Blogging can be a great communication and marketing tool for dental practices when done right. I won’t sit here and tell you they’re easy and every practice should have one, because that’s just not true. It takes time and thought to come up with blog content that your audience cares about, and not every practice needs to connect with their patients through this medium. But if you are on the fence, maybe worried about the commitment involved or are just not sure where to start, this post should help you understand what it takes to set up and manage a blog for your dental practice.
The first thing you must consider is who would write the blog posts, and do these people have the time to sit down and actually do the writing. Before you pitch this idea to the practice and buy a blog domain, find out if your team has the bandwidth to take on this task. Things to think about:
- How long does it take to write a blog post?
- How much time can this team commit to writing?
- How much time will it take to edit and format the blog posts?
- How much time will it take to create any photo or video content needed?
If you’re confident your team can handle this task, then great! The next thing you need to do is figure out what platform you’d like to use.
Maybe you have staff members who are already familiar with something like WordPress or Blogger. Maybe you’re planning on having a very visual blog, so should consider something like Tumblr. Do some research and determine what functionality is important to your practice. This article compares platforms and is a good place to start your research!
Next up, how do you want to host your blog? To answer this, you need to consider a few things:
- Importance of content ownership
- Flexibility and modification needs
- Trustworthiness of hosting company
If you are a practice that isn’t super serious about maintaining a blog, a free blogging platform will likely give you all that you need. But if you’re concerned about content ownership or about the limitations that come with a free blog, consider looking into hosting providers, or talk with the person who manages your practice’s website. When in doubt, a good route to go is to use the same hosting service that you use for your practice website.
Once you’ve decided how to host your blog, you can move on to the design! There are thousands of themes online for free, or small fees. For some inspiration, check out some of these WordPress themes.
Before you choose the first cool theme you encounter, consider what you want this blog to do for your practice. Below are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Admin use – how easy is it going to be for your team to make changes on the fly?
- Responsive – is the theme going to allow your blog to be responsive so mobile visitors can enjoy?
- Pictures – planning to use a lot of pictures? Be sure your theme has a gallery/portfolio option
- Videos – if you’re planning to embed a lot of videos, make sure your theme allows you to easily embed links or upload videos (upload options can incur additional fees)
- Shareability – make sure your blog is easily shared on social media!
So now that you’ve got an intro to blogging, start running through the first step and evaluating whether or not your practice has the bandwidth to take this task on. If you’re already blogging, share the link to your blog in the comments!