Why Do I Need A Website Anyway?
by Daniel Rostenne
Despite some opinions out there that suggest you don’t need a website for your Practice, for most ODs, a website is an absolute must. If you don’t have a website because you just haven’t gotten around to it yet, you are showing how out of touch you are with the times. If however, you are thinking that having a presence on other online channels such as Yelp, Facebook and other social media is enough, read on before you jump to this rash decision.
Want to start with some statistics? According to a recent PEW Internet and American Life Study, 80% of U.S. Internet users have searched for health related topics online, that’s up 62% from 2001. And with the use of mobile technology, these numbers are just expected to grow.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are seven crucial reasons you need a website for your Practice’s online presence:
- Create and control your image. Unlike other places your Practice will be found online, your website is the only location you can completely control how you want to present yourself to make the first impression. Your website is essentially your online office, where you will create the feel and the image you want to show to your potential patients. In fact, this is the only place where others can’t chime in, so take the opportunity to put your best foot forward and make an impressive, unique and lasting first impression.
- Another piece of the puzzle. Now-a-days consumers refer to multiple sources before making a purchase decision. If you are looking to buy a new camera you would look at the company’s website as well as reviews on Amazon.com or consumer reports and you might also ask friends on FB for input. Just like the camera manufacturer, an OD should want to make his voice part of the big picture of information consumers are getting.
- A central hub to funnel all of your online efforts. Everything and I mean everything that you do online (and offline) should be connected back to your website. This allows for a single, consistent and well-planned message that you want to spread among any potential clients. This branding focus will also help to give you control over your online image by continually pointing back to the impression you want to portray.
- Your Professional Side. While much of social media has a more casual tone, which reveals the friendly and fun side of your Practice, your website presents the professional side of your Practice. The website is your destination to provide the important facts people will need, practical applications and educational content to show your expertise. These critical details may or may not be found on other online locations but users will know to rely on a website for thorough information. While you can use social media to educate as well, you have the ability to offer more value and deeper information on your website.
- Getting Found On the Search Engines. If you want to show up high on search results, you will need more than a Facebook page. From an SEO perspective there are certain factors you can’t obtain without a website which help Google determine whether your practice is relevant to be returned in a search query and be ranked high in organic search. However, if you have a Facebook page, a Twitter stream, a Yelp page, Yellow Pages, Google+, Google Places, and a website, you can dominate organic search results and ensure that users can find you when they are searching online.
- People expect it. It's that simple. If you don’t have a website, people will either never find you (because they assume if you exist you have a website) or think that you are still in the dark ages. A website gives your practice legitimacy and shows that you are up with the times.
- "All" Small Business are doing it. This includes your competitors. And if you aren’t there with them, you are giving your competitors a huge advantage over your Practice. It means more advertisement and a larger presence for them with out you in sight. People are looking online, so you want to make sure you are part of the picture.
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