total cost $57 per year.


Now lets talk about SEO. This stands for search engine optimization. This is how your site will be found amongst the billions of sites already out there when people, for example, Google vasectomy. The easy way is to pay people to do it for you. This type of service can range from several thousand dollars to 10's of thousands of dollars. I finally caved in and began to use a service called http://www.vasectomy.com/ to direct potential vasectomy patients to my site, http://www.drschoor.com/. So far, it has worked quite well. Another way is to blog, provide good content on your blog, and link your blog to your site. If your blog content is good, people will notice it, and they will start to link to the blog and tell other about it as well. Thanks, Seaspray! All these incoming links will prop-up your blog, and ultimately your website, in the search engine rankings. There are other ways to do it--raise you site's ranking--such as adding meta-tags, and key words, and word density, etc, but I find that the best approach is with good content and a couple of good incoming links. And it is free. Since I started blogging in March 2006, I have added several thousand dollars to my bottom line.


The website can also be a good tool to educate your own patients plus prospective ones, and give patients an alternative method by which to contact you and make an appointment. Again, these types of services can range in complexity and cost but actually are quite simple. I have a blog on blogger and iWeb for my urology specific posts. Cost: zilch. I provide ample email links on my website and blogs for prospectives to reach me by, and I give my phone number and fax, as well. I have had a handful of new patients request appointments via this method.


The moral of this post. DO NOT SPEND BIG BUCKS ON YOUR SITE. One, it ain't worth it. Two, it is unnecessary. Three, it is more fun to DIY.


Hope you enjoyed this post.


The IU.